Fadzai Maposah Correspondent
As I age, I am doing my best each day not to be the dreaded aunt! Each family has that one aunt that members dread but still is family.
How many of us can relate to that one aunt (they might be many but one is always above the others!), when she arrives there is drama and everyone is immediately aware of her arrival?
Everything changes when she is present.
Some aunts are so powerful for lack of a better word that even planned meals can be changed in an instant.
When we feel that we are being taken advantage of, when these aunts turn up, we are relieved.
Growing up, I enjoyed being in the village, kumusha, ekhaya.
I enjoy it more now that I am older.
Take it from me as one grows older, one tends to appreciate the finer things in life.
Maybe it is because that as one ages, he or she realises that the true essence of life is not measured by the material things.
One realises that there are things that money can never buy!
One can still be right without raising voices and slowly one realises that saying ` I told you so ` or `I knew it` is better left unsaid.
Could it be that as one ages, it really sinks that they could be running out of time, focusing on the minors while the majors sink into oblivion? Story for another day.
Some holidays when I was young we would go to the village in Sanyati.
My parents, WaMambo and MaNcube made sure we experienced being in the village.
My siblings and I knew that we would only go back to urban life with just a week left of the holiday so that preparations for the new term including kugrocery (shopping) would be unhurried.
In the village, the bathrooms did not have locks back then.
Now with many people building modern homes in the village, it is very possible to have en-suite bathrooms.
I had shared with MaNcube that I was experiencing “it”. Once she knew, she always ensured that my ‘it’ experience was not disturbed by my sisters because in the village, the issue of locking the bathroom door was out of question.
It was pleasant day one. Day two, my aunt arrived.
She meets all the criteria that I shared about that one aunt in the beginning!
Carrying my bucket to the bathroom with all my ‘support equipment’ in the skirt with the patch pockets that was so handy in the village, late afternoon for the second and real bath before participating in preparing supper, I was stopped in my tracks by my aunt’s voice.
I had to stop to hear what she was saying. The set-up of our rural homestead is such that as one walked to the bathroom, they have to walk across the whole homestead.
Later when my grandmother stayed with my parents in the village they made sure that there was a drum in the middle of the homestead.
It was her Selous — half way mark! Rest point.
I could not believe what my aunt was saying and saying out loud! I knew answering her was agreeing to war!
“There is so much room in the bathroom that there is no need for Fadzi to bath alone!”
I thought there, in the middle of the homestead I would faint.
I was walking to the bathroom faster now, but I knew that even if I ran, once I got to the bathroom, I could not lock the door.
She was still talking: “If you girls bath together, it will mean that the bathroom is cleared faster and we all get to bath earlier. Nyari! Tendi! Get your buckets and join Fadzi!
“It is good for bonding as sisters too,” aunt added.
I remember looking back in horror and disbelief as my two sisters ran to get buckets.
Seeing me put the bucket down and beginning to walk towards her was only enough for my aunt to call out to my sisters, “Hurry!”
At that moment I thought the heat of the Sanyati area had done something to my siblings’ brains!
Within minutes, no, seconds the two girls were walking towards the bathroom to join me.
The looks on their faces were screaming’ ‘guess who is joining you in the bathroom today?’
I felt like shaking them to see if they were for real!
By the time I got to my aunt, I was really confused.
What was my aunt trying to achieve by mobilising my sisters to bath with me?
The child in me longed for my parents who had gone to the village to visit family and friends, others who had faced different life issues while we were in the urban areas. I was so confident that my parents would put an end to this drama.
My aunt thought that I was being stubborn and she was determined to prove that what she said was law!
I remember my aunt indicating with her hand that I should join my sisters who were still standing, arms akimbo with three buckets on the ground.
Even though Nyari and Tendi were young, they knew how aunt always got her way.
Trying to argue with her was something new that had never been witnessed . . . I was numb and tears pricked hot in my eyes…
When I heard MaNcube’s voice I knew that I was safe from my aunt and her plan.
Suddenly, Nyari and Tendi were disarmed.
Disarmed, they left the buckets in the middle of the yard until WaMambo asked what was happening.
Those two words had different effects, for Nyari and Tendi, defeat and for me, victory for my “it” experience and I.
As I put my clothes on the nail on the bathroom wall, I sighed. Relief.
Every girl needs others to fight invasion of privacy during “it” moments. Every girl needs a trusted person to share that they are on it!