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Innocent Accident

INNOCENT ACCIDENT


By Steve Kumalonje
Time is a great savage! I am of age now and as anticipated by all and sundry in the village, it is that time I tied the knot like the rest of the girls at a great and terrific wedding to be officiated by Reverend Father Ignatius at the nearby St. Augustine Catholic Parish.
From a distance I listen to the enduring echo of the bells, with the Parish Choir calling out in a ceaseless, resonant petition for prayer. Amazing grace, how great thou art, to thee I lift my soul! I meditate deeply and marvel at the human heart’s capacity to be moved by something as simple as music.
“Nabanda, when are we escorting you to the altar?” Dad breaks the silence in his usual grave tone, perspiration dripping from his big forehead in large drops and his eyes red and hot with ‘one-for-the-road’ which he must have been offered on his way home. The scorching kambuzi which he keeps applying in his plate of pork doesn’t do his ogles any good either.
All along mother has stirred restlessly on the mat where we are seated, her eyes sore with sadness. She is a very astute and natural observer, that I must admit, and she does not miss a trick from anyone. It is as if she knows I have a deep secret that is about to explode in her cute face.
Concurring with her loyal hubby, o’mama jumps in and asks heatedly: “What is wrong with you my daughter? Can’t you find yourself one, of all the handsome and very charming suitors who are enthusiastic to place a ring on your finger? Or do you want to find yourself a President or a Cabinet Minister of this petite and wretched nation as a suitor? That should surely be an empty and senseless dream, a mere fantasy.”
In a double act, they conspire to take me, their only treasured daughter, to task over dinner for bringing unto them shame in the whole village instead of coating their faces with pride.
“When are you giving us lovely kids to amorously call us grand parents? The thing about kids is that they make one complete in case you don’t know or have deliberately forgotten.”
“For Christ’s sake, what’s all this fuss about?” I feel a lump developing in my throat.
Altar, pride, suitors, grandparents- I am sapped of energy instantly and of an outright answer but like a statue, I roll my big eyes and laugh silently inside.
Nevertheless, I develop my own conspiracy of silence to them for it is too early for me to open the can of deadly worms. How I wish o’baba and o’mama knew theirs is but a sheer imagination for whatever they are looking forward to died a natural death seven years ago. When will they realize that some things in life are just an illusion?
Like a Poor Clare noviciate I ably manage a disciplined restraint, holding my tongue in its scabbard rather than speaking the truth and running the risk of killing mother and father with Blood Pressure. “Worry kills,” I remember my junior secondary school teacher saying. It takes away one’s self esteem, it slows you down to the point you even forget to breathe!
Thinking is different to knowing. I will let them hallucinate and think happy thoughts, about me and about themselves, for now. Doing or saying anything to the contrary at the moment will be tantamount to spoiling their great anticipation.
One precious thing I should point about my parents is that they wanted me to have an education, and they made me study when the other girls in Chiyendausiku and the surrounding villages were getting pregnant and marrying men as old as their grandparents. Others ended up destroying themselves with chemically induced abortions upon getting unwanted pregnancies. They are all facing village life in reality with its demands.
***
I will tell you something for nothing today. The dream to find someone and love them for better or for worse lost its perfect lucidity seven years ago when my form four head girl at Rivirivi Girls Secondary School had invited me to her spacious room one weekend evening where we talked and gossiped about notable developments at our school, about relationships, about democracy and politics and about life in general.
“…Speaking of these pigs we call men, learn to keep yourself away from them. These rats of creatures only want one thing, and once they get it from you they will be fast on their way. They bolt within a fraction of a second once they have achieved their agenda, leaving you desperate and dumb-founded.”
“Do not risk it then. Do not give men a damn. Do not give them an inch for they will take a mile. Don’t you dare offer them a piece of your heart! They are but great time wasters,” the head girl had driven the point home, exposing wild and contradictory currents of life that ran through her soul.
“...Just take a closer look at a majority of marriages these days. They wear at a person until the only thing left is a body that is simply going through the emotions. Goddamn men! It all boils down to what they want. My own elder sisters are a testimony to this. Their husbands’ sex escapades are well known and well documented all over the place.”
“I, therefore, vowed to be totally different from my wretched sisters, not to be a victim of emotions and fears, and to follow a completely distinct path albeit the consequences and bloody condemnation.” Her eyes were cold and hard.
I tried not to let my mind wander to different places and personal experiences. I wanted to stay in touch with the moment but to no avail. I thus conjured up good and bad memories of the young men I had dated before. There was Limbani in the first place, then Ndatsalapati and after him came Kelvin and later Lulu. They were all bloody crocodiles of men, big time players and liars.
I realized Flavia’s sentiments were not very far from the truth. There was substance and some wisdom in there. A hundred failures would definitely not matter if one success could change history. My body eventually shook with rage and the need for retaliation.
Sweet Flavia is a stunning creature in every sense of the word I should say- an angel of some sort- and she had a stellar academic reputation the whole of Rivirivi which made lots of girls and some youthful male teachers strike some kind of chord with her. We had fondly crowned her Miss Rivirivi at secondary school and she has always been bubbly, good-humored, a bouncing ball of energy and enthusiasm ever since.
And suffice to say she has always had a sexy and very appealing figure- the one every man would want to have for themselves, to stroke at their own  convenient time the deliberately provocative plump buttocks which keep bobbing up and down under the folds of her chitenje.
Perhaps it is the very same qualities which I possess which drew her to me. Talk of birds of the same feathers!
“You know what dear? In this day and age, people no longer use sex for love, marriage, commitment, and intimacy. They use it for a variety of reasons; promotion at work, admission into public university, favor to attain an appetizing grade in an assignment, you name them all...”
“So why stay miserable waiting for the misery when you can in the mean time relax and be happy?” she threw the question at me as if reading my mind.
That evening the head girl had offered seduction, lavish, murky and mysterious. As a result, I had felt the conflicting powers of shock and pleasure driving the blood through my veins. The first of many times and I went along with the game readily. The process of change in me became faster and faster and I could hardly hear myself think.
As Flavia whispered, kissed, explored and caressed, fear gave way to arousal, which prepared my body for its sensitive delight. I could not help floating on the cutting edge of pain and pleasure.
My own response to Sweet Flavia’s kiss took me by surprise that evening. My eager mouth hungrily sucked her tongue. Her nipples poking out of the flimsy material, my hand unbuttoned her top and unfastened her bra while the other made its way into her skirt. We both moaned our arousal and we moved together in synch.
“I know that you are surprised in a lot of ways but this is the way I am, the exact way I feel things should be between the two of us. Call it an innocent accident but there is always a first time for everything and nothing can alter the deep feelings that I have for you,” enigmatic Flavia said softly while leaning over and giving me a kiss- a long, lasting kiss. My body felt hot all over again.
That was the beginning of the end to my sexual orientation- the one the church admonishes as the road to hell, the one the society proscribes as taboo. Since that moment the idea to get a man and call him my lover has never ever crossed my mind. Frankly I do not have any feelings for any man save alone for sweet Flavia, now a chartered accountant with one of the reputable Banks in town.
Mind you this is not the spiritual-husband thing you hear self-acclaimed prophets foretelling in synagogues. Rather it is genuine in every sense of the word. I am but head over heels in love with a fellow girl. Sweet Flavia demands my best, she engages my soul. No man has ever come close to this before.
Flavia’s face is always before me, like a flaming torch, lighting up my new found path and protecting me against the great and little scratches the world inflicts. With her intimately close to me, I am at peace with the world.
Of course there are lots of intelligent and educated men in the world who would sacrifice everything for me; take me out, and buy me classy things but still it would not make me happy in the long run. Behind their handsome faces and enchanting smiles, there looms nothing but trouble. And someone rightly said you don’t have to trouble trouble and trouble won’t trouble you. Yes, the charming ones are usually trouble and I will never ever allow myself to be a victim of their disorder.
***
It is all written in the stars that every parent somehow somewhere in the course of life dreams of a daughter/son-in-law and grandchildren who will amorously call them granny. Well, that will not give us any headache. We patched the pieces together and came up with a distinct solution.
Why not just adopt or find a male donor and pay them handsomely for their sperm which either of us will have inseminated at home? Ha! Ha! Ha! It is a crazy world we live in, isn’t it?
I am yet to reveal my sexual orientation to mum and dad and of course to the whole wild world but when the time is right for me, I will. There is no hurry in Africa, so they say. It is like time stands still here, yet life goes on all around. At the mean time, we are in the thick of things planning privately our captivating engagement whose date will be announced in due course.
I do not want to be running and hiding for the rest of my life. I surely don’t want to be looking over my shoulder for fear of being laughed at and looked down upon by the society at large as a renegade girl on the verge of insanity.
It is evident tongues will wag and a litany of blame will follow as if we have hacked someone to death. We don’t care that much for we are not in this alone. Such innocent accidents are bound to happen anyway, whether by default or design.

Steve Kumalonje is a cop currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Culture and Communication at Chancellor College.

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