Duma had just started enjoying his retirement after serving many years in the government working as a civil servant. He had built his family a huge house in Khayelitsha with a nicely- manicured lawn in the front. He busied himself every weekend, watering the lawn with a long hosepipe connected on the tap mounted at the back of his house, while seated on a wooden stool, downing bit by bit a bottle of Castle Lager.

Occasionally he would raise his head to greet and wave his hand to the people passing by the street. Sometimes he would be seen walking around in the garden with a sharp-pointed stick in his hand, poking the soil, removing the weeds threatening the growth of his evergreen garden. He was what every man in the township aspired to become.

He had a very big, happy family. Thando, his first born, was now a qualified Motor Mechanics Engineer at Nissan, assembling motor cars. She had moved to the suburbs but still visited her family during weekends and holidays. She was now a mother and had just given birth to a baby girl. His second born, Amanda, had joined the business corporate, doing Chartered Accounting articles at the Anglo-American Corporation.

She was still single and had moved to the city centre, staying in the flats. Amandla, the last born and the only boy was the only one still staying at home with his parents. He was in his final year at City Varsity, studying towards his diploma in Creative Writing. He was on the highroad to success and everyone expected him to shine in the world of words.

On this weekend, Duma woke up and went through his usual routine work. After watering his garden, he went straight to take a cold shower. While taking his shower, his son, Amandla, washed his Toyota Tazz, polished the wheels and left it spotless and shining in the sun. He enjoyed greatly doing these errands for his father because he was generous to him, lending him his car sometimes when he was going out with his friends.

Duma cropped his Afro hair nicely, put on his corduroy jeans, the color of coffee, and his crisply ironed beige shirt. He was immaculately dressed. Before he left the house, he kissed his wife on the cheek to say goodbye and promised to come back early after visiting his friend in Bongweni, situated near Site C in Khayelitsha.

When he arrived, he found his friend closing the gate, coming from the nearby tavern to buy beers. He parked his car on the street and locked the doors before he left. When they got into the house, they were welcomed with the tantalizing smell of sizzling sausages in the sauce pan on the burning hot stove. They drank their beer, sitting down on the worn-out couches, whilst his friends’ wife busied herself with the cooking in the kitchen.

They were chatting and laughing, catching up from the last time they had seen each other. Now and then the conversation lapsed into the stories that happened at their former work place. They were served the food and Duma delved into the dish with much relish. His friends’ wife had cooked a delicious meal. While eating, Dumas’ friend scoured through the TV channels and they were running ceaselessly boring insurance adverts which they listened listlessly to as they ate. There was nothing interesting to watch on the TV so they resolved to go to the nearby tavern after they finished consuming their food.

The Tavern was a garage converted into a tavern. It was here where Dumas’ dream of enjoying his retirement with his family was crushed. It was killed the very moment his eyes set on the tavern owner. He kept staring at her hips swinging and swaying unapologetically as she made her way into the house to fetch the beer they had ordered. When she handed him his cold beer, she feigned a shock expression at the sight of seeing him.

She passed him a compliment on his handsome looks, while playfully stroking his shoulders. He felt aroused, a bulge forming on his jeans, something that had not happened to him in ages. He did not say anything, he just smiled shyly. He was completely helpless. She had an overpowering grip over him.

It did not take many days before they started corresponding with each other. He fell madly in love with her and in return she lavished him with love.

Dumas’ wife unearthed his dirty secret and she confronted him one afternoon. Duma stormed out of the house but not before causing a scene. They quarreled from the bedroom and out on the streets where Dumas’ car was parked. He shouted at his wife on the streets to the cheering and jeering crowd on the streets.

“You are proud for nothing with that watery and smelling rotten cunt of yours,” he had said.

It was such wild utterances which left the elderly shell-shocked. They could not believe their ears. It stabbed the heart of his wife and children. His wife cried uncontrollably. She fainted on hearing these words. She dropped down to the ground slowly as the power was petering out of her knees. The crying had seeped out all of her energy and these words were like bullets sent ricocheting and hit her straight on her chest. Her neighbour had rushed to her, fanned her with her wrapper and helped her into the house.. when the need aroused and he was to pay for this gross mistake he made.

After causing a scene, he packed his bags and drove off, never to step his foot again in his house. He moved in with his newly found girlfriend and shunned his family. His family never forgave him.

No sooner he moved in than the tavern was shut down. He argued that with his pension fund he could afford to look after her very well. They would live in peace without the disturbances of the drunkards knocking at the gate at wee hours of the day, making noise and peeing over the walls of her house.

They stayed happily for four years but Duma was to live miserably until he met his death. A stroke struck him one day and he was left paralyzed the entire left side of his body. He could not walk or talk, couldn’t even eat; his girlfriend had to feed him. The only thing he could do was to stare without being able to utter a single word. And his last few years were like an eternity

His girlfriend did everything for him during the first days but she started to bring her male friends to the house mostly during month end when his pension money had come. They would drink and when they got drunk and horny, they would quickly disappear into the bedroom or bathroom. These guys would pound on his girlfriend and she would be moaning with pleasure while the wheelchair-bound, Duma, writhed with anger. After enjoying their sex they would rejoin him in the sitting room, laughing at the secret jokes they shared which Duma knew nothing of.

During the first days Duma would cry uncontrollably, struggling to come to terms with his condition and the situation he had fallen into. It ate him and he started to lose a lot of weight. He died one day in his sleep after two years of enduring gruesome pain. It was only then when his family came to bury him and part ways with his dead body. He died a very sad man.

The End


Tell us: Why do you think Duma fell in love and left his family?