Naomi curled up on the couch as she flipped the channels. Her favourite telenovela was about to start and she didnt want to miss it. After a long day at work, all she wanted was to keep her feet up and watch TV.
“Just in time” she smiled as the show came on.
Mwamba enter the house at that every moment.
“Hi.” Naomi said, taking a side glance at him and concentrating on her show.
Mwamba walked over to her, kissed her forehead then sat on the couch with her. “I’m so tired.” He complained, taking off his shoes. After spend the whole day visiting different places for potential job openings, his feet hurt. He felt weak having had nothing to eat all day.
“Ewh, baby your feet stink. Cant you leave your shoes outside for airing?” Naomi complained.
An embarrassed Mwamba quietly stood up and place his shoes outside as his wife had said. He went and sat back down.
“Can i please have a glass of water?” He leaned back in his seat.
“Ah, baby. I just got back home as well. And the dispenser is behind you.” Naomi whined. “Milda! Please bring me a cup.” She called out to her daughter.
Milda came out with a plastic cup and handed it to Naomi. “Daddy, welcome home.” She smiled as she hugged him.
“Thank you Mil. Hows been your day?”
“Fine daddy.” She responded.
“Give it to your dad.” Naomi instructed referring to the plastic cup. Milda did as instructed then left the room.
Mwamba walked to the dispenser, pouring out two cups which he gulped immediately. He took the cup back into the kitchen, hoping to find supper cooking. The kitchen was clean with no sign of any meal preparation.
“Honey, what’s for supper?” Mwamba asked peaking from the kitchen door.
“I’ll cook after the show finishes. I just arrived home as well and need to rest before I start cooking. You know my job is hectic.”
“Is there anything I can snack on now? I’m famished.”
“Baby I dont know, check the fridge. But dont touch that chicken, it’s for supper.” Naomi explained without looking up from her show.
Mwamba opened the fridge. The only thing he found was the chicken Naomi was referring to. Feeling helpless, he closed the fridge. Checking his pockets, he only had a k10. He had hoped to use it for transport to get into town the next day but he needed to eat something or he would surely collapse of hunger. Knowing his wife, supper would not be ready any time soon.
Mwamba walked past his wife and out of the house. There was a woman who sold cassava and groundnuts down the road. Surely that would suffice until supper was ready.
“Odi.” He called out. A woman walked out the house towards him.
“Ah, bashi Milda welcome.”
“Thank you bana Banda. Please tute ne mbalala for k2.”
Mrs Banda picked the biggest one she had on the side of the brazier, and added an extra piece. “This is for you my regular customer.” She smiled as she handed him the food.
“Thank you.” He responded and immediately dug into the food.
Mrs Banda looked on with concern. She had noticed how Mwamba often came through to her house to buy cassava and ground nuts. At first she had thought he just enjoyed the delicacy. But seeing how he gobbled it down, It was easy to see that he was just really hungry. Surprisingly he’s family was considered one of the few that were well to do in the neighbourhood. Both husband and wife had good paying jobs and their children attended the private school in the area. Unbeknownst to Mrs Banda, Mwamba lost his job a few months ago and Naomi was supporting the family as he dove into job hunting.
Since he lost his job Naomi had changed drastically. She rarely welcomed him back home, she stopped consulting him on purchases being made in the home, and was always complaining especially about money. But he couldn’t blame her. He was the man and the one to fend for the family. She had to step up and cover all the Bills. Mwamba tried hard to contribute to the monthly income as best he could but it had not been easy. All this had affected their physical relationship as well. She was either too tired for sex, or start up a fight. He too had lost his appetite for his wife as he felt less of a man to her.
He walked back home munching on his food and found his wife still on the couch watching TV. He passed her to get another cup of water before retiring to bed. It was an hour later before he was finally called out for supper by his daughter.
Mwamba woke up before 5am to put bathing water onto the stove. Their geyser had developed a fault which required replacement of the heating element. Naomi complained about it every morning asking her husband to get it fixed.
Today Mwamba had a job interview. An old colleague of his had helped send his CV to the company looking to hire an accounts clerk. Having a master’s degree in finance and banking, Mwamba was more than qualified for the job. But he needed to make ends meet and so was open to finding any form of employment.
He took his clothes out to iron as he waited for the water to heat up. He smiled as the hot iron hit the clothes. He loved the smell of fabric being ironed. In the early days of their marriage Mwamba did all the ironing as Naomi hated it. She would wash and pack the ironed clothes. It had been a Saturday routine for them. That was until Naomi had started work and they had to get a maid to help with the house chores. After losing his job Mwamba went back to ironing his and his wife’s clothes.
Once done he took out Naomi’s uniform and ironed them too. She worked as a manager of a hotel. The hotel had 4 different types of uniforms worn on specific days. Mwamba knew her uniform time table at the back of his head. He placed it neatly on a hanger at the door handle of the wardrobe then went to take his bath.
“Baby, I’ve put your water in the bathroom.” He nudged her gently.
“Hmmmm..” Naomi complained.
“Come on sleepy head, or else you’re going to be late.” He kissed her forehead before leaving the bedroom.
“Good morning uncle.” Victoria greeted him as she closed the kitchen door.
“Hi vicky. How are you today?”
Mwamba covered the mealie meal porridge that had begun to boil. He reduced the heat as Victoria walked back into the kitchen dressed in her uniform.
“I’ve already put Milda’s porridge on the stove. I’ll see you later.” He rushed out before she could even respond.
It was almost 7 am as Mwamba run to the bus station. The interview was scheduled for 8:30. He wanted to arrive by 8am so that he could change his shirt and freshen up. Unfortunately for him, the bus ride took longer than he had anticipated. He arrived 5 minutes shy of 8:30. He hurriedly changed his shirt and donned a tie after wiping his pits with the small clothe he had carried and applying some spray. The spray he kept for occasions such as these. Gone are the days when he had an unlimited supply of deodorant and cologne.
“Mr Chiti, they are ready for you.” The secretary he had met upon arrival called to him.
Nervously, Mwamba stood up and followed her to an office where he was ushered in and given a seat. There were two panelists waiting for him.
“You are welcome Mr Chiti. Kindly take a seat.”
“Thank you sir. Please call me Mwamba.”
“Very well Mwamba. My names are Michael Ngezi the chief accounting officer and this is Nalishebo Ilunga, the Human resource Director.”
“A pleasure to meet you both.”
“Ok Mwamba, let’s get straight to the point. Looking at your CV it’s very clear that you are more than qualified for this job. To be honest, you might even be be more qualified for mine. So why should we hire you?” Ngezi asked, cleaning his glasses.
“I’m hard working and determined to do the best at every task I’m given. Despite my experience, I’m always eager to learn as I know every experience gives opportunity to learn more and perfect my skill. I’m an good team player and I know I can be a positive addition to your team.”
“Unfortunately, for this position we need someone with a certificate and not a masters degree. We cannot afford to pay you.”
“I’m comfortable with the work being advertised as well as the pay that comes with it.”
Ngezi whispered into Nalishebo’s ear then turned back to Mwamba. “We have a few more candidates to interview. We will get back to you in two weeks.”
Mwamba looked puzzled. “I assumed I would have to answer a series of questions.”
“Well, we also assumed that you will probably ace the prepared questions looking at you vast experience and superior qualification.” Nalishebo responded. “It would be a share waste of both our times. So like we’ve said we’ll get back to you in two weeks. Thank you for coming through.”
“Thank you” Mwamba shook both their hands before leaving.
Naomi stretched as she got out of bed. Glancing at the wall clock she lazily walked into the bathroom. A few minutes to 9. She had two hours before she needed to get to work. A long hot bubble bath would help get the knots from her back.
“Eish we need a new bed.” She complained to ~herself. In the tub she found a covered bucket. Opening it, she saw the water that Mwamba had left for her in the morning. Laughing to herself, she ~walked to the geyser and~ turned on the valve. In no time the tub filled up with hot water. How did Mwamba expect her to be bathing heated water in a bucket. Naomi had the geyser fixed some weeks earlier bu~ t decided against telling Mwamba. She wanted him to find the money himself which she would gladly keep and pretend to have it fixed then.
The hot water always boosted her mood. She sat in front of her dresser singing happily as she applied her lotions. She only used the best on the market. All thanks to Mwamba who had started getting them for her from the time they first met. She was only in grade 12 when they met and he was working.
“Crap!” She cussed as she picked out the uniform Mwamba had ironed. She pushed it back into the wardrobe and picked out another one.
“Viki? Viki? Come iron this for me.” She called at the door.
In an hour Naomi drove out of the yard. She picked up her friend Kasiwe on her way. Kasiwe was one of the chefs at the hotel.
“What did he do this time?” Kasiwe pulled the seat belt into place.
“He ironed the wrong uniform.”
Kasiwe could not help but burst out laughing. “You are something else Naomi. Honestly you are upset with your husband for ironing the wrong uniform? My husband wont even rinse a cup. I doubt if he’s ever ironed anything in his life.”
“Well your husband doesn’t need to do anything because he’s paying for all the Bill’s in the house.”
“True. But give the guy some slack. Atleast he just doesn’t sit at home doing nothing.”
Naomi sighed. “I just dont get it. He’s got the papers and experience. Why is so hard for him to find a job? I keep sending him links of job adverts but nothing.”
“You know times are hard. Give it some time.”
“Maybe you can ask your hubby for help.”
Kasiwe shifted in her seat. “I dont know if that’s a good idea. You know how men want to do things on their own.”
“Please! It’s not like he has many choices right now. I’m tired of being the one doing everything at home. I miss being taken care of you know.”
“Its a man’s job after all girl. My salary goes my past time. Derek does everything at home. Including getting my products. I only help out when I want to.”
“You are so lucky.” The envy in Naomi’s voice evident. “When is he buying you a car?”
“I already have one.”
“What? All this time that we use mine yet yours is safely parked at home?”
Kasiwe laughed. “Its not like that. I cant drive yet. Hubby has been pushing me for years to learn and get a license. But I love being driven around. Besides I pay for half the fuel costs so stop complaining.”
“I’ll start charging for the driving as well.” Naomi joined into the laughter.
Truth of the heart episode 1 & 2