Short Stories, Tale Africa

A Man’s Tears (2)

 

By Katiso Thatho, Lesotho

The booze finally kicked in and the racket became the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. He hobbled and swayed his way to the dance floor for a while, but then after one or two songs, everything became a blur. One minute he had his arms wrapped around a woman with a rather wide waist and an even wider posterior and the next he was staring at what seemed to be the ceiling of his living room sleeping on what he was certain was his couch. Suddenly he caught a whiff of what smelt like scrambled eggs emerging from the kitchen. Mampho had always seasoned them a certain way that gave them a very distinct aroma which was eerily similar to that which was coming from his kitchen at that very moment. He hopped off the couch only to discover he had a terrible headache. Despite the throbbing pain he soldiered on in hopes of getting to the bottom of whom exactly it was that had been cooking in his kitchen. He had a slight glint in his eye as if he expected to find a particular person in there but when he arrived, all the excitement vanished from his eyes. Instead of finding his estranged wife he found that it was in fact a teenage boy who had been frying the scrambled eggs. It was also in that moment that he realised how crazy he was for expecting to find his wife in there, after all she had been dead for two years.

He quickly examined his clothing and realised he was still wearing the same clothes from the night before, much to his relief. The boy turned towards the door and noticed him standing there.

“Hey Mr H, I see you finally woke up. I’m surprised you were even able to walk so far after such a crazy night; you must have a hangover from hell.”

“Mr H? Who exactly are you young man and uh… how did you end up here?”

“Well your name is Hopolang so I decided to shorten it to Mr H, I hope you don’t mind.”

“Again – how exactly did we end up here, together?”

The young man was a bit puzzled at first but then he began to chuckle after realising what Hopolang was asking. This made him rather uncomfortable.

“Don’t worry Mr H, it wasn’t anything like that. I’m sorry to break it to you but you’re just not my type. I prefer partners with boobs and vaginas. I gave you a ride home, you were way too drunk to drive and I was less drunk.”

Without realising it, Hopolang breathed a sigh of relief, which only served to further amuse his young guest.

“How did you even know where I live? I’ve never seen you before in my life.”

“You have quite the fan club at the tavern, finding out where you live wasn’t that difficult. I know it’s an intrusion but I just couldn’t leave you there, passed out in puddles of vomit and piss. Not to mention the fact that you were on the verge of making a shebeen baby. Now please eat this breakfast I fixed you and drink some water, it’ll help with the hangover.”

Hopolang reluctantly took the glass of water and scrambled eggs from the boy and headed back to the couch. He found everything about the boy rather peculiar. He had been drinking at that tavern for over half a decade and not once had anyone driven him home and been so helpful, it was just too suspicious. The boy came into the living room a short while later with his own breakfast in hand and sat on the adjacent sofa. He seemed very comfortable, almost as if he had been there before, this did not sit well with Hopolang.

“You seem awfully young, shouldn’t you been at school right now?” Hopolang enquired.

“Nah! I’ve been taking a gap year for the last two years now. Plus, today it’s a Saturday.”

“Oh, so you’re a dropout then?”

“Well if you have to be all technical about it I guess that’s what you could call it.”

“I guess this is the part where I tell you to stay at school but I honestly don’t see any point to it because I stayed and yet it seems you and I are in the same boat.”

The boy began to laugh once again. Hopolang felt a strange familiarity towards the boy. It was almost as if they had known each other from somewhere but he just couldn’t figure out where that was. After wrecking his brain trying to figure it out, he asked the boy’s name.

“Just call me Rex, that’s how all my friends address me and you Mr H are definitely a friend.”

 

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