Short Stories, Tale Africa

Rebabedi (9)

 

By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa

Mbali is singing as she prepares her lunch in her small, modern kitchen. She always prepares herself some junk food as a treat on Sundays. She is on a healthy diet as she wants to avoid any diabetic complications that attacked her mother a few years ago. She also exercises regularily to keep fit. She is busy making herself a juicy pizza with three cheeses, tomato, grated meat and a combination of sauces she made herself. Mbali Jacobs is a great cook and she enjoys it. She is waiting for her pizza to bake as she dances around the kitchen singing;

“Baby please stop

Sekwanele s’thandwa sam

I’m afraid of heights ohhh

But you keep taking me higher and higher

Ngothando lwakho.

Lungithatha lana, lwangibeka lana

Langisusa lana…”

Her voice is now at screaming point due to the enjoyment. She stops dancing when she notices Sibonelo standing at the door. She lowers the volume of her banging radio and goes to hug Sibonelo.

“How did you get in?” She asks

“The security let me in. You’re having a blast here I see” Sibonelo says grabbing a seat.

Mbali laughs and says; “It’s junk Sunday.”

“What are we making?”

The oven beeps before Mbali answers. She takes the pizza out and waves the hot pan around Sibonelo’s face.

“Lord! I’ll be a drum by the time the season opens.” He says as Mbali takes the pizza from the pan to a large plate and places it on the table.

“I’ll help you shed off the fat later neh” Mbali says and winks.

They attack the pizza and engage in casual conversation. Sibonelo has become a regular visitor in Mbali’s flat, just as she has at his place. Mbali pours Sibonelo the wine she as been sipping on while preparing food. Sibonelo takes a sip thoughfully. His mind seem to have shifted from what is happening.

“You okay love?” Mbali asks after taking a sip from her own glass.

Sibonelo doesn’t respond. Mbali waves her hands in front of his face and repeats the question.

“What’s going on between you and Styles?” He asks softly.

Mbali swallows hard, she didn’t see that coming. “What do you mean?”

“Yethu I’m not stupid.”

“Daddy what”s going on?” Mbali pretends to be confused.

Sibonelo looks straight into her eyes as he says; “I noticed the tension between you two last Sunday at dinner, I saw how he followed you to the toilet, and I also noticed how he looked at you. He’s been avoiding me the whole week so I’ll ask for the last time; what is going on between you and Styles?”

Mbali frowns, in attempt to look irritated, and answers; “Why are you asking me now? You seem to have decided that whatever your mind is telling you is the truth.”

“I’m giving you a chance to come clean.” Sibonelo now looks deadly, he isn’t even blinking.

Mbali is undecided; she doesn’t know whether to come clean or totally deny everything. She takes a sip of her wine while considering her options. She is already a little tipsy since she started drinking way before Sibonelo came in. There is a long silence which is broken by Sibonelo saying;

“You had an affair with him didn’t you? When?”

“Last year” Mbali answers without thinking.

Sibonelo nods before saying; “Do you love him?”

“NO!” Mbali shouts.

“I can hear you Mbali, why are you shouting?”

Silence.

“Do you love me?”

 

“Of course Sibonelo, goodness!”

“I don’t know what to think Yethu. Why didn’t you tell me about Styles?”

 

“We never spoke about our exs… You know I love you Sibo, you know that.”

Sibonelo shakes his head slowly as he asks; “How do I know? Maybe I’m just a way to get closer to Styles,”

Mbali exclaims in disbelief. She cannot believe Sibonelo thinks that of her, she has been nothing but real to him. Sibonelo stands and leaves Mbali’s flat without uttering anything else. Mbali doesn’t follow him out; she finishes the remaining wine in her glass in one large sip and pours another one. She has decided that if she’s going to bed with a broken heart then she should do so as drunk as a skunk.

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