Read this from my archives, it looks long but it really isn’t, because a lot is just conversation between my grandparents.
Soon dear reader, soon I will be out of my Writer’s Block funk and the pursuit of awesomeness will begin.
Our driver always played the radio loud. He probably did it to drown out the noise we made. What puzzled me was why the station he played was in English. He was the same age as my Grandpa and my Sekuru always insisted that we play National FM.
“Those reporters on your station speak through their noses Shupi, I cannot hear a thing,” he would say. I would turn it back to Radio 2 as he still called it, as soon as he was out of earshot I would change back to my channel. I did not need to wait long Sekuru was losing his hearing, fast. Each time he came to visit, it seems I needed to yell a little more. He insisted that I talk a little, no need to yell.
“Talk a little louder Shupi” I would yell.
“Now there’s no need for that, I am not deaf you know.” I would talk.
“Shupi move closer, how am I supposed to hear if you talk from so far away?” I would move closer and repeat myself.
“How many times do I have to tell you to talk louder Shupi?” I would yell.
“I said for you not to yell, and you have changed the station again,” waggling his finger he would point at the little radio we had in our lounge, “change it back this instant.”
This would go on until he left two weeks later. Coming to our house was a holiday for him. I did not blame him. He always said to me each time,
“I am going back to that woman who won’t leave me alone.”
He was right. Grandma always seemed to be giving him a hard time about one thing or the other. Grandpa told me that mama had inherited the same nag gene.
“Your daddy is going to age faster than I did. Between your mother and her mother,” he let out a low whistle.
Grandpa was seventy nine but Grandma still nagged him about getting a job.
“Wena Magirazi,” she would say spitting on the ground, “you have spent all week sitting in the sun doing nothing, get up and go to Chivhu, you need to find a job. I want sugar in my tea. Your daughter left us with Shupi and every minute she is asking for us to feed her.” She spat again, her saliva coated brown from the tobacco she was constantly chewing.
She wiped her mouth on the back of the sleeve and fixed her cataract gaze on me. I wondered if she really could see.
“Why just after tea she came asking for pumpkin, look at her Magirazi she is so skinny where does it all go?”
He ignored her.
“A job doing what Mai Magirazi? I am too old.”
“Too old to look for a job eh, but not too old to be eating?”
“Do you expect me to starve now? Am I not allowed to eat?”
“Listen here, you cannot expect your children to pay for everything, that step son of yours has a good for nothing job”
“Shhhhh Mai can’t you see Shupi and Yemu are sitting over there.”
We were playing hopscotch a little way off; it was hard not to hear. Grandma was so loud, she had to be. Grandpa would not have heard her otherwise. However Grandma continued, disregarding his misgivings.
“You need to get up from there and go to the town, right now Magirazi.” he tsked and turned his gaze to a donkey that had moved closer as if intrigued by their conversation.
“And who will give me this job?” he said turning to regard her through cataract clouded eyes
“That is not a problem, get up and go be a man.”
Back and forth, they bickered, with Grandma doing most of the talking. Sekuru had resumed his contemplative watching of the animals. He made no move to get up and leave Gogo to her nagging and occasionally grunted a reply more to egg her on, than anything.
He had stopped.