Kerry pushed the door open and found Naomi seated at her desk.
“Sweetheart how have you been?”
Naomi stood up smiling. “I’ve been great love. How have you been?”
“I’m good.” The two shared a quick hug before settling down.
“So, how are things?” Kerry sounded maniacal.
“Couldnt be better!” Naomi smiled her widest.
“Are you sure? We are friends sweetheart. You can be true with me.”
“And what do you mean by that? I just said all is well.” Naomi laughed out.
“Well, I just saw Mwamba in shoprite. I couldnt believe it! It hurt that you couldn’t open up to me with how tough things are. I thought we are besties.” Kerry made a sad face.
Naomi laughed out waving her hands. “Oh that. Ah, he’s just bored and thought he sees how the retail world works. He hasn’t been impressed with the offers he’s been getting, you know with his qualification and all.”
Kerry held her chest. “Oh thank God! I thought you guys had hit rock bottom. But you know I have your back right.”
“Ok sweetheart i have to run now. I need to get home and supervise the landscaper. I’m redoing my garden.”
“And I have to get back to work.”
Kerry stood up straightening her skirt. “I really dont know how you do it all. Manage a home and work full time! Supper woman indeed. Oh and here’s Oto’s card. Have Mwamba call him. I’m sure he’ll give him a better offer.”
“You are a doll.” Naomi smiled as they hugged their good byes.
Naomi slumped back into her seat immediately Kerry left. Fuming she couldnt help but feel upset. This is what she had been trying to avoid. How dare Mwamba start such as mediocre job knowing it would reflect badly on their status. And it just had to be Kerry to see him. Of all her friends, she was the biggest gossip. There was no way she would allow Kerry’s husband to help Mwamba get a job. She would never hear the end of it. Plus being indebted to Kerry would be too high a cost.
Checking her phone Naomi noticed Kerry had just updated her status. Posted was a picture of her and her husband lounging on a couch with a bottle of champagne on the table with the caption ‘my king, my provider. What do you not give me that I have ever asked for.’
Clicking her tongue, Naomi looked for the picture she had taken at work the previous day with her boss and captioned. ‘Independent woman. Boss lady.’
Satisfied, she put down her phone and stared into the distance. She needed to take matters into her own hands. It was clear leaving it up to her husband was only leading to disappointment and embarrassment. She would help him find a job worth their calibre.
“Odi” Mwamba called at the gate.
“Hi Mwamba.” Tamara wiped her hands with a kitchen towel.
“Hi Tamara. How are you?”
“I’m great. You?”
“I’m fine. Mrs Banda asked me to bring her some cooking oil on my way back home.”
Tamara held out her hand to receive it. “Oh thank you. How much do we owe you?”
“Ah, dont worry about it.” Mwamba smiled and turned to go when he was called back.
“Wait. Then have some cassava and groundnuts then. Mum tells me you are one if her favourite customers.”
“That I will gladly accept.” He took the food, thanked her and left.
Once home he placed the food on a plate and the bag he carried on the kitchen table. First he needed to freshen up. He took a quick shower before getting back to the kitchen.
“Welcome home uncle.”
“Thanks Viki. Where’s Milda? ”
“Ok. If you have finished your chores you can go.”
Victoria thanked him and went to change. Mwamba unpacking the bag having brought home some relish. He was craving for some fish and chips. He scaled the fish first cutting it in half then left it to marinate in seasoning. Going outside he lit the brai stand where the fish would be cooked. Before long the fish was cooking as he started on the potatoes for the chips.
“Hmm, that smells good!”
“Sonny!” Mwamba jumped up excited. “What time did you get here?”
“Just before lunch. How are you dad?”
“I’m great especially now seeing you are home. How are you grandparents?”
“They’re fine.” 11 year old Peter grinned. “Can I help?”
“Yes please. There’s another peeler in the drawer.”
Mwamba had bonded well with Naomi’s son. Initially he had wanted that he lives with them but Mr Kunda had refused claiming it was never easy as a man to objectively raise another man’s child. Especially that he had no children yet himself and they were still a young couple. So Peter only came for holidays.
Milda woke up just as supper was being served. Mwamba decided that they eat from outside. It was a hot day and the cool breeze was inviting.
“Mummy.” Milda run out to her as she parked her car.
“Hey baby girl.”
“Welcome home.” Mwamba have her a peck as he took her bag from her.
“Careful, there’s my laptop in there.”
“I know.” Mwamba smiled. “Freshen up as I get your food.”
“Ah, Peter. When did you come?”
“Today. Gramps got me a lift from his friend.” Peter explained.
“Ah, dad also. I told him I’d send money for you once we were ready.” Naomi pulled out her phone from her jacket to call her father. He picked up on her second attempt calling him just as she entered the master bedroom.
“Dad, how are you? I told you I would send money for Peter once we were ready for him. Why did you send him over now?” She paused as she listened to what her father said on the other side of the call. “Still you should have waited. Anyway, I just got back home. I’ll call you later. Greet mum.”
Naomi slumped onto the bed. She took off her shoes and lay back.
“Rough day?” Mwamba who had heard her conversation with her father asked.
“Why did you tell Karen you work in shoprite?”
“I didnt tell her. She found me working.”
She wiped her brow. “I dont understand you. You are embarrassing us and you dont seem to mind.”
“Naomi, what we do has nothing to do with anyone else. I’m not embarrassed. I’m actually proud of my job. I did not realise how hard manning a till was.”
Naomi chuckled. “Hard?” She stood up taking her skirt off. “Please. Stop trying to place importance on such a menial job.”
“You’ll find your food in the kitchen. The kids and I are eating from outside.”
“I’ll cook. I dont like eating left over food from lunch.”
“Its not leftover food. I cooked.”
Naomi feigned surprise. “You cooked?”
“Yes. I can cook you know. Dont worry, I came with the relish. I know you get upset when relish you didnt removed is cooked without your approval.” He turned to walk out but them turned back. “I think it’s time Peter lived with us permanently.”
“You are not working right now, I cannot afford another mouth to feed.”
“YOU cannot afford? And I AM working. Peter will eat whatever we have. He’s not going back.”
# ~~Truths_of_the_Heart~ ❤️
Naomi slumped back into bed after Mwamba walked out. Her heart pounded hard as beads of sweat formed on her forehead. The thought of Peter living with them permanently made her blood boil. Yes she carried him for 9 months, yes she felt his labour pains but she never wanted him. He almost ruined her life. Him and his god forsaken father.
Lwipa. The one who stole her heart. Then left it in turmoil. Her young heart had fallen head over hills with him. Lwipa was charming, funny and intelligent. President of the debate team, the best runner for the 400 meter race and the school head boy. All the girls wanted to be his girl. It he only had eyes for Naomi. They had a whirlwind romance. The perfect couple, who would achieve greatness together.
But all that changed the day she discovered she was pregnant. Her mother commented how light she had become as well as moody. Naomi had initially thought her monthly period was about to start when it dawned on her that this was the second month since her last period. Panicked she had called her friend Memo who advised that they buy a test from the chemist. Low and behold the test came out positive.
Scared, she went to see Lwipa immediately. To her surprise he took the matter lightly saying the solution was simple. Abort! He told her he knew a man who could do it cheaply, the earlier the better. But Naomi could no go along with it as she was terrified of dying like the many stories of girls who had died doing the procedure.
From that day onwards Lwipa changed drastically. By the new week he had a new girlfriend and was proudly showing her off around school. Meanwhile Naomi became the laughing stock after being publicly dumped and humiliated.
Her friends encouraged her to hide the pregnancy as best as she could then dump the baby somewhere after it was born. Unfortunately for Naomi her pregnancy was a difficult one with all the signs of pregnancy coming through with a vengeance. Her mother picked up the signs, taking her to the clinic for confirmation. Her father was informed and the ball was set rolling. Lwipa was identified as the father but he bluntly refused even knowing her. That was how Naomi lost a year of school and Lwipa was quickly sent away by his family never to be seen in the area again.
To Naomi’s dismay, the boy she bore looked exactly like his father. The older her got the more he resembled Lwipa. Each time she looked at Peter all she saw was the face of the man who destroyed her life. As her marriage to Mwamba neared she had asked her parents to keep him telling them her husband was not ready to have a child around just yet. The truth was Mwamba had bonded greatly with Peter and was in fact shocked that the Kunda’s denied them custody. There entire duration of marriage Mwamba also tried to bring Peter permanently into their home but Naomi always found a way to keep him away. And she planned to make sure it stayed that way.
“What is this?” Naomi looked up from her phone looking at the money Mwamba placed beside her.
“Its my salary.”
Naomi snickered. “And what am I supposed to do with this.. this pocket change.”
The hurt in Mwamba’s eyes could not be masked. “I dont know why you choose to be mean at times. You know I’m doing the best that I can to help provide for this family.”
“That’s the thing Mwamba, you are not supposed to help me. You are supposed To DO the providing. It’s me who is supposed to be helping. This money is less than the pocket money you gave me before we even got married and you bring it home as your provision? Really?”
“I’m late for work.” Mwamba picked up his jacket.
Naomi laughed. “You look ridiculous in that uniform.”
Ignoring her comment he got his phone and left. It was a sunday and he was working the afternoon shift, knocking off at 20 hours after being moved to work at one of the malls.
“Going to town neighbour? ”
“Tamara hi. Yes I am.”
“Great, hop in.” Tamara parked at the side of the road to allow Mwamba to board.
“Working on a sunday huh?”
“Yep. It sucks but it has to be done.”
“It definitely sucks.” Tamara giggled. “I was bored at home. Mum went to visit her village people so I decided to take myself for lunch.”
“Nice. I’d do munch and a movie.”
“You know what, you are so right! That way I only get back home in the evening. So I drop you off at the store in down?”
“No, at the bus station. I was moved to the one at Manda Hill.”
“Oh, then I’ll drive down to the mall. Since I’m now watching a movie as well.” She giggled.
“Thank you.” He said sincerely.
“You’re welcome. What are neighbours for right. So what time do you get off?”
“20 hours, though we leave a little later than that since we have to hand in the money and retire our tills at the end of shift.”
“Sounds interesting. I thought they just leave the money there.”
Mwamba relaxed in his seat. It was the first time he was discussing his work without being ridiculed. “Nope. At the start of each shift you start with your float. So the till is empty. The manager hands you the float which is entered in the central system and a till is allocated to you. The money is counted by the cashier together with the manager and the security guard. Then the three counter check that the till is empty as the shift starts. At the end of shift, the money is taken back to the manager’s office and handed off. The amount should tally with the system generated amount of your till that keeps updating with each purchase.”
“Wow! I never knew so much goes on.”
“Neither did I. I have really come to appreciate how hard any job is. We usually undermine certain titles merely because of our perception of what we see.”
“Yeah. Ok but I have to ask. What is with shoprite female cashiers and gum? Is it a required that they have to chew gum especially when talking? And the make up?”
Mwamba laughed out loud. “My wife always complained about the same. Coming to think of it, every female I know complains about shoprite females and the chewing of gum.”
The two discussed more about the dealings of the retail store and what happens in the background that Mwamba learnt since he started work.
“I’m pretty sure you have deluged all their trade secrets.” Tamara giggled as she parked.
“I bet I have. Well, thank you for the lift. And the fun conversation.”
“Thank you too. See you around.” Tamara watched him leave before she locked her car and walked towards the restaurants.
‘Get it together Tam. Stop giggling too much. He’s married remember.” She scolded herself. One thing she couldn’t deny was her attraction to him. He was good company and it felt easy to be around him. But he was also married. And married men were a no go area.
Truth of the heart episode 7 & 8