Sneezing Woman

A few years ago in Cape Town I could tell the fat woman sitting behind me in the taxi from Bellville to Durbanville had a very bad cold because she kept making all the sounds that go with that kind of suffering, but the real giveaway was the fact that she kept calling people on her cellphone and telling them she had a cold. “I’m in a taxi, I’ve got a cold.” She kept saying. “I’ll call you later.” The fourth time she did it, a conversation broke.

Woman – (nasally, like the woman in the BrandPower advert) “I tell you my friend, he didn’t come home last night. I called his friend…yes that one, and he didn’t know where he was. I don’t know if I should ask him where he was when he comes back. What if he leaves and never comes back? I haven’t slept since yesterday my friend. I love him and I suspect I might be pregnant but I haven’t told him yet. we’ve talked about it and he says he doesn’t want a baby yet but I know once it’s here he’s gonna thank me…”

She then let out an enormous sneeze containing enough moisture that I could feel particles of it on my neck.

Woman – “I don’t care about that bitch(kazi). Mzi is mine and that’s it. She calls me and sends me rude smses. He knows.”

Then came the biggest sneeze yet, it made the hair on my neck move. I wanted to protest but when I turned round she was looking right at me. Right there and then, I understood why Mzi didn’t come home.

By Khaya



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