At the cocktail party to formally launch the Bulawayo edition of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, Tinashe(23) is attendance along with his best friend Norman(24). They are both elegantly dressed in suits. There were other guests standing in pairs and small groups standing engaging in various conversations, while sipping from the wine glasses in their hands, whose contents were being continouslly being refilled by a troupe of smartly dressed waiters carrying trays, who weave their way through the crowds of Guests, with wine bottles on some, while others served snacks to the excited guests.
Romantic music was playing in the background making Tinashe to sweat freely on this night of seeming enchantment. Tinashe said to Norman, "she is here".
Norman asked curiously, "who the ghost...?" Tinashe impatiently cut him off," She is no phantom, I can literally feel her presence".
As he spoke Tinashe's eyes were hard at work with cold efficiency scanning each and every face, hoping to see her, who had kept him awake on many a night, when he had lain awake on a many a night, turning and tossing in bed. While his ears tapped into each of the conversations taking place around him, hoping to hear, the gentle voice of her who remaining faceless and nameless until this night of seeming enchantment bespoke quietly to his heart on many a restless night haunting him even in his sleep.
Tinashe suddenly began to feel a bit parched and a need for something to drink, he said to Norman, "I 'm going to get a drink", Norman replied, "Ok", and Tinashe started to make his way through the throng of guests towards the drinks table. Norman called out after Tinashe, "bring me a cold beer!"
Tinashe was already walking away, his eyes working with cold effeciency mechanically scanning each and every face, while his eyes tried to listen in to each of the dozen conversations taking place around Tinashe,searching for her.
As Tinashe reached the drinks table he beheld a Tariro in a cocktail dress looking at him, beholding her. Tinashe and Tariro's eyes locked and the music suddenly seemed to stop playing. The other guests melted aways and in the tense silence, Tinashe stretched out a hand to Tariro. Tariro grabbed hold of the proffered hand and Tinashe pulled her to himself in one whirlwind motion. The music began to play.
Then they were locked in a warm embrace, lost in a world of their own. They seemed to rise into the air and dance in each other's arms, holding on to each other. Afraid to let go lest they should find themselves awakening from a beautiful dream but one which would leave them feeling empty inside for lack of emotional satisfaction. They held on with every ounce of strength on their bodies hoping the evening would last forever.
However the evening did end and they found themselves back among the other guestsapplauding the singer who stood smiling shyly and bowed before the crowd.
Tinashe took Tariro to the hotel room where he was staying. He picked up a phone and ordered champagne before manipulating a remote control and romantic music started to play from the TV in the hotel room. Tinashe and Tariro began to dance.
Room service arrived with champagne, Tinashe pulled out a note and tipped the waiter who withdrew from the room with a pleasant smile on his face. Tinashe poured the champagne into two glasses and gave one to Tariro. Tariro sat down on a sofa facing a window looking out on the street under lights below and began to drink while Tinashe sat on the bed.
It began to rain outside,Tariro fell asleep. Tinashe lifted her and carried Tariro over to the bed. As he lay her on the bed, Tariro suddenly awoke smiling up at him, held his head between her hands and pulled his face bringing his lips down on hers.
Amid the crackle of lightening and the roar of thunder outside the window, Tinashe and Tariro made love in between the sheets, giving and taking with wanton abandon, until Tinashe suddenly realized he did not even know the name of the woman who he was with and sitting up in bed bed, tried to speak, but Tariro placed a finger across his lips, saying, "shhhh don't talk, let us leave talking for the light of a new day".That was enough for Tinashe and he disappeared below the sheets again, exerting himself with all his might to pleasing Tariro until sleep took her once again.
Moments later Tinashe was standing fully dressed with his luggage in one hand, looking down at the sleeping form of Tariro.He leaned over Tariro, planted a gentle kiss on her forehead and whispered in his native Shona language,"ndinokuda" .
Moments later he was out of the hotel room and walking out of the hotel, into the pouring rain, amid the crackle of lightening and roar of thunder.
The note Tariro found on a chest of drawers the next morning spoke of a man deeply in love. It said, "this night I feel like a beast this night I must travel by night to to South Africa, on an urgent mission, I can not put off.
This is not farewell , for between us there are not goodbyes, only the gentle touch of a light summer's breeze that brushes gently against your skin like a distant lover's touch saying I love you. Please, believe me when I say I shall do the noble thing and one day return to Zimbabwe, where the sun will never set on our love.
P.S I love you, The Noble beast".
Tariro finished reading the note the tears rolling down her face and held it to her bossom.
On the side of the border, Tinashe was aboard a star bus coach looking out the window on to the South African countryside.
Written by Vimbai Murindagomo (Mr)