“Tanashi! Tanashi! my daughter-in-law give me the medicine my son bought for me. Oh! my head is cracking. My head is cracking. My head is burning,” Rudo cried.
She heard the voice of her mother-in-law but a raucous diabolic laughter was her response. She remained listening to and tuning the radio in her room.
Rudo looked for her walking stick but she could not find it. Her wheelchair was not around. Her shoes too.
“Tanashi forgive me,” she cried but no response came. Tanashi was busy enjoying the blaring sungura music on Diamond FM and was singing in accompaniment with the musician. She even stopped and walked into the round-hut kitchen to have a drink of water ignoring the crawling Rudo. The nonagenarian was crawling on the ground to the living room for her precious medicine.
Rudo’s head was throbbing. When she saw the container she scampered for it with the last of her strength. She picked the Paracetamol container and rattled it close to her ears. Opening it, she was disappointed to find a few pumpkin and maize seeds that she had kept in the granary to plant in the next rainy season. She grimaced. She had to get some painkillers, but where from?
She could not send Tanashi to the shops as she was shunning her or trying to call the neighbours’ children as they were warned to stay away from a witch. The room immediately became darker. Her body was now sweating.
“Tanashi! Tanashi! Tanashi!” she called incessantly. lt was on this day that Tiri was coming from his business trip. As the engine of his truck roared at the gate, Rudo was still calling, howling in intense pain. Rudo felt beleagured. She silently prayed,”Please Lord don’t take me.” She saw stars and dark spots. Nausea held her on the brink of vomitting.
When Tiri arrived his mother was still showing the spasms of death and pop music was blaring in Tanashi’s room.
“Mama!”, Tiri screamed, he could not imagine having to leave to his mother to die and witnessing death wiggling the little energy she had left. Tiri opened the container to see the maize and pumpkin seeds. “Where are the pills?” he asked himself. Tanashi came out after Tiri’s horrendous voice came out. She feigned crying but a tingling glow of satisfaction spread all over her as palm oil does on hot yam.
“Yes! Yes!” she said it in her heart. the mouse is dead but she started regretting she had robbed Tiri of his only pillar of hope. Tiri’s mother was dead! Dead!
For real, she was dead! The neighbours came in the compound, of course, weeping. Hate and shame seemed to suffocate them.
To the Women’s Society it was sad news that Rudo had been dragged back to the ancestors. Netsai and her crew prepared for Rudo’s burial. Everything was covered from food to transport, many people came even Homwe was there with his family excluding Paida. Tiri gave a speech, he launched into an elaborate speech about Rudo’s attributes. After her body was lowered, Tiri and his family; followed by relatives, threw in a handful of freshly dug soil into the grave. To Tiri the action was doubly symbolic. He indeed was burying a long,sad chapter of his life; something you love its hard to leave it. Addiction is a hard giant to face and conquer. So is this love we have for our loved ones, it is hard to instantly walk away. Honestly, family is the best thing you have in this life. There is comfort, hope, reassurance, company, faith and the greatest of all is LOVE