I Am Woman – Episode 9
A Story By Brian Ngoma
“I am sorry Tinashe,” I don’t know what came over me.
I looked at him in disbelief.
“Please I didn’t mean what I said,” he begged.
“It’s late Marlon, I have to get Kasuli,” I said.
We were outside Clara’s place. The drive to Clara’s place was a silent one. I kept thinking about what Marlon said. All the things he said were the least things I expected from him. By the time we got to Clara’s place, I had composed myself. I didn’t want Kasuli to notice that I was hurting.
“We will talk some other day Marlon,” I got off the car.
“At least please let me take you home,” he said.
“No. We will walk,” I said without looking back.
I got into Clara’s house and waited for Marlon to drive off. He took some time to leave. I had even made plans to sleep at Clara’s because I didn’t want to see him nor talk to him. He had hurt me so badly and he did so where it hurt the most. After he drove off, we also got out of the house and went home.
“It’s 19hrs Tinashe, where have you been?” Uncle Rich@rd asked upon our arrival.
“I was at Clara’s, uncle,” I said looking at the floor.
“This is not your house young lady. You shouldn’t make rules of your own. This habit of leaving at 17 and coming back at 19 hours should stop, you hear me?”
“Go and help your aunt in the kitchen,” he dismissed me.
Reaching the house, I took Kasuli to the bedroom to play with her clay dolls so that I face my uncle on my own. Every time I got in trouble, I made sure that Kasuli was not there to see or hear what they did to me. I didn’t manage all the time to do this but I tried. I didn’t want my sister to be subjected to what I was going through. After leaving my uncle in the sitting room, I went to the kitchen. I found her busy cooking . She seemed to have everything under control.
“What can I do aunt Tamara?” I asked her.
She looked at me and clicked her tongue. I asked again but she continued doing what she was doing. I thought of making myself busy not knowing that I was making a big mistake.
“Leave my pots!” She shouted. “Who said I need your help? Go back to seeing your boyfriends.”
“I just wanted to help aunt,” I said softly.
“Well, I don’t need your help. This is my house. So you think just because you have turned 18, you can now do whatever pleases you. Get out of my sight.”
With the mood I was in, talking didn’t interest me. I left the kitchen and went to the bedroom. I laid on the bedroom looking at Kasuli playing with her dolls. I wished I was her. She was carefree and innocent. Thinking about innocence took me back to Marlon’s behaviour. I thought he was innocent, kind and patient but he was just like all the boys. Whilst thinking, aunt Tamara knocked on the door and called Kasuli to go and eat supper. I knew if I would have joined, she would have been talking about how disrespectful I am the entire time we were eating. She had done it before countless times. I stayed in the bedroom. Kasuli later came with a plate with a lamp of nshima and rape on a it.
“I left some for you,” she handed me the plate.
I didn’t have any appetite but I couldn’t deny it lest she got offended. I accepted and ate while she watched me. After I was done eating, she asked me a question i least expected from her.
There I was, thinking I was doing my best to make sure she didn’t notice what was happening. On the contrary, she noticed everything. I then realised that Kasuli was no longer a child anymore. She was conscious of everything that was happening to us.
I smiled and said, “She doesn’t hate me. She’s just upset that’s all.”
“So she’s upset every time?”
“No. On some days like today yes.”
Kasuli was not convinced with my answers. I could see it in her eyes. She stared at me for some seconds but didn’t ask further questions. She took the plate back to the kitchen. I removed the clothes that were on the bed. Kasuli came back from the kitchen; we laid on the bed and talked for a while. I watched her sleep and I later fell asleep.
A week later, I tried to be on a behaviour my aunt and uncle deemed appropriate. I stayed home all day. I never took Kasuli at Clara’s nor meet up with Marlon. On most days, i would see the car drive through my uncle’s place but I just stayed indoors. I needed to give him time to think about what he said. I also needed some time to think about what kind of man he was. Whatever he said, came from somewhere and I didn’t like the fact that we seemed like a bother to him.
One morning I woke up missing Marlon so much I couldn’t take it. I needed to see him, I thought to myself. I knew he drove through on most days we didn’t see each other. That day, I made up my mind to go to him when he drove by. I even thought about what to say to my aunt when asked where I had gone. I was so excited to see him. I forgot what he said. He is human and prone to error, I told myself. My aunt went to see her friend and gave me some instructions on what to do around the house . My uncle also told me to clean his workshop behind the house after i was done with the chores. I swept the house while Kasuli helped me with the plates. I had started preparing her for adulthood. Every chance I got, I made sure she did some light house chores. I was done with everything and went behind the house to clean the workshop.
As usual, it was dirty like a pigsty. I worked my way with the place and was almost done when I heard Enoch’s voice. I had not seen him for two days. He had a tendency of leaving the house for days and come back like he was around. Hearing his voice, I knew he was demanding for food from Kasuli. I quickly finished so that I check on him. After putting a hammer on the table, I turned around to go to the front and there he was, standing in front of me with a smirk on his face.
“Enoch you startled me,” I said.
He didn’t say anything but stare at me.
“There is food in the house, let me get some for you,” I tried to walk past him.
He spread his arms and said, “I don’t need food to eat, I want you Tinashe.”
“Not this again Enoch,” I said agitated.
“You turned eighteen last week, don’t you want to be taught on how to be a woman?” He moved closer and held my hands.
Snapping out of his hands, I moved back and grabbed the hammer I had just put on the table and shouted, “Stay back Enoch!”
“Now you are a carpenter,” he laughed out loud. “You don’t know how to use that. Moreover, you cannot hurt me,” he moved closer.
“Enoch please don’t tempt me,” I begged him.
He continued walking towards me smiling. He even started untying his belt. Fear crept in me and I thought about papa’s words; when a woman says no it really is no but Enoch ignored my NOs and charged towards me. I had moved back way too much and didn’t realise I was against the wall. Enoch was now standing some inches from me. He dropped his trousers and moved closer.
“You cannot do anything to me. If you hurt me, where would you go? You will live in the streets. Think about your sister. Put the hammer down now,” he said angrily.
Was this it for me? Will I lose my v!rg!nity to this pervert of a man? To top it all, he was my cousin. What in the world was happening to me? I asked myself. It then clicked in my head that I had the power in my hands, I had the hammer and it was the only thing keeping him from starting whatever he wanted to do to me. In a blink of an eye, I swung the hammer to his head and it hit his temple with a big b!0w that s£nt him on the floor hitting the concrete like a tremor had just p@ssed. He laid on the ground unconscious with his p@nts on slightly above his knees. I dropped the hammer and quickly checked on him, he was not responding. I checked where I had hit him and saw blood coming out. I tried to slap him and shouted his name to wake him up but nothing. I started panicking and was about to ran to the front to get some water to spill on him when I saw Kasuli standing motionless with her mouth wide open looking at me with fear written all over face.
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