People who don’t have children think it’s easy to give up a child and it’s not their fault either because they don’t know what it is to raise a child. Waking up every day next to that child, breastfeeding, cleaning up after he pukes or shits, watching him play and giggle, that’s what they call bonding. It’s an everyday thing that is why it is so important. I know my sister was the one who was always with my baby but that did not make her his mother. It’s like white women, the black nanny raises the kids but they love their child just as much. That was me. I was hurting. Judith deserved to be in this room. She had been so anxious and I am certain had she heard what Agnes had said she would have gone ballistic. She would have killed her. Today was such a big day for both of us then as sisters because this would definitely break us. She had put so much effort into Amo, to see it end like this was tantamount to being left at the altar. It’s a wound you don’t heal from that easily
“Please call the Social worker because I foresee problems here!”
I told Julius without taking my eyes off her. She was not fazed. I guess deep down she was just a mother fighting for her child. I am not even sure if I was giving her my death-stare or my “I Pity You” stare. Regardless of that, I felt both emotions.
“Now you need me?” said the mean social worker when she sat down. Was she even paying attention to all that was going on. Yes she was out of the room but surely she could be better. I explained to her what had just happened. I thought Agnes would jump in to interject but she did not. In fact she stared at her defiantly. The social worker shook her head.
“I warned you that this is not as easy as you hope it should be. That child has only ever known one mother just like Amo and if you fail to realize that then you are both fools” she said. Is this how they are trained in these universities, to be so rude and judgemental? Maybe she thought I saw this like a joke but I did not. I am tired. I have thought through every possible ending to this scenario and nobody wins. The debate raging inside me is so profound I just don’t know what to think anymore. Amo was not my blood but I raised him like my son. Everything I had done since giving birth had been for him. Even now I would swallow the sun if I have to for him. He is the only child that I had ever had and that made him mine. On the other hand, Ruben was my flesh and blood. How could I let my own flesh and blood suffer poverty and God-knows-what in those shacks? That made me cruel and cold for still fighting for Amo and not Rueben. So many will say I must fight for Ruben because of the flesh and blood element yet those very same people will call fathers who abandoned them at birth mere sperm donors because flesh and blood means absolutely nothing. See, it only works when it suits them.
“This woman cannot have Amo! You heard what she just said! You should be thinking of a situation of getting Ruben out of there!” I said standing up. Julius was on my side and accused her of being so cold but unlike me he was not overly emotional.
“Ma’am if we work together we can find a solution. How did you end up giving birth in the same hospital as her since your financial circumstances are not as well… umm… you know what I mean?” he asked. For the first time since we started talking she laughed. She laughed at him.
“So you think I walked in there and stole Ruben? Are you serious right now?” she asked him. I don’t think it is what he had intended to say or rather he did not expect it to be received the way she had.
“No not like that. It’s just odd and if you see where everything is going right now, a lot more unfriendly people will ask you these questions.” he said. Who was he representing? Her or me.
“To answer your question, I was a domestic worker. The family I worked for made arrangements for me to give birth there. Unfortunately they also moved to Australia just after I gave birth. That’s why I don’t have a job now. Had to raise my baby and frankly speaking had to raise my husband as well. I am no criminal and apart from his drinking he is no criminal either. I see how funny you are looking at me but Ruben is my son. You take Amo and we are even!” she said. I am not sure if she was still just fighting to keep her son anymore because she was a very deep if not twisted woman.
“I think we need a break. Your husband has not come back yet, please go find him. You have not eaten and this will take so much time!” the social worker said, so finally we took a break. We all needed one. Even the fancy Julius walked outside and started making phone calls. This was too complicated and was not something that could be fixed overnight. I decided too that I also needed to clear my head. My sister was outside and she came to me as soon as I walked out.
“Where is Amo? Did they tell where Amo is? I have been asking mom but she says that she does not know either. That doctor who came last night said that she did the procedure. Amo will be fine!” she said.
“Say what? Why didn’t they tell me? Why didn’t they call me?” I shouted. I hugged her because I was so happy but at the same time I was so confused. I know why they had not told me. He was not my child and they were making it clear to me. Didn’t I deserve to know? I started crying. The tears kept coming out and I tried to make them stop but I could not. I was fighting a losing battle. Nothing was working out for me. I told my sister I needed to be alone and she didn’t argue. With the way I was crying she completely understood me. My mother was not fighting with me. She knew something I did not know. What was it?
“Faith!” I heard as I sat down on an empty bench. I turned and behind me stood a face I had not seen in such a long time under the circumstances.
“Tidimalo! I thought you were dead!” I said weakly as he approached me. It’s true he might as well have been by the way he had been so quiet.
“I have been around. I broke up with Nozipho but that’s a story for another day. Please…” he said. He opened his arms for a hug and I walked into them. He did not say anything more and for the longest time I stayed in them and I cried. It felt right. I did not say anything but we seemed to share a conversation.
“Who told you I was here?” I asked him. I had dried my tears at this stage because I realized that they were not going to fix much.
“It was Thulare!”
Speaking of Thulare, where was he? I had not seen him today nor had he called me. On a day like this I needed him most, that was so unlike him. I immediately tried to call him but his phone was off.
“When last did you speak to Thulare?” I asked Tidimalo. He said that Thulare had a tendency of disappearing from time to time. This was not a time to disappear though. I needed him here. I was pretty exhausted from the tears to say the least. I know I had wanted to be alone but people kept on arriving to support me. I saw my father arrive with some people. I did not need this. I wanted to be alone. Imagine the whole world knowing that you are the fool that raised another woman’s son and could not even tell that the child was not yours. It’s actually very embarrassing.
“Fuck, he has seen me and is coming this way!” I said to Tidimalo.
“Who is coming this way?” he asked. I was looking for a way to run away but there did not seem to be an exit path or plan.
“My father.” I told him. I had only told him about him, he had never seen him before.
“Oh wow. Just stay calm and be polite!” he advised me but it’s easier for him to talk. They walked over to us with the woman. When they got closer I could not help but think this woman looked familiar. I was not sure from where but I had seen this face before somewhere.
“How are you holding up today?” my father said to me after all the greetings had been made.
“I am not fine. Things seem to be getting worse. I have not seen Amo but they say he is better now!” I told him. That was the only piece of good news I had, otherwise it was all doom and gloom. The woman was looking at me very funny. I think she too recognized me but could not place me.
“You are a very strong girl to go through this so young!” she complimented me. Men usually are bad at introducing people. My father actually had said nothing to introducing us.
“Papa, are you not going to introduce us?” I asked him. I hate doing that. People who have to be reminded of that simple courtesy really irritate me.
“Oh, I am sorry! I thought you met already. Sesi you don’t know this child?” he asked and she said no and actually scolded him for being rude.
“This is my daughter Faith. Faith I am sorry I did not introduce because you have met her before, this is your friend’s mother!”
He said and I was still lost,
“What friend?” I asked with a forced grin because it was embarrassing.
“She is Thulares’s mother!” he said. I think even for her that is when recognition set in. When they left wherever they were coming from had he not told her where they were going? She was clearly dressed as someone going to a hospital!
“Ke wena! I told you two to stay away from each other. It’s happening again.”
She said immediately going on the attack. This woman needed to chill.
“What is happening again?” I asked so confused at this stage.
“Your friend had a relapse! I told you that you must stay far from him. I thought I scared you away by calling you all those names but no!”
She was not answering me. What relapse? What the hell was going?
“Mama I am so confused!” I told her now getting defensive for being attacked.
“He has acute bipolar and last night something happened which landed him in hospital! Something clearly to do with you!” she said concluding from the situation. “But it’s manageable, it’s not a death sentence! It just needs meds!” she said. It’s true. I know a few people who were on medication for it at university and every now and again they landed in hospital.
“The last time he had a relapse, my daughter in law died! I was doing it to protect you!” she said coldly and the fear in her voice very evident!
Wait a minute….
Did she say someone had died?
Was she saying…
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for the great read and greetings to all your readers.
Okay so this how it goes…
I am a 26 year old quite accomplished lady. About 2 and a half years ago I met a guy…we did not hit it off instantly but it took about six month before we became a couple. Upon us dating I asked if he had any kids. To which he answered that he had a son. After a while of us dating I met the son as a gradual progress of courtship. I had since that been given the keys to his house, driving together to work and even at times going on holidays together. I had met the family, friends and colleagues I was in kasi terms umuntu wakhe.
The son upon my insistence went to a better school and urged the father to spend more time with him. The progress of our relationship extended to him proposing initiating lobola procedures and buying a house I have liked since we met.
the problem started when I moved in and upon me packing stuff away I discovered he had a daughter a few years younger than the son. I was mortified to say the least. I then called off the engagement and moved out…tried to move on with my life. The guy for months relentlessly kept on trying to make contact with me and could not understand why I left. He did not know I knew he had a daughter. I mean this is the man when we pray he would only mention the son only.
Now I am confused angry and mistrustful of his intentions. Should I consider him or just move on? I have sat with this dilemma for months now. It’s not like I was an evil step mommy to the son on the contrary we grew very close with each other.
I just want an outside opinion.