The right time 1/3

By Drum Digital
18 November 2013

COMFORT sat in the taxi, oblivious to the organised chaos around him

. Although his mind  taken his usual care when he chose his clothes. Comfort was a stylish man. To describe him as well-dressed was an understatement. When he passed you, you could detect a faint hint of cologne.  His hair was neat, his nails short. He struck a dashing figure indeed.  He’d always considered himself a family man, sensitive to others’ needs and fearful of emotional confrontation. That’s what made his decision so hard. The day had gone by in a blur. Contrary to popular belief, a call centre, although busy and loud, is a monotonous place. People always have the same queries, which are met  with clichés, rehearsed pleasantries and studied politeness.

The grinding sound of an incorrect gear C change and a gentle tap on the shoulder  brought Comfort back to the present. “Four.”  The exchange of money to the driver reminded him that he still had to pay. He did so, then his mind immediately reverted to his dilemma.  On one hand, he had a life-long companion who’d helped him through needy periods with wisdom and maturity. On the other hand, there was someone exciting  who was his age. Mbali had always been there for him,  now it felt like a betrayal of her loyalty  because he’d met someone else. Comfort had met Sam through mutual friends.

They were instantly attracted to each other and this physical connection had developed into an emotional one after a few phone calls. It was at this point that Comfort knew the friendship had evolved into courtship and had passed the point of no return. A decision had to be made. He had to tell Mbali he was leaving her. He sat in his usual spot at Busi’s tavern.  The smell of stale smoke and beer seemed stronger when the jukebox fell silent, but the regulars didn’t seem to mind. The tavern had informal décor which didn’t  detract from its therapeutic benefits. People came there to de-stress, to relax and talk openly about their problems to their peers.

Comfort had already unpacked the details of his predicament to his friend Thulani. He watched closely as Thulani stared into his glass and promptly downed it before he answered: “You need to choose . . . Mbali or Sam.” He said it with a finality that signalled the end of the discussion.  It was the response Comfort had expected from his married friend. He began to protest: “But I have feelings for them both and . . . ” “Please, Comfort,” another friend, Morris, interrupted. “You’re smarter than that! You know very well when you’re faced with a choice you weigh up the pros and cons of each. Then you go with the one that suits your needs and wants at that given time.” Another standard response that offered no solution “I have to get home. Guys, see you tomorrow.” Comfort got up and left.

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