Juicy Gossip P2

By Drum Digital
03 October 2013

Illustration: Caine Swanson

Six months later his family was still in our midst. Nothing newsworthy there, unless one took into account the fact that over the last couple of months their trash had shrunk noticeably to much humbler proportions; a single bin whose pitiful contents gave no indication whatsoever that Mr Mabeza was sending money home from overseas. A reliable source ? and you didn't get more reliable than the family housemaid ? had whispered that he now shared his life with a new, younger and lovelier Mrs Mabeza. Mrs Mabeza number one's uncivilised response to innocent questions about her missing husband only confirmed our suspicions.

How the mighty had fallen. We were overjoyed.

??We're in the same boat now,'' Mary declared with immense satisfaction. ??Ah! How can you say that?'' Sihle cried out in mock horror. ??We're better off! No question about it!'' She patted her chest, emphasising her feelings of pride. ??Our husbands still live with us!'' There was more wild laughter at this statement. Mary flapped a lazy hand at Sihle, laughing, ??I'm talking about lifestyle.'' ??Even there, we're better off,'' I declared. ??Our bins are fuller than the pathetic near-empty sack they put out these days. Clearly we've more to waste.'' ??Much, much more,'' Sihle confirmed amid hearty chuckles. ??Have you girls heard the latest?'' Mary crowed tantalisingly as she always did when she had news. Sihle and I secretly agreed that if we too had our dear friend's appalling habit of neglecting the housekeeping to go walkabout all over the place, we'd beat her to the latest gossip more often. But we accepted that there were liberties a woman with an equally sloppy husband could take that other housewives couldn't. We kept our homes polishedand tidy, ensured that our husbands and children were always smartly turned out. But we did occasionally find the time to pick up our own significant share of gossip. Our up-to-date reports on the Mabeza family saga were thanks to Sihle's good relationship with their domestic worker, who happened to be a distant cousin on her mother's side. I was the one who revealed that the shameless creature at number 16 was straying from her marital bed once again. And what about the wrestling match between Mr and Mrs Kezi over his wining and dining other women in restaurants while his children crawled into bed hungry most nights? And then there'd been the furore over Langa's shocking discovery that the son he had doted on wasn't his. Sihle and I deserved our dues for the detailed accounts of these explosive events. ??The student nurse . . . what's her name again?'' Mary clicked her plump fingers. ??Uhm, the one who lives just around the corner? The skinny so-and-so who thinks she's above greeting everyone else? She's pregnant.'' ??You don't mean . . .'' Sihle gasped.

??The stuck-up little Miss is pregnant?''

??You'd think a nursing student would know better!'' I exclaimed.

??Who's responsible?'' I was dying to know.

??Who knows?'' Mary frowned. ??We didn't even know there was a man in her life.''

??Not from this area at least,'' I agreed before stating she couldn't have impregnated herself.

??That one has always been very quiet,'' Sihle said. ??Except for being a bit too arrogant for my liking, she appeared rather virtuous.'' ??Deceptively virtuous!'' Mary laughed. I shook my head, not trying to guess the identity of the father. ??She's sly, that one.'' ??And to think her father's a church elder,'' Sihle marvelled. ??I wonder what he'll say.'' ??Plenty I should think,'' said Mary, the glow of anticipation on her face revealing that she couldn't wait to hear it. ??He's got a reputation for being a no-nonsense moralist in his church.'' ??And outside it. Remember when he caned that teenager for fondling his girlfriend?'' Sihle reminded us. ??The boy's mother was furious,'' Mary grinned at the recollection. ??She threatened to have him arrested for physically abusing her son. But then she dismissed him as a raving lunatic because no matter what she said, he just kept ranting on and on about bad parenting being the root cause of the trouble with today's youth.'' ??Well, we can expect much more drama from that family in the days to come, that's certain,'' I predicted, relishing the thought. Part 2 To be continued... -by Mirirai Moyo

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