Lindi stuffed her lab coat into her backpack the moment she was out of the hospital gate. Out of habit, she left her name tag around her neck. Good thing her shift ended early, she looked forward to a quiet afternoon before Thulani got home from school.
The day had been tiresome, compartmentalizing was not easy. Her mind kept reeling and going back to the conversation with Achi, she hated how his question seemed to suggest he was open to thinking about getting back together.
'And if I wasn't seeing someone?' he had asked.
If, is a big word and thinking like that would make things even more complicated. She had barely moved on from that thought when she saw Achi's car in the car park as she descended the steep driveway. Her heart hammered violently against her chest. As she walked on, three ladies dressed in full combats disembarked.
Immediately she knew who they were. From the way they disembarked she also knew she had to summon her inner savage, they were not here for a consultation. Lindi decided to ignore them.
She walked on, adjusting the backpack on her shoulder and increasing her pace.
"Excuse me?" one of the ladies said just before she walked passed. She beaconed her over.
Lindi looked at her and politely walked over. She looked at the name tag on the breast pocket of the lady, it read C. Chileshe. She wondered if this was Chomba.
"I am Major Chileshe," she said proudly as if her rank meant something to Lindi. Lindi was not bothered to respond with her name since she was the one who had been stopped.
Chomba introduced her friends, dragging out the ranks Captain Matipa and Major Guma, Lindi did not pay attention to their names. She moved off the driveway and into the car park trying to maintain politeness. However, the other two ladies stood with folded arms and waited.
"You're Lindi, right?" Chomba asked.
"I am sure you know who I am," Chomba said confidently.
"No, I don't," Lindi said honestly.
Whatever self-importance Chomba had seemed to depreciate. But one of her friends spoke up.
"Well, we know you, Doctor. See, our friend here is Captain Muyinda's fiancee," she spat.
"I know Achi, yes," Lindi replied.
Chomba levelled her a look, but Lindi refused to be intimidated.
"Stop using your son to get things from him," Major Guma said rudely. "An old trick that won't work."
"You would not be here if it was an old trick that won't work," Lindi smiled. She took a deep breath and looked at Chomba. "I think this is a conversation that you need to have with Achindikwe, not with me. As far as I am concerned I have not asked him for anything."
"You have some nerve iwe, "Captain Matipa warned.
Lindi looked up at her and then at Chomba. Did she really want to do this in front of her friends?
Chomba read Lindi's plea and asked her friends to wait in the car. Instead of the initial savage Lindi wanted to summon, she felt compassion. Chomba was exactly where she had been back in University when she had been dating Achi, she had no idea what Achi was thinking and by the looks of it, she had no idea what he was doing either. So here she was trying to make sense of everything instead of talking to the one person who could put it all to rest.
"Achi and I share a son, that won't change just because you don't like it. If you have something to say, say it to your man."
"Why did he come straight to your house after his mission?" Chomba asked her voice a prideless whisper.
"You will have to ask him," Lindi answered softly.
"Do you still love him?" Chomba asked passed the lump in her throat. She bit down her teeth to stop the tears.
"Does it matter?" Lindi asked. "My feelings for him don't matter. The question you want to ask me is if I want him back, my answer is no. I don't want him back. "
"But he wants you back," she said with a laugh. "Achi can be quite persuasive."
Defeat. Lindi recognised it the moment Chomba folded her arms. She felt sorry for her. Lindi excused herself and walked home.
The whole way she kept replaying the conversation, they thought they could bully her into a corner, but she could see that Chomba was reasonable, her friends however. She could just imagine what would happen if they found out about the kiss. Worse if she was seeing Achi again. hell would break loose.
This was the kind of drama she needed to keep away from her son, she had it in her mind Chomba was threatened by Thulani. And if Chomba wanted Achi to herself she knew Thulani had to go. Lindi felt her tummy churn at the thought.
She had to have a serious conversation with Achi. As she neared her house she wondered how Chomba knew where she worked and what time her shift ended, because it was not by chance that they were just in the car park when she was walking out.
The triumph she had felt after talking to Chomba diffused into fear. She realised that Chomba knew a lot about her routine. LIndi was bothered more by the fact they came with Achi's car, why she wondered. Was it to show off? or to prove something?
As Lindi pushed open her gate, she breathed in deeply and tried to leave the Chomba problem at the gate.