Ten years. Ten years and home still smelt the same. Tammy looked up, smiled at the clear blue sky, and then took a deep breathe. She pulled her mask up and thought to herself how so far, the only thing that had changed was the name of the airport. She wondered just how many more things had stayed the same from the time she left.
A taxi driver pulled up in front of her, and she motioned for her two suitcases and duffle bag that sat on the trolley she was standing next to as she walked to the car. She’d carried four pieces of luggage because she left in a haste, there was literally no time to pack things up, fold clothes, put shoes in one corner and the gifts she’d gathered over the years in another. She had been hesitant on calling Dana to come pick her up, and she had decided that she would stay in a hotel until she was ready to let her family know she was back home. She wasn’t ready for the crying that would take place once she got home, then the singing and ululating, the calls to her relatives that she was home, the nagging as to why she hadn’t told them she was coming earlier.
A few days of peace and quiet was all she needed before she got to see her family once again. A few days of putting things into perspective, crying her tear ducts dry over the death of her father, though long happened and the freshest wound; what could have been with Ola. Ten years, and it was a heartbreak that got her on the next flight to Zimbabwe. She laughed at herself. How could she not? The only consolation this far, was being far away from Ola. Over the next three weeks, she would change to a local phone number, deactivate her socials, just in case he went that far trying to talk to her. But what were the odds he would regret what he had done and reach out asking for forgiveness, asking to her back together again. She swore not to check her email, just in case he wrote there too, and to avoid work messages too. This was the ultimate vacation she needed.
The taxi driver hopped into his seat, and peeped at her through the view mirror. He greeted her, and asked where she was going. She mumbled Holiday Inn under her breath, and put her shades on. She did not want any weird eye contact or for him to see her tears whenever her heart would give out. She kept playing around with her phone, scrolling through the thousands of pictures. She had spent the past two days deleting Ola and hers pictures, many times stopping to sob. This heartache wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. Her gallery once filled with thousands of beautiful pictures of her Ola, was almost empty. That didn’t matter now, she was in the last place he’d ever come for her. She needed this, she needed to be home. Clear blue skies , fresh air, godly weather later her older sister and mother. Over the years, she’d forgotten just how everything was better with them. How the first time she’d gone through a break up, her mom and sister laughed at her crying and declarations that they would get back together with Lunga. They never did.
She hoped home was the same place, the sane place. Hoped that it was as joyful as she remembered, love overflowing as it had always done. Then, and now that her father had passed. She hoped that his absence wouldn’t be so loud, and she would not dread being at home as much as she did. Ten years later, she hadn’t processed his death, and avoided home like the plague, but she was back her anyway. Her mother made it easier by not pressuring her to come home. But she did tell her over and over that she how dearly she missed him. Perhaps that was her way of letting her know what grieving was like for her. She wondered if the events of the past week were written in some star, that she’d have to lose the last thing that gave her a morsel of sanity for her to come running back home. To confront her demons, to confront her loss.
“Do you go as far as the other end of Samora?” she asked the taxi driver and he nodded.
“Please head to Mount Pleasant then.” to which he nodded again.