As a woman set in her ways, Lucille is up by 4:30 am and opens her rather used Bible, reading her daily devotion. No matter how hard she tries, the routine she started for herself cannot be broken. Her eyes literally open themselves up every morning nomatter what time she slept the previous night, nor how fatigued she may be. Its a routine that has helped her through her weakest days, when life as a widow was no longer worth the fight. Failing to find sleep guaranteed her bible reading, Nomatter how lazy.
She finishes off her short passage, puts on her running gear and is out of the house by 5:15 am. As she ventures onto this new terrain, the beachfront, she begins with her stretches, enjoying the strong breeze from the ocean. She thinks that she can see the last twirl of a whale’s tail in the far distance and two Dolphins, jutting up and down in a playful race. It is just breathtaking.
Lucille is well toned for a 39 year old woman. Long legs and a wide African hip are her best features, along with her caramel skin tone. She would have never guessed that this could have been her, 6 years ago. Lucille was morbidly obese, weighing in at 110kg and she had absolutely no desire to work on her weight at all. She had literally started walking in their neighborhood as a joke. The kids were younger and noisier and Sam and Lucille’s first presentable Johannesburg home, was a two bed cramped 1st floor apartment. The walks were just a way to clear her mind in the mornings, taking time to pray and hear from the God she had grown to depend on. That ‘joke’ developed into a routine and the routine into lifestyle and eventually the weight just came off. She hardly did anything else, but run and stretch and it had worked out well for her.
As she starts her run with a light jog, Lucille takes in the beauty of the scenery before her. She can see one or two other people also on their trek and she is glad that she is not alone in this vast beach land. The air is beautiful and crisp and the sun flatters the rooftops and hilltops, as it slowly comes out.
‘I could get used to this,’ she thinks to herself.
As she runs, the weight of the world so heavy on her, is lifted – she feels free; she feels released. She mutters her prayers softly beneath her breath and takes breaks to ‘hear’ direction from the Lord. Lucille strongly believes that God hears, answers and orders steps. No one can take that conviction from her. And so, when she sensed that the Lord was leading her to this home, she hardly hesitated to relocate her family, promising them that God had a plan to prosper them in this remote piece of land called Britannia Bay, literally at the end of the continent and in the midst of the west Atlantic Ocean
A good 45 minutes later, as she nears her home, she sees a little girl, around 5 years of age, playing in the sand with her bucket and shovel. She is chubby and gorgeous and seems to love her own company. When she sees Lucille run towards her, she lifts her head and smiles – a beautiful, wide, tooth-filled smile which lights up her big wide brown eyes. She is absolutely gorgeous and Lucille waves at her as she slows down to begin her cooling routine. She stretches downward, then upward and immediately notices a rather irate man walking out of the house that covers her view and reprimanding the little girl for being outside alone. “Nandipha, what did I tell you about coming out here by yourself? Never ever do that again! I am tired of telling you the same thing over and over again!’ Nandi raises her head and gives the man the most adorable puppy-dog eyes as she quickly picks up her tools and runs into their yard. She stands at the rather low boundary of the house and shouts, ‘sorry tata.’
With his hands resting squarely on his hips, he shakes his head with his mouth slightly ajar and his brow in a rippled frown. He is wearing a sleeveless black vest, a grey lounging tracksuit and designer sandals. He also has an eye catching thin silver neck chain hanging loosely but well sized around his neck and it carries a black dog tag at its end, which looks inscribed. His body is very well built and Lucille can tell he works out without overdoing it at all, and it’s appealing. The morning sunrise accentuates his dark chocolate brown skin and his pitch black dreadlocks fall thickly but loosely covering his neck bringing out the broadness of his shoulders. Infact, he is quite the stunner.
He finally notices Lucille’s existence and turns, slightly embarrassed at his overreaction towards the little girl. His eyes widen but one can tell he is doing all he can to compose himself.
‘I don’t know what I am going to do with that one!’ He says emphatically, visibly upset but tenderly. As he takes a few steps towards her, he extends his hand and introduces himself in a partly nervous mouthful.
‘Hie, I’m Mangaliso, father of the ball of energy that just ran into the house. Are you the neighbour who just moved in behind me or are you just visiting the area? I heard my neighbors have finally moved in.’ When he stops talking, Lucille smiles and says, ‘Yes, I’m Lucille and we moved in yesterday. Nice to meet you.’ She politely takes his hand and is taken aback by the hard nature of his fingers. They are those of a hard worker.
He welcomes her to the neighbourhood adding that he is just a knock away if she needs any help, and then he turns almost immediately, and trots slightly into the house as though summoned by a pending mission. What Lucille doesn’t realize is that these morning meetings are going to be a daily occurrence, as Nandi also has a routine she follows diligently of going out onto the beach the moment she jumps out of bed. Daily, it is followed by a sharp reprimand from her father and a loud apology as she reaches the house. Lucille finishes off her stretches and jogs lightly into her home to find Makhosi sprawled on the couch having cereal and Ntokozo warming her milk in the microwave.
Her household generally rises early and by 6 am is normally abuzz. This morning they are slightly slower and only begin to show enthusiasm after 8am. It’s a Saturday and I nobody knows anyone in the neighbourhood and so there is no rush. The family is determined to spend the day lounging as they discover their new home and nearby surrounding area.
Nkosana is the first to walk out of the house and spends a good two hours away. On his return he describes the vast country land that rests behind the houses. The small shopping area, for basic groceries and the tourists that are soon to leave after the holiday season. It’s pretty hot and humid at this time of the year and he notes with concern how the best times to leave the house are either early morning or late afternoon towards the evening.
Ntokozo does most of her exploring online, sighting the golfing estate a few hundred meters away and the food court about a kilometer and a half away from their home. She notes down the rare mini festival still to be held in this last week before schools open and insists her mother take her, to which Lucille non commit-ally nods continuously.
Makhosi’s discoveries are very simple – the small pool and entertainment area in their lavish back yard and the exotic flowers he found there. The extra room that he insists should be the kids lounge and TV area since it already has a couch and TV, and the flat rooftop that’s great for hosting their visitors and uninterruptedly taking in the magnificent ocean views that expand before them.
MaDu is the master of her craft, organizing the groceries they brought with them, the linen, the books and preparing their dinner all at the same time for they have chosen to eat out for their lunch.
Lucille alternates between organizing her room and Ntokozo’s, as she already completed the boys rooms the previous day. This is relaxing for her, as its far from energy consuming, and allows her to look through her family pictures, gazing intently at the happy moments captured with Sam.
They drive out that afternoon and choose to eat from a seafood restaurant which allows them to watch the locals interact and picture how they would fit in to this relatively small town. They walk around the stalls at the makeshift market, and take in the beauty of the crafts laid out for tourists to pick out. Whilst gorgeous, they are ridiculously overpriced but it is to be expected. The rest of the day and the next are relatively quiet and allow the family to fully settle into their individual spaces.
Mangaliso walks out of the overly pink decorated room, and stretches as one who has just completed a humongous task. He has laid Nandi to sleep and is looking forward to having his own bed to himself without the never ending kicks and sprawls of a 5 year old girl. He knows he only has 3 or so hours to enjoy that, as the little madam will inevitably take a midnight stroll to his room and make herself comfortable as usual. The truth is, Mangaliso loves it; his daughter is his life. He wouldn’t be the man he is today without her. His determination to make life work is because of Nandipha. He intends to offer her the best of life, and he would sooner lose himself than let her down.
As he throws his body onto the bed, he grabs his cellphone quickly dialing a number. ‘Ey boet, ugida’nga?’ He says this knowing his long time friend of 16 years is definitely not at home, but out looking for thrills. Mdu and Mangaliso met in Grade 10 when his parents transferred him to Joburg for his Matric. His parents had not married each other and his father had his own family in the heart of Kempton Park. Being a woman of tender heart, Thandiswa had always wanted her son to maintain relations with his father, and when she noted that he was growing into a man, she saw it fit that he be raised by a man. It wasn’t easy for Mangaliso, being the ‘other child’ in the home, but it did afford him the chance to see life from a different angle other than his ‘Kasi’ roots in Khayelisha.
Mduduzi was the black clown of the class, always witty and very mischievous. He was good for Mangaliso who was a naturally shy young man, taught to be cautious about his actions due to being raised by a mother who regularly insisted he be different from the riffraff running around the neighbourhood. Mdu provided his expression of an alter ego, living out the adventures Mangaliso would never dare attempt. They were water and oil, and they loved it. It had been Mdu who insisted that Mangaliso enter the school talent show and even provided the stage name, D-Mac, as he and one of his many girlfriends acted out a romantic scene in the background, whilst Mangaliso sang a ballade during the event. It was epic and the rush of hearing the teenage screams and whistles are what lit a fire and passion for music in Mangaliso’s heart, and the rest is history. This is a friend he can NEVER let go of and feels he owes his success to.
Their conversation is light and fun as they confirm their next rendezvous and Mdu details his ‘chic’ drama. He ventured into an accounting career but simply because his father insisted on it. The young man is simply about ‘that life’ and he doesn’t see why he should be stuck in an office every day, but he thoroughly enjoys the benefits of remuneration. This is where Mangaliso comes in; painting the picture of lavish houses and fast cars. It helps keep Mdu ‘in check’ and for that, Mdu is grateful.
As they end their conversation, Mangaliso casually mentions that his neighbors finally moved in and that their dreams of living next to each other have been shattered. Mdu laughs, saying he doesn’t know why Mangaliso insists on living in ‘that boring village’ anyway and that he hopes that the neighbors are not an old boring fat couple, chuckling at what he imagines that would look like. Off-guardedly, Mangaliso says, ‘eish no tshomi; uyabab’ usisi! She’s a nice package but ndoda, she has three kids.’ Mdu exclaims in an exaggerated manner, and they both laugh saying how they don’t need that baggage at such a young age, ending the call in high spirits.
Mangaliso jumps up quickly and grabs a book from his desk, opens his last read page and continues his quest for knowledge whilst lying on his back, facing his ceiling – ‘The purpose driven life.’ By Rick Warren.
Bonus Chapter tomorrow morning 🙂
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