Ooh, I saw her alright, there sitting at the bar, looking smashing. She was gorgeous, everything about her screamed classy. Her legs crossed over that powerful wooden chair, bringing brown elegance to its shadow. Her whisky glass kept turning and turning in her hand. Oh no, she was not the pink drinks type of girl, her attitude showed that she did not care, but all I wanted to do was care.
The men, they were circling alright but this was no snooker bar, there were no balls in sight. Cool, calm and confident the three c’s. If only she was a man. Oh, do not get me wrong, her looks didn’t even come close to a man’s, she was beautiful, body with the right curves. You would not say though that her beauty was in fashion no sir.
She was beautiful with African skin that was not dark or light, just the perfect shade of brown, lips round and thick and hair so black and strong and kinky it glowed in the light. She amazed me her, I just had to approach her.
I saw her approaching me from the corner of my eye. Radiant was the only term that came to mind. Her eyes were dancing as she approached me, she wanted to crack a smile but something was forbidding her. People were greeting her left, right and center. She was some sort of celebrity. I was confused wondering why she was coming towards me.
I was positive that I did not know her. She came from money, clothes were all designer labels. I just saw a doll from the beginning and I dreaded that moment when she came up to me. Why though? I initially thought we had nothing to talk about. I had to admit though her handbag was quality and there is something about a woman who knows how to pick a bag. She carries her life with style, oh well time is up she is here.
First thing I said to her was, “who got you sucking on that horrible drink.”
She looks up at me and down to her drink again and continues circling it. I look at the barman and say, “why didn’t you tell me she was deaf?” And saw a smile cracking her lips a bit.
She replies, “Only to a few I am, my hearing is reserved.”
We both laugh.
“Yamkela is the name, what’s yours?”
“Asante,” she replies.
“Are you South African?” I asked confused.
“Yes.” She laughs.
She had a beautiful voice. I could listen to it all night. Conversation was flowing. Politics was her main pleasure, but professionally she was an accountant. My evening was going far better than originally expected. Interest was sparking and I have never laughed so much.
Our worlds were not too different from each other. I forgot that I was supposed to be spending the evening with Dumisani. Oh crap Dumisani!
That night was beautiful. It was so much fun I felt like a teenager again. It was like Yamkela and I had been friends forever. There was instant sister connection. I know it sounds like a cliché, it was everything but that.
I moved here to be with Dumisani and he did not even bother pitching up to help me unpack my boxes in the penthouse. Not even one phone call to explain where he was. I waited for hours.
Asante and I are seeing a lot of each other lately. She is practically my sister now. We drink, eat do everything together, except work of course. Asante is a Charted Accountant, she is always telling me about the drama that takes place at her firm. She is a senior partner there, recently promoted.
She told me about a guy at her firm, Brandon. Brandon represented everything she hated, a white male judging her capabilities because she was female and black. He told the executives that they will not be a sellout to a BEE with a beautiful face. As she told me about Brandon, I found it funny but she was fuming. I remember that day because it was the first time I heard she had a boyfriend. He called and they talked and she told me she had to go meet him. I wondered who the great man that was blessed to date her.
Dumisani and I finally had a chat. He was nervous about something. He was awfully sweet; compliments were being thrown all over the place. Originally I thought he was making up for not being around, he had become so busy I hardly ever saw him.
His phone rang; he quickly put it on silent and in his pocket, even though I could still hear it vibrating in there. Whoever was calling; called about four times then it stopped. After thirty minutes or so he informed me that the call was an emergency at work and had to rush, he paid then left. I didn’t even spend two hours with him.
I sat there asking myself why he was not picking up. I was so tired of his games. Five years with him and still no ring, all he knows is how to cheat. Maybe I should write a script about him. Gosh he reminds me of my father, in and out all the time. I remember how my father told me I would never be anything. He told me I must do a real degree and stop wasting money after he found out I was doing an arts degree. Now I’m the queen of this industry, and sometimes Dumisani reminds me of him – constant emotional abuse and blackmail.
Gosh, I always wonder how I ended up with my father as boyfriend. With the constant yelling and fighting, sometimes I fear he might hit me. But I am so in love with him that the good times make me forget all that. Dumisani had a bit of a temper that I knew. Something did not sit right with me that day. After he left I called, no answer, then again I tried.
All I wanted to ask him is if he could come over after his emergency. He answered, straight away he said, “Told you I’m going to work dammit!”
Oh, no he didn’t. I felt my hands get warm; my heart was racing as if I had been running for miles. After everything, five years of a long distance relationship to be treated like this. I have been waiting for him; people are beginning to think something is wrong with me, even my family. I hear the whispers, Asante has a beautiful home, a car and a nice job that pays well but still no man or child. Something must be wrong she cannot keep a man. God you know township talk. I’m sure they busy making up horror stories on why I am not married. If only they knew I was waiting just as they are. I needed girl talk that very moment and went back to Yamkela’s place.
Dumisani got to my place fuming as hell, talking asking why I am blowing up his phone.
“I’m your girlfriend! I have every right to miss you.” I answered.
“No, you cannot just demand my attention, I was with a very important client and all that ringing made me look unprofessional. I looked like a fool.” He said annoyed.
I felt bad. I apologized and asked him what I could do to make it up to him.
“Just don’t call me, I’ll call you.” He said and left.
That caught me off guard. I could not believe the very same girl who promised herself she would not wait on any man was doing that very same thing. Our relationship was scheduled on his timing. He did not care about me he only tried to be controlling.
As I parked outside Yamkela’s place, I saw Dumisani’s car in the parking area. What was he doing here? Were they planning a surprise for me? Maybe he was finally ready to pop the big question and asked her to help him plan, but I never mentioned her to him.
As the elevator doors open into Yamkela’s penthouse, I heard voices, two in fact, they were arguing. I could swear that one of the voices belonged to Dumisani. My heart began racing again. I entered I looked at them. My face was pale as snow, trying hard to control my voice so it did not tremble.
“Dumisani, what are you doing here?” I said.
“What, you followed me?” he asked defensive.
His response was so cynical I nearly smacked him across the face. How dare he assume that, what type of woman does he think I am?
“You two know each other?” she said.
“Yeah that is my boyfriend.” I said.
“No, Asante that’s my boyfriend, been dating him since varsity.” She said
“Well then that is sad because I have been dating him since then too.” I said nearly in tears.
“You have been in Durban, who the hell do you think has been a better woman to him?” she said.
While we argued he walked out. I did not lose a man that day I lose a friend. After that we were enemies. He was good for nothing, but we fought for him. We were in competition with each other. How dare he pick her, what does she have that I don’t have? We began throwing each other’s secrets around compromising our relationship even further. We would not even greet each other if our paths crossed. I remember how we would eat from the same plate, sleep on the same bed. Watch movies together till the sun came up.
Dumisani was not even a big part of our lives but human nature had turned him into an object worth destroying our lives for. Rumors were spreading and they were catching fire one that we could never put out. Time spent together became memories. I fell into a depression, I felt like the walls were closing in on me. I had given up everything for this man. My chest was so heavy breathing became difficult. Tears were a constant end to my day. I was devastated and broken. I remember taking my graduation photo with Dumisani and shattering it into pieces. What happened to Yamkela? But what I do remember is that our lives got so consumed with the hate that we felt for each other. We were no longer fighting over him or for him. We were now fighting for that alpha female position. Oh my, that was one period of stupidity in my life.
Asante was one of a kind, intelligent, beautiful and classy. Dumisani made us forget that about ourselves that we were young, beautiful black women. We deserved to be fought for not to fight over men. If he could not see our value then why did we bother? We are sensitive creatures and deserved proper attention. I gave up something real for a passing moment. I was so hurt, so angry. I had wasted five years of my life. I felt betrayed by my man and my best friend. It was painful; I thought the whole world was collapsing around me.
I could hear the world whispering around me. It was like I had been exposed in the worst way. Writing the one thing that gave me joy began to irritate me. I was lost in limbo, had no idea which step to take next. I had exposed all Asante’s inner secrets that she had trusted me with and she had done the same with mine. Telling Dumisani of my past and that I was not really a good woman. How I had cheated on him back in varsity. I did not spare her too, I told about the abortion she had, the mean things she would say about him when they had been fighting. Our friendship was over, bridges were burnt there was no going back. We never talked again and I never shared this story until today when my daughter asked me to meet her best friend’s mother.
My daughter said to me, “I think you two will get along, she seems like your type of woman.”
Sadness came over me did my baby girl think I’m lonely, she felt the need to organize me a play date. At least I had raised a caring soul. I agreed and we went to the restaurant. After all these years fate had brought us back together again.
When I saw her, the dancing eyes had formed lines around them. I notice her take a deep breath when she saw me; her chest went up and down. She was still radiant, just that the artist had drawn a few more lines on her.
Asante was still stern, with a sharp dress sense still. Her black afro glowing as ever before and her wearing it like the crown it was. She was truly an African queen. This time she did not look at me from the corner of her eye. Her brown eyes looked straight into my eyes, cool, calm and collected.
That very moment tears swelled up in my eyes, I could not hold them back. They were flowing like two rivers down my face. Asante did not move one inch.
But I heard that voice again. “My hearing is reserved. I cannot hear people that cry.”
I replied,” Oh for a minute there I thought you were deaf.”
After all these years we were lucky to have our paths cross again. Perhaps this was a sign that true friendship always finds a way back to you.
Tell us what you think: Who do you think was in the wrond and why?