Nerve damage: part 1

Mrs. Faustina Nyanga sat on a plastic chair at the front. The buzz that she had created when she walked up had died down. Soft jazz music was playing. Tulips seemed to be everywhere she looked. Faustina had personally taken care of the imported dress from Italy. Wonder what the guerilla thinks about that.
Mimi made the announcement through a phone call in the middle of the night. Letting her daughter make her own mistakes was hard. Faustina asked twice if she was sure, once more this morning, and gave Mimi her blessing.
The music changed and the people in the back stood. There was a slight breeze but the weather was perfect for an outdoor wedding. Mimi practically shone in the sun. Her smile was all teeth and Faustina swallowed a lump when she realized it was not for her. She had not even seen him when she walked up to her seat. Mimi had decided to walk up alone. There had been no objections from Faustina.
The papers called him Jeshi, he was supposed to have been the rebel’s secret weapon. Faustina smiled a real smile for a second. The man had made attempts to tame his dreadlocks and his vows did not sound like a war cry. There were tears in Mimi’s eyes as she said her vows. The girl was happy, hadn’t that been the point of it all.
Mimi grabbed Faustina’s hand as they left for the reception. “The speech, remember you promised.” Then she was gone. The guerilla did not even glance in her direction.
The reception was lovely. The guests danced and laughed, both luxuries that had been impossible just a year before. In between dances, Mimi sat next to her mother. They were quiet, just trying to take it all in. A magazine writer tried to get a quote out of Faustina. She decided to get a drink.
“Mutela, can I have a word?” Faustina asked. They were at the bar, Jeshi looked at her and back at Mimi dancing.
“Of course mama.” He said.
They found a small room in the reception hall that would guarantee some privacy.
“It was a beautiful ceremony, thank you for coming. You know my parents died in the government attacks.” He said.
“You remind me of the president. He had been a rebel too, and then a soldier. Instead of dreadlocks he had a gold tooth. He also told horror stories to elicit empathy.” Faustina said.
“Mama, I am a little insulted that you…” He said.
“His wife, Jamila, was a wonderful woman. She married him after he left the bush, called him her freedom fighter. Before he destroyed the nation, he destroyed her first.” Faustina said, “You have his ambition too, and with the entire country thinking you are a Messiah, you might just make it to State House. Mimi is mine. Did you see the Duma House dungeons when you took the city? Could you imagine a year in there? She will not be a doll you showcase to the country.”
“Yes mama.” He said.
Faustina walked back into the noisy reception hall feeling much better. She took her seat at the high table and waited for the speeches to start. She absently rubbed her bad leg and tried to ignore Jeshi’s glare.
The MC did not mention that she had been minister of foreign affairs when he introduced her. She was Mimi’s mother, a survivor and an activist. She kept her speech short. Her leg was killing her and even though he had not said it, the entire crowd knew exactly who she was. Mimi smiled, all teeth, when she sat down. They had been through a lot together. She hoped it would be the end of that.


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