FICTION: Not According to Plan - Part One

By Drum Digital
28 March 2017

Months had been spent organising Gogo’s tombstone unveiling ceremony, and that Sunday everything had gone off perfectly. Home again, Nomvelo stood in front of the bathroom mirror, staring into it, lost in her own thoughts.

BY Zandile Mahlobo

Months had been spent organising Gogo’s tombstone unveiling ceremony, and that Sunday everything had gone off perfectly. Home again, Nomvelo stood in front of the bathroom mirror, staring into it, lost in her own thoughts.

She missed her granny, who had died a year ago. Gogo had understood her, she was like a best friend – someone she could always run to when things seemed to be falling apart. Though Nomvelo had a good relationship with her mother, Gogo was always her first choice when she wanted to talk to someone about her emotions.

She rinsed her face with cold water and continued looking into the mirror. Suddenly, her heart felt heavy and a feeling of loneliness swept over her. Throughout the ceremony, she had felt okay as family and friends gathered to honour Gogo’s memory, but as she stood in the quiet bathroom, Nomvelo felt empty. She felt so alone. And it was a feeling she didn’t understand. She wept.

“So, did your deliciously hot uncles make it on Saturday?”

Those were the first welcoming words Nomvelo heard her gay friend, Zizi, say when she got to the office on Monday morning.

“Good morning to you, too, Zizi,” she responded. “So you’re more interested in my uncles than in the unveiling ceremony?”

“Oh, don’t give me that, Velo. I’m single and looking – so of course I’ll ask about the men before the ceremony. So – details honey, details?” he persisted.

“My ‘deliciously hot uncles’ – who are all happily married – attended the ceremony. Everything went well. Your cousin’s catering company was on point. I was impressed,” she replied.

“You lost my ears when you said ‘all happily married’,” Zizi said, rolling his eyes. “Oh well, I’m glad everything went well, chommie, I guess your hectic months of planning paid off.”

A PLANNER . . .  That’s what she was. Nomvelo loved to see things going according to plan. From her career to personal matters, she knew what direction she wanted her life to take. She had plans tabled out in her head as to how she would achieve every goal. Things had to go according to plan – or the ending left her disappointed. She knew what she wanted out of her life and believed that proper planning would get her all that she desired.

“We should go out and celebrate the success of the ceremony with a few drinks after work,” Zizi suggested.

“A few drinks? Come on, Zizi, with you it’s never a few. The last time you said ‘few drinks’ you ended up having a whole bottle of wine and several tequila shots all on your own.”

“Don’t be so dramatic, Velo!”

“Dramatic?! I had to beg a bouncer to help me carry you to the car.”

“Oh, Steve! I still can’t believe he saw me in that state, now he'll never ask me out.”

“Zee, Steve isn’t gay! How many times must I tell you that he tried to get lucky with me?!”

“Every man has a gay bone in him, sweetie.”

“Whatever, Zee. It’s been a long weekend. I need my beauty sleep, so drinks tonight can’t happen.”

“Fine, stay in that tiny apartment all alone. Clearly, your pillow is the only man you will ever have!” snapped Zizi as he walked away.

SUDDENLY she remembered the day of the unveiling ceremony. She remembered the feeling that made her cry . . . the feeling of loneliness. And Zizi’s words about her pillow brought back the empty feeling she couldn’t understand. She had been surrounded by relatives who had partners and kids, people who give the best definition to words “perfect family”.

Her youngest cousin, 22-year-old Thando, had arrived at the unveiling with her fiancé. She sank her head into her hands and released a little groan, as a 29-year-old woman who didn’t have a man to show her family.

A loud knock rudely woke Nomvelo up on Saturday morning. She gasped, “Zizi! It’s 5 am! What brings you here at 5 am?”

He threw himself on her couch, saying,“Friend, I’m sorry! I’ve just spent five hours in a jail cell. I didn’t have money for a taxi so I got a lift from this white chick who was headed to your side of town.”

Zizi removed his sunglasses, exposing his bruised left eye.

“Oh, Zizi, what happened?”

“My stupid boyfriend decided to kiss another guy in the club. I went crazy when I caught them,” he replied.

To be continued . . .

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