Soiling Good Friday with girls and beer – the curse

During the days of our youth in the village, most of us did not take the Christian religion seriously. Some of us still don’t.
Of course we went to church, but only to socialise and get a glimpse of the girls. Opportunities to get up close and personal with girls were brightest during church events hitch were conducted in the dark of night, notably during Easter.
The church which was hosting Easter events on the night of the witches was St Marys Poshayi. My cousins and brothers and myself secured two five litre containers of Chibuku beer to consume at the church event. Stealth was important, as being caught drunk or being caught consuming liquor at a church event was scandalous. lt brought shame to your family.
We thus concealed the liquor in the juicy sisal plant near the Poshayi Primary School borehole, and went on the prowl for girls at the church premises which was situate just outside the school perimeter fence.
Again, strategy was crucial in getting a girl to a secluded spot. If your nocturnal activities were discovered, both yourself and the girl would be publicly disgraced entirely.
By prior arrangement made through handwritten letters exchanged earlier in the day, the girl l was supposed to see, instead of walking back to the church, left the ladies’ toilet and walked briskly to the big Muchakata tree near the netball field, where l was waiting with bated breath.
From the big Muchakata tree, myself and the girl walked leisurely to the juicy sisal plant and retrieved one five litre container of beer from its hiding place and proceeded to the Headmaster’s house where we sat on the ground leaning against the rear wall.
l took a swig from the five litre container which was now half full, as both the girl and myself breathed a sigh of relief and snuggled closer to each other.
The details of what occurred behind the Headmaster’s house are not the subject matter of this piece, but because of it, my cousins and brothers lost their patience with me and left me behind and proceeded home.
After saying goodbye to the girl, l embarked on the journey back home, alone at around 01:00 am on that night, the night of witches.
Dangling my five litre container which was now empty, l crossed Hananda Village and the road that links Mazion Village and Mapumbu forest, descended into and crossed Chiponise river, and rose into the fields of Chivi village folks.
I was as good as home. That’s when the blankness hit me. All l remember is trying to negotiate the barbed wire fence of Saina’s fields, and feeling a lightness in the head and in my feet, like some automaton gliding in mid air.
A sense of timelessness gently engulfed me, as l felt that l was being transported into an epic journey of the supernatural, where my own reflexes and senses were useless in determining my own destiny.
I walked and plodded on, propelled both in direction and purpose by some powerful intangible vortex.
The fear of not being in control gripped me, but only added to my misery. I couldn’t answer basic questions that rang in my head, who was l?, where was l going? why couldn’t l reach my destination?
Only the feeling of moving forward was real. And suddenly the spell broke. l was still holding the empty five litre container, l was behind Sekuru Arthur Mhindu’s homestead where there are sparkling white stones, many kilometres off course and away from home.
The sun’s rays were peeping from the eastern horizon, the path home was clean and clear, so were my thoughts, but my presence behind Sekuru Arthur Mhindu’s homestead remained inexplicable. l walked home.
My father was waiting at the small western gate to our homestead. In an authoritarian voice he said ” Do not enter my home, you who are vile and enslave the soul of the righteous, and control them to do your wicked deeds in the dark of night”
I stood transfixed at the small gate, while my father rushed back into the kitchen hut and came back holding a shovel with glowing embers. He sprinkled some powdery stuff onto the embers and ordered me to inhale the smoke. The smoke had a sickly sweet aroma which went straight to my head, making it lucid.
My father intoned; “Depart yee from my son, angels of dark deeds, and leave him in peace, never to return”
A weight lifted from my hunched shoulders, and silent joy and gratitude floated towards my father. As if on cue, he said: “lt is your ancestors who saved you, not me. Your forefathers
warned me about your predicament in my sleep, and they told me me what to do. All is well now. Walk to the kitchen hut without looking back.”
With head held high, l walked into the yard, for once again, the gods of good had prevailed over evil, on that night, the night of witches.

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