NOLUNTU CHAPTER ONE

NOLUNTU CHAPTER1

WIDOW – HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

 

“Behind My Smile Is A Hurting Heart. Behind My Laugh, I Am Falling Apart. Behind My Smile Is Tears At Night” -Noluntu

 

There was a time when I had everything I have ever dreamt of, I was blessed beyond major. I had very little to complain about. I was married to my soulmate, we were a perfect match from heaven, then life happened and I was left broken. I wanted his children so badly but, our careers were just taking off, so we agreed that we were gonna have children once we have settled and ready to be parents.

 

Qaqamba: “Hi”

Me: “Hey come in, how are you?”

Qaqamba: “I am good and you?”

Me: “I am great, I went to see James in the morning, cleaned up and left him new flowers”

Qaqamba: “My friend you need to move on”

Me: “Today it is our anniversary”

Qaqamba: “It is not, yes it supposed to be but is not, he is dead my friend, it has been five years. I know you don’t want to hear this, but, the living they don’t celebrate the anniversary with the dead”

Me: “And, you think I don’t know that. He is not here, so believe me you; I know he is gone” I was getting paranoid, I wanted her to understand the void inside.

Qaqamba: “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you”

Me: “Q, my life is okay, there is nothing to move on from, I am going to dress, you can come with me or you can wait here if you still going to lecture me”

Qaqamba: “I am coming with you, I need to make sure that you don’t dress like you are going to work”

Me: “Very funny”

My friend Q had planned 15th High School Reunion, but, I wasn’t sure if I needed to attend anything with crowd but I had to, Q had been there for me from when I was young after losing my father from a car accident, to when my Mother kicked me out from the house for dating James, James who happened to be Q’s brother, to when I lost Q’s brother five years ago. She was a sister to me and it was my turn to support her, someone the reunion meant a lot to her. Almost everyone from high school was flying to Cape Town.

 

Qaqamba: “Guess who is also coming?”

Me: “Don’t tell me that you have invited Mash as well”

Qaqamba: “No, I have invited Maureen”

Me: “I am not sure if I still remember her face, okay, I am wearing this dress”

Qaqamba: “Green dress, sit down and let me find you something to wear”

Me: “Okay” She went to the cupboard and opened all the doors.

Qaqamba: “Noluntu, what’s this?”

Me: “What?”

Qaqamba: “Why haven’t you given his clothes away? He is never gonna come back to wear them?” Giving away James items had never crossed my mind, because of the fire, the only items I had for him was the clothes which were at the dry clean during the fire.

Me: “Get out Q, get out of my house”

Qaqamba: “You need help my friend, even today I wasn’t sure you were gonna agree to come with me”

Me: “Well you were right because I am not coming to your stupid reunion anymore, leave my house now”

Qaqamba: “I am sorry, I just don’t know how to help you my friend”

Me: “I don’t need help, I am fine and I am tired of saying this, I am fine, he was and he is my husband, I had vows, I never said until death do us apart, I promised to love him forever and ever. I know you don’t get it but I still feel his presence”

Qaqamba: “Don’t tell me that you still think he is alive”

Me: “There is a possibility, they never found his body and we both know that the grave I went to today is empty”

Qaqamba: “I know that, and I also know that the fire didn’t leave anything standing, they found his DNA”

Me: “Come on, they just wanted to close the case and move on with their lives” She walked closed to me and hold my arms.

Qaqamba: “Look at me, I loved James, he was my brother but he is gone, you saw him going back to the house, the neighbours camera saw him as well, he died on that fire”

Me: “Exactly, the cameras also saw three other men following him, and guess what, their DNAs where not found inside the house and no one knows who they are”

Qaqamba: “And no one came out from that fire, I love you Noluntu and I wish James was still hear with us, but he is gone and he would like you to move on”

Me: “Do we really have to go to this thing?” I said while whipping my tears.

Qaqamba: “Yes we do, wear this dress, it will compliment your skin”

Me: “Okay”

 

Okay, you are probably wondering what’s my story, so here it is, ten years ago I got married to James, Qaqamba’s elder brother who used to be my mentor when I was at Varsity during my first degree, my family they didn’t like him, they thought he was too old for me, they gave me a choice, him or them and I chose him, after finishing my first degree in Journalism we got married and he became my new family. We were happily married until one afternoon when everything turned left, my husband he was a journalist and he had stumbled into something that people in high place didn’t want the public to ever find out and he never told me what it was, in his defence he was protecting my life. Five years ago there was a break in with all the security in place, four professional man break in and tied us up during daylight, they wanted all the information and tangible proof which James he had discovered during his investigation, they used all the measures to get the information from him but he refused, they threatened to kill us and still he didn’t give them anything, they tortured us but he kept mum, he believed that they were not gonna let us live whether he gave up what they wanted or not. After two days of starving and keeping us hostage, they left without saying anything and that’s when we decided to untie ourselves to scape, James freed himself, when he was about to untie me we felt the smoke, our house was on fire, we were already struggling to breath, there was fire and also very strong smell of petrol, I was convinced that we were both not going to make it outside but we miraculously did make it, when we got outside we released that our garden was socking from petrol and that we needed to be as far from the house as possible, it was as if they had brought petrol tank and sprayed all over our house, we run to the gate then James let go of my hand.

Me: “What are you doing, let’s go”

James: “My audios and tapes are inside the house, I need to find them”

Me: “You won’t make it inside, let’s go”

James: “I have to take the risk, run, and go get help”

Me: “Please don’t do this”

James: “Without the proof we are dead, is either I get the proof or I die, it is the only way to keep you safe”

Me: “Please make it alive” There was nothing I was going to say to make him change his mind, I knew my husband, he was stubborn, so, I made mistake to let him go back inside

James: “I will, now go, if I don’t make it, leave the country, do you hear me, leave country” He said while running back to the house and that was the last time I heard his voice. Forensic said he died from the fire, Sangomas believed that he has been abducted, Pastors believed that where ever he is; he is with God and I still feel his presence in me.

 

Qaqamba: “Are you okay? What are you thinking about?”

Me: “I am okay, I just wish he was here”

Qaqamba: “He is here with you in spirit, he was going to say, ‘it is okay to go out’ if he was able to talk to you right now, he would like you to move on”

Me: “Are you talking me blind dating? Is the reunion just a cover?”

Qaqamba: “Come on, of course we are going to the reunion but I guess meeting someone there won’t hurt”

Me: “Yeah right”

Qaqamba: “You look beautiful”

Me: “Than you, can we get going”

Qaqamba: “Yes, yes”

 

When we arrived everything was set, Masa was waiting by the door with the list of people Q had invited, with everything I had been through, security was the priority to Q, she had moved on from the tragedy of losing her brother but she didn’t know if these men where gonna come back again for me, and that was one thing which we seemed to agree on.

Qaqamba: “Here is your bag, there is towel, swimming costume inside, and here is your camping chair”

Me: “I thought we are coming here for lunch and catch up and not to swim”

Qaqamba: “Well I didn’t mention the logistics because I didn’t want you to find excuses not to come”

Me: “You are very boss”

Qaqamba: “It is cold tough love my friend, come let’s go, we are going to have fun, trust me”

 

Me: “Hi Masa”

Masa: “Hi my friend, I am glad you are here”

Me: “Yeah, I had no choice”

Qaqamba: “Is everyone here?”

Masa: “Yes, we were just waiting for you guys, some of the guys are already busy setting up the braai stands and ladies are in the pool”

Me: “How many people turned up?”

Masa: “Almost everyone who is still alive from our grade 12 classes”

Me: “You are kidding right”

Masa: “Don’t be dramatic, let’s go inside, the security wants to close the gates, it is only us today”

Qaqamba: “Come Noluntu”

 

We went inside, I was very nervous, last time I had seen most of my high school friends was during James funeral, the same day which I also get arrested as a suspect, Qaqamba parents believed that I was part of the plot, so yeah; I didn’t just lost my husband five years ago, I lost people’s trust, I still didn’t know what others thought of me, Qaqamba she is the only one who believe my story, it was her who managed to get security camera’s recording from my then neighbour and that’s how they dropped the charges against me.

We went inside, my two exes from high school were also there, and one of them had brought his wife along. It wasn’t just him with his partner, most of the people had their partners with and I was one of the few without their partner and so was one of ex Lufuno. We went to the changing room and put on our swimming costumes before joining others.

Qaqamba went to her husband and I went and sat down on one of the beach chairs which were set up next to the pool and all I was doing was to wave and smile to the faces which I still had memories for. As I was sitting there, my ex Lufuno came to greet me.

Lufuno: “Hey, stranger”

Me: “Hi”

Lufuno: “How have you been?”

Me: “good and you?”

Lufuno: “Great, You haven’t change a bit, I heard you left media to become a doctor”

Me: “Yes, I did”

Lufuno: “So you are a plastic surgeon? Is that why you not aging ?”

Me: “I see you still have your jokes, I am a Cardiologist at Future Meds”

Lufuno: “Wow that’s great, so I should come get my heart checked out maybe you will tell me why my heart was so dump to let you go”

Me: “Come on, can we just enjoy this day without talking about something which happened fifteen years ago”

Lufuno: “Can I sit with you? I don’t feel like going into the water”

Me: “Where is your partner? I see everyone came with their loved ones”

Lufuno: “I guess you are my partner today since I don’t see a gentleman sitting with you”

Me: “oh I would have brought someone if I wanted to”

Lufuno: “yeah right, so how have you been?”

Me: “You have just asked me that few seconds ago, so yeah, I have been good and you”

Lufuno: “I have been great, life is good and so, is work”

Me: “Are you still working for the bank?”

Lufuno: “wow, it has really been a long time since we last see each other hey, plus you are not on social media”

Me: “Oh yah, I left social media years ago after my husband death and now I think social media is for the Narcissists”

Lufuno: “Wow, there is some truth there hey but I am not a Narcissist, I just feel like in this day; social media is the only way to keep in touch with people”

Me: “I guess you are right, so you started your own company or you are working for this corrupt government”

Lufuno: “Wow, corrupt government huh? I am actually one of the MP at the parliament”

Me: “Stop joking, I don’t trust anyone in the government”

Lufuno: “So you don’t watch news? I mean if you do, you would know that I am one of the MP doing good for the public”

Me: “You are serious? You work for the government?”

Lufuno: “I am, why do look scared? Is everything okay? Did I say something wrong?”

Me: “No, can you excuse me for few minutes I need to talk to Q”

Lufuno: “Okay, don’t be long beautiful, we have a lot to catch up”

I faked smile at him and walked away, I was sweating and struggling to breath, I was scared.

 

Me: “Q, please get out of the water, we need to talk”

Qaqamba: “Come join us, the water is warm”

Me: “We need to talk now, now Q”

Qaqamba: “Pass me my towel”

 I gave her the towel and started to walk away from the people, I was full of the regrets of being there.

 

Qaqamba: “Okay, what is it now?”

Me: “They have sent him to finish their job”

Qaqamba: “Who? What are you talking about?”

Me: “Lufuno he is working for them, he is an MP, I shouldn’t have come, now he knows that I have been hiding here in Cape Town, and I was so stupid, I told him where I work, now I have to worry about getting another Job”

Qaqamba: “Look at me, you need to breath now or we gonna need paramedics”

Me: “Please take me home”

Qaqamba: “My friend this needs to stop, you need to let people in, you need to learn to trust again. Me and my husband we have already done enough for you, we have moved to this side for you and I don’t know how to help you from your fears”

Me: “And now you have invite trouble to our town, what am I going to do”

Qaqamba: “Snap out of it Noluntu, Lufuno he is here because we went to the same high school together and he is sitting with you because you were sitting by yourself and don’t forget that he was once your boyfriend, he is innocent, not everyone who works for the government is plotting against you”

Me: “I am never gonna be normal ever again”

Qaqamba: “Okay, I know you don’t watch news, but here is the thing; Lufuno he is one of the people who wants the President gone. He is in the right of everything, most analysts think that he has all the qualities needed to run for the President”

Me: “Oh you don’t think I am going to get back with him, right?”

Qaqamba: “I don’t know, I need to go back to my husband. Now go back to him, open your heart. If it makes you feel better, I had a profiling team to check out everyone who is here today. You are safe”

Me: “Okay”

Qaqamba: “I love you”

Me: “I hope you are right about him”

Qaqamba: “Remember to open your heart” She shouted while walking back to the swimming pool.

 

With all my guts telling me to run, I went back to sit with Lufuno, truth be told, he was hot on his shorts and his well-built body exposing his chest which looked like it was constructed from the Lab. He smiled at me as I was walking closer to him, his teeth were too white as if they were artificial and his dimples were something else.

 

Lufuno: “Is everything Okay?”

Me: “Yes, it is okay, I just needed to remind Q about something”

Lufuno: “Okay, so, where were we?”

Me: “I can’t remember, but I am sure you were busy screening me with endless questions”

Lufuno: “Come on, I am just trying to catch up with you, maybe you should ask me”

Me: “Are you sure?”

Lufuno: “I don’t see any issue”

Me: “Okay, so when did you realise that you were into politics? why are you single? where are you currently staying? Do you have a child? If yes, where is the mother and the child?”

Lufuno: “Whoa, slowdown”

Me: “I thought you were okay,”

Lufuno: “Okay, I went into politics after realising the sufferings being caused by our government, it made me sick to see our government exploiting the poor. I haven’t find the right person, I leave in Johannesburg but I also have a house in Camps Bay, mmhm what was the last question?”

Me: “Child and the mother”

Lufuno: “I have the little boy, his mother committed suicide after suffering from inherited mental disorder and I have been single ever since, my boy stays with my parents since I am always travelling, I am with him on weekends and most school holidays

Me: “Are you sure you didn’t kill his mother?”

Lufuno: “Come on, I can’t even kill the bird, besides it happened while I was in overseas”

Me: “Okay, that’s a relief, I don’t want to be hanging out with the killers”

Lufuno: “Do you still have more question for me?”

Me: “Do you know who killed my husband?”

Lufuno: “Am I supposed to know? I think he died before I went into politics. Are you okay”

Me: “Yes, I am, I just don’t trust people who works for the goverment”

Lufuno: “Hey, I am sorry about your husband”

Me: “I hate this life, this is not the life I chose or wanted”

Lufuno: “You loved him?”

Me: “Too much, I don’t think I will ever get over him”

Lufuno: “That’s okay, but it has been long, you need to open your heart again and let people in?”

Me: “Have you been speaking to my friend Q?”

Lufuno: “No, why do you say that?”

Me: “Nothing, you sound like her”

Lufuno: “She cared about you, friends like her are rare to find”

Me: “I know hey”

Lufuno: “So, which gym do you go to? I need a gym partner whenever I am this side?”

Me: “I don’t go to the gym”

Lufuno: “That can’t be”

Me: “I am telling you, I walkout at home”

Lufuno: “I knew it that you do walkout, body like this doesn’t just drop from the sky”

Me: “is that a compliment?”

Lufuno: “Will it get me in trouble if it is”

Me: “No, I walkout because I am a doctor, I work abnormal hours, exercising is my energy drinks”

Lufuno: “Okay Doc” He said while looking at my face and just smiling as if I had said something to tingle him.

Me: “What?”

Lufuno: “You are beautiful”

Me: “Thank you”

Lufuno: “So, I am I ever going to be forgiven for my high school crimes I committed”

Me: “You know, it is funny that I don’t remember why we break up”

Lufuno: “There is Dolly with her husband”

Me: “oh, you know I have been biting my head off trying to remember her name”

Lufuno: “Yeah, she is the reason”

Me: “No, now I remember, you dumped me because I couldn’t tutor you maths and she was also good in maths”

Lufuno: “See now who has a good memory”

Me: “Hight school huh”

Lufuno: “These where the days”

Me: “I think that guy is calling you”

Lufuno: “Don’t tell me that you don’t remember Chester”

Me: “Is that Chester, Mr Biggy?”

Lufuno: “Yes, that’s him”

Me: “Wow, he body has transformed a lot, it looks like everyone is about living a healthy life these days”

Lufuno: “I know hey, let me go to him, I am part of the serving team, the food is probably ready.”

Me: “So, everyone has been given duties besides me?”

Lufuno: “No, is women’s month and all the guys offered, of course you were gonna know if you were on WhatsApp group, but again you need WhatsApp first”

Me: “Every funny, go, he is waiting for you”

Lufuno: “Okay, see you soon”

 

He ran to Chester, and his legs where something else, I swear he wasn’t the Lufuno I know from high school, it was as if I have just met him, his legs looks like these of black American’s basketball players. Masa came and join me few minutes later.

Masa: “Are you gonna get into the water?”

Me: “I don’t know, maybe after eating”

Masa: “okay, I see you have been catching up with Lufuno”

Me: “I guess he felt sorry for me, as I was sitting by myself”

Masa: “or he wants to take you back to high school, rumours says he is very much single”

Me: “You know I can’t date”

Masa: “No my friend, I know you won’t date and you can if you want to.”

Me: “I think I need to have only one Q, I cannot have you turning into Q”

Masa: “come, they are done setting up the tables”

Me: “I thought they are serving us”

Masa: “Who said that, their job was to get the foot to the tables, is self-service”

Me: “oh okay let’s go, and where is your man”

Masa: “I am single my friend, I will tell you all about it next week”

Me: “Next week, why next week?”

Masa: “Don’t tell me that you have forgotten about your birthday”

Me: “No, I know is my birthday” I lied, I had totally forgot that we were even in August, after my husband death all I did was work, people birthdays weren’t as important as they used to be and so was mine. And I used to forget all the small things a lot.

Masa: “And?”

Me: “Are you guys coming over?”

Masa: “We are going away for a week”

Me: “It totally slipped my mind, and I think I am on duty on my birthday”

Masa: “it is okay, you will put leave tomorrow, now you know what we mean when we say you need a vacation”

Me: “Yeah right”

Masa: “it looks like your man has dished up for you”

Me: “Stop calling him my man”

Masa: “Look who is blushing”

 

Lufuno: “Hey Masana, how are you”

Masa: “I am good and you”

Lufuno: “I am great, Noluntu; I got you food, you can just bring drinks for us”

Me: “Okay cool” me and Masa we continue walking towards the table where they had set up the food for us and drinks.

 

Masa: “He is in love with you, it looks like your presence has just woken up that boy from high school”

Me: “My life has been okay without a man in my life”

Masa: “And is because you don’t want let go of James, imagine you were James, how is his spirit going to rest in peace if you don’t want to let him go?”

Qaqamba: “What are you two gossiping about”

Me: “Nothing”

Qaqamba: “Masa, have you seen how Lufuno has transformed”

Masa: “I swear he now looks like a Hollywood star I have seen before in the TV”

Me: “Come on guys, we all have transformed to adults”

Qaqamba: “and that chest”

Me: “guys!!”

Masa: “Oh, now you want him? I thought..”

Qaqamba: “She wants him and he is available, Masa our job is to make sure that she doesn’t run”

Masa: “Good”

Me: “I am here guys”

Qaqamba: “And busy blushing, all I am saying is, you need to welcome love when it presents itself”

Me: “Okay, Mrs Phil”

I took the drinks and left them there by the table then I bumped into Dolly, me and her we were never friends in high school, I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to great her or to continue walking but me being me; I continue walking with my eyes looking to the ground.

 

Dolly: “Hey Noluntu”

Me: “Hi” she was the bigger person than I was and beside she had moved on.

Dolly: “How are you?”

Me: “I am good and you?”

Dolly: “I am good hey, I see you finally got your man back”

Me: “oh no, we are…” then she jumped in, she was still that Dolly from high school, always talking control

Dolly: “You guys belong to each other, and you don’t have to worry about me, I am happily married with four kids”

Me: “I am happy for you”

Dolly: “Let me not hold you up, go to your man” I wanted to tell her that I wasn’t dating him but then again, the high school girl in me was crushing on him all over again and I had no idea where was the crush taking me.

Me: “See you around”

Dolly: “Are you guys sleeping here or down the road?”

Me: “mhm, I am not sure” Well I didn’t know that we were sleeping there but I didn’t want to sound as if I was left out in all of the planning and also I knew that Q was gonna tell me during the last minutes or she was gonna take me back home since it was twenty minutes’ drive away from the resort.

Dolly: “Okay, see you later”

Me: “Cool”

 

Me: “Which one do you want, Coke or Spirit?”

Lufuno: “Any is okay”

Me: “Okay, so I hear everyone is sleeping here”

Lufuno: “Yes, your room is actually opposite mine”

Me: “It is?”

Lufuno: “Yes, I saw the list in the morning, we are all flying back tomorrow evening”

Me: “Q failed to mention this to me”

Lufuno: “That your room is opposite mine or that we are sleeping over here”

Me: “Yes, I am gonna ask her to take me back to my house since I came here with her car”

Lufuno: “I will switch my room with someone, you don’t have to go, we have activities and games prepare in the evening and tomorrow”

Me: “Is not about sleeping next to your room, I didn’t bring anything to wear tomorrow or sleep on”

Lufuno: “Don’t worry about that, let’s eat” He said while smiling at me. At that moment, his innocent smile, his dimples, his eyes, his noise and his entire body were my weakness

 

 

 

Hope you no longer confused. Ka thoma

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