Short Stories, Tale Africa

Surviving on Old Prayers (02)

By Vimbai Lole, Zimbabwe:

Jeremiah  9:5 Every one deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent.

When I come to, I am disorientated. I can see my mum’s face, she looks ashen.

“Mum”, I croak, she looks at me and she literally deflates in relief.

“Child,” it’s more of a statement than a greeting, “How are you feeling, you are in the hospital”.

I hope I have been unconscious for a year and everyone has forgotten about why I am in here.

“How long mum, how long have I been in here?” I expectedly ask, “A few hours,” is her reply.

Nooo!! I almost scream, and like a joke, I watch as my beautiful mother starts to sob, “Natsai, of all the stupid things you have ever done, this time you have done me in mwanangu!”

I shift uncomfortably, not knowing what to say, I can see the pain on her face; a face I have seen wear a smile through the most horrible times. I have done it this time, I make a promise to myself, there, on my deathbed. Well, not my deathbed, but right now I want it to be; I make a promise to be a good girl and I ask God and His angels to help me, and forgive me. I mumble I am sorry to my mother, which only serves to fuel her wailing, and between body racking sobs, she tries to tell me that it’s my father’s forgiveness I should be after because he is threatening to kick both me and her out of the house.

Wait! I know I am in no position to be voicing anything but the way African men just blame their wives whenever daughters stray is nothing short of madness. My sweet mother didn’t teach me anything bad, I bet I could even teach her a trick or two in the bedroom. I hate my dad right now and would like to do the unspoken to him but for the sake of my mum I will dance to his tune just so my mum does not have to learn how to live on the streets, not that she would last a single day on the raw streets of Harare!

I am being overly dramatic, she would definitely stay with her many rich relatives. Afterbeing examined by the doctor, he unwisely decides I am good to go home because my fainting was more from shock than anything. Yay! I can't wait to face my father! Pray for me, whoever you are!

When we get home, my father is sitting in the lounge, no sign of uncle BAE. A dozen empty beer bottles tell me he has been preparing for another confrontation. I put on my acting hat and make an attempt at looking faint in the hope his daddy instincts will take over at seeing me fragile. My drunk father lifts up his eyes lazily, points a seemingly heavy finger at me and slurs, “Ma’Natsai, I told you I don’t want this useless whore-child in my house, take her out and leave her out with the trash”.

“Daddy please…” I plead quietly, and in a truly comic manner he addresses my mum instead, “Is it talking to me? Is this whore-child calling me daddy, woman I swear this thing does not have my blood running through its vein and you better tell me what kind of animal you lay down with to beget this thing or…” he trails off, taking a swig of his beer, my sweet mother drops to the couch and starts hyperventilating.

The old man starts to say something and is interrupted by a high ‘Shut up!”

It’s from my mother!

“Close your mouth Robert!” I stare wide eyed, Robert?! “Don’t you ever talk to me like that again when I am the one who gave your name honour and gave you a place among other men, damn right this child is not yours! Do you know how to make babies Robert? Huh? Answer me, what is that toy you carry between your legs! Hahahaha, God laughed at you my friend, you know how to talk too much, I don’t need that today, I have much bigger problems you hear! Natsai has been bedding her father, out of all the joysticks she could play with, her father’s, she goes for her father’s, the one that made her. So stop talking, I don’t have the energy for this, I tell you!”

I can’t hear anymore, it must be a dream! It is a dream because I can’t even move right now, yes it is a dream. Tazzy cannot be my father, it does not make sense, I would know if I was sleeping with my own father! As my dream continues I watch my father staggers to where mother is sitting, throwing hands in the air, talking and laughing and crying as one who has lost bearing of her mind, my father smashes the bottle in his hands on her legs, she tries to stand up but he pins her to the couch with one hand and with the other shows off his punching skills.

I watch, wondering how my dream will end. When he has restructured her face to his satisfaction, he goes for her throat, strangling her. She struggles to get him off without any luck, that's when the new couple from next door appear from nowhere and manage to get the monster that is my father off my mother. Over the next hour, people; paramedics, friends, family and the police, come and go, I don’t really understand what is going on but I am sure it has to do with the movie I just watched of a man strangling his wife, although trying to figure out how a movie and my life are connected makes my head hurt.

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