She opened the windows to let the burnt cabbage air out. The room was
covered in smoke that Tendai found herself chocking. “Tendai”,” she thought,what was there to be thankful for ? Her name had turned out to be the complete opposite of its meaning. After the death of her one week old baby, Tendai felt alone and abandoned . She felt a cloud of sadness following her.
Appetite had become an alien to her, her cheeks were so cracked that even a blind man could see the sadness that lay inside her. Tears started trickling
down her cheeks as she looked at her husband’s lifeless body on the bed. With the hard economic conditions in Zimbabwe , Tendai could not even afford a loaf of bread let alone afford hospital bills which were demanded in US dollars. 2018 had been a very complicated year. Things were going west despite the visible resentment by the ruled towards the rulers. Price hikes became the order of the day followed by panic buying ,the rampant inflation and the total failure to combat the situation.She thought to herself unlike 2008 where people had money but no commodities 2018 had become the visa versa.
Thoughts were enshrouding her memory that she had suddenly been awakened by the smell of the burnt cabbage. Not even a leaf of covo could be seen anywhere near her kitchen to prepare for her husband. Outside the window there was nothing of interest to her. The playful kids , the shouting vendor with tattered clothes and the dusty roads which the mayors had promised to fix during the election campaigns. She withdrew herself from the window and looked at the awful cabbage. Her husband coughed lifelessly from the bed, he had not eaten anything in days. Tendai had tried calling her mother in law for food aid but to no avail.
Uncontrollable tears rolled down her cheeks, relentless and unsympathetic
thoughts competed for a place in her mind like flies on a carcass. She was the only hope left for her husband Miracle.She hoped if possible God would
perform a miracle at this time. In the back of her mind she thought, “Was God there? Did he exist or it was some subculture of some sort that had been brought by the white man to Africa? “If he existed why then had he taken her only child whom was obviously her last because of the complications she faced during her labour ?” No one could answer these questions for her. She recalled the last moments with her daughter, how she suddenly fell ill.
The doctors had confirmed a brain tumour and all that she could do was pray. She watched her daughter’s smile turn into numbness.Although white, to her the hospital walls suddenly became pitch black.She felt her head spinning trying to find a way through the black walls. She tried blinking, but it seemed the walls were thickening and the darkness getting more vivid. Praying had become part of her lifestyle but it had all faded away like the morning dew. The death of her child had taken her faith as well. She recalled how her child smiled as blood flowed out of her nose and mouth. Tariro, her child had left her , she had died in her arms .
She remembered trying to wake her up, shaking her vigorously hoping that somehow death could have mercy on her child. The love she had for her child was like the one Moses had for the Israelites. If for one moment God had laughed at her, this was the loudest laugh that she would always carry around . Tariro lay cold as ice in her motherʼs hands. She was going to be missed dearly by her mother who thought the heavens had
deprived her child opportunities like other children.
To Be Continued……
A NOVEL BY YEUKAI OTTILIA MUNETSI MADZIKA
To you Dad who stood for education, who sacrificed all he had for all that we are today. We thank you Dad. May God give you and mom years of life in abundance so that you will enjoy the fruit of your labour.