Thandi was worried now, yes Mrs Shabangu, her employer was away on one of her numerous Conventions and she asked her to stay in her house since she was her domestic worker yet she didn't want to be here.Funny how she had all the luxury she usually dreams of, the state of the art security team and top notch safety systems yet she didn't feel safe or contend.
Safety for her was her one roomed house which boasts of a couch which turns to her bed,ironing board, table and whatever use she can think of.Her prized possession being her parents' wedding photo which hangs on the wall.
She looked outside the window and couldn't see a thing , damn the blizzard she would've been home by now, listening to the news or music since all her wages went to rent, food and studies.She blamed the book she was reading which ensured time flew by and now she was stuck at work .
She paced the room , ate some snack,and started moving about until she found herself before the red room, it wasn't painted red it's just that Mrs Shabangu always insisted that the room shouldn't be opened by anyone hence the reason she called it the red room.
She delicately touched the knob and placed her ear to the door pretending she can hear what's inside. She must've have learned too hard on the door for it opened and she fell on her knees.
The room looked fresh and clean it showed that Mrs Shabangu cleans it on a daily basis.She felt like she was intruding yet her feet carried her toward the bed where she sat and picked up the photo album and turned the pages.
It was obvious Mrs Shabangu was the woman in various poses with the boy, whom she believes is the owner of the room. As he hit his teens he seemed familiar yet she couldn't remember where she's met the guy.
The photos that followed were of this guy and a girl whose face was either scratched out without recognition or cut off. Strange enough she was sure that she knew the guy.She opted for side lamp and placed the pictures under it's illuminating light and she felt tears streaming down her face, she didn't know what took her this long to figure things out.
She felt like she knew this house inside out on her interview day, she remember Mr Mlambo the gardener , the mango tree with a swing made out of two planks and a green rope. She remembered where the bees are kept.
This is her late father's room and Mrs Shabangu is her Grandmother.She was named after her grandmother , did she call her grandma? How will she go about telling her employer that she disobeyed her orders? will she be acceptable or not?What was the reason of the fallout between her dad and grandmother?Couldn't her grandmother had saved her mom with all the wealth she has?
All these questions seemed valid and she needed each and one of them answered and some.She lived her whole life thinking she had no one yet she had a grandmother, cousins, uncles and all yet she has never met them before .They weren't even around for her dad's burial she had to organize it all with her Student loan and a little donation she received from her community members.
She knew that she was naturally strong yet some of the things she went through were too much for her that time.She sat on the floor reminiscing on cooking for the first time at the tender age of ten.She had to self-assist herself with homework since her dad lost is after the death of her mother.She keeps envisioning how things could've been better if her Grandmother shared her wealth with her dad , her son.
She headed to Closet trying to contemplate the whole situation with what her dad use to wear in his times and was amazed to find the closet full of girl's clothes form birth until teens she presumes .She felt each fabric and closed her eyes trying to imagine herself in all of them at specific events, she was about to close the door when a large bundle fell on the floor beckoning her to open it.
She returned to the desk and opened the bundle only to find birthday cards,vouchers,checks all written Return To Sender in red bold ink.She studied the card and realized they were all for her for all her birthday celebrations.She couldn't fathom who was wrong or right but was she knew is the fact that she felt robbed of an almost perfect childhood where a child plays the role of a child.
She could've had a barbie doll as most girls had while growing up, she would've had a Christmas tree and maybe get a gift on Christmas day, most of all she believes that her mother would've been alive and well.She wished that there was a way that she can speak to her Dad again and tell her what is going on.She returned the bundle to the closet and righted the bed.She needed sleep and maybe forget all she saw on the Red Room.
She returned to the spacious dining room and looked outside the window and was happy to see the resemblance of a road which meant she can go home now for she had to open for the Cleaning Crew which will come by tomorrow morning to get rid of all the stuff in the Forbidden Room... the Red Room.
NO! she had to shout multiple times to register to her mind that there was no way she was allowing the memories of her father be thrown to the trash.She had decided that she wasn't leaving her home tonight and tomorrow she will fight to keep her father's remains.
She saw headlights entering the gates and wondered what was wrong, she watched in fascination as the doorknob turned and Mrs Shabangu entered the house looking aged and sad.'Thandi you're still here?' Mrs Shabangu asked Thandi. Thandi nodded she felt empathetic towards Mrs Shabangu's bloodshot eyes.'It's okay I'm going to rest now please remember to open for the Cleaning crew who will move all the stuff in that room' . Thandi started crying which alarmed Mrs Shabangu.'What's wrong Thandi you've never acted this emotional, what wrong?' 'You can't throw my dad's stuff away, I won't let you, it's your house but it's my home and he was my dad , I had to bury him with my student fund and anything he left behind should be mine' Mrs Shabangu was shocked she had to ask'How are you certain my son is your dad?' 'My full name is Thandeka Goodness Shabangu after my grandmother, do you remember I asked about the mango tree and swing, I knew your dog's name at first glance because my dad used to tell me about this house growing and I think we shouldn't throw all the stuff in the Red Room' Mrs Shabangu embraces Thandi with tears'Red Room huh? your dad used to call it the same although the door has never been painted red, I love you namesake whatever you want ask' 'Can I please have the Red Room?'