They Never Come Back
An excerpt from aspiring author Takudzwa Gezi's debut book They Never Come Back
Two years had gone by since my aunt had left and she still put in effort to call and talk to the whole family. Her friend Tariro, our neighbour Mr Chichoni's first daughter had followed her to the UK. They often sent me and Prince the same toys and clothes. I remember we would chose to wear the same T-shirts on the same day and show off to the other kids who didn't have relatives abroad at the time. I did miss my aunt so much. Although the clothes presented an essence of love from her, it no longer felt real. Being young and so naïve I still held on to the promise that she'd be back for me, richer! Thus she'd bring back more happiness. On the phone she would say “I'll be back as soon as I fix my papers”, which was senseless to me at the time. Every time she called I made it a point to ask when she would come back home. It was difficult for me to understand that she had started another life seas away.The youngest of the Rimukas Dan was 16 now and he had this beautiful girl Dudu. He would often pass me a note to drop by her on my way to school. She also would do the same and often we'd peep at them in the 'corridor road' for pedestrians exiting our close fulfilling their adolescent needs. The 'corridor road' was a small pathway between two walls left by the town planners as an exit to pedestrians from the close without having to go round the big road. It was notorious for dope smokers and couples kissing (which is unacceptable in public in our society). Masendeke and his brother Dan were throwing a party for New year as their folks weren't around. There was a huge turnout. Prince and I weren't invited because we were too young. I wished the cops would come and call the party off or something bad like that would happen so we would get even but alas it didn't happen. So we just stared from our side of the fence. All the youths drinking, smoking girls dancing on boys and boys holding on to girls. It was new to me at that age. Then I saw Dan taking Dudu into his cottage. They stayed in there till we got tired of watching and we went off to our fireworks. My friend Prince told me he would never be like any of the guys we saw smoking at the Party and we made a pact that never to smoke or drink.
4 months later my aunt was hardly calling now and I no longer really missed her or cared about her much. Prince's sister Tariro was now rumored to be married or co-habiting (which is regarded as the same in our society) to a white man and she had sent her dad a brand new Peugeot 406 with a sun roof. Mr Chichoni was overjoyed with the car he got. He took all the children on our raini for a ride in his car. Prince was standing on the car seat with his head out of the sun roof shouting to strangers. Later that day, Mr Chichoni went to the bar with his friends to show off his new ‘baby’.Rumour had it Dudu was pregnant and I added up A and B from the party night and confirmed it was possible. The grapevine was confirmed when I saw her sweeping the Rimukas yard in the morning. That evening Dan's dad came and told my mom about his ‘misfortune … or fortune’. Mr Rimuka was a good man respected by most in the society. Some felt pity for him for he was now like a bachelor or rather a widower because most of the time his wife was not around. The grapevine said she had another life in SA perhaps another family another man in her life. No one really knew the truth except that she was now a visitor in her home. Dan quit school that year – maybe because he wasn't keen on it or he wanted to take care of his family since he was going to be a father soon. My brother lost his walkman in some deal with Dan that year. Dan was a hero to me when I was younger, when my brother was away in boarding Dan was my protector and he had skills with his bike. But now he was a father and more like an orphan because he had no guidance. He turned to drinking. When it wasn't enough, he tried smoking but the high never lasted so he started drugs.
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