Pinky was running late, very late. Usually she only needed two taxis to get to Westville prison; one to town, and the second from town that dropped her off directly at the gate. However, due to the unexpected taxi strike today, she had no other choice but to rely on the bus. Unfortunately for her, the buses did not drive past the gate and there was already not much time left for visiting hours.
She swiftly got off the bus and sped up the hill until she reached the gate. She hastily walked inside the visiting hall, carrying a small basket. She found herself immersed in so much blissful pandemonium. Each table was occupied by men in orange overalls, cheerfully chatting away with their loved ones. From screaming babies on their mothers’ laps, to some church women praying loudly and waving their hands in the air, she was simply overwhelmed by it all. She had never seen this place with this much mayhem.
She carefully made her way around each table until the far end of the hall. She was a favourite amongst the wardens and they always made sure to reserve a spot for her. She sat down, put the basket on the table and gave them a brief smile and a wave. She was still catching her breath and trying to collect herself when S’bu tapped her on the shoulder. She got up and gave her brother a warm hug. She squeezed him so tightly, one could have easily thought it was the first time they were seeing each other.
He was facing four years behind bars for committing fraud. It was not his first time being on the wrong side of the law, but this was the most serious crime he was involved in. From the day of his sentencing, she promised to visit him every weekend. She was still feeling quite guilty though for not coming last weekend, and to make matters worse, she arrived today later than expected. Realising they were running out of time, they quickly sat down and held hands.
“How are you? Are they still treating you well?” She asked with glistening eyes.
“You forget that I am in prison and not a five star hotel, but I am alright. I was beginning to think you were not coming again. I heard about the taxi strike. Yini inkinga yabo vele manje? What is their problem this time?” He asked with a smile.
“S’bu akuve benesicefe, they are so annoying. This is the third one this month. It is still the same old – fighting over increasing the taxi fare. It is a good thing that I do not work on weekends because my uniform would have been all wrinkled up,” she said rolling her eyes.
“Instead of them making the public suffer, they should be raising their concerns with the taxi association. I am just glad you could still make it. How were you able to get here then? Who brought you here?” He asked giving her sister a wink.
She knew exactly what he meant with the wink, but chose not to entertain him. She pushed the basket towards him, trying to deflect.
“I bought you something to eat and some clean underwear. I could not get Stuyvesant Red this time around, you will just have to settle for the Blues until my next visit,” she said.
“Ngiyabonga sisi, thank you sister. I can always trade the Blues for something stronger with the other guys,” he said chuckling a bit.
“You know, instead of trading with the guys, you can simply quit. That is a much better option to be honest with you,” she said critically.
“You will never understand because you have never smoked a day in your life. It helps with the stress sometimes. Why are you refusing to answer my previous question? Who is the new nton’-nton’ of the month?” He asked now laughing at her.
“The bus, S’bu. That is who brought me here. That is my new nton’-nton’ of the month. The good, old green bus,” she said with a hint of annoyance in her voice.
“Sisi I am sorry, I was just teasing you. The thing is, you have always been upfront about your guys. I was wondering nje. Besides, I could never judge you – look at where I am right now,” he said shaking his head.
“S’bu, I, should be the one apologising. I am sorry for snapping at you like that. It is just that, the past two weeks have been so emotionally draining. I can no longer tell the difference between day and night – it is just all the same,” she said trying to fake a smile.
They intertwined their little fingers, looked at each other without saying a word. It was their way of consoling one another; they had done so since childhood. He knew his sister needed more time to get things off her chest, so he did not press her for an answer. Once she gathered her thoughts, she was finally ready to tell him what the matter was.
Tell us what you think: Do you think Pinky is still in love with Sipho?