Unscripted love Chapter 62 - Mzansi Stories

Monday, June 20


Unscripted love Chapter 62



All The Women.
In Me.
Are Tired. - Nayyirah Waheed


I never thought I would be where I am today. Sitting in my--our room, balling my eyes out while my husband was out having fun with another woman. It was nearly 3AM and yet he hadn’t called nor sent a text to at least lie about his whereabouts. There have been many times when I just wanted to give up and tell him I wanted a divorce but the words never made it out of my mind. They tasted like failure.

Infidelity was something I grew up to frown upon because it was just plain wrong. I was sure that if it happened to me I would pack my bags and leave with Thando and Futhi but when it actually happened my soul was chained. I felt like I had an obligation to try. Mayihlome and I had kids. We had built a life together that was worth trying to save.

I couldn’t claim to miss my husband every minute that I was apart from him. When he was at church or at work, I was not pining for him. When I would enjoy a night in with my prayer group I wasn't wondering what he was doing while we dissected scripture over tea and biscuits.

No...I enjoyed my free time. I needed my free time to keep me sane. But this...this time he was separated from me because he preferred someone else’s company over mine...this was a killer. This was a failed marriage but I was refusing to let go. I hung on to the possibility of saving the marriage and thrived on what once was.

I could take responsibility for my shortcomings as a wife. I could accept that this was 50% my fault because everyone preaches that the wife is somehow responsible for their husband ending up on someone else’s bed. I was committed to fixing what we broke. I organised a huge celebration to commemorate twenty-four years together with Thando’s help…. you’d think that my husband would appreciate it but seeing his mistress in the crowd was a kick in the gut.

I wanted to remind Mayihlome that what we had built together over the past 24 years was something to be celebrated. That despite our issues and the problems we should celebrate the fact that we didn't give up on our marriage. That our efforts were something to be proud of. As usual...I set myself up for disappointment. I wasn’t really mad at him per se, I was mad at myself for letting myself hope. I was mad at me for having expectations. Because I should have known better.

I must admit, I didn't see this coming. I just never imagined that my husband was capable of cheating. It hit me like a truck that had now been dragging me along for the past year. No matter how hard I tried to hide it from everyone around me, I knew the truth no matter how much I wished it wasn’t true. I wasn’t one of those women who were in denial, refusing to see what was in front of me because believe me I just knew.

I needed to accept that my family was broken. My marriage was broken. I was broken. Nonetheless I just wanted to try and save us, save our marriage. The pulpit is an unforgiving place for those trying to rebuild a broken relationship. It was full of potholes and every day I seemed to be stepping into one.

It's a place for happy couples and perfect children. One had to portray an image of perfection, an outpouring of affection and expressions of love. It's where happy couples go to extoll the virtues of their happy marriage. It's full of comments like "still going strong after all these years because God is at the centre" and "so lucky to have found and married the love of my life" and "I love you more every year" and “a couple that prays together stays together.”

 I used to be one of those people that said things like that in front of the congregation. I called out anniversaries and special memories. I didn't do that anymore. I only shared stories involving my husband if Futhi or Thando were part and parcel of that story. I no longer spoke about the "love of my life" while his other woman sat there in the front row smirking.

Each time I saw them exchanging glances while he preached, it was like a punch to the gut. A reminder of what we no longer had. That I could no longer refer to us as a happy couple. That even though we were rebuilding and we hadn’t given up on our relationship...it had been forever changed.

I’d always wanted our story to be the kind of love story that people were awed over. The kind of love that reinforced the idea of soul mates. Now...I just hoped that one day we could call it a love story at all.

I checked the time to see that another hour had gone by and exactly two seconds later I heard the front door creak open. His footsteps were slow and quiet as if hoping not to wake Futhi, Thando, Sabelo or myself. I rolled my eyes at his stupidity and crossed my arms awaiting his arrival. Finally, the bedroom door opened and he jumped when he saw me sitting at the edge of the bed.

“Maria! What are you doing up?” He whisper yelled as he fidgeted uncomfortably. I smiled amusingly and shook my head at him.
“Thandolwethu is home and Sabelo is sleeping over because his mother is having one of her rowdy parties again. Your parents will be here later today and Thando wants to talk to us about something.” I passed on the message Thando gave me when she arrived that afternoon.
“Thando sent me a text when she arrived.” Mayihlome said.
I stood up and leaned my weight on my left leg, “Ubuyaphi Mayihlome? [Where were you Mayihlome?]” His eyebrows furrowed and his mouth twisted into a scowl as he crossed his arms.

“Uchaza ukuthini ukuthi ngibuyaphi? [What do you mean where was I?] I told you that the men had a prayer meeting.” I could tell he was getting worked up but I didn’t care. He didn’t seem to care about the pain he was causing me.
“A prayer meeting until four in the morning? Gosh, Mayihlome it’s the same thing every other night! I need my husband too you know?” My heart ached when I saw no change in his expression. Instead he looked irritated.
He huffed and shook his head at me, “You are being ridiculous, you know that? Ufuna ngiyeke umsebenzi wami ngizogigitheka nawe la? [You want me to leave my work and come home to smirk with you?] I barely get to spend time with the men in the church because I am always with you-”

Before he could finish his argument, I cut him off because what he was saying wasn’t even close to the truth. “Barely!? You barely get to hang out with people from the church!? And how are you always with me when you are always with her? Don’t you dare deny it, I know you have been seeing Forgiveness. I have seen the way you look at each other!”

By now he was breathing heavily and his hazel eyes had darkened but I did not care.
“I am sick and tired of your lies Mayihlome. I spoke to Mr Sibanyoni and he told me the men’s fellowship ended at nine. I am tired of your lies and disrespect. I have stood by your side through it all, preaching one thing then doing another. The least you can do is give me a little respect and honour me with the truth. Ubuyaphi? [Where were you?]”

“WeMaria uhlanganiseni noSibanyoni? [Maria what connection do you have with Sibanyoni?]” He spat.
Me: Do not change the subject. Where were you?
“Maria I give you everything, I pay the bills! I pay for the clothes you wear and the damn food you eat since you decided you were above working like everyone else. So you better give me respect. I am the man of this house and I will not let you turn this house into a courtroom.” Mayihlome roared but he no longer scared me.

“Money! You think I care about your money when we have to rely on your daughter to make ends meet!? You know I wanted to work, but you told me to quit and focus more on the ministry. And now suddenly I am the one who doesn’t want to work?  You always find a way to blame me because Mr Hotshot that has been handpicked to reside at the right hand of the father can do no wrong. Right!? Ubuyaphi mfundisi wamasimba? Bekumnandi? [Where were you, shitty pastor? Was it good?]”
A resounding smack echoed through the room and my head whipped to the side. My hand cupped my cheek but no tears fell from my eyes. They watered but not from the stinging pain or the shock but the pain in my chest. When did we get to this point?

He stared at me with wide angry eyes that softened when he realised what he did. “Maria, I am sor-”
“No you are not. You are not sorry. Leave me alone.” I whispered before rushing past him and into Thando’s room. Slamming the door shut and quickly locking it, my aching heart seemed to worsen. I slid down the door and brought my knees to my chest.

What was I supposed to do? Was this the last and final straw? Could I honestly take any more pain from him?
“Mama?” Thando’s voice ripped me out of my thoughts. “Levi, babe you’ll tell me the rest of the story later, I have to go. Love you.” She said. I didn’t even realise that she was on the phone.
I quickly wiped my tears and crawled under the covers.
“Mama are you okay? Were you crying?” My child insisted.
“N-no,” I stuttered.
Thando: Oh, is dad back from the prayer meeting?
Me: He is.
Thando: Okay, so are you here to wake me up for morning prayers?
I shook my head in the dark even though she couldn’t see me. “Not today my love. Let’s get some sleep. Set the alarm for seven so that we can clean and bake before your grandparents arrive.” My voice sounded crusty.
Thando popped her head up and looked down at me. “Mama are you sure you’re okay?”
“Go to sleep.” I instructed. “You must be tired from your long drive.”
Thando: I flew here from Mozambique, remember?
Me: Yes. I meant, you must be tired from the flight.
“If you ever need to talk, you can talk to me. You really do not need to be strong around me mama, I know you are human and we all go through our ups and downs. I am-”
A light knock on the door interrupted whatever speech she wanted to give to me and I knew it was my husband.

Unaware of the war raging between her parents, Thandolwethu jumped out of bed and let her father in. I turned to face the wall and covered my head with the blanket.
“Good morning father, can we talk later? Mom and I were discussing women stuff,” she lied.
“I need to talk to your mother, please make me some tea. Get some juice for your mother.” He ordered.
“Yes, father.” I heard shuffled footsteps and the closet opening, I guessed Thando was putting on her robe.

As soon as the door shut I heard the lock turning. “Maria, we need to talk.” It was the line every lover dreaded to receive. Dismay settled in my core.
“Please do not tell me that you are leaving me for her,” the desperate words rolled off my tongue.
Mayihlome pulled the blanket off my head and squatted in front of me. “I am never going to leave you… what would I be without you?” he whispered.
“Can we talk in the morning? I can’t do this right now.” I just didn’t have it in me to unpack what just happened, I did not want the extra load of whatever he wanted to talk about.
My husband kissed my forehead and tucked me in. “We’ll talk later. Ngiyakuthanda siqedamathe sami. [I love you.]” He breathed. His words shocked me for he hadn’t said them to me or called me isiqedamathe sakhe in a very long time. Maybe he was going to change?
A flood of tears that I’d tried so hard to keep within fell down my cheeks. He climbed on the bed and clutched me in his hands as hurt trailed down my face one by one.

Later that morning I woke up with a splitting headache, an aching face and crusty eyes. But the odd thing was, I was back in our room. Soon, however, it all made sense as Mayihlome walked into the room holding a tray of breakfast. He’d never served me food before and I’d never seen him inside the kitchen.  For a moment I thought he made breakfast but the smell of something baking in the oven and the hash browns on the plate let me know that Thando made it.

“Hey…” Mayihlome whispered placing the tray on the side of the bed. His eyes held regret and sadness and I could only guess that he could see the hurt and sadness in mine. “Ntokazi… ngoxolele. [Lady….Forgive me.] I hate myself for what I did to you. Baby, please forgive me.”

I plastered a fake smile and nodded. “I will forgive you.” The smile that spread across his face was so wide and childlike, I almost wanted to really forget what happened but I held back.
“What did you want to talk to me about?” I wasn’t ready for the answer but is anyone every ready to confirm their suspicions?
“Let’s not talk about that right now. Eat your food.” He said and held up the glass of juice for me to drink. He was being so sweet and I just knew that it was his way of softening me up for the final blow.
“Did you make this?” I joked.
He giggled. “Indoda ayingeni ekhishini. [A man doesn’t enter the kitchen.]” There was the husband I knew.

He called Futhi and gave her the tray when I was done. “Ungibongele kusisi wakho. [Tell your sister I said thank you.]” I told her.
Futhi: I will. Mom, do you have medication for sister Thando? She was vomiting last night and I think I heard her vomiting again this morning.
Mayihlome: Maybe it’s something she ate when she was in Mozambique. Ubeyaphi vele? [Where was she going in the first place?]
Thando didn’t look sick when I saw her, but then again I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. “Okay sisi, make her some soft porridge for now.”
Ntombifuthi nodded and excused herself.

Mayihlome turned to me and gave me ‘that look’ and said, “Ngiyakuthanda maqondana wami. Ukuba nginepeni nephepha ngabe ngihlezi phansi ngidansisa ipeni ngikubhalela inkondlo yothando noma incwadi yothando yesizulu. Ngeke ngiqambe amanga kuwe ngithi ngeke ngiphile ngaphandle kwakho, ngingaphila, ukuthi nje impilo iphileka kangcono nginawe. Imicabango enawe iyintokozo nenjabulo kimina.

Ngendlela engikuthanda ngayo ngingatshela umhlaba wonke. Futhi, umhlaba uyazibonela wona ukuthi ngiyakuthanda. Ngalokho futhi ngizishaya isifuba. Empelini mina engizama ukukusho ukuthi ngyakuthanda. Uyihlolo nonyoko bazala ingelosi sekusele nje ungivezele lezimpiko ozifihlile.

Sthandwa sami ngiyakuthanda, angizenzisi, kodwa kusuka ngaphakathi kimi. Ngaso sonke isikhathi wakhumbule lamazwi ami, ngiyakuthanda golide nesiliva lami. Olwethu uthando olweqiniso futhi kalunasiphetho.”

[“I love you. If I had a pen and paper I would be sitting down, making a pen dance while I wrote you a love poem or a Zulu love letter. I won’t lie and say that I cannot live without you, I can, but life is so much better with you in it. Thoughts of you fill me with joy.

I love you so much I could tell the whole world. But then again the whole world can see how much I love you. I am proud of that fact. What I am trying to say is that I love you deeply. Your mother and father gave birth to an angel, all that’s left is for you to show me the wings you’ve been hiding.

My love, I love you, this comes from deep within me. Remember my words throughout the passage of time, I love you my silver and gold. Our love is true and it has no end.”]

He breathed before pulling me into a kiss. His words took me back to our beginning, the days when we were just starting to get to know each other. The good old days that made me fall in love with this man after I vowed never to love again when the one who came before him packed all his promises and left me pregnant and alone.

While he kissed me like he used to I remembered our smiling faces, goofy moments, dates, prayer marathons, trips on the train, and the very first time he took me to a restaurant – KFC was still my favourite. We used to spend a lot of time together back then; we always wanted to try something new together, like what most new couples do. Those were our best times.

Mentally browsing through our old memories, I felt like an outsider looking at two strangers happily in love with each other, like I was trying to remember a dream. Our younger selves looked so happy and content, as if they weren’t capable of hurting each other and breaking up. They looked foolishly, genuinely in love. We were in love.

But somewhere down the road, we changed and started to break the promises we first made. Every fight left scars that gradually turned our relationship ugly. As the years passed, the spark dwindled. Sweet moments were few and far in between. Happiness gave way to heartaches.

Somewhere down the road, we lost our old selves — the two people who promised each other forever. We were still together, but not as happy as we used to be. It sometimes seemed as if breaking up was the only possible solution.

But seeing our old memories and revisiting a time when all was perfect between us gave me a sliver of hope. We were happy once; we could be again. Maybe — just maybe — we could restart our relationship. We could reignite the lost spark.

I kissed him back with all the love and passion that I had. He groaned and crawled over me. I moaned and trailed my fingers down his back as he shed my clothes. And well- you know what that led to.

In the early afternoon Thando and I were preparing lunch and chatting while we waited for her grandparents to arrive. She asked me if I was sure that the chicken wasn’t off which made me raise an eyebrow.
“What’s wrong with the chicken?” I asked.
“It smells like armpit.” She yelped.
I walked over to her cooking station and smelled the chicken. “You need to get your nose checked, there is nothing wrong with this chicken.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say that sister Thando is pregnant. But I know that’s impossible,” Futhi chirped behind us and my eyes widened. They looked down to Thando’s stomach but her loose maxi dress didn’t show anything untoward.

Before I could fire questions, my husband broke his rule and walked into the kitchen and placed his plate and mug in the sink. He was being so loving, caring and very attentive. But I couldn’t help but wonder how long it would last.

I nearly fainted from shock when he gave me a kiss in front of the girls. “Hawu, myeni wami. [Goodness, my husband.]” I whispered against his lips before we both pulled away. The girls turned tomato red and focused on their food stations. Mayihlome ran a hand up and down my arm and paused suddenly. I looked at him in confusion just before he bolted out of the kitchen.

“I forgot to get my father a hat.” He called leaving dust in his path.
“Dad can I come,” Futhi called behind him.
“Sure, but I am not buying you anything. We are going to get a hat. That’s all.”
Futhi washed her hands and ran after her father. Those two were inseparable from birth. I let out a heartfelt laugh before sipping on my tea. The smile slipped off my face when Thando turned to me and blurted out that she was pregnant with Levi’s baby.

My heart went through the greatest transformation of its life, as this child told me some long story about birth control pills and antibiotics that only made the situation worse because it only showed me that she was sexually active when she knew that sex before marriage is a sin.

She told me a whole lot of other stories about lobola and inhlawulo, the details are no longer important; suffice it to say that my ribcage collapsed in on itself holding a jagged rib like a knife to the throat of my heart, cutting a hole out of my body.
“Thandolwethu awushadile kodwa uhamba uneke imilenze yonke lendawo. Uqale ngoSandiso manje usulala nalomgulukudu abathi nguLevi. [You are not married yet you go around spreading your legs all over the place. First it was Sandiso now it is that thing they call Levi.]”
“Ma, ngiyaxolisa.” [Mom, I am sorry.]
“Uyaxolisa, uxolisa ini? ukuhamba uneka umdidi yonke lendawo?” [You are sorry, what are you sorry for? Hanging your vagina all over the place?]
Tears streamed down her face as she turned and cut into the chicken, disregarding the fact that I was still talking to her. Before I knew what I was doing my hands were tight against her neck and she was clawing at them as she struggled to breathe.
“You have denigrated the pride of this family.” I scorned and let go of her.
“Ma, but you… you also.” I shut her up with a slap across her face.
“DON’T YOU DARE DRAG ME INTO THIS. Ungayenza kanjani into enje? uLevi pho.” [How could you do something like this? Levi out of all people.
Thando had the tenacity to fix me in a stare that could have frozen the Pacific. I snarled more than spoke. “We have worked too hard to build the family name and I have made too many sacrifices for this family for you to come along and tear it down. You got rid of Sandiso’s baby, this one shouldn’t be a problem. Get rid of it and tell everyone that you had a miscarriage. I will not stand in front of the church and tell them that my child is pregnant!”
I stormed to the room in a bid to stop myself from lunging a knife in Thando’s gut and ripping that thing out myself.

I lay cemented to my bed. Dark room, curtains drawn, wondering what it would take to get rid of that boy called Levi. I was certain that Thando would leave him after the prophecy by prophet Melton but I was wrong. What were people going to say? This was going to shake the church and rip its core. Our family name would be dragged through the mud.

I heard a buzz on the dressing table. I stood and walked towards the source to see Mayihlome’s phone on the counter. My eyes scanned the room and I listened for any approaching footsteps before I picked up his phone and unlocked it. My heart raced in fear of what I was going to find as I clicked on the message flashing message icon.

The contact name ‘Thando2’ caught my eye and I clicked on it. Did this girl think she could run to her dad for refuge?
When I scanned trough the massage I knew this Thando wasn’t our daughter. I scrolled down and my heart ached as I went through their conversation.
“Hey Zuzu, what you doing? -F”
“Ntokazi! Not much, just preparing for the evening service.”
“Oooh, will you be wearing something sexy for me? -F”
“Don’t I always look sesxy?”
“Haha, you do. Can’t wait to see you, I miss your taste. Is your wife coming? Have you told her about us? -F”
“Baby just give me time to figure out a way to bring up the issue of taking a second wife.”
“Think fast baby. I need you with me every.single.night. I don’t think I can resist much longer. -F”
“Don’t worry. We won’t have to hide for much longer. Do not wear that red skirt of yours… it’s too distracting and it’s not good for my health.”
“Hahaha, now I know exactly what I’ll be wearing. -F”

I heard footsteps and I stopped reading. I wiped away my tears and placed the phone back where it was as Mayihlome walked into the bedroom.
“My parents are here.” He said and grabbed his phone.
I sent him a fake smile as I avoided his kiss and I nodded, “Alright,” He looked confused at my rejection but shrugged it off as he walked out the door with an ‘I love you’ that I did not respond to.

Brick by brick, everything I’d built over the years came tumbling down. I slammed the chair into the dressing table mirror. I didn't care who heard the glass shattering into a million pieces. I just broke down. The sobs punched through, ripping through my muscles, bones, and guts. I pressed my forehead against the wall and began to let my heart yank in and out of my chest. I was hollow. My life crumbled in my fingertips. Then, suddenly, my daughters were there, patting and rubbing me. They reached into my hollowness. I needed to be strong for my girls.

Their hugs couldn’t fill the hole. They only temporarily plugged the leaks. There were so many questions swirling around my head and no matter how much I tried to get answers, I went blank, my mouth embittered by the salt streaming from my nose and eyes. Mayihlome seemed to think that no matter what he did, I would always stay but that wasn’t even close to the truth. He wanted to marry this woman. I wasn’t going to stand for this.

“Wahlaba isililo sekwenzenjani?” [Why are you weeping like someone died?] Mayihlome asked when he walked into the room.
“Go and ask your girlfriend, Forgiveness.” I derided.
“Girlfriend?” Futhi echoed upon realising that her superman was just a flawed man.
“This is not something we should be discussing with the kids. Thandolwethu, Ntombifuthi, leave us.” He ordered.
“Don’t leave. I want you to understand why I am going to force myself to walk away from a relationship that I never wanted to end. I want you to know the exact reason why I walked away from the last twenty-four years of my life.” I cried.
“Stop acting melodramatic. Where are you going to go?” The arrogance of this man turned my stomach. I grabbed a shoe and wacked him over the head with it, daring him to hit me again in front of his beloved children.
“What is going on?” Futhi cried.

“What’s going on is that your father wants to take a second wife. Since I am no longer doing it for him I will pack my bags and move in with Thandolwethu. She is pregnant so I’m going to see her through the pregnancy and help with the baby for a year or so.” That was truly the right thing to do as a mother even if I only thought of this answer to spite Mayihlome that was so sure that I had nowhere to go.

“Thandolwethu I want you to pack your bags and leave this house, dont leave anything behind. Maria stop acting like a child and get off the floor. Go and wash your face, clean up the mess you made and warm up some lunch for your in-laws. Futhi go to the kitchen and make some tea for our guests.” Mayihlome dished out instructions in a very calm tone, his voice authoritative.
I stood and looked him dead in the eye. “I am leaving with Thando.” My voice wasn’t as firm as my expression. I took off my wedding ring for the first time in twenty-four years and placed it on the dressing table.

My world was falling apart. I was shattered and angry and hurt and mystified and scared. I broke into a million pieces as I grabbed a suitcase and started packing my life in a suitcase. I had never realized that letting go took more strength than holding on. But it was time to accept that my family was broken. My marriage was broken. I was broken.

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