Lungile steps out of the Uber and takes a deep breath. Finding the strength to leave the house today has taken great courage. She watches people walking about in the city. She wishes she had their confidence, happiness and purpose.
She takes another deep breath and wills herself to find the strength and energy to walk through the door of Devours Eats. She looks inside, through the glass door. Menzi is at his favourite corner table. Her heart is overcome with emotion when she sees him, looking good in jeans, T-shirt and jacket.
Lungile inhales Menzi’s cologne from a few tables away. His gold watch gleams.
“Hello, my love,” Lungile smiles.
“Hi,” Menzi says, without looking up at Lungile. His gaze is on the menu he is reading.
“Why is your greeting so cold, Menzi? Aren’t you glad to see me?”
“I am,” says Menzi. He is still looking at the menu.
“Menzi, can’t you look at me at least?”
Menzi slaps the menu down on the table. His stare doesn’t have even a tint of love when he finally looks into Lungile’s eyes. “Lungile, just tell me the truth once and for all. Just put me out of my misery.”
“What are you talking about, my love?”
Menzi shakes his head. “Is there someone else, Lungile? Do you have a new boyfriend?”
Lungile is taken aback. “No, Menzi! No. It’s nothing like that.”
“So why don’t you have time for me anymore? Why are you no longer answering my calls?” There is pain and confusion in Menzi’s eyes.
“I have a lot on my plate. I have … I don’t know what to …”
“Then why don’t you tell me about these many ‘things on your plate’? Why don’t you tell me what is going on?”
Tears fill Lungile’s big eyes. “It’s not easy.”
Menzi is stunned. “Why are you crying? I don’t understand how what I’m asking you is making you cry.”
“I can’t tell you. I don’t know what to tell you. How to tell you.” Lungile picks up her bag. She can’t even look Menzi in the eye as she stands up and runs out of the restaurant. Menzi is left in confusion by Lungile’s behaviour. He thinks she will surely come back and explain what is going on.
Once outside, Lungile keeps running. She stops eventually, hails an Uber, gets in and goes back home. Menzi comes out of the restaurant after a few minutes. He looks left and right up the pavement. Lungile has simply disappeared. He calls her but her cellphone is off.
Lungile plans it all perfectly in her mind as the Uber navigates out of the city. She will get home and take as many sleeping pills as possible. She hopes an overdose will do the trick and put her out of her miserable depression. She wants nothing more than the comfort of her bed, in the silence of her bedroom.
Her heart nearly stops because she opens the door to find women from her mom’s church group in the lounge. She instantly feels claustrophobic. Her heart sinks even lower.
She knows her mother has called the women and she trembles because her mom’s Zionist Church uses sticks and hand slaps on the back to drive out demons.
Soon she is in the center of a circle the women have formed around her. Sticks and slaps rain down on Lungile’s back.
“We are driving all you demons out of this child! You have no place in this child’s body. This child belongs to God! Get out right now!” screams Pastor Cele.
Lungile herself screams in pain, until her voice grows hoarse. Sticks and hand slaps keep hammering down on her back. The bruises left sting all over Lungile’s back. She cries non-stop well after the church women have left.
MaKhumalo is reading her Bible on the sofa. She can hear Lungile crying in the bathroom. “Stop crying right now! The demon has been driven out of you! You no longer have this depression of yours!”
Lungile doesn’t say a word. She is in so much pain – physical and mental – she can’t utter a word.
Tell us: Do you believe demons exist? What is the likelihood this treatment has worked? Does it ever work?