Story written by (the pencil whisperer) Like her facebook page (penciled thoughts)
THE APPLE OF GOD’S EYE
Joyce got married at 22 to a man who used to be her teacher in high school. He was later transferred to Livingstone and though she would call once in a while, we didn’t see much of her after that. Her husband took her to college and she became a teacher too.
Our other siblings completed grade 12 and most of them acquired government scholarships to colleges and universities through the women organization aunt Delphi used to attend every Tuesday. They all left home just after grade 12 but Nancy and I stayed behind. Nancy kept running the salon while I went to UNZA to study developmental studies and economics. Whilst there I met some movie makers who said I was perfect for a movie they had written and I was auditioned.
The movie became a big sensation and soon I was in newspapers, magazines and on TV. There was even a huge billboard with my name on it-MERCY, it used to make my heart flutter every time I saw it. I dropped out of school as I got a lot of movie offers. Aunt Delphi did not like that idea, she wanted me to complete school but I was adamant.
From the money I used to make from my career I opened a savings account and saved most of it. I changed aunt Delphi’s house inside and out and opened a salon branch for Nancy in town which later grew into a salon, barbershop and spur.
We didn’t hear from our other siblings unless they needed financial assistance. Uncle Nathan also used to pass through once in a while for financial help. At that time I still didn’t know he was my father. I didn’t know why aunt Delphi didn’t make that known to me, I still don’t.
Nancy also got married and it was just Delphi and I. the house which was once full was now empty and sad. I usually wasn’t home most of the time so aunt stayed alone. Stembiso used to pass through once in a while. They both were getting old and I was afraid Delphi would die soon. I had not yet done for her all the things I had wanted to.
I heard from Stembiso that my mother was returning to Zambia after being away for more than 20 years. Her sister had lost touch with her and we didn’t know if she had become a doctor or not. I had seen her photos and I thought she looked like me but I felt she wasn’t anything like me. I had always thought Delphi was my mother so that came as a shock to me. She sat me down and told me she was my aunt, she told me uncle Nathan was my dad and my mother had gone abroad to study some years back.
I didn’t know the abortion story and even though I felt my mother was evil it was an understatement compared to what I felt after I heard the full story of how I was born. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; we will get to that soon.
I got a live-in maid for aunt Delphi to keep her company and help with the house chores when I was not around. She was an elderly woman who had divorced her husband many years ago after she found out he had been cheating on her with another woman
She had a grown up daughter who she had with a man who denied responsibility after her divorce. Her daughter’s name was Vivian but we all called her junior. She was good with hair and she started working in the salon at home while her mother worked in the house.
I had actually overheard bana Vivian (Vivian’s mother)tell her story to aunt Delphi. I tried to befriend Vivian but she always withdrew and kept her distance. I think it was because of my status- it happened with other people too. Because I was famous, they felt I couldn’t relate with them or their problems and so they shunned me.
My mother finally came back from overseers. She was totally not what I expected. She was thin and she looked sickly. She actually came to live with us and for the first time in my life I met her. I couldn’t understand why a mother would choose school over her daughter; I was going to find out.
I had been acting in a series and it went off season so I had some time on my hands. I was also planning to re-enroll at UNZA that same break. When she came, Nathan and his wife also came from Lusaka, I didn’t know if they didn’t know she was in because they were as shocked to see her as we were.
Aunt Delphi suggested we share a bedroom so I could get to know her, I refused. I had still not heard her side of the story and I was bitter with her. Bana Vivian moved her bags to aunt Delphi’s room. Aunt Stembiso also travelled, it was a full house. I called Nancy who didn’t stay far away and she came.
We had a family meeting where my parents were formerly introduced to me. I said nothing the entire meeting, while mother kept coughing the entire meeting.
“I am sorry Mercy that I haven’t been to see you like ever but life hasn’t been so easy you know,” she said with an accent in between coughs.
Wait a minute, I thought she had been living in China but how did she pick up an America accent? I made a mental note to find that out.
Nathan sneered and my mother saw that.
“The hell is your problem Nathan?” she stood up coughing all the way.
“You have no right to say that, I know I haven’t been there for her either as a father ought to but you are just the worst,” he said.
His wife squeezed his hand, I could see he wanted to continue talking but she squeezed it the more and he got the message.
“Nigga you have no idea what I have been through, you can’t stand here and judge me,” she began.
“Veronica sit down,” aunt Stembiso said.
Mother turned to her sister and coughed twice before pointing at her.
“Don’t you dare interrupt this Stembi, I’m trying to apologize to my daughter,” she coughed again.
It seemed the woman was dying. I kept on moving my eyes to whoever was holding the floor. The whole meeting made me sick and I just wanted to leave but for some reason I stayed. I could sense drama and boy did I love drama.
“The daughter you left for me to raise after you tried to kill,” Stembiso slipped, she hadn’t meant to say the last bit.
Nathan stood up, Stembiso did too, they both tried to talk when Delphi stood up.
“Shut up and sit down all of you. You have put this girl through enough.”
Nathan and Stembiso sat, mother didn’t, and it seemed she still had a lot to say.
So she had even tried to kill me, I thought. I stood up and walked out, no one stopped me. I went to my bedroom and cried. My family sucked but at least I had aunt Delphi I thought. Just then I heard some weird noises in the living room, I rushed back and I found aunt Delphi on the floor.
I didn’t know what had happened or what was going on, Nathan lifted her to his car and we rushed her to the hospital. Delphi had a brain tumor, it was advanced and she had actually known about it. Aunt Delphi was for secrets I learned. We waited for a very long time in the corridor till the doctor came and said she was in a critical condition.
Aunt Delphi’s tumor was too advanced and even if an operation was attempted, she would still die. She had a few days left and we were told to make them as memorable as possible.
“One family member can go in to see her,” the doctor ended.
“I’m her brother,” Nathan said and he started walking towards her room.
“I’m her daughter,” I said rushing for the doctor who had turned to take Nathan to the room.
“You decide who will go and then tell me,” the doctor said.
“I will,” both Nathan and I said at the same time.
I looked him in the eyes imploringly.
“She is the only family I have you know, let me have this,” I said to him.
He nodded. I followed the doctor to the hospital room. Aunt Delphi could not talk, she moved uneasily when she saw me but she attempted a smile. I sat down on a seat by the bed and held her hand.
“I love you mom please don’t die,” I said with tears.
She smiled and squeezed my hand. I put my head on her chest and cried there for a few minutes. I could hear her heart beat and feel her breathing and it gave me comfort. She used to let me fall asleep on her chest as a child and I would do that when I had issues even when I was grown.
Suddenly I couldn’t hear her heart beat anymore, I lifted my head and I could see her going. He eyes looked as if they had flipped up and I could see her eyeballs. She didn’t struggle or scream and then she stopped breathing.
I ran out screaming for the doctor. My mother saw me and tried to hug me but I pushed her aside and went outside. I sat in the car park crying for a long time when Nathan came to get me to go home.
Delphi had died and some family members had been called. Which family? I thought; the only family I knew was her and Nancy. We went back home and we found that bana Vivian had removed the chairs outside already and the neighbors had started gathering. How bad news travels fast.
I sat behind the house close to the garden and Nancy came to find me. She hugged me and we cried together. She told me Mark was on his way and that made me feel better. Mark was the only other sibling that had kept in touch. He worked for Indo Zambia bank in Lusaka but he would travel to Mporokoso every now and then. I would also go to is house when I did my movie shoots in Lusaka if I didn’t want to sleep in hotels.
The following day Joyce came with her husband and their two months old daughter, we didn’t even know she had delivered. Mathew didn’t attend the funeral and no one had an idea where he was not even his twin brother. We heard from Mark that John had died in prison. How did a family so close split like this? We learned John had been working for ZESCO and he had stolen some money from the company and was jailed.
I wondered how all these people even knew about the funeral. Paul came with his wife and three kids. Paul was a business man and he seemed to be doing well. Malita and her husband also came. Her husband was some councilor in some constituency somewhere in Zambia and we had not known till then.
Lucky and Lumbiwe also came. After the funeral, there were discussions of who would take what property. I had receipts for most of the things in the house after I refurnished it so no one could take those, they decided to sell the house and share the money that they would refund me for the renovations. I just wanted to be done with everything.
Vivian and her mother lost their jobs and went wherever they had come from I presumed.
We had another funeral in the family three days after Delphi’s burial. The bus on which Stembi, Nathan and his wife had boarded back home overturned and Stembi died on the spot. Nathan died 24 hours later and we buried them in Mporokoso as well. His wife survived. It was like someone had cursed my family with death.
It was during Nathan’s funeral that I spoke to mother. She told me how she had tried to abort me and about her school. She had failed in her first year and regretted giving me up but she couldn’t dare come back so she found work in a bar so she could at least make some money before returning.
She told me that she had met a Chinese man who was looking for models who she went with to the USA but he turned out to be a pimp. She started doing drugs so she could get through the sexual experiences she had with different men everyday and she got addicted to the drugs.
She later met a man she had slept with who was a director for pornographic films and she got in the business. She said she didn’t know the number of men she had slept with and she had contracted STIs upon STIs. She suspected she was HIV positive but was too afraid to take a test.
She was too embarrassed to come back home as she blew most of the money she had on drugs. After her health started failing her, she decided to come and make amends with her daughter. She also told me about Dylan and all that had happened with him. I made a mental note to search for him, I told her that and she gave me his old address, how or why she still had it, I didn’t know.
After the burial, aunt Delphi’s house was sold and the family dispersed. It was one tough month for all of us.
I moved to Lusaka and went back to school. I rented an apartment in Kalundu close to UNZA and I met a guy who was my neighbor. Well, I didn’t really meet him but I used to spy on him drive in and out from his apartment daily. I was home most of the day studying as it was during the holidays.
I had a huge crush on boy next door and I would peep through the window whenever I heard his car. Little did I know that he used to notice.
Don’t judge me for going all Sherlock Holmes on him, I used to live alone and I was bored. One day while I was busy studying I heard a knock on the door. No one except my manager knew where I lived so that came as a shock. I opened the door and almost sunk to the floor when I found it was boy next door. I couldn’t say even a simple hI, I kept smiling like an idiot.
“Hi,” he said.
I just smiled. He extended his hand in greeting and I took it still smiling and looking in his eyes. He smiled back, he could tell I was smitten.
Ok the guy was dashing and I think he knew it, I had seen handsome men but I had never crushed this hard on any of them before.
“My name is Declan and I live next door,” he began.
I just nodded, I was so happy he was talking to me nothing else mattered.
“I have seen you around and I thought I should introduce myself.”
“Ok,” I said.
Really Mercy, ok? was that all you could think of saying? I thought to myself.
I found myself moving out of the doorway and he got the memo. He came in.
I know right,cute boy next door was in my house. Or it could be crazy psyho killer (bama set) in my house.
I offered him a seat and he took it. he kept on looking around the house. On any normal day, no scrap that, if it had been any other guy I would have suspected him of being a thief or something but hey I was in like with this one, all seemed rosy.
I had a huge picture of myself on the wall and he kept in staring at it.
“Can I offer yout anything?” I fouand myself asking him.
“No thanks. But why do you have such a hugevpicture of yourself on the wall?” he asked.
I didn’t expect that. I mean I was Mercy Mulenga and the whole country knew me, why would he ask why I has huge picture of me on my own house wall. Which rock had dude crawled from under? I thought.
I didn’t respond so he repeated the quesion.
Well I didn’t know the answer so I lied.
“It was a gift from my mother,” I said.
“She obviously wanted you to see how beautiful you really are,” he said.
My heart fluttered. The butterflies in my stomach awe sure. Ok I knew I was beautiful,I had a mirror alright but hearing it from someone I had been crushing on was a whole different story.
I just smiled. He stood up.
“I don’t intend to stay long I just want to aquiant myself with you and tell you, you can visit anytime or pass through if you need any help like changing a bulb and what not,” he smiled.
Mery knew she had him.
“I will remember that,” she sad.
She walked him to the door and threw herself in the chair after he left. Over the next few months the two of us got well acquainted. We would eat out together. Sometimes we would cook together mostly at his house, he had a better kitchen.
He asked me to be his girlfriend and I accepted. I wasn’t going to play hard to get, I had been waiting.
Declan was not into movies, that explained why he may have not known me. I introduced him to them. We would go for movies, swims, dinners and all those nice nice places couples go together. He introduced me to soccer.
I introduced him to the world as my boyfriend at the premiere of my new movie, it was heaven on earth I even forgot about my mother for a while.
My accounts manager had been sending her upkeep everything month and I had bought her a small house in kabwe, her health had even improved a bit. I never visited her though.
One evening while Declan and I were watching a movie and eating popcorn I received a call from a land line telling me my mother was very sick and was admitted in Kabwe’s Mine hospital.
I told Declan and he rushed to get his car keys. I had a car but I never drove it, I was scarend of the roads in Lusaka because of the heavy traffic and the way bus drivers drove.
We drove to Kabwe and true I found the mighty Veronica hanging by a thread.
I had told Declan my mother had died so I had to fill him in about Veronica during the drive to Kabwe. He had so many questione but he knew it wasnt the time. We went to mother’s room and she smiled when she saw me.
I didn’t really like this woman but seeing her in that state brougt back memories of aunt Delphi. I started crying and Declan held my hand tight like he was letting me know he was with me through it all.
Mother looked at Declan and made a face I couldn’t interpret.
“Dylan,” she said.
“No ma, this is Declan,” I said.
Declan moved closer to her and held her hand. I didn’t know what was happening.
“My name is Declan ma, I intend to marry your daughter” I heard him say.
What? did Declan just indirectly propose to me in a hospital? Anyway my mother was dying I would follow up on that later.
“You look so much like him,” she said.
Ah this woman, after attempting to abort me, abandoning me for years and even now she was giving attention to someone else. I was jealous.
“Maybe you know my father ma,” he said politely.
Mother tried to get up. It was then that it started dawning on me. Declan had told me his father lived in Chilenje, his name was Dylan, mother had told me about the Dylan they had lived with in Chilenje a long time ago. I also remembered I had promised to trace him which totally slipped my mind after I go involved with Declan.
Small world huh.
I met Declan’s father and he really was my mother’s Dylan. He was told about Stembiso’s passing and he cried.
He told mother how he never forgot about them and how he had looked for them. He had married Vivian but he had been driven to the hands if another woman because of her constant nagging.
The other woman was Declan’s mother. He had heard Vivian had a daughter with someone after their divorce whom she had named Vivian.
Veronica understood why she had thought Delphi’s maid looked familiar. She kept on telling Stembi during the funeral but both of them couldn’t place her. She had lost her glow and charm so they couldnt recognise her.
Dylan was happy Declan had reunited him with Veronica and even more so that her daughter would be part of his family, they were destined after all.
Declan formally proposed to me and I accepted. We had a small wedding with close friends and relatives.
Mother was in a wheelchair, still sick but she seemed happy. She died that evening in her bed and our honeymoon trip to Hawaii was cancelled.
We mourned and buried mother. I finally forgave her and I was at peace. I understood why people say when you forgive you actually do yourself a favor.
Our Hawaii trip never happened, we made up for it on our 5th anniversary.
I quit acting when I became pregnant. I wanted time with my child. I have a daughter, she is 5 now and her name is Delphi.
I completed my course at UNZA and even did a masters abroad.
Dylan, I mean my father in-law is old now and he stays with us. He is the father I never had. Both Delphi and I adore him, obviously Declan does too.
Well there you have it, the full story. Do you still doubt I am the luckiest person on earth? Do you still doubt I am the apple of God’s eye? Because I know I am.
Signed: The Pencil Whisperer.
THE APPLE OF GODS’S EYE
Stembiso paid for their school fees and used the money Dylan had given them to start up a business. She bought blankets which she gave out on credit. She had wanted to open a ‘kantemba’ (small shop) but she couldn’t because of school.
The year came and went and she was in grade 11, Veronica had written her grade 12 final exams. The two moved to Chazanga compound where they rented a two roomed house. Their business failed as some customers didn’t pay back and the two moved to a smaller house. Stembiso dropped out of school again towards the end of the year but she managed to write the end of year tests.
Veronica got accepted to study nursing at Lusaka school of nursing but the two didn’t have money to pay for it. Veronica suggested they pay Dylan a visit but Stembiso wouldn’t hear of it. They had lost contact with Dylan since they moved out and they assumed he was married by then.
A young widower who had a three year old son and was their neighbor used to share food with the girls sometimes. He had a low paying job but since he had only his son to feed, he used to manage.
He had taken a liking to Stembiso the first time he had seen her but had dared not make a move. He kept on wondering why decent girls would choose to live by themselves. It seemed the gossip from around the neighbourhood had gotten to his head.
When he got to know them however, he found out that they were just misunderstood. He pursued a relationship with Stembiso and married her. The two didn’t have any marriage ceremony, they just went to a judge and had their marriage registered.
Stembiso had always envisioned a white wedding but what could she do? They needed a roof over their heads and she couldn’t pass the chance at free food and accommodation. She did not love the man but he was good to her. He had been good to them since they had moved in next door, always sending his son to take them food to eat and checking on them every now and then.
The two girls moved in with him which added to the neighborhood’s gossip. Stembiso’s husband was poor and could not sponsor Veronica to school even though he had intended to. He instead advised her to apply for a scholarship.
With her brother in-law’s help Veronica managed to get a full scholarship to study medicine abroad- China. The preparations started for the trip and it was all merry in the house. Finally God had seen them; this was it, both girls thought.
The journey was due in three months and Veronica made all the necessary preparations. She had a high fever one day and collapsed on the veranda of their little house. Witchcraft Stembiso had thought. The neighborhood didn’t want to see them prosper. Stembiso had gone to the market when Veto collapsed,but her but her husband had been home.
He quickly rushed her to the clinic and they were referred to UTH. After a series of tests, it was discovered that Veronica was pregnant. Yohane, Stembiso’s husband called her to the hospital. When Stembiso received the news she couldn’t believe it. There she was thinking they would soon walk out of poverty and now their ticket out of there was pregnant.
Veronica was already three months gone and no one had even known. She suspected she was pregnant but she wasn’t sure. And if at this point you are wondering, I am that baby. It was discovered that Veronica aka my mother had a boyfriend -Nathan within the neighbourhood who used to sell in his sister’s a shop. The boy had befriended Veronica and the two secretly started dating, they had slept together a couple of times and I was the result.
Mother was determined to become a doctor. She wasn’t going to let an unwanted pregnancy get in the way of that. Her being pregnant meant she could loose the scholarship and she wasn’t willing to give that up for anything, well in this case anyone. Nathan’s family was informed and the two families sat down and discussed the issue (milandu).
Nathan accepted responsibility and said he would sponsor the child. In her heart of hearts, mother didn’t want to even admit she was pregnant. As far as she was concerned, she would go to China to study regardless and while the family sat and talked, she was making travel plans. She decided abortion was the way to go.
She secretly arranged for an abortion with a witchdoctor who lived in the area without informing either Nathan or Stembiso. She went to him in the evening to avoid being seen by anyone. She had asked for money from Nathan earlier for the baby, she had said.
The witchdoctor used to practice his craft in his house. He had a white banner where he had his name, and phone number written. There were also drawings of wild animals, animal skins, calabashes, something that looked like a stream and a horn like thing. Whoever had designed that banner did not do justice; it was hard to make out what some other things were.
The witchdoctor gave mother some green bitter liquid to drink, which she did. She was told to throw money in a traditional pot and she did. She was then asked to lie down on a reed mat facing upwards and the witchdoctor moved up her shirt to expose her stomach. Mother was uncomfortable with that but because she really needed the abortion, she kept calm.
He rubbed her stomach with some oil like brownish fluid while he made incantations. He then wiped her belly with a cloth which he threw in the money pot. Mother found all that weird but she didn’t care.
A few weeks after the visit to the witchdoctor, mother felt a kick in her stomach. The man had told her she would experience pain and then her period would start, expelling the baby (me) bits but that did not happen. The pregnancy was in the fourth month and I was already kicking.
She then heard from someone that Tembusha “Aloe-Vera” mixed with lots of Panadol tablets would do the did. She immediately took to the concoction but it was futile. This act however, landed mother in hospital where she was admitted for about a week.
At that time, Nathan and Stembiso found out about the abortion attempts but mother was adamant about her decision. She said she would go ahead with it and not miss her chance at a better life because of the “thing” she was carrying.
Mother made arrangements with a medical doctor to have the pregnancy terminated at a private clinic. The appointment day coincidentally found Stembiso ill and so mother had to postpone the doctor’s appointment to nurse her.
When she finally went to the doctor’s a week later, she was told she would die if she attempted the abortion because she had done enough harm to her body already with the drugs she had And that was how I was born three months later: frail, sickly and premature.
My ambitious mother left for school when I was only two months old and I remained with Stembiso. Nathan would buy all the food that I needed but Stembiso would divert it and give it to her step son, which was ironic because he was almost five when I was born.
Her notion was that if my mother didn’t treasure me enough to want me to live then I probably wasn’t that important. She would give me a big pot of okra and that’s how I had Kwashiorkor. It was a miracle I didn’t die. I had never been taken to under five once and I was three years old and was still unable to walk. I could only sit and crawl and I had bulgy eyes and a stomach the size of a watermelon.
My mother had never once come back to the country in three years and I actually thought Stembiso was my mother. Nathan never spent time with me, I thought he was a distant uncle who just passed through from time to time.
Nathan had an elder sister Delphi who used to pass through from time to time as well though more frequently than Nathan. She lived in Mporokoso and she would bring me clothes and bits of food to eat. One day I got really sick and instead of taking me to the hospital aunt Stembiso just gave me some pain killers and put me to bed. She said the nurses at hospital would shout at her for not having taken me to under five even just once.
When aunt Delphi heard I was sick, she came to pick me up. She cried at the sight of me and she decided enough was enough. She took me from Stembiso’s and nursed me back to health. She would pound dry kapenta ‘Sardines’ and mix them with mealie meal and then cook porridge for me. She also used to pound groundnuts and would sometimes get soya beans from the clinic and make me porridge.
Within three months of staying with her, I started standing and walking with the aid of objects I could hang on to. In six months I was up and running about and my health and speech improved. Aunt Delphi took me to school and raised me as her own. She was a widow and she didn’t have any children of her own with her late husband. She however, had a lot of children that she took care of.
We were about 10 in total, all orphaned or vulnerable, I was the youngest. All of us did not know how we were related to each other. All we knew was we were somehow all related to Delphi. We just lived as siblings.
I was three years old when Delphi took me in. There were six boys: Paul who was 15 years old and was in grade 11, John- 12 in grade eight, the twins Matthew and Mark also 12 and were in grade nine, Lucky and Lumbiwe were both nine years old and were in grade two. And there were three other girls apart from me.
Delphi had a salon at home which was quite lucrative and it gave us three meals a day. She couldn’t pay for all of our school fees though, so she paid for a few of us and solicited support for the rest from well wishers. She managed to educate all 10 of us, well nine because one blatantly refused to be schooled.
The house we lived in was Delphi’s and so there was no need to pay rentals. We also had a water well at home so water bills were taken care of. Electricity bills were a problem but we somehow used to manage after being scolded hours on end for over use by Delphi. All of us called her mom.
Nathan never visited but he sent my school fees.
The girls were: Joyce who was the oldest of us all, she was 19 years old and had completed grade 12, she used to help out Delphi in the salon as she was very good at plaiting hair. Malita 18 who also used to help out in the salon and was in grade 12 and Nancy who was 12 years old who never wanted to go to school and opted to help in the salon. She was extremely good at hair plaiting as well and used to do our hair most of the time as the others were usually busy attending to customers.
Feeding was not always easy because there was hardly ever enough food to feed us all. We had a huge pot of porridge for breakfast which I grew to hate because I used to go to school in the morning and found it cold when I returned. We would have Nshima and vegetables from the garden behind the house for lunch every single day and Nshima and vegetables with maybe kapenta or beans for supper.
We would have chicken on Christmas and New Year’s Day and that was it. We hated the food but it kept us going. We had clothes on our backs though most of them were hand-me-downs. The church aunt Delphi used to attend would sometimes donate soya beans, kapenta, mealie meal and clothes to us.
We always used to argue about house chores and who would do what. Aunt Delphi had a policy where all the children had to do chores whether male or female. The boys didn’t want to cook because they felt it was our duty but the girls used to say they helped put food on the table as they spent most of their time in the salon. Joyce would write a Rota and stick it in the kitchen but we wouldn’t find it in the morning.
We somehow used to stand up for each other and whenever any of us had an argument with anyone outside our house all of us would get involved. We didn’t have many friends but we were each other’s friends and a brother’s keeper.
Life went on and we were poor but happy. Nothing would break us apart, or so we thought.
THE APPLE OF GOD’S EYE
After dinner that night, Dylan and the girls sat in the living room and talked for hours. They told him their life story and for the first time he also opened up and told them his. The three chatted far into the night and when they got conscious of the time they noticed it was way past midnight. They retired to bed.
In the months that followed, Dylan bought Veronica new school uniforms and books and he took Stembi back to school. The two girls would clean the house and yard before going to school and would prepare meals when they got back. Dylan was the big brother they never had. He took good care of them and never for once took advantage of them.
Stembi was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. She felt it was too good to be true and so although they had everything they needed, she kept on saving. She saved more because she didn’t have to pay Veronica’s school fees or buy them clothes and other necessities.
They stayed with Dylan for a year when he told them he had a woman he was planning to marry and that he would bring her over one day. Stembi knew that was the shoe drop she had been waiting for. She knew no normal woman would allow her man live in a house with two girls he was not related to.
She had qualified to grade 10 and was at the same school as Veronica who was in her final grade.
During the school holidays for term one after Dylan came back from one of his trips, he said his girlfriend would come over the following week. Veronica seemed excited and Stembi was sickened by her naivety.
The week flew past and the day to meet dragon queen came- Stembi secretly called Dylan’s girlfriend that. Dylan asked them to prepare a meal for the four of them, that they would have a family dinner.
At exactly 6 pm Dylan drove out to go and pick her. Veronica showered and wore her best dress. Stembi told her to take it off and made her wear their old clothes.
“We don’t want her thinking her boyfriend spends too much on us,” Stembi said when Veronica complained.
Dylan drove back in an hour later with Vivian his soon to be fiancé. He walked her to the dinning room. The girls were in the kitchen, Dylan called out for them and they walked in cautiously.
“Ladies meet Vivian my woman, Vivian this is Stembiso and Veronica, they are, well you already know,” Dylan said with a smile.
Vivian forced a smile, Stembi wasn’t fooled. They exchanged pleasantries and sat down. The girls were quiet through out dinner. Vivian made futile attempts at conversation but Stembi wasn’t barging. She gave curt answers and Vivian finally gave up. Dylan noticed there was tension and he tried to liven the situation but it didn’t work. Veronica minded her business.
After dinner both Stembi and Veronica rushed to the kitchen after clearing the table leaving Dylan and Vivian alone.
“I don’t like the older one, she is up to something,” Vivian began.
“Come on babe, you are too cynical and you trust no one.”
“And you are too trusting; I tell you that girl is up to no good.”
Dylan took her hand and led her to the living room. He loved Vivian but he had grown to love the girls as well. Staying with them for a year had given him a family he didn’t think he would ever have. They were his kid sisters, even though not by blood but at least they were there and he felt they loved him as well, and not just because of what he was able to offer them.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen Stembi was telling Vero about how she didn’t trust Vivian.
“You will tell me, that girl will have us thrown out; she is conniving, I know her kind.”
“Mmmmm Stembi naiwe awe, she seems very nice.”
“That’s your problem, you are too trusting, we can bet if you want ni mfwiti uja, (she is a witch),” she said as she rinsed the plates.
“You just have issues iwe mwe,” she started but then stopped abruptly when she heard the door open.
It was Vivian in all her splendor. She had two empty wine glasses.
“Well well, if it isn’t the two musketeers. You know you don’t fool me, I know you are keeping face in front of Deedee, I will unmask you so he can see you for what you really are,” Vivian said.
Stembi gave Veronica the ‘I told you so look.’
‘Deedee, really, couldn’t she have found a better pet name for him’ Veronica thought.
“Aren’t you gonna say anything?” Vivian asked.
The girls just stared at her silently. Stembiso had a strong urge to slap her (Vivian) when she moved closer to her but she kept the urge under wraps. Just then the door opened again and Dylan walked in.
“Hope you ladies are getting acquainted,” he said.
Vivian was quick to answer.
“Oh yes, they are such darlings.”
Stembiso scoffed, she had meant to do it imperceptibly but it didn’t go unnoticed. Vivian forced a smile and pulled Dylan out of the kitchen. Stembi rolled her eyes, Veronica just shook her head.
‘Welcome to the jungle,’ she thought.
In the weeks that followed, Vivian frequented her visits to the house. Sometimes she would come even when Dylan was out of town and when Stembiso told him she had been over, she would refuse even to her face. It made Stembiso seem like she was lying as Vivian was very convincing- talk about professional acting skills.
Stembiso had it; she had made up her mind, she was leaving. She had had squabbles with her boss over the last few months since Vivian was introduced to them. He had never raised his voice on her before but he used to get angry at her sometimes even for no reason it seemed. She wondered what lies he was being fed.
One morning she told Veronica they were leaving. Veronica didn’t want to but she couldn’t stay in the house if her sister wasn’t there. So that evening they told Dylan they would move out as soon as they found a house for rent. They thanked him for all he had done and promised they would keep in touch.
He didn’t take it so well; he was upset and he felt let down. He actually broke down and cried when he went to his bedroom. He was sad it had come to a point where he had to choose between his “family” and his woman. He couldn’t force them to stay anyway.
The following day he gave them some money to use for settling down and he gave them money to pay for their school fees for the next two terms. He asked them to tell him when they found the house so he would assist them in moving and so he could know the place. They agreed.
The following week they moved out. They asked him to leave them at a bus stop and since they insisted, he did. He passed through Vivian’s place and told her what had happened. Vivian was overjoyed but she concealed it seeing how hurt he was.
“I told you they were no good, they left you when you needed them the most,” she said hugging him.
He stayed for dinner and left even though she begged him to sleep over. He needed some time alone, he feared that if he stayed, he would cry in front of her and he didn’t want to do that. He felt like he did when his brother had betrayed him.
APPLE OF GOD’S EYE
Dylan had been eavesdropping on the girls’ conversation. He went to his bedroom. He had been angry but he felt softened by how the two cared for each other. If only his elder brother and him were that close.
Just like Stembiso and Veronica, Dylan had only one sibling George. Their parents had divorced when Dylan was five years old and they never saw their mother ever again. They heard she had died when Dylan was 12 and George 15 years old.
Their father remarried when Dylan was 8 and they stayed with him and their stepmother for 10 years until their father died. Their new mom took a liking to George but mistreated Dylan. Dylan always wondered why the two never got the same kind of treatment as they were both not her biological children. Their step mom didn’t have any children of her own.
Dylan later found out that George had been sleeping with his step mother and when he confronted George with it, he was beaten and threatened to be ground to a pulp if he ever spoke that way to his brother again. Their father had gone out of the country when he called with news that their biological mother had died.
Although Dylan didn’t remember her, he had cried. It was then that he went to knock on his father’s bedroom door to seek comfort from his step mother although they were never close that he found his brother on to of her naked. He had looked for his brother around the house earlier but couldn’t find him and he badly needed to talk to someone.
When Dylan gotbto his parents’ bedroom, George and his mother didn’t hear or see him so he walked out and went back to his room. Being a 12 year old boy sex had been topping his thoughts a lot but seeing what he had just seen disgusted him. He wanted to tell his father but he new he wouldnt believe him. It seemed he too liked George better, it seemed like everyone did.
George was good with words and he talked his way into everyone’s heart. Dylan on the other hand was not as good at expressing himself so people got to like him only after they got to really know him. Dylan cried in his room for a good hour before his brother came back seemingly exhausted throwing himself on the bed.
“George I saw you and mom in the bedroom,” it was abrupt.
George hadn’t expected that, he sat up and faked a surprised face.
“What do you mean D?” he asked.
“You know what I mean, you and mom were,” the words couldn’t come out.
George stood up obviously upset.
“Doing what, what did you see? Never talk about things you don’t know little bruh you will get your pretty face hurt,” he warned.
“I will tell dad when he returns,” Dylan began.
He was slapped hard across the face, he fell on the bed. George had never beaten Dylan, not even when they were little kids. He always had his little brother’s back and defended him.
“George you hit me?” he asked holding his cheek. It stung like hell.
“And I will do it again if you don’t shut your little mouth. What do you know? Learn to mind your own business or this house will be a living hell for you.”
George walked out of the room. That was the death of their relationship. Dylan kept to himself after that, George didn’t care. A few years later George went to study abroad, Dylan studyied banking and finance and got a job soon after.
Their father died and their step mom sent Dylan out of the house. He squatted with some friends for a few months until he was able to get a place of his own. He invested in a lot of businesses and bought shares. At 27, he had two houses, a small farm, and two cars and had invested in over seven companies and was looking to expand.
He had never heard from George but he had googled him and found an Instagram account where George posted photos of himself. He had married a white woman and they had twin boys, he seemed happy. Dylan had wanted to contact him but George had never once looked back since he left and that made Dylan think his brother was better off without him. George had even changed his last name.
Dylan was zapped back to reality when he heard a knock on the door; he slowly got up from the bed to open the door. He found Stembi with a tray of food looking nervous.
“Take it to the dinning room; I will eat from there today.”
Stembi walked back with the tray. Dylan always ate from the bedroom unless he had friends over which was once every blue moon. She feared the worst was about to occur. She served the food and went back to the kitchen. Veronica was doing the dishes.
Dylan walked into the kitchen and asked the girls to join him at the table.
“But sir,” Stembi began.
Dylan walked and out before she could finish.
Stembi and Vero put food on plates and went to the dining room. Dylan beckoned them to sit and they did. Vero tipped over an empty water glass. She quickly picked it up.
“I’m so sorry,” she quickly said.
“You apologize a lot. Just relax and eat, I didn’t want to eat alone,” he sounded rather calm.
Both Stembiso and Veronica were confused. They felt it was weird he was this calm and it made them even more nervous. Dylan noticed that.
“Look I’m not happy that you have been lying to me but I am not going to fire you,” he dug into his food.
Veronica’s eyes popped out, her mouth silently fell open.
Stembiso on the other hand wasn’t as silent.
“Eh!” she exclaimed loudly before she could stop herself.
“We shall talk properly after dinner, now eat your food, I’m sure I can find use for you too,” he ended looking at Veronica.
Veronica nodded and started eating. Her food had never been tastier, she wanted to jump up and sing, probably do a ka ‘Dalitso mwana wamu komboni dance’ but she composed herself.
APPLE OF GOD’S EYE
Ever seen the picture of that child with pills in his hand captioned ‘no weapon formed against me shall prosper’? Well that is me, not literally me in the picture but the circumstances surrounding my birth are similar. I often pride myself for being the luckiest person on the face of the earth. You have the right to your own opinion but I know I am the very apple of God’s eye. Before you think I am bragging, let me take you back to the beginning.
My mother Veronica was an orphan. She lived with her elder sister- Stembiso. Their parents who had been rich died in a house fire when the two were at school. It seemed they had not left a will or maybe something happened to it because after the funeral there was nothing left for mother and aunt Stembiso.
An uncle took them in but he had a lot of children and a mean wife. Veronica and Stembi stayed on the streets for two months after the uncle threw them out. His wife had accused them of stealing.
Stembiso did bits of work washing clothes for people to enable mother go to school. She (Stembiso) had only gone up to grade nine when their parents died. Mother studied hard so she could not disappoint her sister. During weekends she accompanied Stembiso to find work.
The two rented a one roomed house in Kanyama. They moved to Kanyama after managing to raise a little money for rentals, a few kitchen utensils, a reed mat to sleep on, a blanket and pair of bed sheets and some food items.
The two were however usually late with the rentals and had squabbles with their landlord who later threw them out and they slept on the streets for a few nights. With time, Stembiso found a job as a live in maid but the house owners wouldn’t take Veronica in as well.
Stembiso used to sneak food out to her sister and sneak her in to sleep for a good two months. When the lady of the house found this out she fired Stembiso and threw them both out. Veronica dropped out of school for a full year and joined her sister in looking for work.
Veronica was 15 years old and in grade 10 then; Stembiso was 20 and a grade nine drop out. The two moved from one neighbourhood to the next searching for work and food. Veronica finally found a job as a maid for a certain young business man who travelled out of the country a lot. She took her sister in and hid her whenever her boss was around.
Veronica went back to school as Stembiso’s job was well paying. The two even opened a mobile money account and started saving. One day, the owner of the house came back unexpectedly and found Veronica in the kitchen cooking. Stembiso had gone to the market as she was expecting her boss to return the following day.
“Who are you?” Dylan said when he saw Veronica.
Veronica was startled. She had never met the owner of the house in person. She had never even seen him up close. She always used to peep through the window as he drove in and out during the times he was at home. How had she not heard the car come in? She had stayed in house for five months and he hadn’t even known, how did she slip this time?
She dropped the pan full of Ziwaya ‘roasted maize grain’, the pan dropped on her foot burning her. She screamed in pain and bent down to touch her foot.
Dylan rushed to see if she was ok. She was a stranger alright but she didn’t seem harmful. When he reached out to touch her foot she tried to stand up and ended up hitting his nose with her forehead. He stood up holding his nose. He was bleeding.
“I’m so sorry Mr Wandila,” she said not knowing whether to assist him or just stand there.
For a moment she forgot the pain on her foot.
“You know my name,” Dylan said through his nose.
It was more of a statement than a question.
She grabbed a tissue on the kitchen counter and offered it to him, he took it, put it on his nose and lifted his head in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
“Yes sir,” she said facing the floor.
“Who are you?” he asked again this time facing her.
“Veronica ma, I mean sir,” she was nervous.
Stembiso had been fired before for harboring her without her boss’ permission and Veronica feared she would face the same fate even this time.
“Why are you in my house?” he asked sitting down.
“I’m sorry sir I will leave, please don’t fire my sister,” Veronica said fearfully as she dashed for the door.
Dylan took three long strides and he blocked the door, she bumped her forehead on his chest. She moved back.
“Your sister is…” he began.
“Stembiso,” she finished.
Dylan laughed and went back to the chair. He beckoned for Veronica to go to him. She did, standing close to the sink shivering. She was on the verge of crying.
“I’ve been wondering why your sister seems so secretive and always nervous, so this is her secret.”
She stood silently praying for her sister.
“For how long have you been living here?”
“Five months sir,” she said.
Dylan couldn’t believe there had been someone living in his house for that long and he had no idea. Regardless of how little the time he spent home was, he felt he was supposed to know. He could have been robbed. He was too trusting.
“No sir, I’m ok,” she said quickly.
“I’m not asking you to.”
He had stopped bleeding and was now staring in her eyes. He looked serious, she was almost peeing her pants. She sat down on a chair that faced him. He pulled the chair with her in it close to where he was. Veronica started crying.
“Please don’t fire my sister sir, I promise I will leave. She won’t have anywhere to go and I will drop out of school again,” she said tears trickling down her face.
Just then the kitchen door opened and Stembiso walked in humming. She dropped the parcels she was carrying when she saw her boss and sister.
She rushed to the floor at the feet of Dylan’s stool and knelt down crying. Stembiso’s tear ducts seemed to be very active as she used to cry a lot. When their parents died both Stembi and Vero had cried, when their uncle threw them out, Stembi had cried, Vero didn’t. When they saved enough money for the house in Kanyama, Stembi cried. When she got a job at Dylan’s she cried. She used to cry about everything, including happy occurrences.
“Mr Wandila please don’t fire me, I am my family’s bread winner,” she lamented.
Veronica joined her on the floor crying as well. She wasn’t much of a crier but this situation seemed like it needed as many tears as she could manage to produce. Dylan got up from his chair.
“Get up from the floor both of you,” he said.
The girls continued wailing.
“I said get up from the damned floor,” he said sternly.
The two sprung up from the floor facing him.
““It’s cold,” he added silently.
Make me something to eat,” he said walking out of the kitchen.
Stembiso looked at her sister confused; Veronica also seemed like she was in a trance.
“Am I fired?” Stembi asked her sister.
“I don’t know, but what ever you do give that man food, he seems hungry as much as he seems angry.”
Stembi picked up the groceries she had dropped and started cooking. Veronica didn’t know whether to help or leave. She just kept pacing about in the kitchen.
“Vero sit down, you are making me nervous,” Stembi ordered.
“I can’t, I’m scared.”
“Its ok baby sis, we may as well have a last meal before we are thrown out,” she said wiping her sister’s tears.
“We are survivors, we have been through worse lil angel, you only have two more years of school, we can find government sponsorship for your college,” she continued.
“But what about you Stembi? We had agreed that you would go back to school when I complete grade 12 and then we go to college together,” Vero said.
“The plan has changed little one, you get schooled first, after all you are brighter than I am. Now cut that cabbage for me. Mr Wandila has been an amazing boss, let us at least make him a decent meal before he throws us out, I won’t hold it against him,” she said.
Vero just nodded and started cutting the cabbage.
EPISODE 2 COMING SOON !!!
WHAT IS MUSIC ?
Music is defined as an art of sound in time that expresses ideas either good or bad and emotions of happiness, sorrow, pain , anguish , excitement ,stress and calmness in significant forms. By forms we mean the over roll structure of a piece of music . This expression of ideas and emotions is done through elements of rhythm which is the combination of long and short musical notes and by musical notes we talking about symbols that indicate the different lengths of sound like crotchets, minims ,quavers a few just to mention. Through melody. which is the tune of a song or a series of high and low sounds along side rhythm. Through harmony which has to do with two or more sounds with different pitch levels played or sang at the same time, and when we mention the word pitch we are simply referring to the highness and lowness of sound. The other element is tone colour. Which simply looks at the unique quality of a voice or sound of a musical instrument.
(Article written by Lawrence C. Mwamba) follow me on twitter @lawrencemwamba1 or click on this link to follow >>
How do you know you are in love with the right person.
Written by; keziah sibong’le hadebe
Love is priceless, a feeling beyond one’s imagination; love can never be a thought but a feeling that can only be felt genuinely. When love is real, it glows inside like a bright shining star at night that one cannot over look. It’s like the dawn of a new day which brings so much joy and happiness, a ray of sun shine that brings so much hope.
Many describe love in different ways. Some say love is blind; some say love hurts, while others say love is a give and take kind of relationship, but how about you what do you say love is?
Love is the most amazing feeling there is in this world. To love and be loved is a feeling very few experience. Mostly when it comes to choosing a life partner, this is how you know you are in love with the right person ;
- You Do not pay to be loved; when love is real there is no need to pay your partner in order to please them. Yes you can give money to your lover to help in genuine situations where he or she needs help. but paying to see and spend time together is never love. Love is priceless and is given at free will. When you spend time with a loved one at free will, were you are not obliged to see him/her, then you know we are in love for real.
- Top priority; when someone loves you genuinely with their whole heart, you will always be the most important person on earth (God first then you). You will never beg for your partner to be with you if you are his top most priority. He/she will show you that you mean the world to him/her. As the saying goes actions speaks more or louder than words, but I say actions speak exactly what the heart/soul feels because actions are a reflection of what the heart feels. remember my dear readers; one can never show that which is not in their heart.
- Priceless feeling; once loved the right way, though they is no formula of how to love someone or a menu book of how to go about it, we all follow what our hearts say. When you are in love, or when you are told “I love you,” you feel your partner’s love for you and that is the most beautiful feeling there is.
- Happiness; that’s something you can never over look. If your partner makes you happy, if he/she brightens your day like the rising sunshine then you know am in this for real. Even though you may disagree here and there, love will always rise above hurt and pain. You will find this moment you are upset, but when you look at each other you smile and laugh it out. Always apologize even when you are not wrong so that you calm the storm.
- Fun; these a lot you can do as a couple. Many people think being in the bed room is the only way you prove you love your partner, but I disagree. Fun should be at the centre of your happiness. You might as well cook together, bake together or go out for a movie, a swim, ice cream, lunch date or dinner date. Spend time to know each other more and better . Your will find out how crazy both of you are together.
- Openness; you will have no reason not to be open about your past and be honest about how you feel. When you are in love, feeling judged will not stop you from being yourself. In time you may find out that you past does not mean anything to your partner. Amazing……
- Love; let the feeling flow naturally, do not give your heart limitation and you will be surprised how deep you will love. Be happy, love like it is the first time. Forgive and move forward together, let love be the reason for your relationship…..