"By Nhamo Muchagumisa\\r\\n\\r\\nI had set a priority for myself and I had never imagined that it would be difficult to accomplish. I needed no money nor wealthy parents to adhere to the principles I had set for myself.\\r\\n\\r\\nEvery word I spoke or every word I held back, what I chose to do or not to do, should present me to the entire community of human animals that surrounded me as a girl of good breeding.\\r\\n\\r\\nMy word or action should never force anyone I got into contact with to demand an apology from me, or should circumstances drive me into that trap, never to hold back an apology just to gratify my ego.\\r\\n\\r\\nMy mother had been such a pain to my father as she had made him the target for every imponderable word that formed on her tongue.\\r\\n\\r\\nHis face or head received the meteorite bashes of her clenched fists, whenever she felt like hurting something or someone, or when her daemonic temper took possession of her.\\r\\n\\r\\nWhen my father could not stand it any longer, he applied for divorce and the estranged couple had to share their property equitably.\\r\\n\\r\\nEven though my mother had won ownership of our more spacious house in Chikanga, while my father had to keep the almost decrepit Sakubva house, I refused to live with my mother. My younger siblings who did not have the privilege to make a choice fell into the custody of my mother.\\r\\n\\r\\nAs we were all minors, mother had the right at law to have the three of us under her wings, but I made my point clear that I needed time to heal from what she had made me see or go through and that healing was impossible in her perpetual presence.\\r\\n\\r\\nMy paternal grandparents came to my rescue and took me into their custody and they brought me to their rural homestead in Buhera, where I would have to walk six kilometres to Mukwasi Secondary School and six kilometres back home, Monday to Friday.\\r\\n\\r\\nMaroon sunhat on my head, white blouse concealing my rapidly transforming trunk, maroon skirt covering the rest of my feminine appeal from the waistline down to the upper sections of the knees, leaving the knee caps exposed, and from below the knees a pair of white socks holding my legs in a fluffy embrace, and finally a pair of black shoes protecting the soles of my feet from the rough road, I started my new school term at Mukwasi Secondary School as a form three student.\\r\\n\\r\\nWith a bag of resolutions, I joined a new community of teenagers, thanks to my supportive grandparents. Acclimatising to the new environment was not difficult, and in a short while, I was part of the exuberance that punctuated a teen environment in a school set up.\\r\\n\\r\\nA tiny incident on my way home one day brought an intimate boost to my social life. My right leg had hit an uneven spot on the road and I stumbled and staggered a few steps forward and one of the handles of my satchel snapped.\\r\\n\\r\\nI had to carry it on my head, like a bundle of awkward things as I continued with my walk home. As I walked, trying to push my clumsy situation to the back of my mind, I sensed the interested presence of someone walking by my side.\\r\\n\\r\\n\\"Yeukai, you don't have to carry your satchel on your head; it takes away your appeal as a high school student,\\" my new companion said.\\r\\n\\r\\n\\"I only wish throwing it away was an option,\\" I said jokingly, hoping that nothing in my reaction to the boy's remarks would soil my bag of resolutions.\\r\\n\\r\\n\\"You will put my satchel on your back and I will take yours to throw away,\\" the form four boy said, relieving me of my load, as I simultaneously took my turn to relieve his back of the burden of his satchel. He slung the functional handle of my satchel over one shoulder and held the bulging school bag in his embrace, while his sat on my back so snugly that it felt like I had carried it from grade one.\\r\\n\\r\\nWe walked home comfortable with each other's presence as if we had been walking together since the commencement of school life.\\r\\n\\r\\nFrom that day we always exchanged our bags on our way to school and back home. If Manzwi was the first person to discover the friend in me, I was ready to be a good friend to him for as long as he found me worth the friendship.\\r\\n\\r\\nIt was my prayer that the only weakness he found in me was my excessive want of his company and the childish joy of wanting his satchel on my back that made the walk to and from school the most exciting experience of school life.\\r\\n\\r\\nLuck turned its face away from me three weeks after striking a deep fondness with Manzwi when his classmate called Benson provoked me in a manner that made me forget my bag of resolutions.\\r\\n\\r\\nAs I took my turn to fill my water container at the school borehole, he had removed it from under the spout of the borehole pump to put his own container in its place, and despite my polite protest, he lushed at me with a volley of irrational words, some of which are a taboo in our culture to say to the opposite sex.\\r\\n\\r\\nAlthough I was not fond of my mother, the mention of my mother, whom he had never seen, in his vulgar swear words threw me off balance.\\r\\n\\r\\nI let go of the pump handle and made for him then asked him to withdraw his words. He brought his face very close to mine and repeated some of his foul words. \\"Get away daughter of a bloodsucking mother, who makes husband of every demon that crawls at night.\\"\\r\\n\\r\\nHeated by his soul damaging utterances, I pushed him away and punched him on the foul spitting mouth. He tried to hit back, but I parried his blow with a precision that surprised me more than it shocked him.\\r\\n\\r\\nEvery blow he aimed at me I either parried with the same precision or I dodged in time, only to hear him curse under his breath. As the effort put in his ineffectual moves enfeebled him, I shifted my effort from the defensive to the offensive, pounding his face with daemonic ferocity.\\r\\n\\r\\nI do not know how long I battered his face. I only stopped when I saw Benson being dragged away by an elderly man who should have been a passerby. That was when I became aware of the chaotic noise around me.\\r\\n\\r\\nI had burnt my bag of resolutions, and it had left not even an ash for me to start building from. I was going to be the loneliest girl in the school. Now it was the time I thought I should begin to miss my mother, but I missed my father instead.\\r\\n\\r\\nI started noticing that Manzwi was avoiding me and I had to endure the pain of not carrying his satchel on my back, and the strain of carrying my own whose value seemed to have declined so drastically.\\r\\n\\r\\nI watched Manzwi from a distance, as he kept his own lone company, but I did not allow the hope that he would soon find his way back to me to tease my heart.\\r\\n\\r\\nSince the borehole was a considerable distance from the central part of the school, no teacher had noticed the fight and Benson had sneaked out of school to conceal his swollen face.\\r\\n\\r\\nNo one had dared report the fight to the school authorities. I concluded that fellow students were afraid of me, a feeling that made loneliness my immediate certainty.\\r\\n\\r\\nSometimes a twist in your situation has a counter twist. On my way to school two weeks after the fight with Benson I saw Manzwi sitting on a log. I was confused, as sitting on logs or rocks is a leisure to be enjoyed on the back home journey.\\r\\n\\r\\nI decided to take a risk, but not in as lively a manner as Manzwi had done when he walked into my life. I sat by his side, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip and he turned his face towards mine.\\r\\n\\r\\nHe said, \\"Yeukai,\\" in the manner he had spoken when he first said my name.\\r\\n\\r\\nHe received a note from a parent whose house was by the roadside. We resumed our walk towards Mukwasi Secondary School, his satchel on my back and mine on his. We said very little to each other.\\r\\n\\r\\nThe rhythmical clank of our footfalls on the gravel road were enough to assure me that we were not just going to school, but we were rather on the walk of life.\\r\\n\\r\\nA time would come for us to say the most suitable words to appreciate each other's company, but I allowed my heart to doubt anything, but there was one thing my heart, mind and soul would never doubt, that Manzwi was the only immediate certainty in my life.\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\n<em>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: firstname.lastname@example.org<\\\/em>\\r\\n\\r\\n \\r\\n\\r\\n \\r\\n<div class=\\"gs\\">\\r\\n<div class=\\"\\">\\r\\n<div id=\\":is\\" class=\\"hq gt a10\\">\\r\\n<div class=\\"hp\\">\\r\\n<div id=\\":ps\\" class=\\"ii gt\\">\\r\\n<div id=\\":s1\\" class=\\"a3s aiL \\">\\r\\n<div class=\\"yj6qo\\"><img class=\\"alignnone wp-image-453\\" src=\\"https:\\\/\\\/zimbabwedigitalexpress.com\\\/wp-content\\\/uploads\\\/2021\\\/03\\\/DIG-NHAMO-225x300.jpg\\" alt=\\"\\" width=\\"575\\" height=\\"763\\" \\\/><\\\/div>\\r\\n<\\\/div>\\r\\n<\\\/div>\\r\\n<\\\/div>\\r\\n<\\\/div>\\r\\n<\\\/div>\\r\\n<\\\/div>\\r\\n \\r\\n\\r\\n[wpforms id=\\"7393\\" title=\\"true\\" description=\\"true\\"]"