Short Stories, Tale Africa

Rebabedi (14)

 

By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa

Watching soccer isn’t really my thing, today is a special occasion. Mbali was asked by the Zebhola soccer channel to fill in for their sick presenters. Well; I have to watch my friend’s television debut. I was excited for her when I heard that Ayanda gave her permission because I know Mbali is a natural. I’m secretly hoping that Zebhola decides to hire her so that she stops working for Ayanda. Last week’s events made me lose all respect for that woman.

When my mother and I went over to her house to look for dad, we were confronted by the shock of our lives. Kagiso could be my brother, even Ayanda isn’t sure of the twins’ paternity. She slept with my father and Kagi’s father on the same day – who does that? Both families agreed to paternity tests and we are still waiting for the results. What was amazing is that Kagi’s father knew about this but also kept quiet. He just accepted to be a father to the twins and didn’t even bother to do a DNA test. They were breaking us up based on speculation that Kagi could be my father’s child – the nerve of those people! I really hope he’s not, I hope we’re not related because I can’t deal with the shame. Incest. The twins were so furious, they moved out of their home. Mbali and I visited them once this week, in the flat that I shared with Kagiso, and they seemed to be doing well. It was a bit awkward for me to see Kagi, I didn’t know whether to hug him or… What do we do after this anyway?

“Thabi! Come over here quickly” I hear my father shouting from his bedroom.

I’m watching the soccer in my room because I don’t want to fight mom and the girls over their soapies. Wednesday night soccer will be the death of me in this house, nobody changes the channel during soapies – even dad knows this. I find my father listening to jazz and writing something in his notepad, that’s his relaxing kit – jazz and writing. He used to take me to some Sunday jazz events when I was younger. I never understood the music but I remember how excited I would be to spend time with him. I think being a teenager pulled me away from him because we no longer spend time together, and he is always grumpy. He shares his jazz moments with us but never lets anyone read his writing, I wonder what he writes.

“Do you remember how much you used to love this song?” He asks as I settle next to him on the bed.

“I used to love Judith Sephuma baba?”

I can’t believe this!

He smiles as he says; “You used to sing along, using your own words of course.”

I laugh in disbelief. Why can’t I remember singing Judith Sephuma? My parents usually laugh at how noisy I used to be as a kid, and how I used to imitate musicians. It’s hard to believe seeing how quiet I am now.

My father looks serious when he says; “I got a call from Kefiloe.”

“Who is Kefiloe?”

“Kagiso’s father… I mean Ayanda’s husband. He says he has the results, and we can come see them tomorrow.”

My heart suddenly beats irregularly. “Did he tell you what they say?” I manage to ask.

I keep breathing out heavily trying to remain calm. I cannot read my father’s expression, I think he has perfected his poker-face.

He nods. “I’n not the twins’ father; he is.”

The relief!

“Are you okay?” I ask trying to hide my happiness.

“I am, I have three adorable girls.” He smiles and then adds; “Maybe we can go to the sundowners with your sisters this Sunday?”

I finally let my emotion show as I excitedly respond; “I’d love to baba, I’m sure Poni and S’tha will be happy about that as well.”

I leave my parents’ room feeling all sorts of happy. I can’t wait to tell Mbali, and to start hanging out with my father again. I’m glad this whole paternity mix up happened, we have our loving father back. The referee blows the whistle ending the game just as I walk into my bedroom – talk about perfect timing. My friend looks dazzling as she interviews the coaches. I’m so happy I could scream. Mbali is such a natural! I need to take her out to celebrate this, you’d think she’s been doing this all her life. My face drops as she calls out the man of the match – Sibonelo Gabela of Badimo FC.

I stare at the TV like I’m watching a horror movie. You know that moment where the ghost is about to strike, you want to see but you also don’t. Mbali smiles and continues working as if nothing is going on. She asks how is feeling about the award and what motivates him. Sibo responds just as naturally and then:

“Sibo are you really going to pretend like you don’t feel anything for me?”

I put my hands over the head. What is she doing? Sibo doesn’t respond, he looks shocked.

Mbali continues; “You know I love you Sibonelo, when will you forgive me?”

“Mbali what are you doing? We’re on live telev–”

Mbali interrupts; “I don’t care. It’s not a secret that I feel miserable about what happened and that I love you like I’ve lost my mind.–”

“You really are crazy!” Sibo says with a fist of giggles.

And then, out of the blue Sibo kisses Mbali – on national television! I don’t know if I should laugh at this, I’m so shocked. My mother and sisters barge into my room.

“We’re busy with soapies while the real action is happening in the soccer channels!” My mother exclaims.

They saw what Mbali just did, I just laugh. Things are finally going back to normal.

To Be Concluded

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