Short Stories, Tale Africa

Surviving on Old Prayers (05)

By Vimbai Lole, Zimbabwe:

Romans 8: 38-39.  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels ,nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I get ready to run as I realize it is Tino, in all her ugly glory getting closer in the dark. She has something in her hand. I certainly will not die like this, I refuse such an undignified exit! I forget and do not care about Tazzy at this point as I am considering if I can get the car moving fast enough or if I should just run down the street. But before I actually do, Tino speaks, “The sole on my shoe just came halfway off, wretched Chinese junk!”

By now she is standing a few inches from me and it's a gladiator sandal she is holding in her hand. Phew, I make a silent prayer. Child was just throwing around curses because her cheap shoe lived up to its standard, frightening me for nothing; may the soles of all her shoes fall off.

She looks from me to her father quizzically, “I thought you were looking at cars Dad?”

“Oh yea yea, we have already, your cousin didn't like any of them.” And it hits me, I have the same blood running through me as this witch, she is my sister! The blood drain from my head and I feel so woozy I have to double over to hold steady. “What's wrong with this one?” her voice is like nails scratching a black board.

“Ehh Natsai, are you okay?” Tazzy asks, stretching out his arms for me, I step back, avoiding his grubby and filthy hands.

“I'm fine, I'm good, and I have to go”.

“So soon?” Sarcasm colors Tino's voice. Your shoe soles fugly, watch out for your shoes, I hope she gets what my stare means. “Anyway Dad, mum says to tell you the food is all good to eat.” She twirls and heads back inside, strutting nothing, she must sit on grace because her derriere has no future at all. Tazzy turns to me and looks at me with eyes that reflect what a dirty old man he is.

“Please let's not talk about this here; my wife is in there for Christ's sake!”

“Did you know you are my father all along, answer me now or you won't have a wife by the time I am done with you!”

“Natsai…I only knew after I was already head over heels in love with you; I thought your mother must have found out about us and was jealous and so was just saying that to break us up. I never believed it baby, and even if it was true, what does it matter when we make each other so happy? You are so beautiful.”

I cannot believe this, I am so angry! I have to remember to breathe, in, out, in, out.

“Excuse me!? My mother is lying in a hospital somewhere because she finally had the courage to say the truth to my father, the man I thought was my father. It almost killed her. And you have the nerve to stand there and speak such rubbish? You are sick in the head, you know that? This is not over…!”

I turn on my heels and head for the car, because I have to get away now. He follows me, panting like a dog that has just done 10 kilometers.

“Let's not allow this to ruin us.” He is at my window as I start the ignition. I spit in his face and speed off, leaving him to launch insults into the unrelenting darkness.

It's almost impossible to drive properly with so much anger and pain demanding attention. I am tired and I have to go to work tomorrow. I need to get home and rest, ignore the unending drama of my life for a few hours. In the silence and solitude of the drive back home however, I am overwhelmed by emotion as everything just becomes more real to me. I fail to stop hot and heavy tears from taking over. The only safe thing to do is to pull over. I find parking space in front of a supermarket. I then allow myself to fall apart. I mourn for the loss of my life as I knew it, I mourn for my mother, and for the man I knew and loved as my only father. I mourn for the broken soul I am. I am so desperate to get rid of the empty feeling that has taken over, and because I fail to conjure up enough faith to believe I will ever be a person worthy of any love and acceptance, I mourn.

While I am chasing the shadow of my former self, someone knocks on the window. It startles me, and before I can decide what to do, there is another knock, this time more urgent. I roll down the window, and standing there is a man with a forbidding look on his face…

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