It has been up to seven years since that moment we engaged into this relationship. We have never exchanged words or taken different paths since day one. Most people have always envied our love whenever they always saw us enjoying ourselves. It is quite unfortunate that sometimes the good moments can be ruined by some negative people infested with the thoughts of destruction.
One summer sunset I met this fair angel aboard a luxury cruise in Victoria Falls. I was shocked that the country had such heart intriguing beauty to offer besides the wonderful nature. I felt my heart leap once and I took hold of the situation by keeping calm. She had long curly hair that flowed down to her shoulders and seemed to resemble the magnificent waterfalls. Her figure was well built with curvy hips and a slim abdomen and it was just impossible to resist the attraction. I summoned my courage to carry me to the other side of the cruise. As she gazed towards the still waters from the balcony, the sweet summer breeze swayed her black shiny hair with it. She seemed lost in deep thought but I was already determined disengage her from her thoughts and offer a luxury tour in the world of conversation.
They always say the first cut is the deepest and this was now my mission. I had two options, either now or go right now because such fairytale characters can never be come across more than once in this life. Nature had presented me with a life time opportunity to grasp and run away with so I could not afford acting cowardly. As I approached her I felt my legs shiver but my pounding heart filled with courage conveyed me through the crowd towards the balcony. I found myself standing next to the damsel and began to scheme how dislodging her from the thoughts that crowded her mind could be successful.
I felt the cold air hit against my skin and goose bumps appeared on my skin. I grew tense and nervous. The angel kept her eyes focused on the still waters but something did not seem in place. I stood beside her and whispered through the air into her absent ears. Fortunately, she noticed my puzzled figure beside her but did not care a moment. This is when I realised that my compliments had only managed to make noise in her ears. I had failed to decode a message audible enough to shift her attention. Nevertheless I still had more time at my disposal so I could make another attempt.
“The waters are so fascinating huh!” I called out to her, more loudly this round. She raised her face and I noticed some few tears in her eyes.
“Sorry”, she responded.
Once again she had not heard me. I then leaned my back against the balcony ledge and asked if I could join her.
“I could surely use some company right now. So yes, please do join me”. This was then my ticket to pour my heart but with great caution. We talked until the night pressed on us without our noticing. We delved into various topics and I took the liberty to invite her for lunch.
She acknowledged my invitation and we then we went our different directions to our respective lodges, for we were both on holiday. I took a few steps towards the exit and came to a halt;
“Oh! By the way I am Steve”, I said with an expression of embarrassment contaminating my once confident face. How could I have forgotten to introduce myself all this while? She smiled and shook her head. At least I had ironically managed to ignite a smile on her face.
“Tanyaradzwa”, she said, “My name is Tanyaradzwa Moyo”. I swear I sang the name all night. Unfortunately, music was not my field of profession. If I was talented enough I could have composed a song for the beautiful lady with tears logging in her eyes.
I met Tanyaradzwa the following day and we shared life stories throughout our meal. At sometime while we were serving ourselves to glasses of orange juice I regretted ever asking her why her eyes full of tears the previous day. “Life is an absolute torture…”She paused and then burst into tears. She poured out her heart and I realised that I had no option than share the burden with her.
Tanyaradzwa had been sent on holiday by family members to allow her mind to ease. For the past year she had been through several tragedies that left her between a rock and another rock. She had lost her parents in the same year. The father departed first and the mother succumbed to cancer after six months later. She had suffered a nervous breakdown and as her family members suggested and needed some time away from home.
We grew more cordial as the days went by. I had just kept my feelings to myself for I had realised that Nicky was so hurt and wanted someone to comfort her and keep her smiling. The unfortunate part of it all was that I was to return to South Africa to attend my work duties. Upon announcing my expected departure in the next few days the expression on Tanyaradzwa’s face altered. I could notice that I had turned on another emotional torture. She looked me straight into the eyes and whispered, “Please do not leave me”.
I could not understand what was now going on in her mind but her eyes said it all, she meant what she was saying. “But I have to go to work…,” I said and she interjected. “I know you have to work but I just cannot see you leave me.”
Tears started dripping from her eyes and I observed them flow like a small stream down her round cheeks. Each drop after the other worsened the tension around us. “So how do you think I will cope? You are just going to move away and leave me alone and I will be stuck all alone with you so far away. I don’t even know if I will ever see you again”
I took a deep breath and grabbed her hand firmly that I almost felt her blood flow. By this moment my heart head was spinning trying to figure out how to handle the situation at hand. I looked into her eyes again as if I was reading the back of her mind. “You come with me then.” I said to her and she withdrew her hand from my grasp. Slowly, I saw her face lighten up. She cleared her throat and struggled to let the words out her mouth and went mute again for a moment. She then just burst out of the blues, “Yes yes, I will love to come with you Tom.” I lifted her up and she screamed at the same time. We then calmed down and sat on the couch and we both took a deep breath. Before I knew it, Tanyaradzwa was all over me. Kisses showered on me like the summer rains. “I love you Tom,” she said and my heart leapt and almost escaped through my chest.
I tried to respond but she blocked my mouth with her forefinger.
“Shh, don’t say a word. I know you also do.” I felt the sweat under my shirt but she did not seem to care. She drew me even closer and sunk me in her arms. We were so intimate for the rest of the night that she even failed to return to her room.
We agreed that we were to make all necessary arrangements for her travel documents in the next week or so. Fortunately I had connections here and there so the processes were not as frustrating as others would anticipate. All it would take were a few phone calls across the border and confirmation would be sent through for my Zimbabwean darling’s papers. In lesser time than expected everything was ready for us to travel back to South Africa.
We made all proper notifications to Tanyaradzwa’s family that we will be travelling together beyond borders. Her family elders found no reason to object in this matter. At least she had found happiness again according to their context. On my own side I was the one who had found happiness in this fair damsel. My years old search had been concluded by Tanyaradzwa. Therefore my hunt in the foreign lands was fruitful enough to take the bounty back home. I had now found a woman who could read my mind even if I have not said what my heart is holding back inside.
My relatives and friends back in South Africa applauded me for such an intriguing discovery. Tanyaradzwa was the perfect fit for the type of lady my friends and I had always anticipated to get in the near or distant future. This was a fact we were all ready to face, “No matter what kind of man you are or the time you will take to get there, you will be married one day.”
We live in Cape Town around Brooklyn which is where I grew up in. I was the only son of a middle class college lecturer and my mother never went to work. Three years ago my parents perished at the expense of a road accident which claimed their lives and those of some other victims involved. My father managed to make it to the hospital but did not make it out that place. The doctors tried their best but I believe fate had already decided its cause. My mother had passed on right at the spot. Following this tragic this situation I inherited a fortune of assets in which my parents had invested.
Over the years I had expanded my father’s businesses taking them from one achievement to the next. This was the least I could do to honour my late father. He was a very hard working man so I also promised myself that I would imitate his character trends. I was now indebted to my mother and it was time to fulfil my promise. Mother was a courageous woman who respected father and understood him at all times. Therefore I had promised myself that I was going to marry a woman who would be her true reflection.
However, I went from one relationship to the other failing to find anyone who was ready to give me what I wanted. The most frustrating part of it all was that all the girls were after what was at my disposal. That was when I decided to go out on a holiday with hopes to meet some thief who would be able to snatch away my heart with love. Fortunately, that is when I met this angel leaning towards the Zambezi waters from the cruise balcony. Tanyaradzwa struck straight to my heart from the initial moment. If I say I believed in love at first sight before then it would be an overstatement. This heavenly creature introduced this concept into my life.
We were the best couple amongst our friends. Every time we passed by some would applaud us for our love. Others would admit that they envy what we did. We did everything together and respected each other. Unlike other marriages around the neighbourhood, ours was peaceful. Most women were always into mourning. Their husbands always mistreated and they quarrelled every now and then. I respected Tanyaradzwa because she had loved me for who I am and not for what I had. We became the role model couple in our community and some youngsters would come and seek advice on how to establish a strong relationship.
This was only until the wind blew in the wrong residue into the picture. We heard a soft knock on the front door one cool afternoon. Tanyaradzwa went to attend the door whilst I went on to put on a shirt and proper trousers. As I walked back towards the entertainment room I took note of the second female voice in dialogue with my wife. I overheard Tanyaradzwa ask, “So for how long have you known Tom?”
“Uhm, we have known each other from fifth grade. Actually our parents were business partners so we always got along until I left South Africa upon completion of matrix studies,” the lady answered in a confident voice.
“Wow!” Tanyaradzwa exclaimed. “I wonder why he has never mentioned your name over the years or maybe he did but it has just slipped out of my memory,” Tanyaradzwa continued.
That is when I came through the door and exclaimed, “Matilda!”
She took to her feet and flew over to where I was standing. Out of the nowhere the last person I had expected to step into my life had just done so. I was so surprised she was doing at my home.
“Look at you, a fully grown woman now.” I said to her with some level of sarcasm. She then smiled at me and responded, “Awe Tom, this is me. Finding you by your old name was so difficult.”
Matilda and I were long time high school sweethearts but we became apart due to distance when she left for Angola eight years ago. After our matrix examinations her family then relocated back to Angola which was their home of origin. Her father’s partnership with my father had been terminated due to financial difficulties they were experiencing in their business. Since then there had been no form of communication between the two of us. At least that is my understanding but she claimed that she used to write to me and sent me post cards. Although I have failed to believe this there is a possibility because not so long after her departure we had to move to our new home although in the same neighbourhood. Therefore, the new residents could have passed the letters as they did with the other letters delivered to them at our old address.
I had not told Tanyaradzwa all this because I thought Matilda would never return into my life. Even on this day I did not make it known to her that Matilda and I had once been lovers. I thought of how I would escape the situation at hand. My palms began to sweat and I kept on rubbing them onto my trousers. I was dissolved into my own planet of thought and I just heard Tanyaradzwa ask me a strange question. “Sweetheart how come you never told me you had such a wonderful friend?” Tanyaradzwa seemed disappointed. I was trapped in a tight corner and did not know what the best response was. I was to either say I once mentioned her but maybe she had forgotten or something different. The other question was what would the different response be?
“Uh, I do not even know how I failed to tell you. You see we have not met in quite a number of years and that is why I forgot to mention her,” I said with my voice shaking like I was sitting on fire.
“Oh, okay. I see now.” Tanyaradzwa said shifting her attention to the television where there was a Nigerian drama playing. Tanyaradzwa and seemed to enjoy the drama but I was not even concentrating. They made several comments and I was just sitting next to Tanyaradzwa.
Matilda then called out to me, “So how have you been doing. I heard of parents’ accident. Please accept my deepest condolences.”
I was out of words and decided to hide behind the emotional pain of my parents’ death. Matilda comforted me but I would sense some deceit beyond her actions. She came and sat beside me and cuddled me softly. Tanyaradzwa did not suspect anything because she believed that we were just old time friends. So this was normal in her eyes but for me nothing was normal. I just wished she would disappear or I would just wake up from this nightmare. Unfortunately this was reality so I had to go to bed first if I really wished for some sleep from which I would then wake up from. I became even more uncomfortable when Tanyaradzwa asked Matilda to spend the night with us.
The experience was unbearable over the night. The two queens delved into women’s chat and discussed relationships. Matilda would always look at me every now and then but I would shift my focus to my phone and pretend as if to be checking mails. The partial relief was when the ladies decided to call a night and Tanyaradzwa led Matilda to the guest bedroom where she would sleep for the night.
A week after Matilda’s visit Tanyaradzwa noticed a change in my behaviour. I began to act out of character which surprised her. I would now come home late or sometimes sleep out. I had no justifiable reason for these actions and still expected her to understand.
One day I came home to find Tanyaradzwa in tears sitting on the couch. Before I could utter any single world she had already posed a question that struck like a lightning bolt straight at me.
“Is it true?” she asked softly as if she was struggling to let out the words. “Were you once lovers with Matilda before she left South Africa?” “Is it true that you are going out with her behind my back?”…
The continuous volley of questions got me confused. I then picked my briefcase and went into our bedroom without responding. I changed into another shirt and a pair of jeans, took my car keys and left the house without saying anything. I spent the night with Matilda in her hotel room. Tanyaradzwa kept calling throughout the night but I did not bother answering or returning her calls. Matilda had given me the most passionate love any would desire at that moment. I was going head over heels and totally forgot about about about my wife back home and her sacrifices over the years. Matilda had just made me recall the good old days and after all I still loved her. I believed fate had gotten us together once again.
Tanyaradzwa sent me messages on my phone which I only opened but did not read. The few days I showed up at our home Tanyaradzwa tried to persuade to rectify the mistake I had decided to follow but she was actually talking to herself. I was the man and she not not tell me what was bad about my decisions.
As time progressed, I began to take turns with both my wife and my mistress. I would spend more time at my mistress’ place for she truly satisfied my conjugal needs. She was a typical African queen who knew to comfort her husband after long day’s work. Tanyaradzwa was also good at this also but Matilda had a peculiar way of doing it. She just made me feel like a king. I would just get home and lodge myself into bed and everything would be served to me in luxury. Matilda’s one room became paradise for me. It was even more comfortable as compared to my official home which had up to four bedrooms.
My family doctor called me and asked me to report to the hospital instantly. I had to drop everything I was attending to and rush to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, the doctor took me straight to the female wards. On our way to the ward he said to me, “she was lucky the maid was around.” I was surprised by his words and stopped on the way. “Who are we talking of here?” I asked him looking puzzled and my heart leapt when he said, “your wife Tom”. I began to sweat and asked a series of questions to which the doctor only said “calm down Tom”.
When we got to the ward he began to explain. “Tom, your wife could have lost the baby if she was not rushed to the hospital when she collapsed.”
“What?” I exclaimed, “who is pregnant here.”
Tanyaradzwa looked straight into my eyes and began to cry. “I tried to…to …to,” she stammered.
“To what,” I interjected with my voice raised and filled with rage.
“I tried to reach out to you but you did not…,” she paused and fell into tears again.
The doctor then called me to his office. He explained to me how Tanyaradzwa’s body showed signs of stress which was affecting the embryo which was developing in her. Therefore, she really needed to ease her body and mind. Unless she would comply with all instructions given she faced the risk of losing both the baby and her own life. I only cared about the fact that I was now to become a father so I had to be nice to her. I spent a few days with my expecting wife. I had learnt that Tanyaradzwa had conceived close to a month and half ago but wanted to make it a surprise on my birthday.
One lazy afternoon I decided to visit Matilda who had been longing for my attention since the day I moved back home with Tanyaradzwa. When I got to her home I found her taking a shower preparing to go out. Her phone beeped and a message flashed on the screen. It was a message from her phone her father and it read;
“How are you my dear daughter, hope you are well. How far have we progressed with our plan. I would like to applaud you for trapping that Tom Richards in the corner. However, we are running out of time so we need to move more swiftly with action. We never know what tomorrow holds for us. The earlier we slay this bull the better. Take care.
Your loving father, kind regards.”
I then scrutinised her phone and realised that she was actually planning with her father to snatch my businesses from my grasp. I figured out that he was doing this to avenge the termination of their partnership by my father.
I just picked up myself, left the house and disappeared into the mist. Tanyaradzwa called me but I was so ashamed to pick up the phone. To imagine that I had given a hard time at the expense of this devil who was after my assets. I then sent Matilda an email. I made it as simple and straight to the point as possible.
“Dear Matilda, it has been nice being with you. I would like to thank you for all the love but unfortunately we cannot see each other any more. I have to concentrate on my marriage now. Kind regards.”
I felt so embarrassed I when read the message to myself. I then said to myself, “concentrate on my marriage,” and then shook my head. I had made the worst mistake of my life. I deserted someone who really loved me and sought refuge in the devil’s nest.
I had a lot of questions that required answers but no one was there to respond. I visited my parents’ grave site at the Maitland cemetry with a grieving heart. As the rains poured on me I lay flat in between the two graves. I wept for hours asking father why he had to leave me falling into such a trap. “How could you have not told me of the tension between the two of you father,” I said facing my father’s tombstone. I thought he would answer me but he just kept silent. When the dark started pressing on me I then took to my feet and returned to my car. I did not want to be around people so I decided to book into a hotel. I checked my phone and realised that Tanyaradzwa had been calling all day. I began to interrogate myself in dismay. I had been fooled by Delilah’s and fell for it.
“How could I have not noticed this beast dressed in sheep skin!” I shouted as i hit my fist against the wall. I was going through an emotional breakdown. Temperatures began to rise and I saw dark cloud rush towards me. The next thing I remember is waking up surrounded by nurses and lights flashing direct at my face. I could not feel my body and my head was so heavy. It felt like I had weights draped over my head. They did whatever examinations they were running on me and I did not understand what was going. They then dosed with a certain drug that knocked me out for a whole day. It seemed like i had travelled into space. All surroundings were not ordinary except for one thing. There she was ataring at me. I saw Tanyaradzwa stretching her hand to me from the distant but i kept on moving farther away. She then called at me me and ran towards me but I began to fade from the picture. As I faded from the picture Tanyaradzwa began to cry sang a song that woke me up from the long sleep.
As soon as I woke up the nurse called the doctor who came over immediately. He ran some checks on me and then congratulated me. Congratulations sir, you are good to go home now. I instructed him to forward the bill to my company where it was to be addressed to my accountant. I was taken back to the hotel where I immediately checked out and returned home.
I was too ashamed to announce my arrival so I had to sneak in without Tanyaradzwa taking note of my arrival. Fortunately, she was doing some laundry in the laundry room when I got home so my plan was successful. I used my spare keys to open the door and went straight to the bedroom. After a few moments i heard Tanyaradzwa in such a low pitch.
“An empty street, an empty house a whole inside my heart. I wonder how, I why. I wonder where they are. The days we had, the songs we sang together…” These were the lyrics to a song tiltled “My Love” by the famous Westlife group. This was the same song she had sung in my dream back at the hospital. This got me wondering how such a coincidence was possible. The thought of how I had emotionally abused and desserted my loving wife pressed hard on me and I wept whilst she kept on singing with her sweet voice.
A huge magnetic force pulled me back to reality. The song had reignited my feelings for my wife. I had been the long lost prodigal husband and had returned home to wife. I had to set aside my pride and do the right thing. I found myself heading towards the laundry room but I had no idea how I was going to rectify my mistakes. I stood at the door and watched her spin the clothes with her soft hands which were shaking. Her physical appearance showed that she had seen better day. I moved towards her and picked both her hands and she stood upright.
When I looked straight into her eyes I saw my mother looking back me. I could not hold my tears from falling Tanyaradzwa also joined me. I held her so passionately and felt her heart beating so fast and heavily. .
“I am sorry…,” I said but before I could continue Tanyaradzwa held my shoulder.
She then whispered to me, “I understand sweetheart.” These words struck at me by surprise. I was shocked by her sense of ease when I was almost dissolved with shame.
It seemed like she had long waited for this day but I was surprised how she could just understand instantly. I went on my knees but she raised me immediately and took me back to the bedroom. We had the longest conversation in my life. She told me how she had sought religious guidance where she regained hope of me returning home. She had assured that whatever that was going on was a temporary phase and it was to be a lesson to all of us. Surely we learnt to stand by each other from that day onwards.
I still have this feeling that her name has something with her courage. She explained to me once that in her vernacular Tanyaradzwa means consoled. So to some extent there had been some foresight when she was given the name. Although she had lived in tears and sorrow she had not lost for joy in the future. She is now the fountain of joy in our family. We live happily with our beautiful pair of boys.