My husband had specifically said I must not ask for favours from this man. He had made it clear that when you ask for a favour, men like Mthobisi ask for a favour back. I had heard him correctly and I think I had reassured him that I would not do that. Marriage is listening to your partner. Even when you do not agree, listening and finding a solution together is part of the process. The moment one party starts to do their own thing is when things start falling apart. We all know that our partners have limitations. Even when they want you to see them as superman, Mr Fix It or whatever, no one man can do it all. Sizwe had a good heart but he was not a man’s man in that sense. He could not get into a fist fight for me if say I was walking and a bigger man touched my ass. He would be angry yes, but me expecting him to beat that man up was highly unlikely because he was not built like that. Me going to Lesedi for help meant that I knew I would get a reaction out of her which Sizwe would never be able to provide even if I had asked. When my brother was in trouble, I had become a name dropper because I knew that name would save my brother. For those who don’t know, matshonisa people are bad. You borrow money from them and when they want it back you really are screwed. In many instances they have been known to break bones to get what they want. I knew for a fact that my brother was going to be harmed if I had not made that threat. I would have given them the money had they not called me names but eish… What’s in a name? If someone calls you sfebe would you die? Would you take it to the Humans Right Commission to report? I don’t think so! Look at me now, because of all this, I was now having a sit down with Mthobisi and this time his wife won’t be there to protect me! Shit… what if he wanted sex? How do you say no to a thug like that? I was scared of him even here on the phone and who gave him my number? Ah!
“What’s wrong with you?”
Zethu said when she walked in and saw me staring at my face. I told her nothing was wrong but she did not buy it. Naturally she assumed it was George again so she told me not to worry about him as everything was sorted.
“Do you know that He saw you naked?”
I said and we both laughed nervously. Now it was a funny story but yesterday it definitely had not been.
“I should have let you take off your clothes for him too pshhh!”
She said. I told her I would have because he had seen me naked but I was just teasing her.
“Where did you learn to dance like that? Doctors are not supposed to know how to dance Zethu how do you do it?”
Again she laughed and said,
“You take this doctor thing too seriously Nothabo. Long ago yes doctors were these feared beings in the community as they were so few but nowadays we are just like everyone else. I can even smoke weed if I wanted to. With you however you treat yourself like it’s going badge of honour which you go around punching your chest with it to show how great you are! Nah dear it’s not like that!”
She said to me. Ouch! I had not expected that level of brutality and honesty in her response. The sad part was that she had said the truth about how I viewed myself as this super important person.
“Think of it this way, there is only one president; hence he can go around saying how great he is. There will never be two at one given moment. They can love him or hate him but all of them will never personally know anyone who will ever be president. You can’t say the same about us now can you. Village, township and suburban kids are all going to do medicine so how exclusive is that? How many are we? Even the Cubans think they are special!”
We laughed at the last part. Doctors who go to Cuba for medicine always come back thinking that they are better than us when they are not. Cuba is a slight upgrade of Turfontein if you are from Jhb, Pretoria North if you from Pta, Woodstock if you from Cape Town or Newlands East if you from Durban. The only thing they beat us on is the long flight otherwise there is nothing to write home about.
“Enough about that! Are you ready for this evening because it’s almost time?”
Time flies indeed. I had not even seen that this was the time. Shit! I told her I had to go pick up my daughter. We were going to meet on Rivonia in Sandton she said. It was not too far but as you know with Johannesburg traffic it took forever. By the time Lintle and I hooked up with Zethu I was tired. My daughter on the other hand was not.
“Hey Aunty Zethu. Wow are we going to Takkies place?”
She asked. Who the hell was Takkies now? I was a bit confused so I asked what was going. Zethu said yes and Lintle laughed.
“This is going to be a disaster! Have you seen my mother dance?”
When we entered the studio I fully understood why she was saying that. We were at the Rockingnheels Dance Workout! I kid you not; we were coming to learn how to dance in our high heels. Like really? As if it’s not already hard to walk with them now we had to dance too? Was she mad! What if I fell? Lintle was so excited but her joy was short lived because when the rest of the dance enthusiasts walked in she realized how super fit they were.
“Mum are we going to be able to keep up?”
She said with a nervous giggle. As soon as the choreographer entered the party was on. Nkateko was her name but she said we should call her Takkies. Ladies if you have never danced in heels and you from Johannesburg please you have to try this. I fell several times but I can’t remember the last time I felt this sexy. I was properly exhausted so you can imagine my irritation when Zethu and I both got calls to come in at work right now. There was an emergency and all doctors were called.
“We will do it tomorrow my dear!”
Zethu told Lintle as we drove out. I called Sizwe to come pick up Lintle from work. He was busy with something but dropped it and said that he was on his way. We actually met him at the hospital. He asked me what was going on and I told him the little that I knew. There were ambulances arriving by the minute.
When I entered the hospital there was carnage. There had been a major pile up on the N3 and once again it involved a truck. Driving on Jhb roads is just dangerous no wonder why most people now preferred using the train. It was going to be a busy evening. We worked for eight hours straight and it was as though I was on call. In the morning I had my normal shift meaning by the time I knocked off the following day, I had been working for about 26hours. It’s not a surprise though because we do this some time. I was exhausted. When I got home I just passed out. In the morning I woke up to check my phone. My battery had gone flat yesterday so my phone had been off. I had received 3 missed called from a number I was now familiar with, shit, it was Mxolisi. I went into my voicemails immediately.
“I told you I was going to call you and you switched off your phone. This is a bad start to our relationship already. Call me!”
He said so calmly. Maybe it was because I feared him so much that even when he was calm he sounded like he was threatening me. I called him back.
“I am so sorry. My phone lost battery because I worked a double shift because of the accident!”
I said as soon as he said Hello on the side.
“It’s alright doc calm down. We all saw it on TV. We must meet today. 11 am I will come to your hospital!”
He said and I found my lips saying ok before my brain could even think this through. When I hung up the phone I felt like banking my head on the wall because this was a bad idea. Sizwe walked in and asked me who I was on the phone with so early in the morning. Shit, I had called a married man at 6am in the morning. What was I thinking? What if Lesedi had picked up? What would have happened then? I don’t want women coming to beat me up and accusing me of stealing their husbands. I value my dignity too much.
“It was one of the nurses at work. I had to check on one of my patients!”
I said to him. I was already lying for this man but what was I supposed to do. I could not tell him the truth knowing that he had forbidden it. I was nervous the whole morning when I got to work. It’s a good thing he had chosen the hospital to meet as it was a public place otherwise I don’t know what I would have done. At 11am on the dot he called me. Wow, was this guy sitting staring at his phone or something.
“I am walking in the hospital entrance, where do we meet?”
He said in a friendly way. I told him to meet me by the cafeteria. I chose that location because the security office was close to it. Self-preservation. When I got there he was dress in a pinstripe suit. You could never think that this man was a gangster at all. He was so immaculate and had paid attention to detail. What was he up to? I stretched out my hand to greet him and he instead said,
“Are you not going to hug me?”
Ok that was awkward.
“Sorry about that!”
I said and I hugged him.
“I won’t waste your time Doc. You know what I do on the side right?”
What did he mean on the side! It was his life so what did he mean on the side. It was not like he was playing dice on the side. He played a game of life and death, a fucken scary one at that!
“Yes I do!”
“Good. That means I don’t have to threaten you!”
He said sternly then laughed. He was joking but the message had been delivered loud and clear. That was not funny but I laughed nervously nonetheless.
“We need a doctor for my crew. There are times we can’t go to the hospital for obvious reason. I think you will do perfectly. You need to give me the list of things you might need for gunshot wounds. We have a house off the books that we use and it’s safe.”
He said to me. All the things he said flew right past me and the way he said meant that I could not say no.
“I will send you all the details of the place. You must come inspect it today. No one will be there. Take notes on what else you will need!”
He said and slid a key towards me as well as a gate tag. He stood up.
“Nothabo, tell no one about this… Even Lesedi!”
And with that he walked away!
I was not sure what to do next because this was illegal.
I could go to jail for this or lose my license.
I am a 25 year old lady and i am seriously depressed. I cry myself to sleep every night. I pray to God every day to take my life. Today i wished a car could hit me and end my life. If i didn’t have a 2 year old daughter i would have long committed suicide but i don’t want her to live with the shame of having a mother who killed herself but nowadays i come so close. I became depressed when i was pregnant so i have been fighting this demon for over 2 years and i just can’t do it anymore. I thought after getting my degree this would get better but i am still unemployed. I can’t provide for my daughter or myself. I know i am lucky my parents can provide for us but i always feel like a liability and a disgrace. I need help, I need a job. I really want to be happy, i try to be positive and pray and that has gotten me nowhere. I have a supportive man but that is not enough. I need help please. I am writing this while crying. I have a degree in Business Administration.