The silence that surrounded Thandi’s home as they approached it made the girls think twice about their actions.
” what if he’s dead and no one knows about it yet?” They all seemed to wonder silently.
Sali and Mattie looked at Thandi with the hope that she would gain momentum to step forward and open the door to her house. Little did they know that she too was as scared as they were. The thought of her step father being dead inside there making her clench her fist to gain the strength not to step back and run away from what always used to be her home.
” you think he’s still in there?” Sali asked pulling her t-shirt nervously one of her fingers in her mouth.
” I don’t know, it’s too quiet maybe he’s dead” Thandi shivered not moving an inch from where she stood.
” come on guys let’s go and check. We can’t back down now” the courageous Mattie spoke up pulling her friends to the door.
They got to the door and as they were about to push it open, they heard the deep groanings from inside. They all sighed in relief at once smiling at each other as they pushed the door wide open coming to the full view of Mabvuto who was now seated his face still stained with dirty and a strip of blood on his side cheek.
” how dare you!” He gnarled at them as the girls stood in front of him with their faces serious.
Thandi smiled for the first time realising the power that was in numbers. She could see her Father’s fear, he was trying to act tough but his eyes said it all. The menacing stance the girls had intimidated him so much that his hoarse voice was cutting as he tried to scream at the girls.
” get out of my house you evil girls from hell!” He gnarled loudly.
” am sorry Mabvuto!” Thandi spoke back closing in on her step father, ” my mother sweat to build this small house for me and herself, you are the foreigner in this house and today, am taking over what belongs to me. No more tolerating your animosity and ill treatment of me. ” she chuckled narrowing her eyes to show how d–n serious she was being.
Mabvuto looked at Thandi, her eyes widely fixed at his form he felt intimid
” oh my God I can’t believe a girl I raised would turn out on me like that, you are so ungfateful you little thing. I picked you up when your mother died and this is how you pay me back, ganging up with these two demons from God knows where wanting to kill me?” He burst out clearly looking sobber.
” these demons as you call them are my friends and from today onwards my family. We are here to ask you in a polite way to leave my house. This was built by my mother’s very own sweat and where ever she is she will agree that am the one to inherit it. ” Thandi spoke sternly.
Mabvuto stood up steadly making Mattie and Sali to stand back ready to fight.
” oh dear step daughter, I pity you girl. You have no idea what you have just done. By the time am done with you all you will know why my father named me Mabvuto!” He shouted angrily pulling out his belt his shaky hands failing to get to it loose in time. Not certain whether it was the effect of not drinking or the fear of the three girls who stood upright challenging him.
” come on girls at him!” Mattie charged before Mabvuto could manage to get his belt from the waist.
Mabvuto stepped back seeing the girls lifting items from the floor ready to launch at him again.
” okey stop!” He yelled realising it was not a joke the girls were pulling in him. He thought he couldn’t afford another beating, his wounds from the previous one were still fresh.
” now daddy!, Thandi smiled teasingly.. “pack your bags and leave. This is our house, you are not to return.” She stood her head high waving her finger in the air at him.
” another thing!, Sali spoke up for the first time as Mabvuto walked to the other room to get his things. He stood in the door way his eyes on the fat girl that looked like those in some violent cartoons.
” we already told the police what you have been doing to Thandi. They are on their way here and any minute you delay in packing out, they are closing in on you” she smiled her wide smile revealing her fully packed mouth even though her teeth weren’t as clean.
Thandi and Mattie both looked at each other and smiled. They had not anticipated such a brilliant idea to come from Sali, if only they had used that before, the man could have fled some minutes ealier.
” am leaving dammit!” Mabvuto yelled loudly pulling open the Curtain that acted as a door to the room that once used to be his bedroom.
The girls giggled as he left the house slowly taking in their faces and walked through the door and disappeared outside.
” yes yes!” They jumped in excitement hugging and dancing around at their victory.
” he’s gone!” Sali screamed on top of her voice after peeping outside and not seeing the presence of Mabvuto.
The girls went on for another 15 minutes celebrating and mimicking Mabvutos actions as they laughed loudly. They cleaned up the house and threw out a couple of things that belonged to Mabvuto. Now they had a home and they had each other.
Thandi sat down the door way as the sun went down that day. She kept her eyes on the red sky her mind wondering away.
She recalled how her mother had to pay almost every dime she had from the piece of land she had sold out and the little she made from her small sales, so that she could built that house.
” I want what’s best for you my child. I never got to live in a decent place but I will try put a roof on your head. Even when we sleep without eating, I want you to be safe and warm in this house you seeing here” her mother told her one day as they sat in the middle of the compound as she packed small packs of groundnuts for sale.
” I will complete my education mother and build you a very big house!” She had exclaimed proudly making her mother smile.
” ofcourse my baby, you are very intelligent and God willing I will do what I can to ensure you get that education you so much need” her mother held her hand her eyes filled with love for her.
Thandi knew her mother was serious and if not for her death which up until then, she knew wasn’t her wish to kill herself, but someone made her do it or killed her. Even though she had no way of proving it, she knew her step father had something to do with it.
She recalled overhearing them quarrel one afternoon, her step father was so drunk and her mother was yelling at him. ” how could you!, she shouted, ” she s just a girl for God’s sake,”
Thandi couldn’t get the rest of the conversation as her books fall off and alerted her mother and father of her presence.
The following day she came back finding a funeral and people claiming her mother hanged herself but she didn’t buy the story. Even though she had no voice to tell the truth, deep in her heart she knew the actual truth.
Tears run her face as such thoughts clouded her. She could hear the giggling and chatting from inside but she couldn’t pay attention to her friends who were now preparing a meal for them.
” come on inside, you don’t have to cry cause you are not alone any more” came Mattie’s voice bringing her back to the present.
” yeah of course, I just miss my mother so much it hurts.” She sniffed in wiping her face.
” I know, unfortunately I hate my mother, sometimes I wonder if she really gave birth to me. Yours was evidently a good woman and she did deserve you. Mine on the other hand, is in a wrong place. I wish she was dead” Mattie spat squatting next to Thandi.
” how can you wish such for your mother Mattie? She s your mother no matter what she did. ” Thandi looked up at her.
” well, what sort of mother would subject a 12 years old child to prostitution all in the name of survival?. I swear I hate her, I don’t know if I will ever have a heart to love a man in my life. Every man I see all I feel is hatred and my thoughts are always evil towards them. ” Mattie shrugged sadly.
” it’s alright dear, am sure one day your mother will realise how much she hurt you and your sister.” Thandi tried to smile to comfort her friend.
” well, honestly I dont think I will ever forgive her. Anyway, enough of that evil witch, lets sit inside and finish preparing our Kapenta, we need to enjoy ourselves today and tomorrow we will think of what next to do” Mattie stood up holding Thandi’s hands like they have been best friends for a long time.
Laying on their backs that night, the girls chatted softly recalling their good times in Life, mostly when they were still very young. How they used to enjoy playing around. The world had forced them to grow older than they were. They had to start reasoning like adults if they were to survive life.
” I wish I could see my parents again” Sali sighed making her friends go mute instantly realising she was just beginning to tell her story.
To be continued