The right time 3/3

By Drum Digital
20 November 2013

Comfort ate slowly, trying to formulate his exact words.

This wasn’t going to be easy, he knew. But what must be done must be done. This time he wouldn’t back down; he’d already delayed spilling the beans for far too long. Mbali had always been very understanding in difficult times.

How was work?” she asked, trying to ease the tension. “Same old, same old.” Comfort didn’t want to be drawn into a conversation, not when he was preparing an important speech. He rehearsed it over and over in his mind. Mbali couldn’t stand his silence any longer, so with her usual directness she asked: “Do you have some- thing to tell me, Comfort?” “Ahem ... nnno” he mumbled. “Why? Have you heard something Ishould know about?” Mbali’s eyes were drilling into him. “Maybe. Iwent to buy some magunyas from Sis Thoko. And she said ...” Comfort’s heart sank to his shoes. He blurted out, “Before you go any further, Idohave something to say.” Comfort cleared his throat, trying to imagine what damage that terrible old gossip Sis Thoko could already have done. “Actually, there’s someone I’d like you to meet, he stammered.” He looked at her for some kind of areaction. “I know this is a bit sudden, but ...”

Comfort stood up and turned his back on Mbali. He wanted to get it all out before her gestures or facial expressions could stop him. “You see, it just feels right and Iwas going to tell you sooner. But you know how hard it is for me to speak up.” Comfort could hear movement behind him. The sound was getting closer. He was frozen to the spot and couldn’t move. It reminded him of the time he was mugged, not knowing whether to fight or run like aSpringbok wing. He turned and saw Mbali coming to him with her arms outstretched. Her well-manicured nails were shinier than ever. Tears were streaming down her face. Comfort could only manage to stumble backwards and lift his arms in protest. Then she had him. Her arms went firmly round his waist in abear hug. “Thank heavens, Comfort,” she sobbed. “I was beginning to think that you would never meet a decent young man.”

In shock and confusion, Comfort extricated himself from her grip. Mbali sensed the change in mood and a release of tension. She stared at him through her tears. She began slowly. “You’ve always been so sensitive and stylish. And you’ve never brought anyone home. So I worked it out for myself that you’re, you know, well ...gay!” Comfort was so shocked he reverted to a word he hadn’t used since he was 18. “Mom!” he exclaimed, looking at her in total disbelief. “I’d even thought about inviting Disco,” she said. “Who?” asked Comfort. “Disco! The one who lives down the street.” Comfort just looked at her. Mbali continued, “That boy who always wears such flashy clothes, pink leather pants and shiny red shoes.” “Why would you want to invite Disco here, Mom?” “Well,” his mother began, “I thought the two of you could be friends and he could introduce you to some of his friends.” “Okay, okay,” said Comfort, who saw where the conversation was heading and was keen to put astop to it, before it got graphic.

He put his hands on her shoulders. “Sometimes I think you’re a bit too open-minded. And what made you think Disco is my type?” “Well,” his mother began again. But Comfort turned on his heel with both hands in the air. “No, Mom, I don’t want to hear it!” Mbali said: “But you’re wearing a green silk shirt.” “Mom, it’s not green, it’s lime,” he said with a huge smile on his face. “And Sam chose it. Sam. Short for Samantha. Mom, I’m not gay –you’re going to be a gogo!”

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