As I slowly made my way, I began to feel trapped, it was as if my husband’s shadow had engulfed my whole body

Nhamo Muchagumisa

I know where I started getting things wrong, Chazera, and now that you are gone, I have no time to romanticise the savage pleasures of your debauched company among the reeds. Everything is now past admonition, yet being human, I cannot help crying over spilt milk. I wish I had told you what I disdained in Tsoka, for the wrong reasons, as I now know.

I think you would have corrected me.

Now it is water under the bridge, or maybe the mere wetness left by a stream that has already run its course.

I wish the spirit world had ears. Maybe you would hear me tell you that it was all a lie. Our relationship was a blatant lie. I wish I could tell you when your stomach started bulging that I felt not even the slightest pity.

I searched my heart for that painful spot that wells up with tears when invalidity incapacitates a bosom friend but found nothing. It was as if someone had thrown a load of sand into that corner where thoughts of you would light the hottest fire.

 

 

It was such a memorable experience when we made a fool of a man who was defending his nest before the Village Court.

Your correction would have made us better lovers, but when I invited you to eat from the same plate in the presence of my husband, I had thrown caution to the wind and you allowed the same madness to drag you into the trap that cost you your life, and me, the last morsel of social standing.

The manner you died chokes the village air with gossip, especially after being dragged to court over a meal.

Apart from your mysterious illness, the most grisly memory about our relationship was our encounter with Tsoka’s dog among the reeds. Was it by mere coincidence that the dog appeared from the blue and picked up your handkerchief? Was it really a dog or an act of black magic by its master?

 

 

We never got the opportunity to ask each other how we found our separate ways home. I only managed to walk half a kilometre from the river, then physical deterioration began to take its toll. All my joints were aching as if there was a load of metal pins in every joint. I could hardly breathe.

Every breath of air I sucked into my lungs was an assault to the organs. I felt sand grains pelting the walls of my lungs with every draught of air I drew into my chest.

As I slowly made my way, I began to feel trapped. It was as if my husband’s shadow had engulfed my whole body. I wished to break free from his shadow and run until I dropped dead, but I lacked the physical capacity, even to scream.

I eventually dropped to the ground and for once, a sense of relief pervaded my feelings. Death had overtaken me and its levelling presence did not exude the grim atmosphere that people normally associate death with.

“At last I have found my peace,” I said silently to myself.

Then, a male voice raised the curtain that I thought had fallen. “Are you all right?” the man asked.

 

 

“What an anticlimax,” I thought. To make matters worse, the voice sounded like yours. I wanted to ask you to leave me alone, to tell you that it was over. Tsoka’s dog had snatched the charm that you had used to bewitch me. Anything like love that I had felt for you was colder than death itself.

“Woman, you seem to have a problem. You are lying on the road,” the voice came again.

I regained my breath and said, “Don’t worry, I will be all right,” but that was not to be. The man turned out to be Mr. Mukuwe, one of our neighbours. He gave my husband a call and he came to collect me.

You would not believe it if you had had the chance to hear my story that on the following day I was perfectly fine and the whole thing was like a dream that had turned into a nightmare. Tsoka punished me by not saying anything.

If I had the chance to be honest with you, Chazera, I would have told you that you were weak where my husband was strong. I never knew that it was an attribute that he had until the day his dog spoiled things for us. I even disdained him for his moral rigidity.

Three years ago, he gave up a building contract and did not hide the reason from me. His employer’s wife was doing anything in her power to lure him into her arms, parading her desperation for a stab in the loins from him. I began to feel that he was not man enough.

 

 

When your wife asked me to come and assist with the shelling of her peanuts, I had not got over the shock of my husband’s confession. My attention shifted from the peanuts towards you. I liked it when your wife left us together, when she went out of the kitchen hut to do the dishes after every meal, how we sat face to face, I, on a reed mat and you, on a stool, the fireplace between us.

Each time you raised your handkerchief to wipe your face, I felt my blood running faster. I knew we were experiencing the same thing. Then, I started making gestures with my eye and the rest of my body, to let you know the effect of your presence on my femininity.

Now I know that there was no love at all in my actions. All came when I began to doubt my husband and sometimes I wonder how much of it can be undone and realise that everything else has been undone except the disgrace I have become to the entire neighbourhood.

 

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 +263771271478 Email him at: muchagumisan@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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