As a mother you are supposed to have compassion and be sensitive to your kid’s needs. However, you are also supposed to be stern and have a firm hand when the need comes. You judge situations as they arise and make that verdict. With rape, it’s hard to know what the right thing to say is. You want to say at the end of the day life goes on but to your own child that seems the cruelest thing to do. I know if it was a patient I would be telling them to get on with their lives and put it behind them but that’s not easy when it’s your own flesh and blood. I needed to re-establish control over her very soon otherwise she would always make us feel guilty about what had happened to her as though we had put her in that position in the first place. Ask any parent, your children can blame you for something they did especially these modern kids who are allowed to talk back to their parents. I know people don’t agree with me but I believe the problem starts in the schools. As long as students are allowed to get away with talking back at teachers in school then that’s the end of it. They will never take an authority seriously and what’s worse is that even as they get older and get into the workforce, they will never fully understand seniority and following orders. Being book smart is nowhere near being street smart. She stood at the door and folded her arms across her chest. I think she was expecting an apology from us.
“I am sorry love, are we not allowed to find laughter anymore?”
I asked her. I was trying to be as sensitive as possible,
“Come in, come talk to me…”
I said and she walked into the room.
“I am sorry about this afternoon! It was your mum’s idea!”
My husband said as soon as she stepped in.
“Really dad, blaming mum when everyone saw you guys!”
She said but Sizwe wanted to make it sound as funny as possible. At times laughter does help. We were just too serious in this house. Have you ever gone to a house were a family is always laughing and happy? Mine was not it. We were like a professional family with set roles and laughter was not as often as it should be. Maybe now may not have been the right time to try it but Sizwe was on to something. It felt like how I grew up, my parents were strict so we had very few moments of just being funny and teasing each other. Might be too late now to try it but my family needed some laughter.
“I know they did and if their parents don’t do it anymore then they are missing out. I love your mum and I enjoy our love making!”
We both said at the same time but yes we laughed.
“What guys? Lintle were we doing anything wrong in your eyes?”
He asked and the pun was not lost on me. He had given her a trick question of which she responded and said no.
“No dad you were not. It was just something… unexpected!”
She said looking down at her feet
“It’s just weird seeing mummy look like a flayed chicken like that… no offense mum!”
It was too late because Sizwe burst out laughing a second time. It was so funny that even Lintle laughed. I was so embarrassed by what she had just said but the thought of a chicken was too funny to avoid. I too was laughing at this stage.
“See, we are a normal loving couple. One day you will marry too, when you are 35 of course and you will have sex too!”
He said. He was so confident in how he said that. We had never had the birds and the bees talk with her and this was the closest to it we had done.
“No dad I don’t want to get married. Men are a problem. If I can I want to have a good job, one child and raise my child alone!”
She said her voice turning serious. Where have I heard that before? My friend Zethu at work was a believer of such and. She was not alone in this way of thinking. So many young women today, in this age of the single mother, believe life is easier if they have their own child and raise it alone because men are a problem. As a married woman I do not see it like that because men balance a marriage but at the same time to each his own. Let them open their legs for whoever they want and hide behind the thought that marriage is not option even though just sounds selfish and dumb to me.
“I am going to bed and no am not mad at you about that.”
“Are you not going to kiss me goodnight!”
I asked her. I was teasing her. I had not kissed my daughter goodnight nor for any other reason since she was probably a baby. I was not affectionate like that. She looked at me in horror and then said,
“No mom! I know where your mouth has been Good night guys I love you!”
She said and she left. I had not seen that one coming and yho! This child had a tongue on her,
“You kind of set yourself up for that one hey and she got you good!”
My husband said in stitches. I really had. At least one of us was in a good mood. I switched off the lights because I did not want him to see the tears in my eyes. I was crying. I was not happy. Why? I felt guilty. I felt guilty because my first instinct when she accused us of laughing was that she was talking about her rape. Was I going to assume this about her every time she was sad? Is this what our life would be like from now onwards? I was genuinely. Sizwe had handled that situation well to be honest but now that I was sad I just wanted to sleep. Tomorrow I was back at work, finally and I had to worry about that. Seeing George again was not something I was looking forward to.
That night I did not sleep well. As agreed Noma picked up Lintle but this time I did not see her as I made sure I left earlier than her. I wanted to be at work early and hopefully do my rounds before George got there which was dumb. He obviously knew I was coming back today. When I walked into work I felt like a criminal trying to sneak into a place whilst everyone was looking at me knowing what I was here for. It felt like all the nurses who greeted me as I walked in knew what I had done and they were laughing at me. Nurse’s talk and they gossip like no man’s business. He was male though so could he have told anyone? I had actually not handled putting him down well now that I come to think about it. I had been under pressure when I sent those messages so I had not thought it through carefully. Maybe I should have been nicer about how I went about it this way he won’t feel a need for revenge. I don’t know.
When I got to my ward I breathed a sigh of relief. No drama yet. Today was going to be a day cantered around small victories so I had to make sure I had it covered? I had many new patients so I got to work. I had to introduce myself to almost every one as most were seeing me for the first time. It felt good to be back. This was what I was good at, for all my faults as a mother; I knew I was brilliant as a doctor! An hour later when I was with a 7 year old patient from Orange Farm my first incident happened!
“Good morning doctor?”
A voice said from behind me and it was him. I froze and thought to myself, here we go!
“Dr. Duma said you must see her as soon as you come in!”
He said and walked away. He did not say anything else. I was surprised because he had been rather aggressive in the way he had pursued me when I was away. Maybe he had gotten the message. I had to find Zethu though but I decided that finishing my rounds was best before I worry about friendships.
I did not get a chance to see but instead I got busy catching up and it was only two hours after George that I looked up and saw Zethu standing in front of me. She looked tired and dare I say in a panic.
“I was looking for you!”
She said as soon as she saw me.
“Welcome back by the way!”
She said and I stood up and hugged her.
“Thank you. I am hating it already!”
I joked and we both laughed but I could see hers was forced.
“There is a rumour that I slept with George!”
I could not help but laugh. Say what? So it was not me they were looking at but her.
“What started the rumour?”
I asked her still laughing but she did not appreciate it.
“Remember that day when Sizwe asked what was going on, I jumped in to save you. Someone overheard me and it spread!”
That’s what happens at hospitals. Professional people acting like school kids. If the nurses don’t like you then you know it’s easy to be screwed over and they did not like Zethu. She was beautiful and outspoken and because of this they felt she thought she was better than the rest. When she was in work mode she commanded respected and was rude in how she dispatched her orders around. I had spoken to her about this before. Nurses are like the teachers union SADTU in the Eastern Cape! All the teachers can go on strike screwing over 100 000 students just to get one person dismissed from his post! That’s how serious you have to address their concerns otherwise nothing moves. Zethu was therefore not kidding when she said,
“Turns out I have a disciplinary hearing over it and I would be screwed because I am trying to get funding from the hospital to do my project!”
Ok I had to listen now. Zethu was trying to do a mobile clinic by getting a grant from the department where she would do breast cancer test and awareness in rural Mpumalanga. If she had a bad record then she can kiss all this bye bye. I knew what she was asking of me before she even said it.
“You want me to own up and say I did it?”
Which was true but there was no way it would not ruin my reputation but worse, it would get back to Sizwe. The last few days we had turned a corner and I don’t want to go back there again. She was not even guilty but what if me confessing cost me my job and worse, as a female doctor, the males don’t respect us as is and a scandal like this just takes us back. On the other hand, me not confessing could cost her a critical grant which she has been trying hard to get off the ground. I had already turned a corner with Sizwe though and this…
“I need you to pull through for me please. I am begging you! I can’t have this on my record and you know all the nurses are gunning for me!”
She pleaded with me to own up.
This was bad!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for your time and good morning readers.
My mother has been sick for the last three years and she is bedridden. She has cancer and it’s been pretty rough but she is not a nice patient. She is rude and mean especially to my father who has been by his side through all this. He never says a bad word to her nor does he fight back. My siblings and I have reached a point where we try avoid her going into her room because she hardly ever has anything nice to say. My house has become so miserable and we can hardly laugh without fear of being reprimanded. Recently I found out that my father “might” be having an affair. I am not sure though because it was a series of WhatsApp messages on his phone where a woman was asking him out and I think he accepted. My problem is I was so happy for him and I feel guilty about that. He has been by mum’s bedside for so long I felt he needed a break but now I am questioning myself.
Should I confront him and tell him to stay away from the woman?