I Am Woman – Episode 10
A Story By Brian Ngoma
“Get me some water in a bucket,” I said trying to sound as calm as possible.
“What happened to brother Enoch?” Kasuli asked stepping forward.
“Nothing!” I shouted.
I scared her with my answer. She stepped backwards, turned around and left the workshop. I didn’t know if she had gone to get some water or had ran to go and cry. I went back to check on Enoch but he was giving me no response. What have I done? What if he’s dead? I will go to jail, who will take care of Kasuli? I asked myself and felt weak in my knees and my stomach turned. I knelt beside him and started crying.
I heard a splash of water that also spilt on me.
“Ouch,” Enoch groaned.
“Thank God,” I exclaimed.
Kasuli was standing in front of us with the bucket in her hand. She didn’t say anything or move. She kept looking at me as if indirectly telling me to get up and deal with the situation. I got up and helped Enoch to stand up. Enoch looked at me with a surprised face. We went back to the house all quiet. Enoch went into his bedroom and we stayed in the sitting room waiting for him.
“What did he want to do to you?” Kasuli asked after an hour of waiting for Enoch to come out.
“I will tell you later,” I kept looking at the passage with hopes of seeing him emerge.
I checked the time and it was 11 hours and I needed to start cooking lunch. I went to the kitchen and told Kasuli to call me as soon as Enoch came out of his bedroom. I couldn’t concentrate on my cooking because I kept thinking of what he would do. He didn’t say anything after he woke up and that scared me. As if that was not enough, aunt Tamara returned.
“Tinashe!” She called me from outside.
My heart was now rushing. I came out of the kitchen and found Enoch sited on the couch nursing his wound. Time was not on my side. I couldn’t talk to Enoch at the same time attend to my aunt and she was busy calling from outside. I decided to do one thing, I went outside to see why she was calling me.
“I have called you like ten times. What were you doing in the house?” She asked.
“Cooking Aunt,” I answered.
“Get this vegetables,” she handed me a plastic bag. “Is Enoch back?”
“Yes he is back.”
She had sat on the veranda but as soon as I told her Enoch was inside, she stood up and went inside. We got into the house together but separated. I went to the kitchen and she went to check on her son. I continued cooking with my mind off. I was thinking about what could happen to us when I heard aunt’s voice calling again, this time it sounded vicious.
“Yes aunt,” I answered nervously.
“Your cousin came with a wound and you haven’t tended to him, what kind of person are you?” She asked.
What? I thought to myself. What has he told her? Could he have told her that he came with the wound? I saw him staring at me while his mother checked on him.
“Go back to the kitchen and cook, I will take care of him,” she dismissed me.
I finished cooking. I ate with Kasuli in the kitchen and Aunt Tamara ate with Enoch in the sitting room. The whole afternoon was spent thinking about Enoch’s plans.
Finally, Marlon’s car drove by. Something to get my mind off what happened with Enoch. I left Kasuli sleeping in the bedroom and told my aunt that I was going to get a book from a friend. She was hesitant to let me go but after telling her that the book was titled ‘How to keep a marriage’, she let me go.Even though I had missed him, I wasn’t going to make things easier for him. I wanted him to explain what he meant by what he said. After greeting each other and awkwardly being silent for some minutes, he spoke.
“I am sorry for what I said Tinashe. I didn’t mean any of those things.”
“What did you mean Marlon?” I carefully looked at him.
“I don’t know and that was stupid of me to say. I need you Tinashe,” he sounded truthful.
“Are we a bother to you?”
“No, not at all.” He answered defensively.
“Then why did you say all those hateful things? Make me understand.”
“I was just frustrated Tinashe,” he scratched his head.
“Frustrated by what?”
“The fact that I cannot have sex with you.”
“But I thought you agreed on waiting.”
“Yes I did and I still do. I won’t ever force you again, I promise.”
He was convincing and he seemed remorseful. I had missed him so much and wanted to talk to someone, I forgave him. Time was not with us; it was getting I had to go back. I said goodbye and promised to see him the following day.
I went back home and found my uncle waiting for me in his workshop. When I reached home, my aunt told me that her husband had been waiting for me for quite some time. I checked on Kasuli and I noticed something odd about her. She was awake but absent minded that I got into the room and she acted like she hadn’t seen me. Without minding her, I hurriedly rushed to the back and found him sitting on a chair smoking a cigarette.
“You are back?” He asked. Before I could answer, he asked yet another question, “Whose blood is on the floor?”
I then remembered that I had not mopped the floor which had Enoch’s stains of blood on it. I was so confused with everything that I forgot to get rid of it.
“Which blood?” I asked too.
“I told you to clean the workshop and when I came back, there is blood. Whose blood is it?”
“It’s mine,” Enoch answered.
I turned around and there he was standing with his hand on his wound. His father looked at him surprised.
“Tinashe, mum is calling you,” Enoch said.
I hesitantly left the two with shock written on my face. Whatever Enoch was playing at; I didn’t like it at all. In as much as ratting me out was bad, he was torturing me with acting like I hadn’t hit him with a hammer in the morning. He was so calm and cool as if nothing happened.
Later that evening, Kasuli asked me the question she had asked in the morning and answering it was the one of most difficult thing I ever did in my life.
“He wanted to force me to sleep with him,” I answered trying hard not to cry.
I realised in that moment how tragic it could have been had he got his way. I was so lost thinking about the repercussions of hitting him I didn’t even think of how bad what he wanted to do to me was. I did a wrong thing but I defended myself and I was lucky to get away with it.
“Tinashe, can I tell you something?” Kasuli asked worriedly.
“While you were gone, Brother Enoch told me to sleep with him saying that if I don’t, aunt Tamara will chase you because you hit him with a hammer.”
To be continued
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