The six months that followed after papa’s death were tragic. I was only grateful for a few things and people in my life. I was glad I had a roof on my head and food to eat even though I lost a good deal of weight. The first days of living with Uncle Richard were difficult that I would cry myself to sleep every night. I wondered if I was over reacting or being needy. Approaching my eighteenth birthday, I knew I was becoming a woman and I needed to fully realise that.
After staying at my Uncle’s place for a month, I decided to ask him about the possibilities of me going back to school.
“Uncle,” I called him while he was busy working on a bed.
My uncle was a carpenter and his workshop was at home behind the house. He would make tables, chairs, sofas, wardrobes and the likes from home and later sell them at an order price to other carpenters. He was a well renowned carpenter and he did good for himself and his family.
“What is it Tinashe?” He answered irritated.
“I have been wondering,”
“About what,” He cut me short.
“Will I ever go back to school?”
He stopped what he was doing and looked me directly in the eyes and said, “What do you need school for?”
“I have to complete Uncle,” I answered scared.
“Show me a woman that you know that completed school around these areas,” he raised his voice.
I couldn’t answer him.
“You see? Even your aunt didn’t finish school. School is for boys not women.”
I thought about how papa insisted that I finish school and here I was standing in front of his brother telling me that I needn’t school.
“You will be eighteen soon. Start thinking about marriage,” he dismissed me.
The reason I asked Richard about school was because I thought he would be more reasonable than his wife who worked me like a slave. I didn’t know what she wanted from me. Every morning she would wake me at 5am and ordered me around.
“Wake up! Lazy child,” sheshook me.
Three months of staying with this family and I had gotten used to these early shook-ups. Every morning, I would wake up and wait for her to come and shake me up and she never got tired of it. It was like she was having pleasure from doing it.
“What did you just say?” She asked.
“Nothing Aunt Tamara,” I lied. “I was yawning.”
“Hurry up, get up,” she left the room.
After she leaves the room, I would kneel down and say a short prayer and start my day which would never seem to end. I would start by sweeping the entireyard and then do the dishes. I would then sweep the house. By the time everyone was waking up, they would find breakfast prepared for them. It had become a routine.