Unscripted love Chapter 89 - B - Mzansi Stories

Saturday, August 27


Unscripted love Chapter 89 - B


I watched as the coffin was lowered into the ground, the feeling of freedom seeped into my bones with every turn of the crank. And I felt guilty for feeling that way. But I couldn’t feel anything else for the man who had died. He’d killed any soft feelings I might have had for him over the last seven years.
The air was stale and the humidity that clung on the funeral attendees only made the whole burial ritual more uncomfortable. There weren’t very many, I noted. Only a handful in fact. As I stole glances at the grave side mourners, I counted only about twenty people. Almost all of them were Sandiso’s family members.
Appropriate, I thought since Sandiso led a lonely existence. Members of his gang were the only people he made a concerted effort to keep in touch with but most of them were either dead or incarcerated.
I knew that I should’ve been feeling sorrow and grief for my first love but those emotions just wouldn’t come. The man I knew in the end was so far removed from the boy that once held the moon and the stars in his eyes.
Hatred, anger, desperation and humiliation were the only feelings Sandiso had engendered within me while he was alive. And now that he had passed away, the main emotion I was feeling was relief. And freedom. A small portion of my heart was even having that painful emotion; hope. It was small, tiny. But as I passed by the deep, heartless grave and tossed dirt onto the coffin, and as each person passed by and did the same, that small light of hope grew. It made me sing with so much conviction.
Was it possible that the life I’d lived with Sandiso was finally over? Could I genuinely be free from him or would the memory of him bind me to him forever?
I breathed in a lung full of the hot, summery air, letting my body absorb the fact that Sandiso was finally dead. The possibilities for my future loomed up in my mind, crowding my imagination and jumbling that ray of hope into a larger light that was starting to fill me up. I tried to tamp it down, knowing that each time I’d started to feel hope in the past, it had been mercilessly killed by some sort of diabolical scheme of Sandiso’s.
It didn’t matter that he was dead. The fear that somehow, some way, he would figure out how to destroy that tiny bit of hope was there in the back of my mind, pressuring me to release the kernel and give in to the depression and frustration that had been my life prior to his demise. The words he’d taunted me with over and over while he’d been alive came back to haunt me and if it weren’t for my early childhood, I might start to believe them. I had to hang on though! I had to survive and thrive, just to spite that mean, vindictive man!
I was surprised to see Sandiso’s biological mother in attendance. Wailing and causing a scene like she was a paid mourner. Sandiso didn’t know much about the woman who gave birth to him, he simply wasn’t interested in knowing her when she walked back into his life in his old age.
As an adult, Sandiso understood that his biological father had been insanely jealous of his beautiful mother, the brown haired and intensely gorgeous Elizabeth, and his constant accusations of unfaithfulness and denial of paternity had driven her to pack her bags and go out looking for a better life. Feeling that someone else who had more to offer would give Sandiso a better life, she left Sandiso at an orphanage with a single picture to remember her by. Little did she know that Sandiso would be adopted by an amoral couple with black souls. Of all the things that had hurt Sandiso over the years, I knew that his mother’s abandonment had been the most painful.
These thoughts and many others floated through my mind as the funeral progressed. I didn’t hear the words, didn’t mourn the passing of the man so much as the passing of my life under his dictatorial and cruel parentage. So when the final words broke through my contemplation, I was surprised that the ceremony was finally over.
The minister came over and took my hands, offering his condolences. Then each of the other guests who had attended the funeral, one by one, they came over and did the same before moving off to their vehicles and driving to the house Sandiso grew up in to share a meal.
I accepted their words and hoped that my face was appropriately sombre. But that strange feeling was growing inside of me. Hope. Was it possible? Could I actually have a life without fear of running into Sandiso again? Was it possible that I could move on to something new? Something fresh? Something untainted by Sandiso’s despicable mind?
One after another, the people stood in front of me, offering words of sympathy that I neither needed nor wanted but I nodded and smiled, eager to be off and consider the possibilities of what I could now do with my life.
“Miss,” a strong, tanned hand reached down and gently clasped my pale one. The touch sent an electric shock through my fingers and I was so startled, I actually looked up, directly into the man’s eyes. He was tall! Definitely over six feet. His face was tanned with lines in the corners of his eyes as if he laughed a lot. But his dark, black eyes weren’t smiling now. They were looking at me as if he were trying to see into my soul.
My mouth opened and I almost gasped, a tingle of fear shot through me and I was afraid he might be able to read my small light of happiness.
“My name is Jason Yende. I am Sandiso’s uncle. Sandiso’s father was my younger brother. I’m very sorry for your loss,” he said.
The words were spoken but I didn’t want them. I wasn’t sorry, except for all the horrible things Sandiso had done. Not just to me, but to anyone around me.
“Thank you. You have kind words, my sincere condolences to you and your family, ” I recited the same thing I’d been saying over and over again to the others as they’d passed by me. The common face that they were used to seeing in Sandiso’s adult life.
“Please come and join us for lunch at the house. I have something that I need to discuss with you.” Jason said.
I glanced over at Levi, looking to him for an answer but he stood still and wore a blank expression, willing me to make my own decision. I looked around but we were now alone at the gravesite except for the bulldozer operator who was waiting to push the remaining dirt onto the coffin and finalize the end of an evil man’s life.
“Certainly,” I replied, my fingers shook and a shiver of awareness sped down my spine. “I think I do remember you. I believe you were part of the delegation that was sent to my father’s house when there was that whole miscommunication about lobola negotiations. It has been a long time,” I replied and immediately regretted speaking without thinking first. Surely he didn’t want to remember the day they were turned away with their cows.
“Yes, it has.” Jason looked down at my defeated face, almost like he was trying to determine if I mourned the passing of his nephew. He probably didn’t know what a bastard he was, I thought. And I wasn’t going to tell him.
“Such a pity that Sandiso won’t get a chance to meet his child.” The man said dawning a look of bereavement. I was clearly wrong about the meaning behind the look he was giving me.
“This isn’t his child, Sandiso and I broke up a long time ago. This is my husband,” I gestured toward Levi.
“Oh, my apologies.” The man squinted. “Must have been more miscommunication because I spoke to Bohlale two weeks ago and she told me that you were all living together with Hlelo.”
“Bohlale?” I questioned.
“My sister in-law, Sandiso’s mother.” He clarified.
I paused, thinking over the version I was going to recite. “I didn’t know she was Sotho.” I deviated.
“She is. Such a pity that she isn’t here to bury her son. We can’t get hold of her, it’s almost like the disappeared off the face of the earth. Anyway, I’ll see you at the house,” he said. He shook Levi’s hand grudgingly and walked over to his waiting car.
I watched the man disappear into the back seat of a black sedan as Levi and I hopped into my father’s car. I was shocked to find that my dad had moved to his own place, dead set on finalising his divorce. Part of me believed him when he stated that his marriage reached a stage where they had irreconcilable differences but another part wondered if it wasn’t a convenient excuse for him to start his new life with Forgiveness, whom he’d already taken as a wife traditionally. The ink wasn’t even dry on the divorce papers but the Khoza cows were already grazing in the Matlombe homestead.
Levi’s mumbles drew my attention back to him. Immediately picking up his phone, Levi pressed the speed dial, instantly connecting with his brother who’d been trying to call him all morning. He put the phone on loud speaker and asked me to hold it for him while manoeuvring the car on a bumpy road that only people who didn’t buy their drivers licences could drive on.
“It’s me, please don’t hang up,” his mother’s voice blared over the speaker.
“Mom?” Levi said simply.
“I’m not calling to fight with you. I am waving a white flag and I want a truce.” She went on to say.
“Why do you wipe out my bank account whenever we have an argument?” Levi asked, ignoring the call for peace.
“I used to cut off your allowance when you were younger to get you in tow. It used to work but I realise that you are a grown man now and it will take more than me cutting you off to get you to listen to me. Levi, I need you to understand that I want the best for you, your wife and my grandchild. I am not the enemy.”
I leaned back in my seat, a feeling of relief washed over me at the prospect of Levi and his mother fixing their relationship. All I wanted was for Levi and I to get our own place and earn an income through legal means so that we wouldn’t find ourselves behind bars one day. I couldn’t have known that his mother would see him moving out as him choosing me over her.
Unaware that I was listening in on the call, his mother explained that Joel had a conglomerate and a chain of hotels that were above board. Joel’s engineering firm was worldwide and Joel’s business acumen was reported on almost daily in one newspaper or another, depending on what country he was working in at that moment. His accomplishments in his legitimate businesses had far outweighed those yielded by the underground syndicate he spent twelve years threading together. The restaurant premises were used as the back end office for the drug trade. Books were cooked to create the impression that all the money was made from the franchise. It was easy for her to draw a line in the sand and separate the different streams of income.
“How was the funeral?” Emily asked when Levi stopped asking her questions twenty minutes later.
“Did Joel order the hit on the men that died during the raid?” Levi answered her question with another question.
I heard a small sigh, before she said, “there are casualties in every war.”
I looked out the window, remembering Sandiso saying something similar. The writing was on the wall, there was no need to ask what she meant by that.
“I don’t want us to focus on that, though. I want you and Thando to join us for a family holiday at the Seychelles. The island has beautiful picturesque views that have the makings of a breath-taking pregnancy shoot.”
“Umm, I thought heavily pregnant women aren’t supposed to fly.” Levi said.
“You forget that you are talking to a gynaecologist….. Think about it. Talk to Thando before you give me an answer. The trip will be paid for by me, from money I made delivering babies.”
Levi let out a deep exhale. “Can I be honest with you, mom?”
“My… or rather our biggest fear is that Joel is going to retaliate. He lost a lot of money during the raid and it sounds to me like people were killed to protect his own interests. I mean… he has been friends with Henze for a very long time but he seemingly didn’t think twice about throwing him in the lion’s den. I don’t want anything to happen to me or my family.”
My pregnancy brain was finally able to place the familiar face. I’d seen Henze in a couple of pictures in the family albums.
His mother rubbished the thought. “The amount sounds like a lot to you but it is a drop in the ocean for us. Frahm-Arp Engineering made 27 million dollars net profit after tax in the past four months and the business is growing stronger each day. Joel is working on a deal which will see the company making more profit than projected this year as we speak. Joel would never do anything to hurt family. Not over chicken change anyway.” She stated simply and moved swiftly along as if Levi’s concerns weren’t even worth the bat of an eyelid.
Her reaction put me at ease because she knew Joel, the real Joel. Maybe she was right. Maybe there were two distinct sides of the coin. Maybe I would have been dead by now if Joel really wanted me dead.
“By the way, do you remember Dr Clark?”
“Mom, that’s like one of your closest friends. Of course I remember her.”
“I told her that we were expecting our first grandchild and she offered to deliver the baby at Genesis Maternity Clinic. We could fly Thando’s parents up and book them in somewhere so that they can be there for the birth as well?”
I was overwhelmed by the sheer excitement in her voice.
“I’m sure Thando would love that.” Levi was right. But I wanted the whole family waiting in the waiting room and only my mother and Levi in the delivery room. I couldn’t bear the thought if waving my vagina around anyone else.
“Great. I’ll send her details and you can make a booking for a 4D scan.”
“Do we have to do another scan so soon after the previous one? Is there something wrong with the baby?” Levi asked, panicked.
“No, little munchkin is perfect. You went for a 3D scan that shows still images of the baby but with the 4D scan you’ll actually see her facial expressions and movements.”
I grabbed Levi’s leg excitedly as the memory of the black and white scans of our little miracle popped in my mind. Seeing Hailey-Hope, feeling her move and hearing her heart beating brought me immeasurable joy.
Observing Levi’s mother shove her issues aside for the sake of the baby reminded me that I had to do the same and make the best decisions for the little one. People that had travelled down this road had stated that it takes a village to raise a child. Grandparents are an integral part of the village.
Arriving at Sandiso’s family home after the funeral, I navigated towards the kitchen to make myself useful. To my pleasure, pregnant women are given a free pass from all the daunting tasks and a mountain of dishes. A little boy who’d been asked to call me led me to a study.
I walked into Sandiso’s father’s study, looking around in curiosity. I’d never ventured into the sacred room his mother had cordoned off after her husband passed away. I’d only had glimpses when the door cracked open when Sandiso’s mother left the room. She could stay there for hours. Sandiso once said she slept in there sometimes and he’d heard her talking to her deceased husband on numerous occasions.
Jason cleared his throat and I snapped out of my memories. I smiled an apology, then quickly glanced down, afraid Jason would think I was disrespectful by looking him straight in the eye.
“Have a seat,” he gestured to the chair opposite him. It felt so professional, like I was in some sort of business meeting.
“I don’t know if you are aware but I am an advocate,” he was saying but I was more interested in looking around the room full of pictures of Sandiso’s father. My heart beat faster when I spotted a vase that looked like vases where people keep ashes of loved ones after their cremation. My body froze in fear and dread.
“-and I am the executor of Sandiso’s estate. I wanted to have a chat to you about his last will and testament.”
My eyes snapped up quickly. “His will?” I asked, softly.
I dropped my eyes again, afraid the anger and despair I was feeling would show in my eyes. I didn’t know what Sandiso could do to me from the grave, but I braced myself for the pain his uncle was about to inflict by opening a can of worms.
“Yes, I want to go through his will,” Jason said again, “According to Sandiso’s last will and testament, you are to inherit a portion of his estate.” Jason straightened his glasses, the movement indicating his discomfiture with the terms.
Without hesitation, I shook my head. “I’ll forego the money. You can give it to charity or whatever the law stipulates if I don’t accept the money.”
“You don’t have to make a decision now.” Jason insisted.
“Why didn’t he leave everything to his son?” I grumbled.
Jason’s face turned red. “I am wondering the same thing! Sandiso created a trust fund for his son and your daughter, which he clearly regarded as his own for some obscure reason. He left a letter for you in case you insisted on ignoring his dying orders.”
An envelope was pulled out from under some papers and handed to me. I took the white envelope wish shaking fingers and instantly knew that that the nightmare of Sandiso’s memory was only beginning.

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