I look up once more and see that the man of the law is now 3 people away from me. My heart skips a beat as I consider the eventualities if this doesn’t go well. I switch the paperwork from one hand to the other and feel the sweat in the hand that has been freed from its duties. A moment maketh a man…or something like that. I lift my head and look at the man now in front of me, he speaks with authority as he says, “Ma paper ako,” I smile inwardly at another Zimbabwean assumption that everyone can understand Shona.
I hand over my papers and take a deep breath in and out. This is it. He looks at them at looks at me. He asks when this passport was taken…read dummy !! And yet I ignore and answer the gentleman, “I took it 5 years ago” He smirks and asks me to step to the side. I wipe my face before lifting my satchel and moving to the right of the queue. My heart beats fast as I question why I even took this option. This was too early to make this move. I should have listened to my doubting spirit. I look around and wonder if its possible to make a run for it. Surely it cant be that hard.
I doubt myself and rather pat my jean pocket. If push comes to shove, I have enough to bribe my way out. I smile when as I feel the bulge in my pocket. The smile is quickly wiped away as I think back to why I am even here at Beitbridge border post. My mind struggles to bring the collection back again. Damn it was never meant to be like this.
I started being suspicious the day my lady left our backyard cottage just after receiving a message on her phone. And in my sleep, I heard the neighbor also closing his door. To me -on my day off seemed like a usual coincidence. But something didn’t rock right in my head when they also came back 5 minutes apart. The first alarm bell rang in my head. But I ignored it. And as time went I started picking up on funny other coincidences like the day when I was standing outside and both their phones seemed to be sending and receiving messages in routine. I ignored it as well and prayed that the good God would show me the truth when the time was right.
I remember asking my lady during those times if all was well….if she was happy with me…if she loved me. And she kept assuring me that all was well. Yet her phone never left her hand. Bit by bit I started noticing the differences. Everything was changing. Even simple things like a kiss goodbye as one of us was going to work. And slowly I started losing it. I would get moody and just be on silent mode. And in a way I guess I started pushing her further towards her new found love. All of a sudden she started asking for trips out with her friends-braais, kitchen teas etc.
Then on one particular night she asked to go out for a night, I smiled at her and said by all means my dear. Another coincidence-my fellow lodgering neighbour was also not there that night. I didn’t even sleep that night as I cried and plotted….plotting and crying. The longest night ever. I remember trying to call her that night, ‘Sorry this place is so noisy I wont even hear you’ she texted back.
My heart in pain, I packed my bag in the morning and waited for her to come back. I would do one more great act and leave on the next bus for South Africa. She came in first…looking all tired and yet smelling heavily of perfume as if it had been recently spayed. She removed her jacket and by some amazing luck a receipt fell out of her jean jacket pocket.
Tanachi Lodge booking for 2. Dated the night before.
I looked at her and laughed, “I dont know whether to be disappointed at you or at the fact that I suspected this and let it go on for all this time”
Without waiting for the response, I walked out and to make this more interesting I met my neighbour-love thy neighbour it says-coming into the yard. I greeted and he stuttered a reply and also asked, “ko where to with the bag?” That broke me and I dropped the bag, I turned back and…
The Immigration officer looked at me and some other people who had been fished out of the queue. He then announced with all his glorified authority that we had been selectively chosen to go through the new biometric system that had been recently installed at the port. “But the bus will leave us” one person said. To which he replied, as you can see the driver is behind you, not to worry, its procedure, now who is first?”
I raised my hand out of instinct rather than the pure need of want. And instantly I was ushered into some booth for the tests. Sweat oozing down my chin, I waited for the ‘WANTED’ signal to pop up but when he asked to me to exit the booth and head to the bus, I knew that I could finally cross the border and start all over again in a new country.
Written by Tony
Tony is a budding writer and blogger. He can be found on tanachiblog.wordpress.com Twitter – Tony_uyo