In our series of letters from African journalists, film-maker and columnist Farai Sevenzo reflects on Christmas with her family

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It was Christmas morning. My parents drove up while I was still asleep. My
mother is a total morning person and wanted to spend the morning watching
television, while my father was determined to have a quiet morning with us.
Instead of complaining about this, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and
assured him that he would be fine, but I still wanted to take a shower so I
would feel better. There was a long distance, long day ahead of me. But this
was Christmas. The longest day of the year. And if I looked good in my
shower, then I will actually feel good.

I showered. Then I went to the kitchen to make us some lunch. Usually my
mom makes some sort of stew or curry in the afternoon, but she had decided to
make some of the leftover ‘‘rozze’’ (that’s a stew- it’s pretty much the same
as a beef stew, but I can’t find the beef in town…) and I had to make
something else. And I’m the chef in the family now. Since my father is always
having some sort of ‘‘sarasa’’ (that’s the stew with the meat balls- which is
made with rice and is usually a little spicy). And I’m not allowed to make my
own food because it’s not my religion. And since that’s also not my
religion, I also must not make my own food. I think I’m starting to
understand my parent’s religion. How they think I should be brought up. I’m so
lucky that I have a happy family.

I just finished lunch. Then I made him a little bit of bread so that he could
at least have something. He was still complaining about the school, but I
sorted all that out and even told him that we would discuss it another day,
but that we were not there for that. He always wants to talk about whatever
we will do on Sunday. I really don’t want to go to a church because I do not
believe in God. I just read the Bible and there is a lot of stupid stuff in
the Bible about how humans are better than animals. Not the animals in the
movies, but the animals in the books. But that is what they are taught in
school. I just don’t want to be brought up like that. So I want to know
there’s a God. If you are reading this and you are a believer, then thank you
for having a nice and understanding friend. Thank you for having the right
thing to say to my parent. Thanks for your belief. Thank you.

The rain was starting to really fall. So we stayed in the room, and opened
an extra blanket in the bed to hang out in. I could hear the water falling as
it poured from the roof of our old apartment. So yeah, that’s why I don’t like
cold weather. That’s why. I like it hot.

After a while, I found out that my father can’t hear the rain because of
some ear problem. So we had a little quiet conversation. But after a while,
my father woke up and started whining about not being able to study without
us, and my mother was arguing with him without listening to me, and my father
started hitting me in the head with the textbook in the desk, until finally I
told him he should go back to sleep because I don’t like fighting and he could
have it some other time, and then she went back to her studies.

I like that she was reading a book. I mean really, if she was reading a
book, then she isn’t doing anything wrong. But she is reading a book. I mean,
that’s what you do when you are a little kid. Then you get a book and you read
it. Then you are not doing anything wrong. It’s not a bad thing. Even though I
am going to get a lecture on how it’s wrong what I do, I just don’t have time
to put into that thought. And it makes sense. They don’t have time to put
anything into their head anymore. It’s a lost cause and that’s why people are
crying and crying in the streets. They don’t have time to put anything from
them into their head. So they don’t even have time to think about what they
are doing. That’s why they are crying. And the same thing with me. I don’t
have the time to put anything into my head. Just for the record, I am not a
crazy person. I don’t sit around like that. But I guess that’s not the reason
why I am saying these things.

Anyways, it was almost midnight. I woke up on the couch. I went to work. My
partner said that he had his own life to live, and that he needed me, and
that we could have a better life and live next to each other. I don’t know
what happened. But I still hope we will meet again. My heart has left my chest
where it was. My heart is there only for him now.

My father was just going to bed, while my mother was going to bed on the
other side of the house. So I grabbed his key and opened the door. I walked
towards his room and just entered. My mother was already in bed, but my father
was on the couch.

So I sat down. And he says that he is sorry and that he is tired and that
he has to study and that he still can’t have it that way. I explained that
he needs to do what he likes. That it’s his life and he doesn’t need to get
whatever he wants and I said that it doesn’t matter to me what he likes, and
he got up, and he sat down.

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