She stood by the doorway of the bedroom that we had dubbed the ‘girls’ room’ and spoke in measured tones, expelling each word carefully as if it was important to get the words out in their right order.
There was uncharacteristic hesitation in her speech, as though she knew these were the right words to say but that saying them was the wrong thing to do.
She sounded conflicted but resolved.
“I am going into town right now and when I come back, I want to find you gone. Take your pregnancy to its owner. I don’t want to see you in this house again. Is that clear?”
It’s been too long for me to remember my exact response to that but I am sure I said something like “Alright” or “Yes, I will” or “Okay”… I don’t know.
Perhaps I said nothing.
Perhaps I was too shocked and numbed at that point to think of an appropriate response to this woman who had been all but surrogate mother to me for the six years I lived under her roof.
Some memories lie buried deep under layers of greater events, more imposing struggles and instances of excruciating suffering which dwarf everything else that preceded them.
So my recollection of these particular events is neither sharp nor precise, merely a hazy outline of what I remember to have happened and now, after so many years, what remains are broad stroke reminiscence of pains that have long ceased to matter.
What I remember is that it was 12 July, a Monday in the year 2004 – a solid decade ago and so much has happened in my life since then as to render these events relatively mild in magnitude but not in consequence.
I was three and a half months pregnant and had been back home for just three days on semester break after writing my first year examinations at the University of Zimbabwe where I was student.
The circumstances under which I wrote those exams require a whole blog to outline, suffice to say that, I had been hit by a car along Harare’s Rotten Row the previous month and suffered injuries to my hip joint rendering me unable to walk.
I had written my examinations after being carried on the backs of fellow students from one exam room venue to the next – but that’s a story for another blog.
On this Monday of 2004, I was being kicked out and I had no clue how I was to walk from the house of my uncle where I had lived since I was 14 to my boyfriend’s home which was about 15 minutes walk away.
For starters, my hip hadn’t really healed so I had trouble walking – it hurt incredibly to even move, let alone attempt to carry my bags and measly belongings and present myself at my boyfriend’s doorstep claiming refuge for myself and the baby I was carrying.
As fate would have it, one of my dearest friends from High School whom I had not seen in over a year had returned to Zimbabwe and called to say she was coming over to visit me and catch up.
I remember telling her that visiting me was not a good idea because I had just been ordered to vacate the premises and I wasn’t even sure if I would be welcomed at my boyfriend’s home.
I don’t think I cried that day.
Maybe I had known and expected this course of action from my aunt – that kicking me out was what the average parent or guardian does under the circumstances.
Anyway, I packed what I could and my heart was aggrieved at all the piles of cherished novels and books I could not take with me.
I had no idea how exactly I would walk to my boyfriend’s house and my aunt had not specified what time exactly she would be returning from town so I had no clear sense of deadline, only the knowledge that I was no longer welcome there.
The answer came in the form of my friend, Kisha, who showed up at the door even after I had warned her that she might not be met with a warm welcome as I myself had now become persona non grata.
She showed up regardless of the fact that she had just arrived from a grueling 12 hour journey from SA and hadn’t even seen me in over a year.
She showed up because that’s what real friends do when you’ve gotten yourself into trouble – they show up.
It was Kisha who carried the luggage and it was Kisha who bore the weight of my body leaning against hers for support.
It was Kisha who made jokes about the situation, made me laugh so hard that although it took me double the time to get to my boyfriend’s home – I wasn’t in a state of despair.
It was Kisha who saw me off to what would become my premature marriage to a very young man of 23 that I was madly in love with.
What should have been the worst day of 2004 was saved only because a wonderful friend of mine showed up and for that I am grateful.
I don’t know how I would have made it without her, Kisha has a habit of ‘showing up’ especially when the going gets tough.
This blog is to say (in many words) that I love you and I am so thankful you showed up when you did.
There are thousands of memories I have of you and countless acts of kindness you have bestowed upon me but somehow – I remembered 12 July 2004.
Thank you Confie.