Lwazi had become a man, according to the Xhosa custom, but his father had not contributed, not a cent, to the occasion. The pain was made worse because the lady his father left his mother for was from the same street where they lived. The young lady, who was not even five years older than Lwazi, had taken his mother’s place. This was sickening to Lwazi. It made his blood boil with anger but his mother had warned him to stay out of their business. She would scold him: “Awungeni ndawo Lwazi, this is between me and your father.”
Lwazi had seen how his mother was torn apart by the divorce. He had seen her with swollen eyes from crying. He had heard her praying to God to bring her husband back, the father of her children. But seemingly that prayer was not to be answered.
“I wonder if this young lady really loves my dad or she is just after his money? Why would she fall for a man old enough to be her father?” Lwazi’s mind worked overtime. The way he missed his father could not be expressed by words.
Though things were not rosy, there was love and peace at home. Lwazi got used to staying with just his mother and his siblings. For him that was okay. In his eyes, his mother was fine. Or was she?
She was happy to be providing well for her children but she desperately needed someone to love. It had been eight years of living on her own, and five since the divorce was finalized. The loneliness was overwhelming. She was in her early forties and still beautiful and radiant. Suitors were coming from all directions, and she was struggling to choose which one was the right one. As hard as it is to find love, eventually, after a few misses, she found one. So she thought.
One evening after a delicious meal prepared by Lwazi, Namhla called all of her kids to the lounge.
Lwazi looked at his mother with a smile. She seemed nervous and uneasy. He wondered why she had called them together. Was she sick? Maybe she and their father had resolved their issues and father was coming home? He waited eagerly. Namhla composed herself, her face changing colour as if she was about to announce the passing of a dear one.
“So Ma, we are all here. What’s up? Shoot!” Lwazi said.
“No, don’t worry. It is not a bad thing, my boy. Actually it’s good news,” she said, trying to force a smile. Her hands were shaking.
Lwazi had noticed a change in his mother recently. He had heard her humming songs as she went about with her daily chores, which was something new.
Only last Sunday she had taken her kids for a treat to have lunch at Mac D, which was unusual.
“Maybe she got a promotion at work?” Lwazi’s constantly working mind was already jumping to conclusions about the unspoken reasons for his mother’s happiness. “Oh Lord, I pray she and dad are coming back together again,” he prayed silently.
“You are my children and I don’t want to do anything without telling you,” she started to speak but hesitated, sitting down on the couch.
“What is it, Mama? Tell us now please,” said Pumpkin, munching on a chocolate bar and changing the TV channel to her favourite one.
“Okay listen, guys. I will not hide this from you anymore: your mother has met someone,” she said. Her eyes darted from one child to the next but they lingered on Lwazi, the eldest, the man of the house. Maybe it was because of the sudden frown on his forehead. He flashed his mother a horrified look as if she had said someone in the family had died.
“You what? Oh Mama!” Those words came out of his mouth without even thinking.
“Yhoo! So you mean you are going to get married?” asked Pumpkin playfully, with a silly girlish smile on her face.
There was silence in the room. Namhla looked down, trying to hide the fear she had inside her.
Siviwe came and sat next to her. “So … so you are going to leave us alone here?” his voice was wet with tears.
“No! no, my child! I am not leaving you. I would never do that,” she said pulling him closer to her. She brushed his roughly done hair.
“As I was saying Lwazi, I met someone and I want you all to meet him. He is going to be your father now and I want you to treat him with great respect. He is a good man.”
Lwazi stood up and walked to his room.
Tell us: Do all kids of divorced parents feel the same when their parents meet new partners?