After a while, Muzi and Portia follow Mrs Ntini into the house. They find her seated at her wooden chair, rocking back and forth while humming a gospel song.
Seeing Mrs Ntini in that state makes Muzi cry, he remembers how she’d sit in that exact chair after a long day at work, fending for a better life for him. He remembered how he had made promises to her, while she sat in that chair, drinking her black tea.
“I promise, I’ll graduate and buy you a big house. You’ll be the talk of the village, you’ll see. Then,I’ll hire a bodyguard to watch over you because, you’re my Queen, you deserve to be safe at all times.” Muzi would say to her, as he massaged her feet.
“Oh Muzi, you’re such a big dreamer. I’d love all of that.” Mrs Ntini would reply, smiling at Muzi.
“I’ll be the world’s biggest author and you’ll finally live a life for a queen, I promise you.”he usually said.
Muzi comes back to the present, as he gently wipes his tears away, he walks towards Mrs Ntini and kneels down beside her. He can’t hold back his tears anymore, he lets his tears fall aimlessly while he screams like a little boy.
Mrs Ntini lets him weep for as long as he likes.
“Forgive me, please Ma!” Muzi sobs, his face buried in Mrs Ntini’s dress.
“Stand up, Muzi.” Mrs Ntini replies, patting his back.
Portia stands, confused clearly.
“Muzi, what’s going on here? I thought your mom died?”she asks her voice shaking.
“I lied Portia!” Muzi confesses.
“Why? Why would you lie about something like this? We’ve been married for 3 years, Muzi. You never even once thought of telling me this?” Portia asks him.
“You’re from a rich family Portia, your family would’ve never accepted my mom.” Muzi says
“I would’ve never accepted you if I knew that you left your mom in a place like this! What kind of a man does that? Are you even a man?” Portia screams at him. “Ma, I’m sorry, I didn’t know he left you here. I would’ve never allowed that.” Portia apologized to Mrs Ntini.
Mrs Ntini stands up, and walks towards the stove. Her two silver pots are closed with a clean dishcloth. She takes out three plates and dishes out food for her son and his wife.
Muzi looks at the plates and regret rushes through him, he remembers, when his mom first bought them. She had boasted and said, the plates would only be used at Muzi’s graduation party. Mrs Ntini had started saving for Muzi’s graduation party as soon as he had started University, pity, he never graced her with his presence even after he graduated. What had gotten into him?
Slowly, Mrs Ntini dishes pap and tomato gravy. It’s all she has. She puts the three plates on the table and invites them to sit and eat with her.
They all sit around the old wooden table, now held up with bricks and eat silently. Muzi looks at his ageing mother and regret stabs at his heart. He hates himself for leaving his mom in this dump.
After they’re done, Portia washes the dishes with Mrs Ntini and Muzi sits in the only sofa in the room, the sofa he used as his bed as a child. It was now past it’s prime, and it was torn beyond recognition, everything was old, but the house was clean. Spotless.
After the dishes are done, Portia sits down at the bench and faces Muzi, Mrs Ntini sits on her wooden chair. The house, is just one room. In the far corner, there’s Mrs Ntini’s old bed and a small chest of drawers. Everything looks like it might just fall