The grass is greener where there is no drought
– Phyllis Tsikisayi


You killed him, you killed your father, I killed my father!! I, Chau killed the most important person in my life with that vaccine, that Influenza Vaccine that I took him to get. I killed him, I am made to understand, I stand in the middle of the room, numb, I killed Shoriwa. I go to Ruwadzano bar and order the strongest drink, I whisper to the guy sitting next to me, who is already very intoxicated, I killed my father, staring into a future that seems so bleak, I took a sip of that whiskey, a point of no return. Who do I tell about this pain, Hungwe is slowly disengaging from me, I can see it. So, I sit in this poorly lit bar with a huge stench of perfumes ari kurwisana and swallow every word the best way I can, gulp by gulp. I killed baba!


Shoriwa really invested in the younger me. He was kind and caring in most of my younger years, a very present father. He felt that I carried weight that wasn’t mine to carry, that I shouldn’t be carrying. Weight that wasn’t intended for a young girl, if he could spare it, considering his own childhood. He consciously attempted to shield my little heart that I wore on my sleeve. Chau, ‘unonyanya ma emotions,’ he would say, this made me angry sometimes because this was who I was, loving and constantly thinking about other people. Vahera culture was underpinned by inclusiveness, generosity and concern for others. These are celebrated virtues at the core of Shona philosophy of life. But look at where it got me, now continuously going mad because my mind can’t switch off. Isn’t caring too much the reason why I am in therapy now and two weeks out of rehab because I had been abusing alcohol and drugs, Mutoriro – Crystal Meth. Did I just say that out loud. Well at least let’s get to know each other first before I blurt out something as violent as that…

I am Chaunogona Chii, the critical thinking officer, CTO, people call me Chaa, Chau, Chachacha, for those that are too familiar. Why do they have to be too familiar, kuvhengedzera! I am always thinking. My mind never switches off. I want it to switch off, I want a day off, a sabbatical somewhat, can I get one? I think not only for myself, but for everyone else, a job that I gave myself, rolling my eyes! I am wondering what I should tell you about me, I am sure I will blurt out something soon enough, I just hope it will not be as violent as before.


Hungwe sits across me, and stares right at me, it’s like he can see through my soul. ‘Chaa please let’s not do this, we are good together, I want a life with you and I know you do too.’ ‘Chau urikundinzwa here, ndoziva unoda kuva neni, what is this?’ Even his begging could not make me stay, I loved him too much to stay and that night we shared after baba’s death, our usual October getaway – renewal of the dating vows – I woke up in the middle of the night, body trembling, tears trickling down my eyes, gasping for air – literally gasping, heaving, me calling out to baba and him with nothing else to do but hold me – showed I couldn’t make him go through this, he had had enough of this for the past five years. I couldn’t make him go through this again but I also didn’t expect him to leave, without goodbye.


There is a drought at this point in my life. It has been four months since Hungwe left, packed his bags and relocated without a word. Without a word kani ndati! He left exactly three months after baba left this earth to be with his people, vedzinza ravo, and I am stuck in-between two griefs, Shoriwa and Hungwe, desperately craving friendship, intimacy, belonging and not to be abruptly left. I want to feel again, I want to feel whole again, to hear these men’s voices and to feel alive. Even if it’s in a dream, I want to hold them, I want to be held, feel their presence, laugh, whatever, just something.  I often dream of baba but hardly Hungwe, I never dream of him and I take this as a sign. One is dead and the other cannot be anything else other than dead. Who leaves a five-year relationship, in the middle of grief and makes it known via WhatsApp. ‘Hungwe, when are you coming back, I need you, and I miss you.’ ‘I am not coming back, only then does he tell me, only after I asked does he tell me he is not coming back! What the f**k!! Did that just happen, I am blank and I stare at the phone. I type furiously ‘You are selfish, you have always been selfish and I block him.’ I lie to myself that it was a long time coming, and that it was bound to happen. Besides, there is a bigger grief right now to deal with than Hungwe and his insensitivity.


I am at a point where I am looking for home because my heart and soul doesn’t know who and what I am anymore. There is a gaping hole in my heart, a short circuit in my brain. I am looking for my father in every person and all the people that I meet I am looking for baba. Grief will take you places you never imagined you would ever visit, places you would prefer not to know so intimately. Feelings that you never had, or dreamt you would ever have, will come and be very there, present, staring right in your face. You either sit with them or run, sink or swim, at this moment inini ndiri kuita chamunyurududu.


Zvimweni, which means maybe, could not have come at a better time. She is broken as much as I am and that could not have been a better recipe for disaster. Two broken people meeting and thinking that they align. Zvimweni was someone I had known for a very long time and I think that brought its own safety, comfort and familiarity. At least I didn’t have to try very hard, my brain didn’t have the capacity to anyway. Surely it was just a few more things that I needed to know about her but generally, we were good to go. I knew the basics about her, we often met in queer spaces that I found myself in once in a while because of my work. In those spaces we always found each other singled out and would have the time of our life, cackling about someone or something someone would have said. We flirted with each other over the years although I knew very well that was where it would end. I had never considered being with a woman so I knew the flirting was just that. Everybody always used to say we looked good together and I was probably secretly vying for us to be, but I made sure I nipped those conversations in the bud. What would my Pastor say, hell what would Shoriwa say.


This particular day, four months after Hungwe did the thing, six months since baba died, I got a text, ‘Hey when will you have lunch with me? I quickly responded because I didn’t mind the flirting and feeling a little bit sexy and wanted, ‘hey how about next week Saturday but I will not be playing for your team.’ ‘Who said anything about that.’ Saturday came and we met in a cosy quiet place. The conversation started with ‘hey am not really staying,’ but ended up with us sitting until early hours of the night. I forgot everything and was in this moment with them.


Having been feeling alone she came with so much warmth, understanding, reverence, a smile that threatened to tip me off my chair most times, a bit of gentleness. I brought a quiet subtle demeanour, underneath so much brokenness, that what unravelled the next couple of months was something even I was not prepared for. We were two broken people at the time who wanted to play captain planet, captain heart. I thought I could save her all the while saving myself. With a foundation built on grief, brokenness and mental fatigue, the relationship ended as quickly as it had started, leaving me scarred, feeling empty and worthless.


We shared some of the deepest secrets with Zvimweni, my relationship with Hungwe, things I had not shared with a soul and I felt connected to her. I wanted her, hell I loved her, and maybe I had loved her for all these years, did I not? I did, I secretly did. I kept waiting for her to want me, to see me, to want more than random sleepovers but I knew deep down she never considered me a girlfriend, she always feared that I would go back to the male species. And also, her heart was still with her long-time ex, so I just survived in the shadows of ex. I had managed to tuck Hungwe away neatly, all the emotions and every single thought that I had of him. I had even convinced myself that I felt nothing for him, so I immersed myself in this, this new person, this new feeling, this new life and all the excitement and thrill that it brought and all that I felt whenever I saw her. This is my future home, I was going to try like hell to make it home. Sometimes in the middle of the night when she would hold me, I knew she was thinking of her ex-lover that she shared 15 years with. In the wee hours of the night, she would work her hands in the middle of my thighs, her index finger lightly rubbing my mound bringing me so much pleasure, I thought I would explode.

I don’t want to be alone tonight I often found myself saying and on this particular night, I could not wait for my meeting to end so during break time. I rushed out to buy her flowers and took a three-hour drive after work to see her. She lived outside the city in a small town called Mabhunu. Just the thought of not sleeping alone in that cold bed brought me so much warmth and I couldn’t wait to see her. ‘Hi, I missed you,’ as we embrace and give each other a perk on the mouth, it really was going to go down that night. She blind folds me as she normally did in the middle of the night to stop me from being tense, when she explored my body. Is it already going down, I say literally shrieking. She sits me in a room where she had prepared a candle lit dinner, ‘I cooked for you babe,’ I was convinced this was where I was supposed to be. How can someone bring me this much joy, and randomly do things, unprovoked and not be mine, not be where I belong – home.

She still had so many memories lying around the house. A house that I sometimes shared with her, little mementos, pictures of them on the fridge, I just had to swallow all that but I desperately wanted to belong. Hungwe never belonged to me. We had only shared stolen moments but he never belonged to me, he didn’t want to belong to me and now Zvimweni also didn’t belong to me. She made sure she held me at arm’s length, never opening up. ‘Can you please take down the pictures on your fridge, you are not together anymore. I have to see them every time that I come into the kitchen and it’s so uncomfortable.’ ‘I am not ready to do that. Will do so some other time but as of now I am not ready.’ And so, I moved around in that house with a desolation of having photographs of another woman on the fridge but with so much bliss of the pleasure she brought me at night. Most of the time convincing myself that it was enough.

We spent most of our days and nights together. We went to places that I would not normally go alone because she was a bit more outgoing than I was, a bit more adventurous, the younger versions of myself. Before society took that away, grounding me, and care work robbed me of my sanity replacing it with a much more anxious and constantly stressed version of myself. We went to concerts and I would find myself staring at her the whole night because how could this person not be fully mine.

When you spend quite a lot of time with one person, you may think it’s love, but it probably is just intimacy. I am not a lesbian, am I? Nothing wrong If I am, okay, maybe I am pansexual, I fall in love with whoever I fall in love with. All I know is that I am a virgin and she popped my cherry. I think I am in love because of the affection and intimacy. A feeling of home and maybe coming home to somebody. Even in spending time with her I realise the person I am not, boxed. That can never be me. I sometimes feel boxed with her and expected of so much. I have to tone myself down. Whoever said a relationship with a woman is easy lied because what the hell is this. Coming from Hungwe and me just looking for security but with a woman brings its own complications. Maybe because this is the first time, I have been with anyone like her but like hell it’s tough, manoeuvring a relationship with her and at this moment I don’t want tough! And so, she decides to exit my life and somehow, I still beg her to stay. Beg her to give us another chance. I will do better, I will work on the grief, just don’t leave me.


I find myself alone again. Heavily engrossed in grief, with Shoriwa gone, Hungwe and now Zvimweni. I have no idea how to let go, I am unable to let go of the pain of losing people, afraid of losing her, home, losing love and never finding it again. I think I am being taught the art of solitude – because I have literally been alone for almost two years now. Which has been hard to learn. Since baba left, I have never felt so alone. I feel like that young girl again that baba was trying to protect. And now all the lovers I have known have left. I stop pursuing friendships, lovers leave and I try and find comfort in sleeping alone and waking up in the middle of the bed. I miss baba and I miss Hungwe. I keep thinking and praying wherever Baba is, the gods take care of him and wherever Hungwe is, the finger that he used to type that message with is infested. As for her… her, I still need to understand this hold she has over me. Maybe its grief, grief taught me to linger a little longer, when love was no longer being served, just orgasms.


And because everyone has left, I buy a tadpole, and I name him Nyeredzi!

Nedzinoparadza ka idzi!










Photo by prottoy hassan on Unsplash