A New Chapter 2/3

By Drum Digital
18 March 2014

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

Later that day, the rain stopped and the sun was actually shining between thin, pale clouds. Winnie was sitting with her feet up when suddenly she remembered her prom¬ise to deliver the cheese. She put down her book, thinking she could take a walk and get some fresh air.

Once, a long time ago, she and Vuyo had been inseparable. That was before she had begun her career as a teacher and had gone to Joburg to work at a good primary school. Winnie was dedicated and passionate about educating children and she rose rapidly in the ranks.

She’d met and married Xolani Masango in Joburg. She continued her career as the children came along. All in all she’d had a good life, and Xolani had been a devoted husband.

Then quite suddenly and without warning, Xolani had died. She was still trying to come to terms with the fact that he had been sitting in his chair reading the newspaper one moment – and was stone dead the next. He had put the paper down on the side-table and just keeled over.

Winnie had taken his death badly. They were used to leading a busy life together, and had a large circle of friends. When Xolani had been gone for six months, and some of the shock had begun to wear off, Winnie decided to return to her native village of Dutywa in the Eastern Cape.

She couldn’t bear to live in Joburg any longer. Her children had tried to persuade her to stay, but she wouldn’t be swayed. Her daughter Khanyi, who had also trained as a teacher, had married the firstborn son of the principal of her school. They worked together and made a great team.

Winnie was still on the school board and was always on hand to give advice. But there was nothing she enjoyed more than curling up in her chair with a good book or a good soapie on TV.

Winnie couldn’t explain her overwhelming urge to return to her roots, especially since it wasn’t the same simple village she had left behind all those years ago.

Her first thought, as she opened the gate to Vuyo’s house, was that his roses had somehow survived the awful weather. There was a profusion of them, in red, yellow and pink. She inhaled their intoxicating scent, and was walking towards the front door when she spotted Vuyo at the end of the garden, sitting at a small table with a bun¬dle of papers. He was chewing on a pencil and muttering to himself.

He must have sensed some movement behind him because he turned suddenly and the pencil he had been chewing dropped out of his mouth.

“Winnie,” he gasped. “What a lovely surprise.”

“Molo, Vuyo,” she said, suddenly shy in his presence. She rummaged in her bag and took out the block of cheese. “You left this at the shop. I promised Mary I’d drop it off for you.”

“Thanks, Winnie. That was kind of you. I thought perhaps I’d lost it in the gutter.” He smiled to show that he was only joking.

Winnie was suddenly reminded of how he had looked, tall and skinny, in the days when he had carried her bag home from school all those years ago.

“What are you doing? Writing a book?” she teased him, having no idea how close she was to the truth.

“Actually, yes, I am! It’s all about my experience as a doctor in the rural areas. I’d like to educate people on basic healthcare and how to respond in an emergency so that they can take better care of themselves.”

“Really!” She was intrigued. “How’s it coming along?”

“It started off okay, but I need to put the chapters in a logical order and do some research on the internet and in my medical journals on some things.”

“If you like, I could take a look at it and give you some positive feedback,” Winnie offered.

He clutched the papers to his chest, in much the same way as a mother holds her sick child.

“I’m not sure I’m ready to let anybody read it yet.”

“Well, suit yourself,” Winnie said, trying to sound very business-like. “I’d better be off. You never know when it’s going to start raining again.”

-by Daisy Pakana

To be continued...

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