The neighbours

it started off as an empty stand...

It started off as an empty stand and a few months later there was a fully constructed house. It was finished in a very short space of time. It was finished too fast according to the other residents of Lottenville Street.

Lottenville is a fairly short street located on the edge of one neighbourhood and the beginning of another. It is scattered with potholes but that doesn’t affect the upkeep of the houses situated on the street. It is a street where everyone knows everyone. The newest family had moved onto the street about 5 years earlier so when the new house was built, everybody was intrigued about what the new neighbours would be like.

They moved in quietly. Well, they tried to. It was the last weekend of August on a hot Saturday. The typical Saturday stillness was shattered by the sound of large vans – moving trucks. A few Lottenville residents walked over to the new house and introduced themselves to the new family. The husband, Mr Mangombe, was very agreeable. He conversed with everyone there. His wife on the other hand, was different. She seemed anxious, nervous almost and it was coming across as up-tightness. She greeted her new neighbours and walked into the house and never came out again for the rest of the afternoon.

After that Saturday, one rarely saw the new neighbours.  The husband’s car would be spotted on some weekends but not all so we figured he must work out of town. Life continued as usual on Lottenville Street. Children went to school, parents went to work and gardeners gossiped over the fence.

so, have you see the new maid at number 11?

One Sunday many months later, I was taking a leisurely stroll in the neighbourhood. As I neared the Mangombe’s house I heard raised voices. I slowed down. I could make out a few phrases here and there.

“Imba yangu iyi………. ibva pano!”  *This is my house, get out!

Another voice, a lady’s shouted even louder. “Imba ndeyako asi……………………” *The house is yours but….

A man’s voice was also heard. “Aiwa, musa……………………..” *No, don’t….

“Iwe Johni, nya……………… yatangwa newe!” *John, ……. started by you!

The first voice, “Don’t speak to my husband like that!”

The shouting continued for a few more minutes then suddenly a window smashed. The front door to the house burst open and John ran out with a lady hot on his heels. “Martha, Martha, calm down please!” John yelled.

John ka!

She was brandishing a mugoti (wooden cooking spoon). The lady we all knew as John’s wife also followed. Now all 3 were standing outside.

“Nhai John, ndizvo zvaungandiita here (John, how can you do this to me)?” tears streamed down Martha’s face.

“I’m sorry Martha.”

“Ah, John, kutomkubira ruregerero zvako (John, you’re even apologising!)!”

“It’s over John!” said Martha and she walked away got into her car and drove off leaving nothing but a trail of dust in the air.

leaving nothing but a trail of dust....

It turns out John was married and the lady staying on our street was his mistress. His wife had found out and she had confronted them and I was lucky enough to witness it all and relay it to the rest of the street.

me, telling the rest of the street what went down!

The end.

Cars and boys

“I’m late for work again. I wish a kind soul would just stop and give me a lift, come on God, one small break for your daughter,” Mary grumbled as she walked towards her office building.

Mary had been late to work for almost a week now. Although her boss had not said anything yet she knew the tornado winds were gathering momentum for her appraisal which was due very soon. Mary was the personal assistant to the manager of a big mine in her hometown. Although office doors only officially opened for business at 8am, Mary liked to be in the office by 7a.m. This gave her a chance to settle in before her boss walked in at 0740. She would check her emails, arrange his favourite newspapers and get his itinerary ready for the day all before he walked in. Once he arrived she served him his coffee, 2 sugars and lots of milk. Finally at 8 am sharp, she opened the doors to his office. But lately she had been rushing into the office moments before the doors opened.

“Toot, toot!” a hooter jolted Mary back to her current tardiness.

“Need a lift?” a man poked his head out of a car window and asked. The first thing Mary noticed was how well groomed he was.

“Thank you so much, I’m late for work. I even asked God for miracle!” Mary nervously responded. As Mary stepped into the car, she was immediately caught off guard by his musky manly scent. Nothing like a man who smells nice to start off the day Mary thought as a smirk flitted across her lips.

“I’m Nelson.”

“Nice to meet you Nelson, I’m Mary.”

“So Mary, where do you work?”

Mary began to narrate the story of what her job entailed and what kind of a man her boss was. Soon, Nelson had reached Mary’s office building and dropped her off. The rest of the morning was a blur for Mary as her boss had numerous meetings and a to-do list that was so long that by lunch time she had forgotten all about Nelson.

The next morning, Mary was late again and Nelson was her knight in shining armor once again. Nelson continued to drop Mary off at work for a few more days and eventually Mary and Nelson swapped numbers. They began to spend more time together, having lunch together every day, sometimes meeting up for dinner and eventually started going away for weekends. Nelson was a big fan of nature so they frequented game reserves regularly.

One morning, as Nelson dropped Mary off at the usual spot, one of the security guards was watching them intently. As she walked into the building, Mary extended a good morning to the guard. He responded with “Oh, you stay near Pastor Nyika?”

“Excuse me?” Mary’s heart began to pound frantically.

“Isn’t that Pastor Nelson Nyika?” the guard asked again.

“Yes, it him, we stay around the same areas.” responded Mary curtly before she stepped into the comfort of her office. As soon as she lit her machine, Mary did a frenzied search on Google and discovered all there was to know. Nelson was a pastor at one of the Pentecostal churches around town and he sat on many boards. He was married with 3 children.

Mary was in shock. Her body numbed up as she recalled all the glorious stolen moments that she had shared with Nelson. Then the anger invaded her body like a lethal injection. She could feel it flow through her veins and she began to shake. How dare he make her look like a fool! And play with her heart. How dare he allow her to dream about a future, their future together! How dare he give her false hope, false promises! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and Mary was adamant to get revenge. She lifted up her phone and called Nelson.

“Hie sweety, I miss you already. How about I call in sick tomorrow and we spend the whole day together? Are you still going out of town?”

“Well, this is a pleasant surprise. Sure baby, we can leave together and you can fly back into town in the evening.”

“Great. I can’t wait. Mcwah. Bye.”

And with that Mary had put her plan into motion. Nelson was a well respected man in the community. A community she had grown up in and knew very well. A community she knew would easily forgive Nelson but label her home wrecker for the rest of her life. And she was not going to have any of that.

Nelson picked her up early the next morning and they were on their way. Three and a half hours and 2 pit stops later, Mary and Nelson arrived in Naroh. It was a coastal town which always boasted great weather.  They went straight to the hotel to freshen up. As Nelson showered, Mary took this as an opportunity to go through his phone. She went through his smses and checked his call records. There was one number that noticeably frequented both log records. It was just a number with no name but somehow Mary knew she had hit the jackpot. She quickly copied the number and carried on as if nothing was wrong. They spent the rest of the day shopping, walking around the beach and had lunch by the sea side. When it was time for Mary to return, Nelson drove her to the airport. She pretended to be heartbroken to leave him and returned to her hometown.

Once she had returned home, she called one of her friends who worked at a telecommunications company.

“Hey David, I need a big favour. I’ve been receiving weird calls from this number and I wanted to know if you could find out who it belonged to… Yes, I know you’re not allowed but that’s why I’m calling in favour… Yes, I know… Yes I’ll owe you big time… Thanx hun, I won’t forget this…

The next morning, Mary got an sms from David with the name and address of the owner of the number. She decided to check it out.

“Bye daddy,” a little girl yelled from the doorway. Mary knew she had just found Nelson’s family. She walked away from the house her plan brewing in her head.

She carried on for another 2 weeks as if there was nothing wrong. She was still the sweet girl Nelson had met.

One evening, Mary invited Nelson over to her place for dinner. She outdid herself in the kitchen and Nelson was extremely impressed. After their meal, as they sat sipping coffee, Mary dropped the bomb.

“Nelson, I know you’re married.”

Nelson’s face dropped and turned an ashy grey. He was silent.

“I also know you’re a Pastor at Firstly Pentecostal Church.” Nelson continued to sit there staring into the darkness that was Mary’s living room.

“But I’m not going to report you to your wife, or to your church. A man of your stature who sits on so many boards cannot afford to have a scandal like this. All I want is this…” And Mary began to detail what exactly she wanted from Nelson. “And if you think I’m bluffing…” She took out photos of her and Nelson’s wife having coffee and more pictures of her and some of Nelson’s church elders.

Mary was never late for work again. Well at least not because of transport issues. The car that Nelson had bought for her ensured that.

the end.

Never again… Once more…

“I’m done!” Serah moaned as she lay on Lisa’s bed looking at the fan as it circled round and round on the ceiling. “And this time, I’m for real!”

Lisa gave Serah a look that spoke volumes. If they hadn’t been such close friends, maybe Lisa would have been more compassionate. “Oh, what’s so different this time around?” she questioned.

“I’m tired of sitting around waiting for him to decide whether he really wants me in his life! I’m tired of feeling like a second-rate citizen in his life. I feel like an option, I want to be a priority!” Serah went on.

Serah’s on and off affair with Victor had been going on for over 2 years now. They had first met at her cousin’s house warming party. She was helping to organise everything and he had brought been sent to get some ice. She had been so busy that she hadn’t paid any particular attention to him or anybody else. It wasn’t until he needed a place to put down the ice that he caught her eye. She could still remember that moment when her eyes met his briefly and he flashed her that smile she couldn’t get enough of. Serah was mesmerised. And from that moment, the love/hate affair began.

The biggest challenge was that Serah and Victor stayed in different cities. By road, they were 15 hours apart, by plane, it was a mere 2 hours. Distance proved to be their biggest obstacle. That and the fact that Victor refused to admit his feelings. It had been a game of cat and mouse for as long as she could remember now. Every time she tried to confront him about his intentions with her, Victor always managed to change the subject. “Let’s not fight about this, we only have the weekend together and who knows when I’ll see you next!” It wasn’t all bad. Serah had some fond memories of Victor. He tried to be there for her. He made an effort to see her and treat her well. But lately, it felt like Serah was doing all the initiation. If she didn’t look for Victor, he didn’t look for her. Sometimes he wouldn’t take her calls or respond to her messages but if he was in town even for a few hours then her phone rang incessantly.

“That’s what you said the last time!” Lisa’s voice jolted Serah from her memories back to the present world.

Lisa was right. Serah had been singing the same tune for the past two years yet she didn’t do anything to get herself out of this rut. Their “relationship” had changed over time. It had started off with lots of passion. Victor chased her like a lion chasing his wounded prey. Serah had been unsure about him but eventually got used to having him around. It was nice to know that someone was looking out for her and had her best interests at heart. That was for the first two years since they had met. Nowadays, if she got so much as a phone call Serah was lucky. What sucked the most was that every time they did meet up, they had so much fun together. Victor was very open to trying new things so if Serah wasn’t dragging him to the theatre or a new restaurant that she heard about, they were going hiking or just taking long drives. Her city had so many mountains that a long drive could still be a great date. Each time Serah tried to cut ties with Victor, he would call and say something that left her head spinning. Victor had her in a trance like state and no matter how often she tried to get him out of her mind, she failed dismally.

This time it was Adele’s Someone Like You that jolted her back to reality. She looked down at her phone. It was Victor.

“Hey hun, I’m in your city. Let’s meet up for drinks tonight.”

Serah sighed as she stood up to go shopping. She had a hot date tonight!

-The end-