They went back to Harare and we never heard from them. I was heartbroken because my hope was in her promise. Depression started resurfacing through my mother. She had somehow relaxed because she believed in my aunt. I kept pestering her every day since time was moving and there was no sign from my aunt or any one.
Luckily, a miracle happened when we received a letter from my aunt. She requested me to join her in the city so as to look for something to keep me busy. I jumped and screamed with joy because I saw my dreams coming to life again. I was prepared to even go and work as a maid to raise money for Advanced Level. All I needed was a start and accommodation in Harare.
I remember washing, ironing and packing a few raggedy clothes of mine in excitement. I had natural hair which I had kept for almost a year without shaving if off. I went to Mai Faith who was the hairdresser in our village. She then plaited my hair as I prepared for my journey to the big city. I went and took some lemons from the garden for me to scrub my cracked heels. I had to look good because I didn’t want to embarrass my aunty. My mom prepared peanut butter and a few goodies for my aunty as per our culture : one cannot just be an empty handed visitor. She actually wanted to give me a live chicken to go with which I refused furiously. I took it that she wanted to disgrace me. Smelling peanut butter was the only sacrifice I had to make, a live chicken was not negotiable. She tried to convince me that life in the city was expensive and my aunty would appreciate the rooster. We had nothing special to give my aunt as a token of appreciation. But I stood my ground and won.
I bade farewell to my siblings and went to Harare the days that followed. The day I travelled I was scared and excited at the same time. I had never travelled to Harare on my own. Being a big city and the stories I used to hear about Mbare Msika scared the hell out of me. My mother strengthened me and told me not to worry. My aunt had promised to wait for me at Amtec bus stop in town. My mother strongly emphasised to the driver and the conductor to drop me at Amtec without fail.
The whole journey I couldn’t even sleep, eat or talk. I was just worried that I was going to get lost since I didn’t even know where my aunt stayed. The only memory of Harare I had was the place we used to stay when I was in Primary school.
I didn’t remember much. Some of the passengers in the bus where in jovial mood whilst others slept the whole journey yet I was anxious. I somehow envied them. We arrived in Harare around 11 in the morning. The conductor told me that I had arrived. He helped me with my bags as I disembarked from the bus. I looked around trying to see if my aunt was there. She was not anywhere around or near the bus stop. My heart stopped and went cold in fear.
I didn’t want to look scared so I went to sit on my bags as if I knew what I was doing and where I was going. A million questions in my head but I had no one to ask and no one to answer them. I heard several times how people were robbed because of asking so I decided to remain silent. Time was flying but there was no sign of my aunt in any direction. People got in and out of buses at the bus stop and left me there. Everyone assumed that everything was okay yet I was in trouble. It was just the beginning of a nightmare.