That evening when Lwazi arrived home, his mother had cooked the best chicken curry ever, accompanied by some Greek salad. The aroma filled the room and whetted everyone’s appetite.
“Pumpkin, have you set the table, dear?” asked Namhla happily humming a song as she walked into the dining room with the casserole dishes.
Lwazi was quiet.
“Come here Lwazi, come sit next to me. I cooked your favourite tonight,” Namhla called on her first born. She was trying everything to make him happy, to make him accept the new man in her life.
“You know what? It’s also Bheki’s favourite meal. See, you two have something in common,” she giggled like a little girl. Lwazi just looked at her blankly.
Mr Mbaza walked in holding Pumpkin’s hand playfully while she jumped up and down next to him.
“I made your favourite dish tonight, Love,” Namhla said, her arms wide to welcome his tender kisses.
Lwazi choked. He felt like he was being strangled. He suddenly felt sick.
“Are you alright, my boy?” Namhla came rushing to him but Lwazi pushed her aside and went straight to the bathroom. He never came back, because from there he slipped into his bedroom.
Lying on his bed, he cried. His heart felt crushed within his chest. He didn’t want to even think of the pain his mother would be in, if he were to show her the recordings and those damned pictures of her lover’s wandering ways.
“How do I save my mother from this man?” Lwazi could hear the laughter coming from the dining room, how Mr. Mbaza was sharing jokes and keeping everyone in stiches as they sat there eating. Then he heard footsteps walking towards his bedroom door followed by a knock on the door.
“Who’s that?” asked Lwazi.
Siviwe walked in, with his phone in hand.
“What do you want?” Lwazi asked him.
“I called my father,” answered Siviwe shyly. “When I came back from school I called him. I told him that Mama is going to get married.”
“What? Why did you tell him that? Are you out of your mind, kwedini?”
“I … I don’t know … I just wanted to see if he ever thinks about us,” Siviwe answered, looking at his phone and then he added, looking at Lwazi, his big brother, “He asked about you.”
“Mpfm! He can go to hell for all I care. I don’t want to talk to him. Now you can get out of my room.”
“Can I give him your number, then?” asked Siviwe.
“Hey! Get out of my room, wena kwedini!”
Without another word Siviwe ducked out of Lwazi’s bedroom.
The following week on a Saturday, Lwazi had to go and work at Tavola Dining Place, an Italian restaurant in the city centre where he worked sometimes as a junior chef. This was a popular place for tourists and men with big wallets.
It was a busy night and the restaurant was fully booked. The manager gave them a pep talk before the restaurant opened for dinner.
“We must have the people’s favourites like Caprese Salad, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Parmesan, and make sure we have a variety of our delicious pasta dishes. Come on, guys. Let’s do this.”
“No problem! I am on it right away. And for dessert we are still having Tiramisu as well, right, Boss?” asked Lwazi, proudly adjusting his white chef hat
“You bet! Of course,” said the manager, going to chat to the next chef in the busy kitchen.
It was a big night – there was even a live band that night – and everyone was excited.
An hour later, when Lwazi came to the front counter to check if the waiters were up to date with the orders he got the shock of his life.
“What’s up, buddy? What are you looking at?” one of the chefs tapped him on the shoulder.
“No! never mind, nothing. Where is the boss? Where is Mr Valentino?”
“I don’t know. Go check him in his office.”
Lwazi started sweating. He tried to compose himself while his colleagues asked him over and over what was wrong. Some thought maybe he had heard that someone in his family had died.
Then, without explanation, Lwazi took off his chef’s hat and rushed out of the restaurant. He jumped into Lwandile’s car that he had borrowed for the night and sped home.
Tell us: what do you think Lwazi has seen?