Short Stories, Tale Africa

Gangster Love (3)

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By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa:

I left Mondli in a trance; he was going crazy and mumbling things I wasn’t interested in hearing. I managed to sneak out and find an open flat with an open door. I find an old woman baking; she is startled by my presence and almost drops her pan of muffins. I love muffins. She quickly puts them down and helps me up her kitchen steps and sits me on a chair. It's painful to sit, my whole body hurts.

The old woman does not say anything to me; she leaves the room and then comes back with a mirror. It is an A4 size mirror and I’m wondering what she intends doing with the mirror. She places it on the table next to me and then leaves the room again. I begin to think the poor granny is so shocked she doesn’t know what to do. She comes back with a bunch of neatly folded clothes and puts them on the table as well. She checks the cakes that are still in the stove and then turns to me.

“Who are you?” She asks.

“My name is Samkelo”

She walks towards the door and locks it. She then took out the remaining muffins from the stove and switches it off. She stands infont of me and asks; “Samkelo who? Where are you from?”

“Samkelo Bhengu from Ladysmith.”

“Where about in Ladysmith?” with this she grabs a chair and sits at the same position she was standing.

“I’m from Ezakheni, section C. Are you also from Ladysmith?”

She then gives me a short summary of her life, how she got to Pietermaritzburg and who she lives with. I couldn’t comprehend most of the things she was saying but I gathered that she’s originally from Durban and now lives with her daughter who works as an accountant in town. She puzzles me when she asks me who I am again, maybe she forgets easily. I respond anyway.

“I am Samkelo Bhengu from Ezakheni, Ladysmith,” I say slowly. I have to admit my body is becoming more painful. I don’t understand why she’s not calling an ambulance or helping me; I’m in pain.

She asks; “Do you know Samkelo Bhengu?”

I get a bit irritated but hide it and manage to say, “But that's me, gogo”.

She takes the mirror and points it in front of me and asks, “Is this Samkelo Bhengu?”

I cannot recognise the person looking at me. My eyes are swollen, lips broken, even my cheeks are deformed. This is not the Samkelo I put make up on every morning. I wonder where I lost her. Tears slowly fall down causing a burning sensation on my cheeks. Granny stands and calls an ambulance. I get it now; she was helping me. I have lost my sense of self and at 18 my life shouldn’t be about guys, not so much. I have thrown my life away; the clubbing, the boys, Mondli. How did I get here? My mother would be so disappointed in me. I almost got killed. Was it worth it?

As soon as she hangs up I let out a loud cry as I try to plead with her, “Please don’t let me go, he will kill me. Can I stay here please?”

“Don’t worry; as soon as you find Samkelo Bhengu you will be okay.”

She’s right, only I can get myself out of this mess. I need to leave the likes of Mondli and just be a child.

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