THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DAY
The night was gay, music playing at its loudest. It felt like it was already
the day but we still had a few hours before wedding o’clock. The elders
were sitting in one corner of the yard rotating the mug of beer around
them. They formed a semi circle around the blazing fire.
The sky was clear and the moon was full and so milky white. I walked
around the garden anxious about the following morning. It was going to
be the biggest day ever but my heart was not in place. I loved Paul but I
could not be with him anymore. He just could not understand that
things had changed now. He had been calling me all night begging me to
call off the wedding before he did something crazy. The thought of it just
did not allow me a peace of mind.
The night grew more and more cold with the wind blowing with ease in
all directions and everything was quiet. I would hear the owls hoot from
beyond the small bush and my heart started pounding faster. The real
fright caught me when I heard a sudden movement from behind. I came
to a halt and my feet felt so numb. I thought of screaming or running
away but I did not know what was going on behind me.
As I turned around I noticed a shadow approaching from my left. It was
followed by a high pitched voice, “There you are! We have been looking
all over for you.”
“Oh! Mother, it is you. I came out to have a feel of the garden
atmosphere one last time,” I responded to her with traces of surprise and fear also.
“Is anything a matter my dear, this is your home and will always be
“No mother, all is well. You never know where life would take you. Soon
after the wedding I will be joining Austin and I don’t know what will
We walk to the bench that is adjacent to the fountain in the garden.
Mother hugs me so passionately and we talk for over an hour in the
cold. She told me how to take care of my new family and always be good
to my husband all the time. She spoke on and on until I felt sleepy in her
arms. When I began to yawn that is when she decided we should go
inside and have some sleep. After all tomorrow was going to be a good
day and we really needed the rest.
As early as half past five I could hear the loud shouts from the other
rooms. Aunt is the most audible on top of others like always. She wants
everything to be in place before we leave for church. Aunt Jessie was
commanding everyone around; if you were told that it was her own
house you would believe her. Mother did not have to ask anyone to do
anything, that duty had already been taken.
Oh! I miss the old days with my family. They were all crazy but
interesting. They brought out the best in me all the time, especially my
sister Mildred. She would abandon her room on most nights to come
and gossip with me all night. We would giggle until father complained
that he had to wake up early for work the following morning. On some
occasions we would just fade of to sleep on top of the blankets and be
surprised when sunrise forced us to open our eyes. One day I woke up
with her foot under my nose and I almost had a taste of it when I
yawned lazily. Gone are the days with time.
Before I could think of Aunty Jessie was dragging me to the bathroom.
She treated me like a baby and I felt a little bit embarrassed although
the truth is I never wanted to bath. All this while I had not checked my
phone; everyone wanted me everywhere and I was kind of confused.
When I jumped out of the bathroom I ran to my room immediately.
There it was, sitting beside my pillow. My phone had a red light blinking
on its top right corner which served as a notification light. There were
twenty nine missed calls and one text message. The missed calls were
all by Austin and the txt was also from him.
I sat on the bed and read through the message. It was a good three
pages of appraisal sweet words to my heart. I felt I was really getting
married to my actual man. He really knew how to make me laugh even
from a distance away. I was just in love with Austin and I still cannot
explain it today. Believe me, I was in love. I hugged my phone as it was
Austin and held it close to my heart. I lay on my back looking at the
ceiling with this long smile.
Once again, my nagging aunt popped into the picture out of nowhere;
“Lisa! Time is running out and you are busy daydreaming.”
“Oh! Aunt how are you…” I skipped from my bed to make look as if I
She grabbed my phone and looked at its screen. She shook her head and looked at me. “Are you sure this boy did not consult a sangoma for your
I burst out in laughter and replied, “No aunt, I just love him. He makes
me happy and I feel special by even just thinking of him.”
“Okay then,” she said shrugging her shoulders. “Come on now, let us go
and have you prepared.”
This was the day when Mildred had the utmost pleasure to work her
magic on my face. I hated make up but for the occasion I had to give in
for a facial uplift. Mildred always asked if she could apply make-up on
my face but I always declined the offer. On my wedding day I had no
option and I could see her face filled with great joy. At last, on her
sister’s face she was applying make-up. Thanks to the wedding I
I could say Mildred was good at her make-up kit and did best at
choosing the different tones. For a moment I could not recognize myself
when she was done. I took a glimpse at the mirror and I was so
astonished. I was nothing else but of sublime beauty. Automatically, I
just turned and gave her a so passionate hug. This was the best wedding
gift I could have ever asked of her.
It was now time to put on the best armor of the day, the one that
differentiated me from any other lady present on that day. My unique
outfit was as white as winter snow, dominated by some glitters which
made it so attractive. The bottom was flurry and so broad that it was
difficult to walk normally. I had to adopt a funny step which I did not
know where it came from but was helpful. When I stepped out of the
room everybody went “WOW!” A series of compliments ensued and I
had this teeth smile which exposed my well brushed teeth. I was so
overwhelmed with support my family was giving me and I almost cried.
However, I had to contain the tears because I could not afford to spoil
the sweat of Mildred on my face.
At church everyone else was waiting for us when we arrived. Austin and
the other family and friends were already in the church hall when we
got there. I walked down the aisle hanging my arm around my father’s
arm. At the end of the path he handed me over to Austin who was
squatting clapping so that my father would release his daughter into
another man’s arms. That happened and the reverend took over now.
As the reverend was proceeding something happened. The whole hall
was quiet and he said, “Is there anyone who wants to object this
union…if there is none you may forever hold your peace.” A short
silence followed but the worst followed thereafter.
At that moment none other than Paul checked in. “I do!” he shouted with
a gun in his right hand. He made one shot to the ceiling and started
moving towards the front of the room. I hid behind Austin but he kept
“Come with me Lisa, you know we belong together.”
“No Paul, I don’t love you!” I shouted back at him and he was just three
steps away from us.
Austin tried to react and fight but all of a sudden there was another
mysterious shot. Nobody knew what had happened but Austin’s white
shirt was turning red. He had been shot. A group of hooligans with bug
guns filled the room and started shooting at the roof. Paul aggressively
held me by right arm and dragged me by my right hand. Everyone was
lying flat and I was taken away by the monster Paul.
WHO WAS PAUL?
Obviously, you understand Austin was the man who I was supposed to
tie the knot with on my wedding day. That was before the horror from
the beautiful past came into the picture.
Paul was a handsome well built gentleman. His beard ran down his
round cheeks and around his mouth they formed a horse shoe shape.
His figure was so amazing and irresistible, with the broad shoulders,
muscular chin, large chest with his two breasts showing from within his
shirt. He was not so tall and not short but just average height. Wow!
That was a real man.
I was tempted to go out with him when I met him one day on my way
from town. He gave me a lift in his posh Mercedes and I felt so lucky. By
this time Austin had been away for close to three years whilst at
Harvard University studying for his philosophy degree in law. Paul
spoke so softly with great ease in his voice. I even admired the way he
held the steering and how he changed gears. At one point I wished he
could just miss the gear lever and land his hand on my thigh. If this
could have happened, I tell you, I would have melted like ice placed on a
hot stove. The thought of Austin evaded my mind without any
hesitation. When Paul asked me to marry him I gladly accepted and was
so happy. We decided to take it step by step until everything was in place.
TWO YEARS AGO.
Everything was going perfectly well and this is when everything turned
upside down. Just like I was used to visiting Paul most of the times at his
home, on night I decided to go and sleep over. The only difference was I
pitched in unannounced.
What my eyes were received with was a total insult to my conscience.
The same lady he introduced to me as his cousin was the one sitting on
his chest. He was lying on the couch with his hands caressing her whole
body. I do not know why I screamed but I found myself rushing out of
the house in tears. There was no explanation to be made here. Actions
had been more audible than words could try explaining. I went home
and cried my sorrows out.
The following morning I packed my stuff and visited aunt Jessie in the
next town. I stayed there until Austin Returned back home in Harare.
That was when I also returned to Harare. As my aunt had advised me, I
was honest with Austin and told him all that happened and he was kind
enough to forgive a poor soul like me. From there he started planning
our wedding without me knowing. Both his family and mine worked
towards this surprise and it was only made known two me two months
before the day. Unfortunately, the news accidentally landed in Paul’s
ears too. He started calling me endlessly, where he got my contact
number I could not tell. I told Austin that Paul was giving me a hard time
which got him so furious. Later on I regretted ever telling because
something not interesting happened. Austin looked for Paul and they
argued although he had no intentions to fight with the latter. Paul
ganged up with his boys on Austin and left him unconscious.
We were later called to come and collect him at Parirenyatwa hospital
where some Good Samaritan had taken him. This is when I realized I
had once associated with a murderer. Witnesses said the man who had
attacked my fiancé had been well known for bullying other men and
boys around town. Rumor also had it that two boys, three men and one
girl had been victims of their devilish hands. I was so sorry for getting
Austin into such a mess. Infidelity from my own side had stirred trouble
in my life.
We reported the case to the police but Paul vanished into thin air. The
whole one and half months he had been in hiding and decided to show up on my wedding day.
As he dragged me out of the hall I broke out of his grasp and ran to
Austin who was lying figure on the floor. I held him in my arms but he
said nothing. His eyes remained open and I felt the pierce under my left
breast. It was so sharp and tears streamed down my cheeks. All of
Mildred’s make-up was fading away.
“If you do not want to cooperate we will do it my way then,” said Paul as
he lifted me and hung me over his left shoulder. I felt the bump in my
stomach every moment his feet struck the ground. His gang followed
behind and everyone else was still scattered on the floor of the hall.
The moment we got outside everybody burst into a deep but great cry. I
can now say I understand the huge cry in Egypt when all the first sons
were struck by death. They must have cried as loud as my mother when
she ran and saw me locked up in a Jeep tears all over. I saw her scream
as Paul drove off from the church premises. He took us to his house
where he held me hostage. He called my father from there and gave him
“The address I just gave you old man is where you will find your
daughter and I. One more thing, see you in the next life if Allah permits.”
“Oh! You are Muslim?” I exclaimed in surprise. “You lied to me once
Everything was confusing now. What else did I still have to know about
Paul on this dark day. Misfortune had found me on this day. My
happiness had been turned into sorrow. I saw Paul injecting himself on
the hand. I did not understand what was going on.
“Do you do drugs also?” I asked him but I seemed to be talking to myself.
He went on his feet filling the syringe again and started coming my way.
He prepared my arm so nicely and injected me also. I was already weak
and I could not retaliate. He then sat beside and started talking to me so
“You know Lisa I wanted to make you happy but you were so stubborn.”
He held his gun to my face and said “now, you will die in my arms”
I felt my heard spinning and a drowsy feeling took hold of me. After that
nothing else was of the world, I was now no longer part of the living
I had died.