With her intimidating qualifications – she had landed a good job and at work no male age mate had spoken a love word to her

By Nhamo Muchagumisa

The happiest moment of your life is the shortest, Elvina thought as she stared at the screen of her phone. Messages poured in at close intervals, but she wondered what cloud was holding back the message that mattered most. Samson had walked out of her life as abruptly as he had walked in. She wondered what Delilah had snatched him from her.

Samson was not reachable at a time when only a word from his side of the line would put her back on the walk of life.

Samson’s presence in her life was like the sudden fall of a shadow whose position could change with the position of the light. The light had finally revealed to Samson that Elvina was not the schoolgirl she was pretending to be and he had decided to walk out of her life.

Masquerading as a schoolgirl had found her worth as a female person soaring. She would travel to and from work in school uniform, satchel slung on her shoulder, at least thrice a week, circumspect enough not to travel by public transport in order to attract the attention she thought was an overdue deserving.

 

But whenever she travelled by public transport, she would put on her ordinary clothes. Then, Samson Matusa walked into her orbit like a new star entering an astrologer’s ken.

“I will have you arrested for proposing to a minor,” Elvina threatened, despite her encouraging smile. Her trick had hit the right target, and whenever she walked to work, Samson pushed her half the way. Elvina would change into civilian clothes at her friend’s place, half a kilometre away from her workplace.

Only four weeks down the line, Elvina found herself ruing her borrowed identity. The excitement of someone having proposed love to her had died down like a veldt fire, chastened by an opposing wind. She had never considered what she would do with the love word after hearing it, what life would be like after hearing the love word.

Lying in bed in her rented room, she allowed the pending messages to Samson to torment her, but they could not torment her to sleep. Even the memory of her tricks would not lull her to sleep. The walks from Nyausunzi Court in Sakubva to town had revitalised her youthful spirit, but nothing could hold back the hand of fate from delivering its blow. Why had she not thought of the possible ramifications of her seemingly innocuous ploys?

 

She was a graduate of the University College of Business Studies at the University of Zimbabwe and with her intimidating qualifications she had landed a good job and at work no male age mate had spoken a love word to her, even in a playful manner. Time was running out, even though her youthful looks seemed to endure the passage of time.

Now alone with her phone, she just wished she had the chance to tell Samson that she was living a lie. She desperately wanted to hear her tongue articulating her heartfelt apology. She did not want the whole thing to end with Samson having said “I love you” and she eventually saying “Me too”.

Elvina did not know how she fell into a deep dreamless sleep on the other side of midnight. She was awakened by the milkman’s bell after sunrise.

In a panic mode she hurriedly prepared to go to work, starting with her routine bath. It was only after taking her bath that she realised that she was not even late for work because it was a Sunday. Come Monday no more masquerading as a school girl.

 

Once she realised that it was Sunday, she became conscious of the torture of a grinding headache. She knew that the only healing would come with her coming to terms with her loss, which in the strictest sense was not a loss at all. After making up her mind she began to laugh loudly like a lunatic, then a knock at the door cut short her silly laughter.

She opened the door and another roomer’s teenage daughter was standing in the passage. “Someone is waiting to see you downstairs,” the girl said.

“Tell her to come up.” The young girl raced down the steps, as Elvina walked back into her bedroom.

Another knock, and Elvina opened the door again. It was not a she whose face met hers at very close range. It was Samson. Elvina retreated into her room and after a moment’s hesitation asked him in.

Samson sat on an inverted bucket in the corner, and looked innocently at his girlfriend. Elvina spoke first. “How did you know that I live here? Story for another day,” Samson said affectionately. “I wish you to know that network was down where I had been posted on duty, deep in the remote areas. I wish you to know that I am not a school girl, and …”

“You thought I did not know,?” Samson said with all the ease of one who was not in a hurry to say what he knew. “Stop teasing me Sam,” Elvina said weakly. “Do you have your graduation book here my Dear?”

“Yes,” she said, extracting the book from a shelf next to her bed and handing it over to him.

Samson paged through the book and came to the page he wanted, and handed the open book back to Elvina, “Look at the picture on page 25.”

Edina Matusa? So she graduated with his sister. Edina’s name had never rung back when Elvina had first heard Samson’s name. “The day we first met, and you told me your name, my mind raced back to my young sister’s graduation and how she told me what an enigma you were. You might not have interacted with her, or even registered her name in your mind, but you were a distinction student.”

Elvina stood up and walked the two paces towards him. He rose to his feet and walked half a pace to meet her. They found each other’s embrace. “You are God sent,” she said.

 

Nhamo Muchagumisa is an English Language and Literature teacher, and he writes from Odzi. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted on +263777460162. Email him at: muchagumisan@gmail.com

 

 

 

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