What had just happened? I could feel the carpet being swept from under my feet and I was not sure how to respond. Just last week my career was on top of the world now I was suspended. I did not know how to fight this because for the moment my mind was filled with all doomsday scenarios! I had a bond to pay, the cars, my lifestyle and so much more. I did not even want to contemplate looking for a new firm because if I left here with a bad record chances are whomever employs me will take this as an excuse to under pay me. I had worked so hard to get here and now I felt like I was that fresh faced out of university unemployed young ambitious lawyer. I knew for a fact that I had done nothing wrong but I was not sure of Lindiwe. There was that meeting she had had alone so that could only be it! She was the first to walk out of the room and the funny thing is she did not feel pressured. She had that reassurance of innocent person. What the hell? Did her job not matter to her because truth be told these were quite serious allegations.
As I stood up from that boardroom I felt dizzy. I felt as though my knees could not carry me out but I held it together. Even in offices some people want to see you on your knees. The only one you can ever trust is yourself. Note this was Monday morning before 9am even and already people knew that we were in trouble yet not one had called me to warn me when I left for work. That’s what reality is. As soon as I got to my office Dalu came in. He said everyone was talking but he did not know what was going on because no one was telling him anything. See that’s a true friend. If a friend comes to you and says “Mxolisi so and so has been saying bad things about you?” Your next question to that person should be “I get that they are saying bad things but why do they feel so comfortable telling you?” Dalu said every time he asked what all the whispering was about people walked away without telling him. I told him that I had been suspended and the first thing he said before I said anything was that Lindiwe was bad news and she probably had something to do with it. Even I thought that but could not tell why. I told him that she too had been suspended and now he was really surprised. He said we should fight this but right now I did not know how.
Outside by the car I found Lindiwe standing there. She had clearly been waiting for me. She had her arms folded across her chest and was tapping her foot impatiently. If anything she seemed angry at me. As soon as I got to her she asked me what I had done? She was kidding right? She said we were in this mess because of me because she had done nothing wrong all trip. I know people tend to shift blame when they are in trouble but I must admit if she was lying she was good. I told her that she was in our meeting and I never went without her so when could I have done anything wrong? When I said that she did not seem to know what to say next. She stomped off in the direction of her car cursing and swearing. Was this all just for show? My parents always warned me that never be friends with people who want to win by any means necessary because they tend never to have boundaries. Lindiwe was a win by any means necessary kind of girl that much I don’t doubt and that is why I had to suspect her unless the partners had lied. Still could not figure out what they had to gain by doing that though.
I decided against telling my wife. With what had happened to Khanyi this would be too heavy for her. Maybe tonight when she gets home from work I will have an idea but not now. I just wanted to go lie down or something. I am a lawyer. I know I did not defend myself in there but with good reason. You defend yourself with facts and at this time I had none because I did not even know what was going on. Rather keep quiet and regroup to fight another day when all the stars are aligned in the right order that benefits me. People think lawyers are quick to defend ourselves but that’s not true, we know when to bring out the rights speech and when to shut up. It’s a fine balancing act I must agree but worth it in the end. For the first time in my life I contemplated what life would be like if I was unemployed with my wife being the breadwinner! Imagine me being a house husband? What the hell is that? In my family the men work, it’s as simple as that. It’s not sexist its fact. We protect and take care of our women even if they too are unemployed. You wake up in the morning with all the other men and go out there and bring bread. Now I was in this position where tomorrow morning my wife would leave me in bed? I felt so ashamed.
When I got home I could hear the music playing loudly in the house. My wife was at work so whom could it be. For a moment I thought it was criminals then I remembered Zimasa was staying with us and with that I remembered my in-laws were in town. Talk about timing.
When I opened the door I went and sat in the sitting room. I did not hear Zimasa and I doubt she heard me with all that music. I switched off the radio for some peace and to get to think now on what to do next.
I heard Zimasa exclaim.
“O shit, stupid radio!”
I think she thought that the radio had gone off by itself as in her head she was still home alone. She ran into the sitting room (that’s where the radio is) and she was stark naked! She had been bathing!
I just stared at the seventeen year old with my jaw open.
Satan had entered my house!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
Thank you for reading my letter. I am a 25year old girl engaged to be married. My fiancé is 33. We dated for 4years before we got engaged. My problem is I am so nervous. I love him and I trust him but in saying that I am not stupid. All and I mean all of his friends who are married have children outside of the marriage and these kids came post marriage. When he is with his friends they drink and talk of women as “bitches”. Even when we go out in a group the friends are constantly ogling women. Obviously when am there he does not make those snide comments on women’s asses and so on but am sure when am not there he does. As far as I am concerned he has never cheated on me. In our relationship he has been a gentleman from day one. His friends by the way he grew up from primary school even meaning they are very much his blood brothers. What do I do because asking him to choose them over me would be bad? Why? Because if he chooses them our relationship won’t last and if he chooses me he will one day hate me for life because he is very close to them.