A New Chapter 1/3

By Drum Digital
17 March 2014

Winnie and Vuyo had been childhood sweethearts but she had never forgotten him.

It was a Friday morning near the end of August. In two days, spring would officially start. August had been a wet, windy, cold and miserable month. The country was holding its breath and hoping that September would bring fine, sunny days. After all, winter was supposedly ending and people were looking forward to the first flush of warmth in the air.

Winnie Masango left her warm house and began walking up her street. She was muttering to herself. She really hated having to come outside in this awful, wet weather. The rain stung her face and made her eyes water. Today was one of those days when you much preferred to stay indoors.

The last few nights, violent electric storms had cut off the electricity supply to her cottage. And she had forgotten to buy some extra candles when she had popped into the grocery shop yesterday. Now that she was outdoors Winnie thought she may as well stock up on other essentials.

The door of the little village shop opened and out walked Vuyo Simelane, clutching a bag of shopping at his side. Winnie, her head bent low against the wind, walked straight into him and knocked the bag right out of his hands. Bread, butter, tomatoes, potatoes and onions rolled about before landing in a pool of water by the kerb.

“I’m so sorry, Vuyo!” Winnie said. “I didn’t see you there, I was in such a rush to get inside the shop!” She carried on talking as she helped him pick up his groceries.

The two old people had known each other all their lives, though they had long gone their separate ways.

“You’re up and about early,” Winnie continued. After all, it had just gone 8 am and there were not many people about yet.

“Habit of a lifetime, I suppose,” Vuyo smiled at her. She’d always loved that smile of his. He’d only recently retired from his GP practice, with a surgery on the main street. He was the last of an era. Now there was a day hospital in the nearby town with a team of doctors, dentists and nurses.

“How are you today, Mrs Masango?” Mary, the granddaughter of the owner of the spaza shop, greeted her warmly. Winnie had gone to school with her mother. They chatted about the weather as Mary packed her shopping for her. She was just about to drop in a wedge of Cheddar cheese when Winnie held up her hand. “That’s not mine.”

“Oh really,” Mary looked surprised for a moment. Then she smiled and said, “It must belong to Dr Simelane. He bought some cheese just before you came in. I’ll keep it here for him and I’ll walk over to his place during my morning break and give it to him.”

“Give it to me. I’ll drop it off on the way home. That’ll save you the bother of having to go out in this awful weather.”

It was the least she could do after knocking his bag of groceries all over the pavement.

“Thanks very much,” Mary smiled brightly at her. “Dr Simelane likes his cheese.”

-by Daisy Pakana

To be continued...

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