For me, there are two moments in the relationship with men I have loved (and yes, I had already loved a few) that brought me closer to understanding love.
The one moment is rather unusual: when our eyes first meet. How does he behave at that moment of accidental eye contact? Is there a glint of awareness that I could be the one? Did he pretend that I wasn’t there at all? Or was he apologetic that he had intruded into my personal space? Does he stand still and admire the true nature of my womanhood?
Or did he swing his head away faster than Wayde van Niekerk, our sprinting legend? Well, Nhlanhla passed the ‘first encounters,’ test with flying colours as he fixed his eyes on me. In fact, in those seconds, I thought I was the one on the back foot.
The second moment is quite messy. Some call it the defining moment. Sex. Yes, it is the moment of ecstasy during orgasm: not mine, but his.
Did he lose himself, or was he playing to the gallery? Was he too eager? Was he what I call ‘a mushy marshmallow’ type of guy who screams, ‘weMa! WeMa!’ accompanied by muddled phrases of, ‘I love you. I love you. You’re the Queen of Africa’. (Okay, I added the last bit just nje because I can.)
I prefer my man to be slow and deliberate, the fewer the words, the better. Well, that’s just me. Don’t judge. Nhlanhla ticked all the right boxes.
“So you like this new guy? Who is he, by the way?” Thandeka enquired on the Monday morning after Nhlanhla had left the settlement.
So, I told my sister the whole story – okay no, I edited out some parts of me enjoying sex with him. I did confess, though, that for me, “It was love at first sight”.
I didn’t trust my sister with my boyfriends anymore. One minute a guy came home to visit me, and the next he is chatting up my sister! I had learned my lesson: ukubona kanye ukubona kabili. Once bitten, twice shy.
It wasn’t long before Nhlanhla invited me to meet his family, a sure sign that I had moved up the ladder. Soon, I am going to be referred to as ‘uMam’, I told myself. You watch this space!
The next thing I knew, I was pregnant with our firstborn. Nhlanhla was so happy that there and then he announced that he would be sending abakhongi (lobola negotiators) before the tummy would show.
I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. We named him Vusumuzi, meaning ‘the one who will keep our family name alive’.
Just before our son started at my crèche, Nhlanhla finished paying lobola in full. Over the years, we had done all the pre-marital Zulu ceremonies, such as the exchange of gifts known as izibizo and umbondo respectively.
The only remaining ceremony was umabo which is the delivery of bespoke gifts ordered by the groom’s family on the day of the traditional wedding. Oh yes we also had plans for a white wedding. Interestingly, the cows were yet to be collected from his home, now in Ulundi.
Nonetheless, I was already calling myself Mrs Mncube. Aah, it had a nice ring to it. I loved Nhlanhla with every fibre of my being, even though, like all couples, so I thought, we had the, akukho muz’ ungathunqi ntuthu moments. Relationship ups and downs.
But nothing too serious, to me. So, can you blame me for thinking myself as good as married to Nhlanhla, after all this?
Tell us: Do you think she is correct that she is as good as married, and has a right to call herself Mrs Mncube?