Beloved by Noluthando Frost

Beloved
by Noluthando Frost
They called me a slore. You won’t find
that word in the Oxford Dictionary of
English. In case you don’t know, slore
is about the filthiest name you can call
any woman. It’s an amalgamation of
two more popular names for women
of supposedly loose morals. If it wasn’t
for Pretty coming by that night, I still
wouldn’t know that. I befriended Pretty
when I moved in with Victor though I
half-despised her for walking through
life with a name like that. Such a ‘70s-
in-Zimbabwe’ name. A ‘house-gel’s
name. The fact that she was, in actual
fact, a ‘domestic assistant’, just made it
worse. Maybe there is some truth to
the whole destiny thing. I mean, if
you’re given a name previous owners
of which have grown up to be maids,
what hope is there for you? People
need to be careful what they name
their kids, that’s all. But I digress. This
isn’t about Pretty at all. This is about
me and why they called me a slore.
Victor was a great person and all that,
but he was so…innocent. He loved me
so much. He was smitten. Whipped, in
fact. He’d had a hard life and I
suppose meeting me that day really
was the brightest day of his existence.
Who was I to spoil that? I know I’m
cold-hearted but even I couldn’t resist
his eagerness, his sheer joy at being
allowed to spend time with me. I
needed that ego-boost and damn if it
didn’t become addictive. That stupid t-
shirt started it all.
It’s tough out there when you’re a
beautiful woman. Women hate my
guts, and men want to – well, let’s just
say men love me and leave it at that.
My name is Thandiwe, and I really am
‘beloved’ of men wherever I go. When I
saw that t-shirt at the flea-market I
knew I had to have it. It was the only
one of its kind. Blackest black, made
from the softest clingiest material – it fit
me perfectly. What made it so special?
The top line across the front read, in
bold white lettering: ‘you call me bitch’
and underneath that: ‘like it’s a bad
thing’. I wore it with pride. In my head
I called myself ‘the baddest bitch of
them all’. I’ll say it one more time:
names, even the ones we give
ourselves in our heads, matter.
That top had Victor drooling like
Pavlov’s dog– he was adorable really. I
could tell that he was impressed that I
dared wear that brazen slogan across
my chest, and I have to admit that I
was impressed that he dared talk to
the bold hussy I was. I liked his
earnestness, and his attempt at
impressing me with being well-read
(he quoted The Prophet!), well, I was
impressed. Bulawayo may be the City
of Kings but it’s not exactly the go-to
place for literary stimulation. Words are
my life, as they were his, and he
somehow knew just the words to say
to get me smiling and looking at him
like he was more than just another
annoyingly ingratiating wimp. Long
story short, we fell in love. Moving in
with him was really quite inevitable.
I guess you could say I’ve been around
the block a few times. I think one’s
number must remain one’s secret so
I’ll just say this: I was no innocent
when I met Vic. Sweet dead Vic. I guess
he was an exception to the name
thing: he was hardly a winner at the
game of life. As I was saying, I’d been
around and I’d evolved to appreciate a
varied diet, so to speak. Victor’s manner
of treating me like a delicate china doll
he was afraid of breaking was
beginning to frustrate me. The decent
thing would have been to sit him down
and have a heart-to-heart. But what
was I going to say – I mean really?
‘Er…Victor dear, you’re boring in bed
and I need you to step your game up’?
Nyathi, on the other hand, was – well,
he wasn’t scared that I would suffocate
under him, he never asked me if he
was hurting me, I doubt he’d even
know ‘tender’ if it up and bit him on
the nose. Nyathi never asked me if I
could take it – he expected me to and I
did. This isn’t a treatise on how to treat
a woman like a woman and not an
ornament you have to handle with kid
gloves so I won’t do a ‘compare and
contrast’ on Nyathi and Victor.
That day when Victor walked in on us
going hard at it and tried to live up to
his name – I’ll never forget that day. I
never saw Victor again after the police
took him away. I waited for him to
come home – I thought he’d pay a fine
or something and return so we could
talk. But they detained him. I waited,
the fat housewives with their snot-
nosed brats and the unemployed
thugs with their unemployed thugettes
milling about outside calling me
names. Eventually they got bored.
They’d missed Scandal and
Generations waiting to see what would
happen when Victor came back from
the police station, they couldn’t miss
Muvhango too. Karabo and Dineo ain’t
got shit on me, if only they knew. So
they all went back to their little 4-
roomed houses, still exclaiming at the
exploits of the ‘salad girl’ from the
‘burbs that they always knew was
trouble.
I walked around the little house,
mindlessly opening and shutting
drawers and cupboards. I picked up
the framed picture of Victor and myself
with Van Barbie and Patrick. Did they
know I’d been caught ‘en flagrante
delicto’? Who would Victor call from
the station? What about Nyathi? One of
the neighbours had taken him to Mpilo
with blood gushing out of his ears and
mouth and lacerations all over his face.
I was pretty sure he’d broken a rib or
three. If he died would I be held as an
accessory? Before or after the fact? Or
was I just a mitigating circumstance? I
began to laugh hysterically, trying to
recall what little law I remembered
from watching LA Law as a kid. Why I
thought American law would apply is
beyond me.
That’s when Pretty the maid came by
and told me what a slore is: a slut that
is also simultaneously a whore. She
found me sitting with that picture
cradled in my arms, laughing like a
mad woman. She calmed me down
and gave me some water – I told you,
born to serve. All I could think about
was how complicated my life was. This
wouldn’t have happened if I’d told
Victor the truth about everything.
I really should have told him. I know
that now. I should have told him that I
wasn’t labelled ‘fragile -handle with
care’ and that I needed him to trust
that I could take it. Then, Nyathi
wouldn’t have been so appealing. I
should have told him I was pregnant.
Now who would believe that the baby
was Victor’s? I am many things, but I
do not have a death-wish: Nyathi and I
condomised. Who would believe that?
I told you I’ve been around the block,
what I didn’t tell you is that until Victor I
never let anyone hit it raw. So where
did I get HIV? From sweet innocent
Victor? I was wondering how to broach
the subject, and yes, still giving the
goods to Nyathi on the side, when all
hell broke loose. Now, who would
believe that the slore hadn’t infected
the sweet neighbourhood boy? Who
would believe that the sweet
neighbourhood boy got infected with
HIV not when he was with the slore,
but before that, when he was in a
drunken stupor 99.99% of the time,
blissfully sampling the questionable
wares of Bulawayo’s streetwalkers?
Patrick called me about Victor’s suicide.
He didn’t call me a slore though. He
called me a murdering witch. The irony
would be laughable if it wasn’t so
tragic. They think I killed Victor, not
knowing that in fact, he killed me and
my baby.

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One thought on “Beloved by Noluthando Frost

  1. Wow, i love the irony in this story. What a cogent on the double standards that many women are forced to endure in our society. There is nothing like a sexually liberated woman-only’ Slores’

    Good one.

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