Previously on The Diary of a Weeping Widow
The melancholy that hung in the air was so thick you could almost slice it with a knife; ironically this is the exact sober ambiance that reverberated in the entire 22 years with this man. Gazing at his corpse I fought the urge to slam the casket door shut. I leaned closer to his face and whispered, “Rot in hell’’ before kissing his cold forehead. Yes, Taurai was as dead as a dodo. The tears rolled out easily while my long black Versace mermaid gown swept the floor. I walked past my in-laws and felt their scowls boring through me. I hid the smirk on my face by crying into my hands, it had been the longest three days and finally, burial day was here. His coffin descended into the grave while Achisundei sang ‘Amazing Grace’ and for a minute my chest tightened in bereavement. The crocodile tears were replaced by real tears, overpowered by an invasive sense of loss. Together with my children, I mourned the death of their father for the first time.
He strode directly towards me and as he got nearer I felt my heart doing somersaults. He flashed a sly smile that lit his charming boyish looks and left me soggy like a bowl of cornflakes in hot milk. He stopped inches away from me and held out a little folded piece of paper which I nimbly took from the tips of his fingers in awkward silence. He clumsily plastered a kiss on my left cheek and abruptly walked away. I could hear my friends giggling behind me as they witnessed all of this from afar. The facade of puppy love, so intense but relatively shallow. Tau was the crux of my being, smitten by unreasoned passion and sense of pining. Sister Bridget did not take lightly to the stash of letters from Tau that she found under my pillow. St Abibas Catholic school had a reputation that preceded itself. Prominent for its stringent authoritarian way of running the school and keeping the students aligned with first-rate conduct. I was called for a disciplinary hearing: we were blatantly humiliated for entertaining thoughts of fornication, forced to renounce our love in the presence of Sister-Mother Carol and vowed to never indulge in any kind of activities chaperoned by lust. We secretly continued with our relationship and I fell pregnant during our A’ level final exams.
It was a miracle, I barely passed my final exams as I battled with squeamishness and an excessive chill of apprehension. The fate of such childish and ignorant callousness edged on the brink of my own insanity. I was merely 18 and incubating a fetus during my final exams. On the last day of school, Tau decided to go home with me and break the news to my unsuspecting parents. There was no other way because we both could not cope with the daily dysphoria of disquietude. I arrived home with Tau trudging behind me struggling with my bags. I spotted my mother in the sun-room, she gazed in our direction, shook her head and put down her orange mimosa on the glass table. This was it, the time had come and I felt the burning tears rolling down my face. I was crying. I narrated everything to her in-between sobs and hiccups, while Tau sat ingeniously besides me with an ashen face. My mother remained expressionless, took a sip from her mimosa, looked at Tau and said, “You can go home, do not tell anyone about this until we contact you”, She paused for a fleeting moment and continued, “As for you Missy, go take a shower and rest, we will talk tomorrow after discussing this with your father.” She stood up and left. We were both dumbfounded by mother’s reaction and for the first time, my mother’s detachment was welcomed.
My parents treated the situation like a business deal. Tau was given money by my father to pay as dowry and my mother started planning the wedding. It was all a blur as it happened so fast, from the moment my uncles and Tau’s uncles negotiating lobola to the most extravagant wedding ceremony. I never had a chance to decide what I wanted because my rich parents believed that money solved everything. I was doubtful of my sentiments towards Tau to be solid enough for marriage. We were too young, mentally and emotionally ill-prepared. In the first trimester of my pregnancy, I was married and lived with my new husband in a house bought by my parents. They provided everything for us in this quasi marriage while we waited for the A’level results to be announced. My brain was in limbo, just going through the motions and following the noose that my parents dangled before me.