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a short story by Stanley Kenani



I have published a number of short stories with Malawian newspapers and the BBC Focus on Africa magazine. I have also had my plays aired on the local radio.


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I have got reason to believe that my late father, Mr Juma, must have been
either a joker or a poet. His choice of my name, Chuma, to have it complete
as Chuma Juma, displays a great skill of rhyming poetry. No wonder every
lover of rhymes who hears my name for the first time gets to like it
instantly. For this reason, anywhere I go I become easily known. I was quite
famous both in secondary school and in the university. I was also quite a
legend in football although my knowledge of the game does not go further
than kicking the ball in any direction at my disposal. I was very famous in
my church of which I was a very dedicated member.

It was in this church where I sat attentively listening to an eloquently
presented sermon one bright Sunday morning. Both the man who was preaching
and his interpreter must have been specially gifted in oratory. They moved
the audience with the rising and falling of their speech. The preacher
appeared to have deep knowledge of well-fitting verses with which he
punctuated his sermon. He certainly differed from a lot of his kind. Whereas
most in his profession spend more time in shouting their voices hoarse, it
appeared he raised or lowered his where it was necessary. Everybody sat in
silence gulping down the refreshing words.

Just when the sermon reached its climax, a high pitched sound of shoes made
my head turn. A very beautiful girl was just walking into the church. Well,
I am not the type that spends half their time in church either daydreaming
or looking at things mundane. When it comes to the Word of God I am a keen
listener. But at this singular moment, I must confess, I was put to great
test. The girl's beauty was just irresistible. Her face shone like an
ornament of the rare type. Her body was well built, with all graceful curves
in their right places. There was a touch of art in the creation of this
lady, a rare art which would have made Van Gogh look like a beginner.
Honestly, if I were a judge in modern pageantry competitions, I would have
put her down for a Miss Universe. And to make matters worse for my poor
self, she put on a skirt that was a little too short, leaving very little to
the imagination. Two plump legs made their way out of the skirt in display
to the world at large. Perhaps my conscience was still mindful of the fact
that I was in church because I only fell short of mumbling: "Wow!"

It appeared, however, that I was not alone in taking particular notice of
the girl's arrival. All of a sudden, the eloquent preaching was broken up.
"The faithful shall go to heaven. The sinners shall . . ." Okhulupirika
adzapita kumwamba. Ochimwa adza . . . there was a pause, "the sinners shall
. . ." ochimwa adza . . . a longer pause, "the sinners . . ." ochimwa . . .
a much longer silence followed until the girl sat down, "the sinners shall
be punished," ochimwa adzalangidwa.

All of a sudden, I felt like I was sitting close to a live wire. The Pearl
chose to sit just next to me! My heart knocked against my ribs. I breathed a
little faster like an athlete in a one hundred-metre dash. Little wonder I
did not get the rest of the sermon. The sweet scent of the perfume she wore
only made my adrenalin misbehave all the more!

When the sermon was over, I breathed a sigh of relief. I happen to be a
member of that type of churches where after the service people greet each
other. So, as soon as the congregation was disbanded, I shot my right hand
to the girl for a greeting.

"Good morning," I began cheerfully, perhaps a bit more charismatic than the
celebrated comedian Eddie Murphy. "Hope you're fine."

"Of course," she said, making me suddenly realize how sweet her voice was.

My name was Chuma Juma, I continued as we walked out of the holy house, and
she was Mrs . . . ? No, she corrected me, she was Miss Zena Zgambo, and, so
she went on, as she was not so much of a bureaucrat, added to the fact that
she naturally did not like surnames, she preferred to be called Zena. No
formal "Miss", no heavy "Zgambo". Just Zena.

Then a bolt out of the blue she asked me, "Are you a poet?"

I let out a laugh, that empty laugh that comes not necessarily because one
is happy, but to fill in some space of time and perhaps to prolong a
conversation. "Me? A poet? Oh, no. I'm not."

"Well, then, at least your name is a poem," she said, "a rhyming one."

Personally, I do not like poetry. My confidential opinion about poets is
that they are people who fail to express their ideas clearly enough for
everyone to know what they are talking about. They are cowards who find
solace in voicing out their opinions in a cryptic manner. At this particular
moment, however, I took her comments for a wonderful compliment. After all,
I just loved to hear her talking. Everything she said was like music to my
ears. I looked her up and down so many times just like a very hungry person
looks at food. I had a particular eye at her fingers looking for a ring of
any kind and smiled contentedly when I discovered that there was none. Not
that everyone is serious about rings in my society, but one cannot overlook
the winds of westernization these days.

What did she do for a living? I wanted to know.

She was a businesswoman. What sort of goods or services did she sell? Odds
and ends, so she replied. Anything goes.

"And you?" she asked.

"Well," I answered, "I am an Economist."

"Oh, I see," she said, with me doubting whether she saw indeed. "Pardon my
poor knowledge," she rumbled on, "but I'm told that an Economist is a person
who earns too much but spends too little. Is that correct?"

I laughed. "Nothing can be more erroneous," I corrected her. "The simplest
explanation I can come up with is that an Economist is a person whose
interest is in the economy or the wealth of a nation. According to Adam
Smith in his book An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of
Nations . . . ."

"No, no, no," she waved a hand in dismissal of the topic, "I'm not ready for
a lecture of any kind, be it Economics, wealth or whatever," she said. "I
must leave now. Allow me to say, however, that it was nice talking to you.
Few people are as charming these days. We are fast becoming westernized; for
I'm told that in the west, people don't talk to each other if they are
strangers. They bury their faces behind huge walls of newspapers or
oversized novels. But you really behave like an African. Personally, I loved
this chat."

"Well," I replied, "if you may allow me, I loved you, so to speak."

After politely requesting me to go to hell, a request not very much in line
with one seemingly pious individual who has just walked out of church, we
parted company. However, I did not forget to take down such minor details as
her mobile phone number and the number of her house at Nkolokosa where she

It was obvious I had fallen in love. The mere thought of Zena sent my heart
palpitating. I wanted her to be mine. In my heart of hearts, I spent hours
admiring her like a pearl. I would visualize her smiling or laughing, her
angelic voice filling my ears. Or doing the catwalk like some girl at a
pageant. Or standing close opposite me, her eyes looking deeply into mine.
Or her electric touch sending tremours of sweetness down my spine.

I had fallen in love.

Some quotation I saw when I was in secondary school said "love is a
wonderful thing." Now I agreed with whoever coined it. Love is so sweet
although it is quite abstract, just like power and envy and hate. Most of
the people spellbound by it cannot really define it. Even its birth is
difficult to define. There are times when it is sown by such a trifle as a
handshake or a smile, then it is watered by the warmth of the heart and its
roots wrap together two hearts to make them one. On other times, it is
sparked off by desire or lust. Whichever way, the end result is one. It may
mean everything or it may mean nothing. Almost all of us are fruits of love,
although quite a few are fruits of sex and lust. Yet the same love can be
the birth of hate, strong, everlasting hate that, like the hands of time,
cannot be reversed.

I had fallen in love.

The morning following the day I met Zena, I rushed to buy a mobile phone's
recharge coupon to feed airtime into my phone. On my way to work I dialed
her number more than ten times with the unfortunate result that it could not
be reached. Even at work, whenever my boss was out of earshot, I tried again
and again without success. I was not happy. I was dying to talk to Zena. My
fingers repeatedly punched in her number, a wait, then teeet . . . teeet. .
. . the number you have dialed cannot be reached at the moment. Please try
later. By lunch hour it was obvious that I was greatly distressed.

I had fallen in love.

At lunchtime I caught a lift to the ground floor of the Chayamba Building. I
walked out to taste some sunshine in the Victoria Avenue. I joined the sea
of humanity flowing all over the street, some doing some window shopping
while others looking for suitable restaurants in which they could fill their
stomachs. I had neither of these on my agenda. I just walked to while away
the time.

Then, all of a sudden, I saw a backside disappear into a shop opposite the
Umoyo House. My heart skipped a beat. Wasn't that . . . ? There was no
mistake about it. Already my pace had quickened. I was almost running! There
was no mistake about it. That backside . . . I would recognize it even in
the dark! In no time I entered the shop, panting.

And there she was!

"Zena!" I exclaimed.

She smiled. I grinned.

"Hi, Chuma," she said.

"Zikuyenda?" I asked her. A meaningless question about how things were. We
chattered and bantered about everything and about nothing. In love, it
matters less whether the questions the other party is asking are
intelligible or not. Everything said is like sweet music. Does it matter
whether music contains intelligible material or not? Haven't millions liked
obscene songs from the United States? The same with love. In love, much of
what is said is sweet nonsense, but sweet nonetheless. Perhaps that is why
the English literature legend, William Shakespeare, said that love has got
no eyes, although, in my opinion, most of the times lovers are the ones who
close their eyes. Nine out of ten times the eyes reopen, but mostly when it
is too late.

Mesmerized by the dazzling beauty of the Pearl in front of me, I decided to
ask her out for lunch.

"Where do you want us to go?" I asked.

"The Mount Soche Hotel."

My heart sank. That was the most expensive place in Blantyre! For the two of
us it meant a whopping two thousand kwacha or more. It was right in the
middle of the month and the pockets were quite dry. But even at the best of
times, that would still have been the last place I would have suggested to
eat at. However, considering the fact that first impressions matter, I
thought against disappointing her. Relying on the money I wanted to pay for
my electricity, I agreed to take her to the hotel. We sauntered to the
portals of the celebrated hotel where we enjoyed a very delicious pizza.

Somewhere in the middle of the meal, I looked her deep in the eyes.

"Zena . . . ."

"Yes . . ."

"I . . . I . . . well, I . . . ."

"I'm listening."

"Well, I . . . . Anyway some things are best left unsaid."

"I don't like unfinished sentences. Then you shouldn't have started at all."

"O.K. I will finish the sentence. I love you."


"Yes, Zena. Ever heard of love at first sight? This is it."

"Chuma, there is no such thing as love at first sight. How sure are you that
what you have for me is love or infatuation?"

"I know it. The bottom of my heart has never been shaken by anyone before,
but you have. That's why I know I love you."

"But I . . . I . . ." I slightly shook with excitement when I discovered
that it was her turn to stammer, "Give me time."

"For what?"

"To think about it."

I let the words sink in me. I thought what she said made sense.

At the end of the meal we did not hesitate to agree on another date. A
dinner at another hotel at another time.

Life could not be more fair.

By the time we finished the meal on our second outing, it was obvious that a
love affair had started between us. Sweet punctuations of "honey,"
"sweetheart," had kept gracing the meal to my huge content. After the meal,
we wandered in the gardens of the hotel to find a secluded place for our
first kiss.


I think that I had my genuine taste of love when I met Zena. Not that I had
never had a girlfriend before. Even at the time I met Zena, there had been a
girl called Taonga who was my girlfriend for four years. We were even
planning to get married, just imagine.

Taonga had her own looks, of course. But she was not so beautiful as to
warrant wasting paper and ink here describing her beauty. I hear there are
stars in the sky which the eye cannot see because they are outshone by
others. Such was the effect of Zena's beauty in relation to Taonga.

When Zena and I fell in love, I did not want to tell Taonga the truth. I
just tried my best to make her notice that I had no feelings for her
anymore. In the four years we had been in love, certain trends had
established themselves. It was not as obligatory as a contract, but there
was a strong, almost religious observation of the silent, unwritten laws of
the affair. One such law was to phone each other everyday.

Taonga started expressing surprise that I was not taking the initiative of
calling her anymore. I tried to bring up all sorts of excuses until one day
I had nothing to say. Eventually I just started avoiding talking to her



"Chuma, why didn't you . . ."

Tweet. . . tweet. . . tweet. . . .

I would then switch off the phone altogether. Adieu.

What really complicated matters with Taonga was that she claimed to be
carrying my baby. On my part I was not sure that the unborn child was mine
although before I met Zena I used to entertain the thought of being the
father. I now realized that Taonga wanted to use the claim as an instrument
to make me stick to her. Honestly, I abhorred this tactic of hers. Why
doesn't she just go to hell? I said to myself. What she does not know is
that nothing shall ever change my heart. Nothing.



"But Chuma, why are you behav . . . .?"

Tweet. . . . . tweet . . . . tweet.

This went on for some time. The hide and seek game. The fear of telling the
truth. In theory, the truth always frees the mind. In practice, however, it
often hurts.

One day, when I was coming from work, I found Taonga waiting for me outside
my house. We hadn't met for a month now. Quite unusual for people who used
to meet every weekend. By now it was apparent to both of us that the
question of love did not stand any longer. Even the way her eyes welcomed me
told a story. The story of being tired of my wayward behaviour. The story of
love turned to hate.

"Now tell me," she fired away at once, "what does all this mean?"

I did not answer.

"Chuma, what are you doing to me?"


"I will not leave until you tell me what exactly you are up to. Looks like
you have forgotten that what you're tormenting is a human being who has
feelings. I am sure that the word 'hurt' does not exist in the dictionary of
your mind. I want you to know . . . ."

"Enough!" I blurted out. "Today is the day of calling a spade by its name.
It is over. Pure and simple. There were no legal obligations between you and
me. I have a right to choose whether to maintain the relationship with you
or to sever it. It appears I have chosen the latter."


"You heard me right."

"But, Chuma, I . . . I . . . the baby!" sob . . . sob . . . "the baby" . . .
sob . . . "what shall I do?"

"Forget that song about the baby! Don't implicate me. There is no proof that
I am the father anyway."

She cried uncontrollably. I left her there crying as I walked into my house.
Once inside I peeped out to have a last look at her before I banged the door
hard to shut her out of my memory. Forever.

God has got His own plans for us.

It was perhaps part of God's plan that my chance meeting with Zena was only
meant to serve as a springboard to a lasting relationship. Both of us having
realized that we always wanted to be together forever, we got married barely
six weeks after meeting each other.

Every day the roots of our love grew deeper. The face of our marriage was
that of fun and love; laughter, faith and hope; understanding and tender
care each for the other. Had lovers ever lived like us in the history of
mankind? We doubted it. Perhaps only in literature, a figment of somebody's
imagination. We were convinced beyond reasonable doubt that we were the
Romeo and Juliet of our time. Maybe even more. I remember at one time, on
our honeymoon, we sat romantically in the Jacuzzi at Sun and Sand Holiday
Resort on the shores of the ever-beautiful Lake Malawi. She said to me: "In
you I have discovered the genuine meaning of love. I have always had the
dictionary meaning, but now I have known the real meaning." I am sure that
up to now, Zena does not know how much those words made my heart somersault
with happiness.

There we were, Zena and I, living happily ever after, as the clock ticked to
the end of time.


It was in the dead of night and it was raining heavily outside. I had never
seen such a heavy rain for years. It was a windy gush. Zena and I could hear
a hailstorm pounding our roof. Lightning crisscrossed the sky. In my
bedroom, I held Zena tighter to my chest.

In the middle of the storm, completely out of the blue, we heard a loud bang
at our front door. At first, we dismissed it for part of the noises in the
rain. But when it was repeated several times, I stood up to check what it
really was.

A shocking sight greeted my eyes. Five armed men burst into my house. One of
them pointed a gun at me.

"Don't shoot!" I shouted hysterically. "You can take everything but not our
lives. You can take my TV if you want it. You can take my stereo as well.
But please don't kill us."

"We are not taking anything of that sort," the hefty guy who pointed his gun
at me said. "We have come to take away your wife."

"No-o-o!!" I screamed.

Perhaps I forgot that I was one man against many, but without planning for
it I hit one of them hard, sending him groaning to the floor. I was going
for the second nearest when something hit me hard at the back of my head. I
blacked out.

When I came to, it was late in the afternoon of the new day. I stood up and
went to the bedroom. Zena was not there. I checked in every room in the
house, while calling out her name aloud. Still there was no response. I went
out running like a mad man in the street. I called my wife's name out but
the only response I got was people looking strangely at me. I ran straight
to a police station to report the case. From there I rushed to Nkolokosa to
explain to Zena's parents what had happened.

The following morning, I was shocked to see that newspapermen had already
got hold of the story. Somebody at the police station must have been
loudmouthed. Huge headlines were on every daily I saw: STRANGE ROBBERY IN
WIFE, the headlines went on and on. One reporter had a particularly strange
appeal of humour. He wrote: It appears robbers have become tired of stealing
stereos and TV screens in various houses. They have now resorted to stealing
wives. Last night, a woman was stolen in Chitawira . . . . The humour did
not appeal to me. One paper went as far as saying: Efforts to contact the
deprived husband proved futile as his ground phone in the house went
unanswered. I had no ground phone.

It was at lunchtime when the police, accompanied by Zena's parents, came.
The parents kept weeping uncontrollably.

"Welcome, officer," I said to one of them who appeared to be the leader.

"Thank you, Mr Juma," he responded. "I am Inspector Mwano Mwale. I would
like to view the scene of the incident. Thereafter you will have to follow
me to the station for a statement."

"Thank you, Sir."

The police stopped outside the main door to survey the wreckage. They noted
all the places in which the hinges of the door gave. They also rubbed some
powder all over the door to find out if there were any fingerprints. It
appeared they did not get any. They went into the living room, their eyes
darting all over. Then they entered our main bedroom. I felt shy. This was
our most private abode, Zena and I. All the delicate, indescribable
intimacies took place here every night. The room of memories. The chamber of
love. Somewhere in the corner, Zena's pink panties lay innocently. Her
favourite. I felt embarrassed as the policeman picked them in his hands, in
the name of investigation. I wanted to protest but held myself back.

"Everything looks orderly here," I heard the policeman say. "No signs of any
struggle at all. Any clothes missing, Mr Juma?"

"No. Except the nightdress she wore when sleeping."


I thought not.

After an hour or so, the police wound up their exercise of combing up each
and every nook and crevice of our house. Thereafter, like a funeral
procession, we all walked to the police station. We sat down to take a
statement. The policeman's pen jotted down pretty fast, although his
handwriting was a little worse than a medical doctor's.

"Has anything been stolen from your house?"


"No. I keep it in the bank."


"No. I have none, actually. Except my wife. My most priceless valuable of
all time."

"Do you drink?"

"Yes, fruit juice and water."

"Beer I mean?"


"Do you smoke?"


"Do you suspect anyone to have taken your wife?"

"No-one in particular."

"In general?"

"Maybe those people who sell parts of human beings."

"Do you know any of them?"

"No. I have only read it in the newspapers. I have also heard speculation."

"Do you have enemies, Mr Juma?"

"Not that I'm aware of. But a man may always have enemies without knowing
about it."

"Have you ever quarreled with your wife?"


"Not even a trivial difference in opinion?"

"Not anything worth saying it here."
"We are talking about the life of a human being, Mr Juma. Every triviality
counts. What is it that you once differed in opinion on and you cannot talk
about it here?"

Hesitant. Embarrassed. Then: "Like the number of rounds to do it."

He scratched the back of his head. After a brief pause, he continued

"If you were the police, where would you start looking for your wife?"

"I do not know."

"Neither do we, Mr Juma," he said at length. "So we now detain you as first
suspect. We consider your wife as a missing person and we suspect that you
might have had a hand in making her go missing. I ask you to cooperate fully
with our investigators."


"Constable Banda, take this suspect to Cell 313 on full remand."

"But Sir?"

He had already left the office. As I walked towards my cell, I could hear my
parents-in-law weeping behind me. I turned to look at them for the last
time. Their response? They looked away like Apostle Peter did when a man
confronted him in the premises of Pontius Pilate during the trial of Jesus I
saw you with Jesus in Galilee!


I had been in the cell for so long now. I was not sure whether it was one
month or more because days and nights merged into one. Throughout the
history of my life, this was the worst situation I had been in. The room was
quite small and dark like a cave. It was stinking like hell. There were a
lot of us in this small space. One had barely enough space to turn round. We
were all made to stand for a long time until a policeman came to tell us to
sit. Afterwards, we would be made to lie down to sleep. We would all be made
to face one direction, and then, by order, turn one hundred and eighty
degrees to face another direction. The most shameful thing was that one had
to do the most private of daily acts, defecating, in the presence of others,
and, most of the times, without a toilet tissue. It was the most
dehumanizing experience I had ever gone through. So, to preserve our sanity,
we kept talking for as long as we could.

There was one guy who kept repeating some lines. We did not know whether he
got them from a poem or a book or a film. Or even the internet. It is a
mystery that we are still sane at all - still breathing and chatting under
the sun. Laughter from us because none of us had ever seen the sun for a
long time. He would continue, undeterred, our minds unmoved, resolute; with
determination we march on to the future, always to the future.

To my right there was a Nigerian who appeared to enjoy the hobby of talking.

My broda, I'll always fight for de emancipation of de Nigerian identity.
Nigeria is a norma society just like de oders. Yet everybody tinks we're all
liars and tieves. Once I told a policeman at de Chileka Airport dat God
created de heavens and de earth. You know what he answered me? Comin' from a
Nigerian I cannot believe dat.

Laughter from all of us.

One man asked me Woz your name? I told him Ikechukwu Chidi. He told me
You're lying!

More laughter.

But you know who de real liars are? De Americans and de British. Dey lied
about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. If dey had found so much of a
weapon of mass destruction as large as my tooth, dey would have put it under
a magnifyin' glass and make a huge picture to splash on de front page of De
Times. But dey didn't. Doz are de liars, not Nigerians. We are . . . .

The door opened.

"Chuma Juma!"


"Follow me!"

My heart skipped a beat. Had I done something wrong? Trembling, I followed
him. We entered a spacious office. Seated in the lounge suite facing a
well-decorated policeman were my parents-in-law. The policeman who had taken
me in showed me where to sit.

"Ah! My son!" Zena's mother said as she began to weep. The way women weep
when they are stricken with great grief.

My son? Up to now I am not sure whether I deserved that salutation from her.
For had I been her son, I am sure she would have stopped the police from
throwing me into the abyss of helplessness. Had I been her son she would
have known that I would not have hurt somebody I loved most. Had I been her
son she would have known that my nature was such that I could not hurt a
fly. My son?

"Well, Mr Juma," the man of rank began, "your parents-in-law here have come
to apologize for the unnecessary suffering you have gone through and now
demand your immediate release. Please explain to him, Mr Zgambo."

The old man looked at me. I noted that there was a keen apology in his eyes.

"When a leaf falls," he started, "it is the tree that gets ashamed. I am
very embarrassed of my daughter's actions."

I wanted to ask 'Why?' but before I could do so his trembling hands gave me
a letter. It was post-marked South Africa. Immediately, I opened it. Zena's
handwriting! It was a great relief to see her handwriting. At least the
feeling of knowing that she was alive was refreshing. Quickly, my eyes ran
down the letter:

My Dear Chuma

I know you are going through tough time. I know how much you love me. No
doubt I love you just as much. However, there was one thing I did not tell
you before we got married. All along I gave you the picture of being single.
But I was a married woman. Damn it, I swore. Only that my husband was
convicted of murder. He was sentenced to death. Any hope of him getting out
of prison was out of question. So I resigned to that fate although I still
loved him so much. Nevertheless I used to go and see him at Chichiri Prison
once in a while even when I married you. Even when I married you, Irepeated.

It so happened that on that particular night, he escaped from Chichiri
Prison with four of his colleagues. He was planning to get out of the
country as soon as possible. He decided to take me whatever the case. As
there was no time to talk, he decided to use any solution at his disposal,
including force . . . .

Tears ran down my cheeks. The old man was still speaking although my eyes
were still transfixed at the letter as if it was my death warrant.

"We received the letter yesterday. It came together with ours. In our letter
she has put a phone number. We went to the telephone bureau and dialed it.
We talked to her. She is alive and she is happy. Very sorry about it all."

Unknowingly, I stood up, letter in hand and walked out dazedly. The
policeman had to run after me with something for me to sign on to formalize
my release. I signed absentmindedly as I walked on. I did not even know
where I was going. I just got out of the fence of the police station and
walked on. I now have a vague recollection of tyres screeching and drivers
swearing but I still walked on.

Somewhere I saw a very small boy flying a kite. I was about to pass him
when something sharp clicked at the back of my mind. For the little boy in
front of me was a mirror reflection of myself! No doubt the head and the
face! I have looked at myself so many times in the mirror to know what I
look like.

"What's your name?"

"My name is Atitaya Juma."

My heart was now skipping.

Atitaya. They have left us dejected.


Behind the little boy a lady appeared. It was Taonga! How much she had
changed! I hadn't seen her for five years. I had last seen her as a girl but
she was now a woman. Our eyes met. No reaction on her part as eye confronted
eye. We stood there looking at each other for one full minute like bulls
sizing each other up before a fight. What was the look in her eyes? Despise?
Hate? Disgust? I was not sure. My racing mind could not read anything. Maybe
it was despise or disgust or both. Who or what was she disgusted with? The
spectacle or me? Or the wounds of the past that might have suddenly been
reopened by the present chance meeting? Maybe the spectacle, I told myself.
A heavily disheveled apparition that could have passed for a mad man on the
one hand and a beautiful, elegantly dressed lady on the other, with an
innocent soul separating them. Or connecting them. The common denominator.
Already passers-by were throwing curious glances at us.

"Atitaya!" she called.

The little boy looked at her. He looked at me. I looked at Taonga. She
looked at the boy. The only bridge between us. The sole reminder of what we
once were. The living evidence of our past. The mnemonic of the memories of
what we did. The fruit of love, not sex or lust. Love, pure and simple.

The little boy turned and joined the mother, the kite now lying on the
ground. Together, they turned and disappeared into the unknown.


Adzalangidwa: (they) shall be punished

Adzapita: (they) shall go

Kumwamba: heaven

Ochimwa: sinners

Okhulupirika: the faithful

Zikuyenda: a greeting among peers. Literaly it means 'how are things?'


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