We were having supper in the dining when dad coughed twice just to make sure the throat was clear. He darted his eyes from one corner of the room to the other. Immediately I saw this glare on his countenance, I knew something was burning in his mind come what may. He started his story, “Sonny, we need to talk before retiring to bed.”
Since Memory and others were busy watching movies in the living room, we elected to remain in the dining and discuss whatever dad had for me. I cannot lie here; I was taken by anxiety so much that I was lost in thoughts but one thing I was very certain of was being advised about getting a new wife. Moreover, some time back when I was still running around fighting for the children with Maggie, mum tipped me though kind of jokingly that she had embarked on a mission of finding me a suitor straight away from the village. Maggie hurled from the village also hence I wondered whether mum still had the confidence in village girls.
“We have called you, sonny so that we talk about some issues. Our stay had been characterized by so many disturbing issues of which could not allow us to bring up other issues amidst. We are in receipt of some story which was supposed to be treated with urgency but we had to play it low for we did not want you to be in a situation you could hardly decide the next step. It is barely a month now since we received this story…” he ended his narration.
The narration was that they were approached by some people from Zimba looking for my whereabouts. I had impregnated their daughter and I disappeared from their sight. Some well-wishers fed them with information about my origination hence they started tracing my parents. However, they were not sure whether I was still alive or not.
While waiting for my Grade twelve final results, I went to Kalomo visiting my cousin who was doing hawkers’ business. It was at a time he was trying to expand his business though it was very rough. By luck, he engaged me to be helping out in dispatching goods in distant places in the rural areas of two districts, Kalomo as well as Zimba. I was given a Yamaha motorbike to ease my errands. Once in a while, I could lodge or squat wherever I found homely people for some time to do business.
One fine Sunday afternoon, there was a football match right in the heart of Zimba town, with a view to selling some of the goods I had, I was not an exception at the ground where multitudes thronged voluntarily. There were beautiful girls and ladies singing praise songs for their teams. Business was so good at the pitch such that I sold a lot of goods just as I expected to. These were the days when I was just starting falling in relationships. Remember, I had just come from a co-education boarding school. The temptation of beautiful girls on an open space at the football pitch was way too disturbing. I convinced myself to try my luck on one of the most beautiful petals. Yes, I approached one as she passed by my makeshift. She was a bit hesitant but I was equal to the task.
It was from this background that I started frequenting Zimba town to be meeting Regina Hamando, my first girlfriend, after school. We were eventually absorbed in love. She loved me very much and I did the same. Whenever my cousin assigned me to dispatch items, Zimba was the first priority to date.
Regina Hamando was a Grade nine school dropout who left school after her parents failed to pay for her admission in Grade ten. She was so beautiful and mature enough the time I met her. Our relationship could not be publicized for some reasons. As such, we were always arranging for our meeting in secret places.
The Grade twelve results were out and I passed with flying colours. Nonetheless, where to get the money for my admission to the University of Zambia or at least the Copperbelt University was the major challenge. My parents could scarcely afford those huge amounts of money. Since childhood, my dream career was law; I really wanted to serve the nation as a counsel, but who could sponsor me? I vividly remember seeing my former intake mates going to the two renowned universities to pursue their dream careers while leaving me behind selling wrappers and salaula clothes. It pained me to say the least.
I was exhausted after a heavy and tiresome toil collection of maize which was bartered for with the items I had, I sat under a mango tree at my cousin’s home lazily listening to Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Radio One when I heard an advert being run that the government needed some young and physically fit citizens to join the Army for challenging military training. I listened to the advert up to the end and I found myself getting convinced joining it. It was time to take chances and choices. My parents never wanted to hear anyone talking about joining the army or any related military department. They hated military with a passion. I had no words to convince them that they let me join. Thus how I left for the city after cheating my cousin there was an open and promising opportunity which could see me later in college.
To be precise, I joined the army without any relative’s consent or approval. I only informed them after everything was set for us to undergo the challenging military training. I am reliably told they mourned for me from time to time until the six months of training were over and I returned home after passing out. I was in the same military they hated, and I was in love with it. I stayed with them for some time before going to assume work in Kabwe, my place of first appointment. All this while, I had forgotten about Regina. If anything, let me simply say I had nothing to do with her anymore. Considering that beauty she had and the breakdown in communication which existed between us, those hungry salivating men in Zimba and surrounding areas could have devoured her already.
In the process of time, I started looking for a marriage woman to live with in Kabwe. In no time, Maggie showed up, and I grabbed her.
Dad and mum explained to me that those people from Zimba claimed I impregnated their daughter who later on gave birth to a boy child they named as “Twaambo” owing to issues attached to his birth. It took them years and years searching for me but to no avail. Sometimes they could give up looking for me by convincing themselves I was no longer living but again when the child started giving them tough time wanting to know his father, they were left without an option. Mum went further to mention the lady in question as Regina Hamando. Oh no, the pronouncement of her name convinced me that I knew something about her; fresh memories of how I met her at the football pitch, how we used to meet, we loved each other, wrote letters to each other etc. flooded my mind. I felt so sad remembering how I left her without bidding farewell. I wished I had somewhere to hide myself from my parents’ revelation.
By the time they were telling me about Twaambo, he was already a school leaver and aged 20. I had no strength and basis to draw an argument from. Instead, I only apologized to them and expressed interest in seeing that alleged child. I was clever and experienced enough on how to handle such cases. Finally, both dad and mum saluted me for not bringing out a lot of issues which could be so trivial.
I did not want to prolong this matter any further. Therefore, I applied for an extension of my leave for me to run around and have the matter settled. I travelled to the village with my parents to meet those people from Zimba. We only rested at the village for two days then off I drove to Zimba with dad, mum and other family members who offered to escort us.
The Hamando family proved themselves to us beyond any reasonable doubt to be a wonderful family. They welcomed us warmly and without any signs of resilience. There were four children of almost the age of Twaambo at home but it left everyone shocked the way the boy took after me, the fugitive father. He resembled me very much and everyone who I went there with got convinced immediately. Having exchanged our pleasantries, Regina emerged in the sitting room where we were accommodated. Indeed, eyes which met before can hardly forget each other; she had advanced in age but still looked excellently beautiful and full of respect.
As she emerged at the door, I did not know exactly what to do, whether to hug her or to extend my hand for a greeting. I was in a valley of decision and panic. I was still wondering on what to do when I saw her throwing herself on me for a hug. I stood up and we hugged warmly.
“Huh, Jay is it you or a ghost I am seeing? Please can someone wake me up from this day dream!” she muttered while holding onto me and sobbing. I was out of words for a moment, I joined in sobbing. Meanwhile, Twaambo was already inseparable from us as he sat on a foot rest stool gazing at me intently.
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“Just like we said and pleaded with you last time, my son had been away and entangled in so many pressing issues, nonetheless, today here we are at your disposal. May peace be with us all!” dad cleared the moment of silence we had been subjected to.
Regina was by then seated with me on the same couch.
The elders started the discussions concerning the matter at hand. You would not believe it that I was only in attendance but far away in the Amazon basin. I think they noticed it in no time as we were asked to excuse them. They did not just know how good it became for me to be given chance to chat with Regina outside and in their absence. We sat under a well accommodating mango shade chatting and catching up.
Regina narrated everything from the time she noticed my absence, her being pregnant, her struggles as a pregnant young lady, her delivery of the fatherless child, the torment and teasing she suffered from both family members and friends, how the boy was taken to school and sponsored by Social Welfare. Finally, how he troubled her day in and out wanting to see me. She ended her explanation by declaring she gave up on love affairs due to the disappointment she faced from me. Twaambo was the only child she had and she never fell in any serious relationship or dare getting married. Soon after, she burst into tears.
My lawyer engaged some licensed debt recovery guys to fix Benjamin and Maggie without wasting much time. They tried pleading for leniency but there was practically no one to listen to such rhetoric. Maggie sold some of her acquired property including a house in Kafue to raise the money. Within three months, they finished paying me and I did away with them. I was only informed later by some overzealous guys that Benjamin got divorced by the wife after she learnt of his promiscuous and playboy lifestyle. They got divorced in court where he was made to surrender most of his property which remained after selling to pay me.
For Maggie, she lost direction and she is currently a vagabond in Mazabuka, Monze and Kafue as a sex worker. She drinks beer like a fish drinking water. Her family has disowned her.
I have no kind words for the both of them!
Sepiso was informed of the recovery of my first born son, Twaambo. I did all the necessary tests to ascertain he was really mine or not. And all the results came out positive he is purely mine.
My family sat me down over Regina and my son, Twaambo; they advised me that she might have been the one I was meant for. As such, even if I attached myself to other ladies and women who were not meant for me, I would continue reaping tears. I realized the torture I exposed Regina to for over nineteen years, I felt so sorryy and I owed her nothing but genuine apology. This made me apologize to Sepiso and cancel all the intimacy dealings with her. For the love of my children, Twaambo and Lweendo, I married my first lover, the childhood girlfriend, Regina Hamando. I thanked Sepiso sincerely for her mature understanding of my situation over and above her care and love when I was in total mess.
God blessed us with two more children who are girls. I named the first one as Gratitude and the second one was named by her mother, Regina, as Patience. Twaambo will be graduating soon as a civil engineer from the University of Zambia while Lweendo is in his eleventh grade.
Life is a series of complications; one after another. God determines each one’s destine.