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Today I Signed the Damn Papers

by Africa Boso


Date: 6 April 2009

Time: 00:55:23


Dearest diary,

Today I forced myself to sign the damn papers. His greedy lawyers have been hovering around for my signature for the past six months now. 

I have been stalling to sign not because I had hope that we could salvage the splintered pieces of our dissipated matrimonial union – my procrastination has been driven by the fact that the slimy pig has been demanding more than half the estate I have single-handedly toiled to build while he idled in his now liquidated panel beating and scrap yard shop.

But my trusted lawyer and childhood friend, Cezanne, after trying every trick in her bulky legal books in search of a hidden escape clause, tells me I am bound by law to give half of my possessions to Pieter because we were knotted in community of property.

“What’s yours is legally his meisie kind. Let’s quickly settle this so that you can move on and start rebuilding your precious life. If we stall any further, you will continue to accumulate more assets which the bastard could also lay claim on,” Cezanne had advised when I protested the unfairness of this section of the marriage laws.

But this morning I signed the darn papers. Although with a heavy and bleeding heart, I did it with a renewed hope for a better future after my unpredicted false start with Pieter. 

I met Pieter Fourie while I was in my last year at the University of Pretoria. I had taken my battered Volkswagen Beetle to his obscured Hatfield Express Panelbeaters. As my service advisor on the day, he had advised that I had to pay over R2000 to have my ailing ‘baby’ back on the road.  When I protested that I was a student and could not afford that kind of money, he had insistedthat if I joined him for lunch in one of the fancy eateries in nearby Brooklyn Mall, “ek sal ‘n planmaak”.

Indeed he made a plan, and six months later we were married despite my parents’ vehement protestations that he was old enough to be my father’s elder brother. But their parental warnings were late, he had quickly and smoothly charmed his way into my normally book-bound student life. And before the black ink had dried in our Home Affairs marriage certificate, I was spotting a bulging tummy, inflated by his growing seed, our firstborn son. 

After varsity, workplace affirmative action notwithstanding, I was lucky enough to get an exciting junior research job in one of the government departments in centralPretoria. With my positive outlook and progressive liberal nature, I easily connected with my colleagues and quickly endeared myself to my bosses, who were all black. I am not using the term ‘black’ to signify any racial classification or prejudice on my side, not at all. It is meant to denote how our lovely rainbow nation has advanced – we have made some strides in moving away from our past racial pigeonholes, and we now find unity and strength in our fragmented, multi-lingual anthem or when blowing hot air through our national pastime, the vuvuzela. That’s great progress, hey?

Anyway, I have never had a single racist thread in my system. Despite my pa having instilled, at an early age, into me and my two brothers that our race is superior to that of my dark-skinned compatriots, I have always maintained an independent outlook in life – to me everyone is an equal until they have proven otherwise. And most of my best friends are blacks. If you ask me, there is nothing inferior about these people. When you open up and get to know them closer, you have found loyal friends forever. But my open-mindedness and friendliness to my melanin-enriched colleagues did not augur well with my verkrampte husband, a closet supporter of the now defunct ouNasionale Party. After his daily binges on Klipdrift (met ys, of course!), he would tell me what a disgrace I was to die volk – I had stooped so low by waking up every morning to serve and appease ‘n swaart baas, my new employers, that is. 

Although my domestic life with Pieter had become a living hell, I took solace in that my professional life was shaping out well, exactly the way I had always imagined it would be while daydreaming in my staid Tukkies dormitory. Within two years of joining the department, I was promoted to the executive management position of Chief Director responsible for departmental finances and operations. 

That my rapid career advancement was due to hard work is fifty per cent true. My connections in higher places contributed to the remaining fifty per cent. I had a special bond with my 32 year-old, bright and affable Director-General. In fact, my relationship with ThomasNemadzivhanani was more intense than a mundane superior-to-subordinate connection – I was his nyatsi, and he my concubine for more than four years.

This special bond developed when Tommy and I had started putting unpaid overtime daily. I was constantly working late because my Centurion golf-estate home had turned into a complete war zone, worse than the never-ending Middle East or Afghanistan upheavals. After his scrap yard business was liquidated, Pieter had turned into an uncommitted, aggressive and constantly-angry monster that spent its work-free days drinking the money I was toiling hard for. The daily bingeing was a carefully planned warm-up to rev himself up for his new hobby of throwing the acerbic, mind-poisoning nightly verbal bombs that I had grown accustomed to. Luckily, my parents had quickly evacuated my teenage sons from this battlefield we called our home, to the safety of their warm nest in faraway Zeerust, where the boys peacefully attended a local private school away from their feuding parents. 

Tommy, on the other hand, was using his office as a refugee camp away from what he described as “an uninteresting and lukewarm marriage”. 

“I married her while we were still young, before I got exposed to life outside rural Venda. Now there is no connection between us. Like an unannounced Eskom power load-shedding, the spark has just vanished without any alert. We are poles far, far apart. When I crave sushi, she would cook masonja, the Mopani worms. When I am in the mood to talk politics, Stock Exchange movements and market trends or listen to Bach, Mozart or Tchaikovsky over a Dom Perignon, she will be going on and on about the drought or baboons that are terrorising remote Nzhelele village back home. She is suffocating me. I wish I had met you before I got tied up in this boredom. You stimulate my mind, we can engage in an intellectual discourse as equals, not her one-sided monologues about plot less episodes of unintelligent, low-budget television soapies or the latest supermarket grocery specials,” he had poured his heart out after one of our many steamy love-making sessions on top of the naked and body-soothing oak table in his 13th floor executive office. Ag shame, arme Tommietjie. 

Truth be told, he was also the only ray of hope during this dark hour of my fast-crumbling marriage.

As I always left home early in the morning while Pieter was still snoring in our boys’ room, (yes, I always locked him out of our matrimonial bedroom to avoid more abuse),Tommy was the first to notice and compliment me on a new hairstyle, a fashionable clothing item or piece of jewellery; he was the first to congratulate me on shedding a few kilometres around my waist after a strict, post-festive season diet regime; he had volunteered to accompany me to my MBA graduation ceremony while Pieter had opted to sing karaoke with his mates at the local golf club; and Thomas was in the front rows of the university auditorium when a PhD was conferred on me, my dear husband had selected to go and cheer the Blue Bulls at nearby Loftus Versfeld Rugby Stadium instead. Die Blou Bulle need my support more than ever this year if we hope to win the Super 14, that’s how Pieter had parried my plea for him to escort me to this important conferral of my latest academic achievement. 

It was these small things that made me more attached to Tommy. While Pieter continued to build a sky-high concrete Berlin Wall between us, Thomas’ small gestures of affection and companionship made me feel wanted, more desired. 

And (wink-wink) I know my dear diary you are dying to know how were our Jungle Fever interactions between the sheets, I mean on the office or boardroom floors or tables because that’s where we ever made love. I must confess, our stolen moments were wild, passion-filled and out-of-this-world encounters. There was no predictability borne from the sameness of missionary, man-on-top positions. Let’s just say we did everything in the Karma Sutra, and more. He made me come alive and forget I was a 52 year-old menopausal tannie (more winks!). 

As a God-fearing Christelik vrou, I am not proud of this marital slip. But until this morning, before I signed the damn papers, I had prayed non-stop, for years, hoping that Die Here sal my manverander, and that such change would one day see me heaping such affectionate praise on my dear husband instead of my adulterous fling. But I guess I was hoping for too much. Reading through these darn divorce papers again this morning, I now know that I never knew the man I called husband for more than 15 years. While I saw a life-time companion when we exchanged our sacred vows, Pieter saw in me a confirmed winning Lotto ticket. 

Due to irreconcilable differences, our client Pieter Jacobus Dieter Fourie (referred to here as the plaintiff), of 500 Zuurbekom Straat, Pretoria Oos, has filed for an urgent divorce settlement against his estranged wife, Hestrie Annabella Yolandi Fourie (nee Le Roux, and referred to here as the respondent), of 25 De la Rey Straat, Centurion, Pretoria. 

As part of the proposed out-of-court settlement, she will bequeath half of their joint estate to the plaintiff. This includes, but is not limited to, the proceeds from the sale of the R15-million golf estate mansion registered under the respondent’s name; the two German cars (a BMW X6 and a Mercedes Benz CLS 350 CGI), an Austin Martin and Porsche Cayenne currently being used by the respondent; and all family insurance policies, currently valued at R56million and being paid for monthly by the respondent, will be shared equally between the two parties when they mature. Furthermore, the plaintiff demands full custody of their two children, Deon and Gawie Fourie. While the 13 and 15 year-old minors are under the guardianship of Mr Fourie, Mrs Fourie will contribute a monthly upkeep of R10 000 for each minor until they reach the age of 21. Furthermore, the respondent will provide Mr Fourie with a R15 000 monthly maintenance until he secures a stable employment.

That’s how the damn papers dissected my estate and our crumbled union. 

Irreconcilable differences? Coward. Why hide behind meaningless legal jargon? Why did he not explain what these ‘irreconcilable differences’ were? He should have explained in detail that his physical, emotional and verbal abuse was the main cause of our separation. Why on earth is he scared to spell it out that I ended up screwing a younger, black man because he could not maintain an erection for a mere 60 seconds due to his alcoholism? Even when, by God’s miracle, he managed to last for that minute, it ended before it even started – he prematurely ejaculated and then rolled over to snore the whole night while I hissed in anger and dejection?

Now he wants half of the estate he never contributed a penny towards? Even while he worked at his scrap yard, the jerk’s lousy takings only managed to fill a fortnight’s petrol for his starter-pack Toyota Conquest. I paid the bond; the children’s private school fees; and all household and personal insurances, including one for his deformed and shrunken testicles. Why does he not mention this, in his damn divorce papers? 

But it’s fine my dear diary. I am alright now. I am feeling much stronger now that I have signed these damn papers.