Their eyes fell on his dull lifeless face. His features were contorted and his mouth twisted in a lopsided grin. The skin on his face was dry and crisp like burnt bacon. Even the fine smooth dark chocolate complexion he once boasted was now a darker shade of purple.
The embalmer had done nothing to restore him to his former glory. He would have needed a sangoma to transform him to a fraction of his former self.
Their eyes fell on his dull lifeless face. His features were contorted and his mouth twisted in a lopsided grin. The skin on his face was dry and crisp like burnt bacon. Even the fine smooth dark chocolate complexion he once boasted was now a darker shade of purple. The embalmer had done nothing to restore him to his former glory. He would have needed a sangoma to transform him to a fraction of his former self. He lay there, in swathes of white silk, his hands stiffly by his sides; none would have believed that this was a man who made women wet with one lustful look. Now he only brought shock and horror to the faces of the hundreds of mourners that had gathered inside the cold, grey, imposing enclave of the Catholic church. Each person had a different reason for being there. Some had genuinely come to pay their last respects. Others had come to make sure he was really dead.
A man of style, he would have been proud of the casket they had picked for him. No, the casket she had handpicked for him. It was made of pure mahogany and the glossy exterior shone in the brilliant light of the church. Given a choice she would have cremated him and scattered his ashes in the sewer but she had to keep up the charade to the end. She was glad he was dead. Glad that he would not wake up and cause her any more pain. How she had loved this man. How she had hated him too. At least now that he was gone, none of them could have him. She exhaled deeply. The truth was she lost him a long time ago. Even the love she once felt for him had died long before he did. She gave him one last look before walking away, head held up, her arm firmly entwined with that of their oldest son who almost disappeared under her tented black hat.
The tears rolled down her beautifully chiselled face. Huge perfectly formed droplets that would not stain her waterproof mascara. This was not the man she had once loved and coveted. What had become of him, her strong powerful handsome paramour? She had not been at his bedside when he died. If she had been she might have killed him quickly and spared him the misery of a long protracted illness. They had many good memories together. Memories that were soured one fateful evening when he showed her another side of him she had never dreamed existed. With her lace handkerchief she obliterated another tear that rolled down her face. Her dark red cherry lips mouthed a goodbye.Something she had conveniently not done when she literally ran out his life a few years earlier.
Jonasi looked pitiful and sad lying there. She wanted to laugh. Even he would have hated himself had he woken up to see what had become of him. She almost felt sorry for him. Her sugar pie. Her caramel-covered doughnut. He was not a bad man, just a greedy one with such an insatiable appetite for sex. He had always boasted he could keep it going on for hours. Towards the end things had been hard though. He had wilted like a flaccid erection. Poor man. At least now he had found peace in death. He had been in pain those last days. How she had longed to have been by his side, to give him comfort. However Joyce would not let them get close. She wanted him to all herself. Stupid bitch. She leaned down and kissed him one last time then walked out.
She gawked at him from behind her Gucci sunglasses. He looked terrible. How badly he had deteriorated towards the end. He had started to rot before her eyes. All the charm and charisma had disappeared when he had started to defecate on himself. She had been glad when Joyce had finally come to take his decaying body away. She had avoided him like a bad curse. Would she too look like the aftermath of a Haitian earthquake? Like him, robbed of her beauty and splendour as she was ravaged with illness? She shook her head in disdain. Her perfectly coiffed hair bounced around. This was not her fate. Jonasi might have been sapped of life but her whole life lay ahead of her with a myriad possibilities. Young and beautiful as she was, she was certain she would marry again. She stepped away from the casket, swinging her hips from side to side. Her Aldo heels clicked on the tiled floor. She had deliberately worn a body-hugging little black dress, showing off her legs to her fullest advantage. There were many rich sharks that had come to pay their last respects. Many who would not mind comforting his young, vulnerable widow. As she sashayed past the coffin, her eyes met with those of a handsome well-dressed man near the front pews. A jolt of electricity ran through her and she felt alive and energised. Good riddance to the dead; she had a lot of life in her and was going to live it to the full.
Copyright Sue Nyathi ©2012
Readers’ Reviews and Quotes
“What a riveting and engaging book, it truly was a pleasure reading it, I loved every moment.” Mamohau Kekana
“Just finished reading your book - well written. I cried, laughed out loud and some parts really got turned on! Beautifully written... Movie please :-) my Jonasi is the Blair or locally Tony Kgorokge thank you for sharing with us....” Nomonde Maja
Readers’ Reviews and Quotes
“What a riveting and engaging book, it truly was a pleasure reading it, I loved every moment.”
“Just finished reading your book - well written. I cried, laughed out loud and some parts really got turned on! Beautifully written... Movie please :-) my Jonasi is the Blair or locally Tony Kgorokge thank you for sharing with us....”
“I helped myself to my mum's copy of you novel- The Polygamist and l loved it. All 193 pages of it. I loved the way you brought out issues of abuse,gender-violence,marital rape & HIV/AIDS so cleverly. You left me wanting more and feeling sorry for Jonasi Gomora and rooting for Joyce!“
“What an intriguing book I laughed, cried, identified myself with the characters. Thank you for a wonderful book.”
“I got more than what I had bargained for....it was rollercoaster for me”.
“Read The Polygamist this weekend. So blown away so conflicted so emotional so confused so impressed with the way you wrote it. I couldn't put it down! I feel like I know Joyce and I could kill Matipa, that Essie and I could take it outside right now I will teach her ghetto self a thing or two! And Lindani??? She just make me wanna cuss! It was amazing, can't wait for the next one!”
“Ok finished the book hmmmmmmm one must behave! This is an excellent film for World Aids day for sure hmmmmm will read it again and again...”
“Oh my goodness, I finished the book in two nights. Could have done one night but I have a child. The book was really intriguing and well written. I just could not put that book down. I was angry with everyone. Joyce how could you stay in this kind of marriage until it was too late. Oh Matipa, how dare you take someone else’s husband? And then leave your children behind. Your flesh and blood!!! Such an educated woman like you and were going places. Ai wena Essie I can’t believe you will do this to yourself for such a long time. But Lindani you just need a clap.”
“What a lovely book!!It took me three days to read and I just couldn’t put it down.Looking forward to your next book! You write beautifully.”
VimbaiGwata, Diasporan Darlings
“Nyathi’s use of very candid language sets her apart from the bulk of female African authors. Unlike her predecessors she is unapologetic about using graphic descriptions and language, not normally associated with female African authors, to highlight a characters demeanor or the baser qualities of a specific scene or scenario. She does not introduce the polygamy of our fore-fathers but instead, highlights a new strain of greed and insatiability within society that leads to a newer form of polygamy.”
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