Whoever said habit is a shirt made of iron must have had my good friend Zikomo Matope in mind.
Having recently announced that he was trimming the number of his concubines whom he calls ‘wife assistants’ from five to only one due to what he termed economic constraints, the man could not live up to his words last Saturday.
“Diva!” he said on phone, sounding unusually jovial. “I have a surprise for you. Come to Obrigado, please?”
I had no plans to go out that day, having spent the previous night drinking yet at the same time I didn’t want to let my very good friend down. So, I set off to join him, still wondering who the surprise was. But I was certain the surprise was a woman. I know my friend, Zikomo.
“Doesn’t science tell us ‘like terms always repel’. What do I benefit from my association with fellow men especially when I come out for fun?” he argued one day. “Of course you, Diva, are the only exception of the other men.” He added, as an aftermath, perhaps after noting that what he had just uttered had the potential to tear our friendship apart.
Obrigado is another nice place in the green City of Mzuzu. The natural trees standing over the summer huts and the well tended beautiful flowers make everything about the place so romantic.
“Hi, Diva!” Zikomo greeted me. He was in one of the summer huts and close to him was a very beautiful woman, one my eyes had not feasted on before.
“This is my good friend, Diva, short of Divaluweshoni.” He introduced me to his woman. “And Diva, meet Vero, the one who was supposed to be the mother of my children. Since we broke up fifteen years ago, we haven’t seen each other. She’s come to buy a few things from Taifa Market.”
“How did she learn you are here?”
“First time I read about Zikomo Matope in Light Talk on Monday, I was sure it wasn’t just a matter of similarity in the names. And reading about places like Sports Café, I knew I’d meet him when I come to Mzuzu.” She said before excusing herself to answer her phone.
“Madzi saiwala khwawa, eti?” I said, to mean ‘old habits die hard’. “Why did you break up?”
“We happened to go to the same secondary school and our head teacher snatched her from me.” Zikomo said, almost sobbing.
“I never understood what he did to me till I joined the teaching profession myself.” Zikomo added. “It then occurred to me that he was only enjoying his fringe benefits. You look stunned? Doesn’t the goat browse where it is tethered?”
I ignored the question. “Was he unmarried?” I asked.
“In fact he already had three wives. If it were a traffic offence, we would have said overloading!”
“How I loved her!” cried Zikomo. “What pains me most is that I hadn’t yet taken her for a ‘road test’ the time our love chapter closed.”
“But you’ve her to yourself today? At least you can make up for ….”
Zikomo uttered no word. A pensive mood suddenly got over him.
“Is anything the matter?” I asked.
“Did she say she has been following me in Light Talk on Monday?”
“Then you think she can give herself to me in bed, with my blunders-laden CV?”
I hadn’t yet answered the question when Vero returned.
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