A man is lying on his bed starring at the window. Some people are crying whereas others are groaning in pain. Madzudzo is wearing grey pyjamas, a woollen hat and a pair of thick stockings. One would wonder why this man is punishing himself with the high temperatures experienced in the Lowveld of Zimbabwe during October. With tears stinging his eyes he clears his throat and holds his wife’s hands. The woman who seems to have been now dozing suddenly sits up straight and holds Madzudzo’s trembling hands. She is hurt, her eyes carry nothing but fear and lost hope. She cannot tell him that one day he will not watch the sunset. Why is the world such an evil place? Why do some people live happily till they die and yet some people are always in pain?
‘Maiti nhai Shumba?’, Madzudzo looks in her eyes, “Maslyn my wife please take me home, there is nothing left for me here.” With tears streaming down his cheeks, he tells his wife how someone dies from this ward every day and that some family members when they come to visit their loved ones they only find an empty bed. “I want to breathe my last in your arms, l know l will be safe with you”. Maslyn holds his hand and tries to squeeze it hard to show that she understands but the man is too frail she can end up breaking his bones.
“Mrs Nhema, you have to be strong sezvamaiona misi haifanane, on some days, your husband will throw up, spoil his clothes not have an appetite the list goes on and on.” The woman just nods her head and quickly signs the discharging forms. She had never imagined that one day she would be in this situation, she was not ready to bury her husband. But she was taking him home and waiting for the day he breathes his last. Maslyn had prayed for her husband to get better, she had been a good girl when she was young but why did she end up being in this situation? Maybe one day she would have the answers but all she had were a lot of questions.
As she walked to the male ward she met a woman who was throwing herself on the floor, what if she hurt herself she wondered. The angel of death seemed to have been targeting this particular wing of the hospital each day. The atmosphere was tense and gloomy, the men lived their lives in fear, fear of what will happen to them. The men rarely smiled they only joked with the doctors and the nurses.
Madzudzo had brought nothing but pain and misery in his wife’s life. He had cheated on Maslyn and infected her with multiple sexually transmitted infections and yet Maslyn had decided to take him home. The woman who had lost her baby to ‘IT’. Surprisingly she did not hate him she had been patient with him, she prayed that she would not have a walk on the same road that Madzudzo was walking on. She wanted an easier and less painful path. A path that was peaceful and restful.
‘Inga hako wave kuenda, (lucky you, you are finally going home) madam, God bless you’, Maslyn looked at the young boy and smiled. Some patients had been abandoned by their family members all they did was pay the hospital bills and keep in touch with their doctors. They hoped that they would never get discharged but only leave the hospital when they were dead. No one loved them the way Maslyn loved Madzudzo. She was a woman who meant every word of her marriage vows. A lot of people could have envied Madzudzo but some men despised him. He had a beautiful, loving wife and yet he had broken her heart and left a scar that would be a constant reminder of his unfaithfulness.
The drive to his house had been long, Madzudzo was uncomfortable and kept coughing and clearing his throat. Maslyn was scared of how the boys react when they saw Baba in this state. The boys had written him countless letters but he had never replied to them. The man was busy jumping out of bed with different women and he had forgotten that he had a family. Why had he been so heartless and inconsiderate? Everyone was going to suffer the consequences of his actions.
The hooting of cars and buses, people shouting and the young boys playing ball in the street notified Madzudzo that he was finally home. The man began to shiver and cough, was the man ashamed of his actions or he was scared that everyone would know that he had finally come home?
To be continued…..