Chapter Eight – Finale
The end of year was approaching fast, and it was a beautiful surprise that Bukuru was given a three-month Schengen Visa, so he could visit his family. The four friends celebrated at the beach as it was the highlight of 2018 as well as Kwezi who was still working on her relationship with her mother that looked promising. The night before Bukuru’ s departure, Zuba and Kwezi showed up to help pack up the bags while Butoyi was stuck at work. Butoyi joined them later in the evening with Bukuru’ s hotel reservation and his printed round-trip ticket. He also happened to have a working Belgium cellphone line which he gladly gave Bukuru. They drank lightly and talked for hours before they left for their respective homes.
On the day that Bukuru left, the three friends gathered in front of the airport to say their goodbyes.
“We laugh and play a lot but never in a million years could I have imagined that young people like yourselves could mean so much and become family to me. Together, you’ve been the highlight of 2018 to me and some of you have been that ever since I’ve known them.” Bukuru said.
“I really do not need to cry. I just did my makeup sir.” Kwezi commented as her mascara got messed up from tearing up.
They all laughed so Bukuru started hugging each one with words to last them until his return.
“Kwezi, I have only known you for a few months and I’ve noticed you got a big heart. Don’t be afraid to love your mother. She’s family. She will not harm you because you’re much stronger than you were as a child, you’ve seen and lived enough to know how to protect yourself. Trust yourself.” Kwezi could not stop herself from bawling like a child.
“Butoyi, we may all laugh at you and make fun of your dating life, but I’ve not met anyone who embodies love and loyalty like you do. You’re truly a man of great honor. You have inspired me to fight for my family and seeing how you treat these two ladies and how you’d go above and beyond to keep them safe has taught me that as a man whether my ex-wife likes it or not, I must protect and provide for my family. They are my God-given responsibility.” Bukuru tapped Butoyi on his shoulders then walked over to Zuba and held both her hands.
“You’re going to miss your flight giving long a** talks. You’re not dying, we’ll see you next month in January.” Zuba interrupted him.
“Shut up young lady and listen.” Bukuru said.
“Now, you may not have noticed but you are the reason all four of us even came together and perhaps you can’t see how powerful that is but ten years from now maybe you’ll understand. Never stop trying until you get what your heart desires. Your mother loves you and I pray you get to hear it from her one day. Don’t be scared of love, even the most unworthy of us have been loved at some point. It’s a great feeling. As for what job you’ll take on, listen to the little voice deep within you and be the woman that your younger self decided to live up for. That will be enough.”
The two hugged so tight they were reminded that the plane was leaving soon.
The three friends drove back to Butoyi’ s house for a couple of drinks and slept over because no one wanted to be alone that night. The weeks that followed Butoyi flew a few times to Kigali for work and Zuba spent a few evenings with Kwezi and her mother listening to their stories. Kwezi decided it was too early to have Christmas with her mother so the three of them had dinner at the new Pavillon Hotel on the mountains overlooking the beautiful city. They Facetimed Bukuru and his two sons; he looked happier and healthier than ever.
“What are you guys doing for New Year’s Eve?” Zuba asked.
“Well, I’m sorry y’all but its been a tradition of mine to get it on on NYE, you know start the year fresh and mighty. A young man has caught my attention lately and he’s the lucky winner.” Kwezi replied.
“Married? Divorced? Father of three? What’s his kind?” Butoyi teased her.
“Surprisingly single Butoyi and I am quite liking it.” Kwezi said.
“Wait you’ve been seeing someone this whole time and never cared to mention him at least? Or better yet let us meet him?” Zuba was shook.
“Listen, if I can’t be presenting you everyone last guy I’ve been with since meeting y’all. That’s too much unnecessary work.” Kwezi responded.
“Wait so it’s been more than one?”
“The girl has a healthy and active sexual life Zu, might wanna take a cue from her.” Butoyi commented.
“You know that’s right!” Kwezi admitted as a matter of fact.
“Butoyi, don’t tell me you’ve been out here in these streets f**in too and not telling me.” Zuba said while deeply staring at Butoyi.
“The women like me what can I say. Also, whatever happens at the end of the year does not count as an act. I have a seasonal pass, you know, Christmas present to myself, that I can do anything, and everything guilt free for the month of December.” Butoyi responded.
“I’ll have to catch up, I guess? Watch me 2019, I am ready!” Zuba added.
“A to the MEN !!!” Kwezi cheered.
“SICKO!” Zuba screamed.
“Takes one to know one!” Kwezi responded.
Butoyi raised his glass and toasted “To my favorite hoes!”
On New Year’s Eve, Zuba decided to go to church and reconcile with God for 2019 as she was going to need some superpowers to get through life from then on. Kwezi and Butoyi barely spoke to her until 5.30pm when Butoyi asked her to get dressed up, that he was going to pick her up in a few.
“Where are you taking me B?” Zuba asked.
“It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you now, would it?” Butoyi replied.
“I don’t like surprises!”
“There’s a first time for everything Zu, besides, can’t you just trust me?”
“Well, as a matter of fact NO! You could be takin me straight to hell.”
“True. Not today though. Be there in an hour and you better be ready!”
Butoyi hung up on her and though she did not like being bossed around, she was glad that NYE would be spent with her oldest friend. Less than an hour later, Butoyi pulled up in front of her house and they drove for almost half an hour before parking in front of an old warehouse.
“Like I said, straight to hell huh?” Zuba said.
“Maybe, put these blindfolds on Zu.” Butoyi replied.
“Are you crazy? First you drive me in the middle of nowhere and now you want me to be blinded?”
“Look, we have to go inside. Trust me. It’s just part of the surprise.”
“Okay. I’ll just close my eyes.”
“That’s not how it works Zu. You’ll peep through your lashes.”
“Trust me, how’s THAT!”
“Fine. Close your eyes. Sheessh! You can be stubborn sometimes. Well most times.”
“F*ck you B!”
“Not now Zu, maybe later.”
Zuba decided it was time to get out of the car before she did something to Butoyi she’d regret. He got on her nerves so many times now she knew getting away was the solution.
“Hey, close your eyes!” Butoyi shouted as he tried to catch up with Zuba who was already walking towards the entrance. She pushed the door open to irritate Butoyi who was already angry she didn’t listen to him.
When the doors opened, a group of cameramen where fixing what looked like a video set. There were lights in front of a large emerald green fabric background. Two bar stool chairs were placed a few meters apart.
“What in the world is happening here?” Zuba asked Butoyi.
Kwezi appeared out of nowhere and hugged Zuba from behind.
“You’re here too? What’s going on?”
“Trust the man! Just for today though.”
Butoyi escorted Zuba to one of the chairs and gave her clear instructions.
“Forgive me first. Second, this one is for you.” Butoyi said.
Kwezi walked back to the set holding an older woman’s hand. The woman wore Kitenge prints with a headwrap and walked slowly to the set. It wasn’t until the lights revealed who the woman was that Zuba reacted.
“Oh no! No! No! NOT HER!!!” Zuba stood up angry and walked to the exit. They had managed to bring her mother all the way from Kigali.
“Zuba wait!” Butoyi called out.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” Zuba shouted.
“Listen, you can be mad at me all you want just not right now. You mother is leaving tomorrow morning. This is a one-time opportunity to ask all the questions you’ve kept over the years. She agreed to the rules.” Butoyi said.
“What rules? What’s up with the cameramen? What is all of this?” Zuba asked.
“At the beginning of the year you talked about a show that reconciles mothers with their daughters. I remember how determined you were until the whole Kwezi situation. These cameras are here for you and the video recording will be given to you for your own use. All this time you wanted to get answers from your mother through others. Well, now she’s here and you get to decide what to do after all of this.” Butoyi explained.
“I need some space B. I can’t.” Zuba said as she walked to the car and sat for a few minutes.
Butoyi went back inside the warehouse. Mama was already in her chair, her chin down. It was certainly not the welcome she expected but she was in no position to demand anything from a daughter she had abandoned years ago.
“Where’s Zu?” Kwezi asked as she was worried.
“She just needs some time. She’ll be back.” Butoyi replied unsure of his promise.
Half an hour later, Zuba walked in without uttering a word and sat in her chair with her phone in her hand.
“Let’s get this over with.” Zuba said. She recognized the producer at her previous job the BNetwork. She wondered how Butoyi was able to convince him or even how much it cost him.
The timer was set, and the cameras started rolling.
“Hi.” Zuba said to her mother.
“I am so sorry Zuba, I am really sorry…” Mama Zuba cried out. Kwezi intervened and calmed her. Zuba wasn’t shook as she kept a straight face.
“Let’s start from the beginning!” Butoyi called out to the set crew.
The timer was reset.
“Hi.” Zuba repeated.
“Hello mwiza wanjye (my beautiful one)” Mama Zuba replied almost to tears.
“Well, okay. First question and you better come up with something original. Why did you make the conscious decision to ignore me after I had gone through the trouble of coming to see you?” Zuba started with a shot straight at her mother. It took a minute to get a response.
“Ever since your grandmother died…” Mama Zuba started.
“Can we keep the dead woman who raised me out of this. You can’t just drag her into your unimaginable excuses.” Zuba quickly responded.
“CUT!” Butoyi announced before walking up to Zuba.
“Listen, I know you’re mad, but we don’t have much time, and everyone has to be with their family for NYE. We can’t keep them any longer than 8PM.”
Butoyi then announced they could start rolling the cameras again and signaled to Mama Zuba to answer again the question.
“Ever since your grandmother died, I had kept hoping that you’d want to come back to me, so I started seeing you in every young woman I’d meet. After approaching a couple of them I started realizing I was becoming paranoiac about it all. When you came to Kigali, I could swear it was you, but it was too good to be true, so I assumed it was my mind playing tricks on me again. God knows my neighbors have called me crazy a few times. A few days later is when I started thinking that maybe it was you but thought that you’d have said something if it was indeed you. Called me ‘mother’ or something.”
Zuba had not expected that as a response.
“Well done woman. My second and main question is why? Why did you abandon me? What was it about your now husband that made you decide he was more important? I mean I don’t know much about love but that’s low for anyone. And please be honest for once!” Zuba demanded.
Mama Zuba took a deep breath and answered,
“I was young when I met your father. I knew whatever we had going on wouldn’t last because he was going to go abroad in a years’ time. I loved him very much and so we spent enough time together and I ended up pregnant. I couldn’t ruin his life, so I kept the secret until he left the country. When I broke the news to your grandmother, she was so angry and called me all kinds of names. I was too far along the pregnancy to abort and it was already hard to make ends meet. I gave birth to you and your grandmother presented me to this old man that had just lost his wife and was looking forward to remarrying. However, he did not want me to come along with the baby and my grandmother had threatened by saying I had committed sin by birthing you and that it was by God’s grace that someone was willing to marry me. I was young, and she convinced me I could not take care of you but that with my husband’s help I could provide for you. That’s what I did and not a day goes by without me feeling guilty.”
“Well,” Zuba said, “…guilt is mild compared to what I have felt all these years.”
The two women went back and forth with questions being answered and breaks between some of the biggest revelations.
“What’s your biggest regret?” Zuba asked.
“It certainly isn’t that you were raised by your grandmother because if it weren’t for her you wouldn’t have grown into the strong woman that you are today. I regret to have missed some of your biggest milestones. In a way, I thought that it was better not to disturb you with my presence. I was punishing myself.” Mama Zuba answered.
“Oh no, not just yourself. You punished all of us in the process.” Zuba commented.
The discussion went on for over two hours with breaks in between. The video crew set started packing up and left the four of them.
“I have to go home. This has been the most tiresome day of my life.” Zuba said to Butoyi.
“Where is she sleeping at by the way?”
“Club du Lac but she could also come to your place.”
After giving it enough thought Zuba asked Butoyi to drop her and her mother off at her house, which he gladly did. Kwezi rushed to go meet up with her new boo and Butoyi later went to change for the NYE party downtown.
“You can sleep in the other room. It is all set.” Zuba showed her mother the room and the bathroom and left to go into her room. She had a headache and felt exhausted, she got ready for bed. At around 10PM, Zuba heard some noises coming from her living room. She got up and slowly walked out of her room. She found her mother crying on the couch holding a picture of her at her high school graduation. It was the same picture that her grandmother hung at their house. All sorts of emotions piled up within her she hugged her mother and the two bawled endlessly with her mother begging for forgiveness and Zuba telling her it was okay.
“You’ve got a great man Mwiza wanjye, that’s a keep.” Mama Zuba said to divert from the chaos.
“What man?” Zuba asked.
“That Butoyi. He’s such a gentleman.”
“Oh yeah nooo…he is not my man and he is far from being a gentleman.”
“Don’t be silly or bling. You’re a smart woman.”
“No trust me, he ain’t all of that.”
“Young lady, the man came home and convinced my controlling husband to let me come here. He brought presents for your siblings, paid for my flight and hotel, and that wasn’t for me. He did all that for you. I don’t know what you gave to that young man, but he is IT.”
“I think our emotions are all over the place right now and it’s time for us to sleep. Goodnight.”
Zuba walked back to her room and laid in bed thinking about the whole day while trying to fall asleep. She called Bukuru, but he was probably asleep with the different time zone, so she sent him a Happy New year text. She did not try to disturb Kwezi or whatever she had going on, so she sent another text as well. Butoyi was probably still at his house getting ready for the NYE party at the beach so she called,
“Wassup big head?”
“Not much, just here.”
“What you mean? You’re not going out?”
“Nah, I’m too tired. I’ll just stay home.”
A long silence followed with no one talking.
“Anytime. I got you for life Zu remember that.”
“Yes, ‘til the wheels fall of.” Zuba added as a tear ran down her cheek. They both laughed at the promise they had made to each other years ago when they met that no matter who they ended up with in life or where, that they’d have each other’s backs.
“There’s one thing I’d like to do before the end of this year.”
“And what is that?”
“I’m coming over to your place. I’ll be there in thirty!”
“Wait, for what?”
“It doesn’t matter. You’re the one who said whatever happens at the end of the year does not count. SEASONAL PASS”
“Wait, are trying to get something going at my place? Are you insane? With who?”
Butoyi had no choice but to bow to her tactic of using his words against him. Zuba did not try to think twice about what she was doing as she would back out of her sudden idea. Zuba was about to take a cue from Kwezi’s book. The only problem was the aftermath because it would either ruin her friendship with Butoyi or upgrade it. There was only one way to find out and in the words of the great Bukuru – don’t be scared of love, even the most unworthy of us have been loved at some point. It’s a great feeling!
-THE END –
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