I get it that as a police man who is worth his salt you have to have that gut instinct thing that tells you which suspects to consider. We see it on TV so that’s where I get my theory. Police are the unhappiest people in South Africa and what’s scary is that they carry guns. If you have an uncle or even and aunt, brother or sister, friend or just a neighbour, look at their faces and see how serious they are. When they smile, which is rare, it’s like you are forcing them. With their friends, who more often than not are also cops, they are happy but with everyone else, even at family functions they still have that ‘I am on duty face’! Detective Seepe had come to the hospital not to support me because my husband had been found but to monitor his suspect. It’s a good thing I had a lot of witnesses for where I have been you know because this could have been a disaster.
“I am a doctor detective and I have been that for 15 years. I have seen worse. This is my husband and if I fall apart now he will not survive. I know this because with the thousands of patients I have treated, it was often the ones we had with irrational spouses that jumped on the bed to hug their partners that caused further complications.”
I took out my card and handed it to him as I said this. He seemed confused because yes he had already concluded that I had something to do with it but now the fact that I was a doctor was throwing him off that conclusion.
“I am sorry I had to ask!”
He said to me.
“Go find who did this and bring him to justice. If you don’t find him you know my father will find him and you know what will happen next right?”
I asked him. I then turned around to the doctor.
“Doctor what medications are you giving him?”
I asked him. I could not even hold Sizwe’s hands because they were swollen and did not know where to put my hands on him because the swelling made him look bloated. I wanted to show affection but as a doctor I knew not to touch him in this state. The detective would never understand that and to him not jumping and wailing like I am in a Nigerian movie when someone dies made his case for him.
“I am sorry Doc I didn’t realize you were one of us…”
He said and he stopped the baby explanations and started using medical terms. He was giving him what I would have given him but we needed an internal medicine specialist and guess what, I had one sitting outside with my brother.
“Are you serious?”
He asked me when I said this. The one they had for the hospital was not on call and would only come in tomorrow!
“Yes I am!”
I told him. Maybe this was fate after all that Zethu had happened to be here. Imagine knowing that you had someone who could help but she was 300 km away.
“We are here for a funeral and my sister in law is a specialist. I will call her now!”
I told him. A lot of people might not know this but medicine has a lot of specialties and most doctors just know the basics on everything. I called Zethu and she came with me.
“Doctor! It’s a good thing you are here, he has a lot of swelling inside and we need you to check on him!”
The good thing about Mediclinic is that it has a lot of equipment. In a government hospital we will have struggled. She was given a nurse to work with and asked me to go outside. I know, it’s what we do to hospital visitors but me being a doctor too one would expect me to stay. It was because too many hands can cause confusion and Zethu often liked working alone. It gave me a chance to go brief my family outside.
“Mum how is he?”
Lintle said standing up. She came to me as soon as I came out alone. Nelisa stood next to her and I am sure she was not sure what to say either.
“Its bad girls. They did a job on him! Come here!”
I said hugging my daughter.
“You too Nelisa!”
I hugged her as well. We were in this together. Sizwe was in a bad shape and I am under no illusion that he could lose his life.
“We don’t know yet but it seems someone kidnapped him and beat him up really bad.”
I told Nelisa who has asked the question. My brother had not said anything at this point but spoke,
“Do you think it’s one of nthate’s things?”
He asked me. He wanted to know if my father had something to do with this since he always messed with all the wrong people.
“I honestly don’t know because who would follow us all the way to Bloemfontein if it wasn’t!”
The point was well made. It would not make sense for one of our enemies to have come this far for this let alone know how to find a police station in Qwaqwa of all places to drop him off.
“SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THE STATE OF DENMARK!”
I said out loud.
My brother responded. I didn’t expect him to know that quote though because that was from Hamlet and Shakespeare is not for many people. There was a conspiracy afoot and I really had to be comfortable.
“When last did you speak to that snake character of yours?”
I asked Lintle.
“What snake character?”
She asked me innocently. See the danger in my life can come from many angles.
“She means Python Lintle!”
Nelisa said looking down.
“I don’t know. Long ago I guess. Why?”
She asked me.
“Be honest Lintle. We spoke to him on the way here. He was just checking how we were and where we were going!”
Nelisa said. I just looked at Lintle and honestly I could strangle this girl. I really could but with husband dying in the other room I still needed someone alive in case I would need organs for transplant to save him! What a stupid child!
“Mum he would never do that. Come on. He didn’t even ask for me to come work for him again. He was just checking up!”
She said defensively and the look she gave Nelisa. It was one of those that’s she was saying she had been betrayed. She was not happy at all but why could this child not see that this was bigger than her games. It was her father for crying loud. Maybe that stunt I had pulled with the police was bigger than I thought.
“Lintle just stop! Your father could be in trouble because of you and you don’t even see it!”
I said and I sat down and put my hands in my face. I was so overwhelmed.
“Dude come on tell her it’s not him. He is not like that!”
She said coming up to defend him again.
“He is bad Lintle. I told you before and when he called I told you not to talk to him. You insisted.”
Nelisa reprimanded her. I was not sure what to make of this child now. On the one hand she seemed to be on my side disciplining Lintle but on the other she seemed to be the instigator behind my back.
“We need to tell the police that because if we don’t, the next think your snake friend would be after us! What if it had been me in that car Lintle?”
I asked her.
“But mum we don’t even know it’s him. He was in Jhb yesterday!”
“How do you know that? Did he tell you that?”
I asked her. She nodded her head in the negative meaning that she was just guessing. She was assuming that what’s happening had nothing to do with her criminal friend.
“It’s ok. I am not going to accuse him of anything because I don’t have evidence but if we find out that it was him, the two of you must know that you almost killed your father.”
I told them. I don’t want to be too harsh and make accusations I would not be able to take back. Fortunately Zethu came back but she didn’t look happy at all.
“What has happened?”
Lintle asked with tears in her eyes.
“I need to talk to your mum alone!”
She said. Her doctor voice was mixed with emotion. The girls walked away with their uncle, my brother and left us alone for now.
“We need to operate mngan wam! He has internal bleeding and unless I go in there we won’t know where exactly. It’s bad. He is too swollen right now but within the next six hours we should pray that the medication he is one will reduce the swelling so we can go in there!”
She told me. Zethu was brilliant at her job. She was not a surgeon though.
“Who is the surgeon?”
“They said Dr. Van Zyl. I don’t know him but we are going to have to go with him because it is urgent!”
She said. As doctors often we know the more senior doctors as they are hold power in hospitals. Dr. Van Zyl was most likely an Afrikaneer doctor which is why I did not know him. Even in hospitals there is politics unfortunately.
“What time does he get here for consult?”
I asked her.
“He should be here in the next hour. We will do everything we can for Sizwe. You know you cannot be in theatre with us right?”
She said in a friendly but stern voice. She knew I would most likely try to fight her that why she was putting on her tough exterior voice. I knew it because I had seen it plenty of times before this. It’s when she did not want to be questioned.
“Yes I know. I think when you go into theatre I will take the girls home or something. I can’t be here!”
I told her.
“It’s probably a good idea!”
She said. It was not that I had not seen surgery before but this was my husband going under the knife and I was not strong enough to go through this. I didn’t even get a chance to respond to her before the original doctor on the case came back,
“He is coding, we have to operate now!”
“Dr Van Zyl is here!”
He added. So much for six hours. This was not a good thing at all.
As I got home, I looked at my phone but I had no calls. I had no messages. I had to go back. Nelisa and Lintle hardly spoke a word! I guess it was clear they were fighting now over Nelisa having ratted her out. I don’t care about such.
“I will call you when I hear any news”
I said as we dropped them off by the gate. My mother came to the car to ask what was going on. I guess she had not gone where ever she wanted to go after all.
“Your father told me that Sizwe was in hospital in a bad shape. What are the doctors saying?”
She asked me very concerned. I told her what I could but I did not have the patience because I had to go. I wanted to be by my husband’s side in what could be his last moments. Where was my dad?
On the way back is when Zethu called.
“You better come back!”
“What has happened?”
I asked her.
“Come back now!”
She said again and hung up.
No guys, not Sizwe!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
Thank you so much and I mean this, thank you so much for the wonderful work. Whoever has read your work learns something, cries, gets angry and even celebrates your characters triumphs like its people will know.
I have a problem. I am a mother of three kids and recently got divorced. My husband left me for a younger woman and it was hard at first but I am learning to accept. I just found out that two of my children knew their father was having an affair all along and I feel so betrayed. My daughter and I are very close, or at least I thought we were. She is in her matric now and my son who follows her is 16. They knew about the other woman and even went to lunch with her a few times before we even started divorce proceedings. I don’t know what to do because every time I look at them I want to bite their heads off. These are my children and they sided with their father cheating on me. It’s not like I want to put them in the middle of my husbands and I’s feud but they are in it because they took his side. When we divorced he said he wanted nothing and left everything with us, the house, cars etc. That’s how much he was fed up of me, he just wanted to leave. We never fought, I never cheated, I never got fat and I worked hard to match him in wit and personality. I tried not to be a boring wife or mother for that matter. In return I got to be told by one of the nurses were I work that my husband is sleeping with her friend. When I confronted him he did not deny, he apologized and asked,
“So what happens next?”
Imagine. He was ready to divorce me and again I accept but finding out that my children, I bled for these traitors in labour, would do this to me, I am so lost. What’s worse, he cannot take custody of them because he and his girlfriend live in an apartment. I don’t want my own kids any more Bra Mike and I have no regrets. It’s too painful to see them be all lovey with me when I know what they did.
I am sorry I got emotional there at the end.