I have always had a tainted view about miracles. My reasons are not far-fetched in a country full of miracle babies and back to sender prophets who claim to walk on water, you can never blame me, such that I had limited miracles to the metaphysical world where rules of nature are broken down. I guess this time my perceptions failed me and I have to be open minded enough to admit that this was indeed a true miracle.
I’m Lindy, a clueless young woman who has no idea what she is going to do today. It’s already 6:30 in the morning and I’m lying in bed. Oh, my goodness what do I wear? Like I have anything to. Ever since the water was cut off by city council last week, I hadn’t done my laundry. Come to think of it, I have that dress that Aunty Loice left me when she left for Zambia. By the way she is the only person I have in my life, other than my run-away father whom I have never heard from all the 25 years of my life. I have the memory of his face though, but anyway, I do not want to get all sentimental about him. About the dress, it has a high neck line. I don’t like those because my shoulders are quite broad so they do not look nice on me. This of all days needs a plunging neckline, what’s the word again? Yes, décolletage. Aargh what do I do? ”Beep, beep”, sounds like my phone. Where did I leave it again? Oh yes, It’s right there under my pillow. Doesn’t this alarm know that it’s Christmas day and I have the liberty to sleep all day without worrying about my boss and his nagging?
‘’Knock knock Knock’’! Sounds like a knock at my door. Who could it be? I am not in the mood for visitors and I definitely do not feel like cooking. “Knock knock Knock’”, the sound again. “I’m coming, who is it?’’, I shout. It’s just too early for people to knock, especially at my door. How many tenants are we at this place?
“Hi”, I smiled as I opened the door. I’m still yawning and scratching my head. Gosh these weaves! “Christmas box”, I hear. What? There is no Santa Clause in Zimbabwe and we don’t know about presents. And with the way our economy is depressed. Even if I decided to buy someone a present, I will end up paying triple the amount because they will charge me twenty five percent more because I’m using Ecocash. “Box”, I shrug. We always get away with this word as if it replaces the gift box with an actual gift. “Good morning! Oh my goodness, I was still sleeping when you knocked. Today is my only day off work, so I’m maximising on sleep’’, I said as I shifted the topic of the Christmas present. This neighbour of mine is very persistent. If promised something, he is the type to come for it until he gets it and that’s a risk I am never going to take especially if it involves me separating from my bond notes. Wait, I mean coins since that’s all I have in my wallet right now. I pray I won’t be invited to anywhere where I will have to board commuters.
“Oh, yeah. I just came to see how you are doing and to deliver a message from the landlord. She is furious at you because you paid rent through Ecocash and she wants it in US dollars. She wanted to go to South Africa to buy her groceries for the holidays but she can’t do anything with the Ecocash transfer you made’’, he said. Ngoni and I rent in the same yard and he is such a cool guy even though I find him weird sometimes. I don’t know why. I can’t put a finger on it but he is weird.
“Is it? I guess I have to apologize.” DO I really need to? Who gets cash these days? In US dollars even. Does she know I’m even struggling to get transport fare? Argh, this woman! “I will call her and explain. Thanks for delivering”. I hope he doesn’t feel like I’m chasing him away. “Is that song from Jah Prayzah’s new album?”, he asked with excitement. “Huh?” I shrugged then I remembered i have a Jah Prayzah ringtone on my phone. “Uhmm, it’s my phone ringing. I got to go, bye”. Did I just slam my door in Ngoni’s face? Yes, I did.
Goodness gracious! It’s Alex, my ex-boyfriend. Why is he calling? What does he want? What is it that is so important that he has to call instead of just sending a message via WhatsApp? It better be good otherwise I will scream at him.
I answered. “This is the third time you are calling me. What do you want? I thought I made it clear that you mustn’t call me, I do not want to hear from you, now shoot!” Wow, I can be so proud sometimes.
‘’Sorry to call, it’s an emergency! I texted you on Whatsapp but you were offline. There is poetry gig at 10am and I’m calling you because you are one of the best poets I know. I thought I’d sign you up. You need the bucks anyway. It’s being hosted by an embassy, you will enjoy it. Are you in?” Alex said without even breathing. He thinks getting me a gig is a que for reconciliation? In his dreams! And who told him I am in need if money? I mean I am but it’s none of his business. Come to think of it, I do not have money to get in town. All I have is that twenty-five cents bond coin. Where will I get the rest? I was rude to my neighbour so I can’t even borrow money from him. Geez, what do I do? Aren’t wishes supposed to come true on Christmas day?
“Hey, are you there? Are you in or not?” Alex snorted. “Oh, yeah. Let’s meet by Joina City Mall at 9am. Don’t be late, I hate waiting!” I hang up. I have to get ready and now I have no option but to wear that dress. I play some music as I clean my room and get ready. I start think about how nothing else compares to the excitement I get from performing poetry. Today, I will perform my mother’s favourite poem, one she taught me before she died. Oh, how I miss her. It’s the only poem that connected her with my dad and the only puzzle piece I have to help me find him. Hope one day I do.
‘’Town here sister? Town here? Are you going?’’ shouts the hwindi. “Oh, I only have 25 cents”, I murmur. These guys have the potential to embarrass you. “I’m going.” I don’t know where from but I finally got the guts to say it. “I have 25 cents and I don’t mind sitting paKadoma. I do not have any cash on me and it doesn’t make sense to do a fifty cents transfer”. I didn’t give him the opportunity to object but his response surprised me. “Consider it my Christmas gift, get in!” Wow, I was so amazed. In about thirty minutes, I was at Copa Cabana finding my way to Joina City mall where I planned to meet Alex. It’s 9:30am already. I hope we won’t be late. I hate being late because it makes me very nervous.
“Hey, where exactly are you?”, I texted. I start making my way to the Pick N Pay entrance. I hope he sees me. It’s so congested here, goodness, gracious! Where are all these kids coming from? It’s the day I guess, I sense a lot of excitement. “Heeey over here.’’ That should be Alex. Of course, it’s him. I know that voice but I can’t seem to locate where it’s coming from. I need a GPS for this. “Hurry, we are late. I got us a taxi to take us to Belgravia, that’s where the event is”, he says as he grips my hand.
The drive there was a quick one. “So, you are the second performer. I hope you are ready. Go and register with that guy over there.’’ I can’t believe I’m here now. The lighting design is amazing and the crowd is cheerful. Now I feel I should have worn that sequence dress. It’s great for such occasions.
“Clap, clap, clap” the crowd does as the first poet got his standing ovation. He was really good and his stage management was fantastic. I quickly decide I would love have a chat with him after the show. Maybe I can learn something from him.
‘’Our next spoken word artist is the dynamic Lindiwe Moyo. Give her a round of applause as she comes to the stage.” It’s me he is calling. My tummy is rumbling as if it’s butterflies popping. This is my moment to shine. I held the microphone tightly as if I’m holding on to my last breath. I close my eyes as the words dripped out of my lips. I didn’t care who was looking anymore. I don’t know why I feel like I am a new being when I’m on stage. I’m sure every artist has that same feeling. My energy renewed and soul revived. I only hear rounds and rounds of applause and I watch the crowd as they cheer. I’m amazed.
‘’That was a great performance, my daughter. Do you mind if I talk to you for a minute?‘’ a man’s voice behind me said as I walked away from the stage. He was one of the guests. “Sure”, I said politely. “That poem you just performed reminds me of someone very dear to me and you look very much alike. Forgive my curiosity, who taught you that poem?”, the man said with sincerity. “It’s my mother’s fav… favourite’’, I stuttered. “She is late and I revive her memory whenever I perform it. Thank you for your interest but I should get going now”. I feel scared now. Did I share too much? Besides, no one has ever said or asked me anything like that before. The last the thing I want is a random stranger claiming to be my father. I know he is alive but it definitely can’t be him. “What was her name? I know I’m asking for too much but please tell me.” I hesitate and he asks me for a name again. “Mercy Moyo”, I said. “Why are you asking all this?”
‘’It’s because,’’ he said, “I am your father”.
By Gladys Chibanda