There is like some unwritten law that says when a woman gets married she must be boring, frigid and even stop
drinking. It’s disrespectful to be drunk in front of your man even if the two of you met in bar. It sends a bad message as a mother if you wear short dresses or skirts. You must carry yourself in a certain way and even if you are a single mother, the way you carry yourself is what makes people end up saying that’s why you will never get a husband. I don’t say this lightly. Now if you thought these things are bad imagine how these rules are doubled when you are pregnant. Miriam was pregnant but not dead. She did not care what people thought of her or not. I can’t remember the last time I saw her drink but maybe it was her pregnancy that was craving shisanyama meat. What was wrong with? Where is it written that if you are pregnant you can’t have sex or you can’t cheat? Are we so oppressed as women we oppress ourselves and our bodies on what we want to do and enjoy. Miriam was a free spirit who was genuinely happy because she did not conform to being a woman even now at 7 months.
“You can’t go to Eyadini Miriam come on! It’s not good in your state!”
Jerry said with a lot of concern in his voice.
“Have you ever been pregnant one day in your life?”
She gave him the ultimate clap back. I don’t think he saw that one coming I even said ouch inside!
“I just want meat for crying out loud. I want to be out to a place with music and people dancing. I have not done anything since I carried your fucken baby so the least you can do is take me out so I can eat meat ok!”
She said losing it. Miriam hardly ever loses it. I don’t say this lightly. She is one of those people who roll with punches but she is also very frank when she lets you know what’s on her mind.
“So Lungi knows that I am the father?”
He asked her.
“She is my best friend she knows everything! Don’t avoid the topic! Why don’t you want me there?”
She confronted him. I just shrank in the back and pretended I was not even here to start with. No one was acknowledging me because voices were already raised.
“The reason why I was avoiding you going there in the first place was because it can’t be good for the baby! The noise, people drinking and anyone can bump you and you will fall and cause harm to yourself!”
He told her.
“I am pregnant not dying. I want to go to Eyadini now, no more excuses!”
She said again.
“You are so stubborn sometimes I wonder how you not Zulu!”
He said but that was not received well at all,
“Is that the reason why you wouldn’t marry me when I told you I was pregnant? Is that why you won’t take me to Eyadini because I am not Zulu enough so will embarrass you? Is that it?”
She asked him. If she didn’t give birth right now she will never give birth Shem the way she was spitting fire.
“Lungi please back me up…”
He tried to say but she cut him off,
“If Lungi says a word right now she will walk home or I will. You will stop this car and I will get out!”
She screamed and with that I was silenced. I was not going to answer of course because I would lose this one.
“Ok then we are going to Eyadini!”
He said off ramping into Durban North and getting back onto the M4 in the direction of Moses Mabhida. Jerry was stupid; if he thought he could not control Miriam now wait till she became a baby mama. The poor guy should have kept his dick in his pants because where Miriam grew up; women can really humiliate a man. It’s a good thing she is married.
“I was just doing this for you we don’t have to cause a scene like this!”
This was the most awkward thing ever. Jerry was Miriam’s baby daddy and he was content with her lying to another man to raise his child. From the size of his house and even this Range Rover we were in this was not a man who was struggling.
“Thank you! Lungi do you have music on your phone!”
She asked me.
“I don’t have but I can download!”
“Please find Distruction Boys we are in Durban after all so let’s cause some destruction!”
She said and I laughed. It must be annoying for locals when people from Jhb come and act like they own the place. Jhb people think they are better than any other people in the country so where ever we go we want to impose ourselves.
“Let’s carry our bags, here they take pictures when you enter so I want to arrive not just be another random!”
Miriam said fixing herself in the car. With her baby bump in front of her she actually looked amazing.
I told her pretending that I did not know already. So for the second time today I was doing the walk of shame as I strolled in. It was three of us and I was fine with it.
“I am not hungry I will just have drinks!”
I told them as soon as we got a place to sit. With Miriam here I was feeling much better now the second time around.
“Ah come on Lungi I can’t eat by myself. Love you will eat with me right?”
She asked Jerry and he agreed. He went to buy the meat and food.
“Miriam what’s going on? Jerry is your baby daddy and he does not mind the fact that Bongani is your husband?”
I had to ask.
“It’s not his decision to make. He is not a man I can trust. He has girlfriends everywhere and I am sure they are all on his case for maintenance! He won’t pay though I know him!”
She said laughing as though she was very clever.
“What does he do for a living? He seems well off?”
I asked her.
“Something not legal that’s for sure so I don’t ask things I don’t know!”
She said dismissing me. He was on his way back from buying. He had a waitress following him with the drinks.
“Ok ladies, Sprite for you and a red wine for you Lungi!”
He said as we sat done. He had bought me a bottle of wine.
“How did you know that Lungi likes red wine?”
She asked him and I think it’s something he had overlooked. Even I would not have remembered but when we came earlier I had asked for a glass of wine.
“Good guess that’s all. Did I get it right on the sprite?”
He asked her.
“Nope! I want a coke!”
She said rolling her eyes. The waitress who had come with him ran back to go get it for her. I had expected people to give her funny stares for walking in pregnant but no one gave her a second glance. I should go out more often.
“Why are you drinking Sprite now?”
Jerry asked her annoyed when she opened the Sprite on the table.
“You bought it for me didn’t you?”
She asked him defiantly. If you didn’t know Miriam you would think she was aching for a fight but this was Miriam when she went out. She had an alter ego that made her competitive whenever she went out.
“Lungi lets dance? I feel like dancing!”
She said. This one I did not support because a pregnant woman dancing at a shisanyama is the kind of cheap entertainment that trends very quickly. I did not want to trend.
“No I do not dance. The floor is yours!”
I told her not that she needed to be encouraged. She was already up as I spoke. Miriam can dance! All those years of going to taverns, parties and clubs had made her a true professional. Don’t let her pregnancy fool you; she could do most of the dances out there still. On the plane I had seen a video of Nkateko on instagram @takkies7 Dancing in Heels where she was out dancing all the girls at her studio. Miriam was like a version of her but she stuck mainly to all the township dances! I on the other hand was a bit cautious for her because I did not want her hurting the baby but that video I had seen gave me comfort. I had gone through half my bottle when I got a call from Mbilahelo. Konje he had said he was in Durban.
I said cheerfully and obviously I was tipsy.
“Why are you always at the wrong place at the wrong time?”
He asked me. I was a bit surprised at this question.
“What are you talking about now?”
I asked him.
“Stand up and walk away from where you are sitting!”
He told me.
I asked him.
“Lungi, just listen to me! Stop arguing at every turn you get! Now stand up and do as I ask!”
His voice said getting more menacing. I could not understand why he was talking like that but because I did not want to cause a scene I stood up as he requested.
“Ok what has gotten into you? Just because we are in Durban at the same time does not mean that I should be with you ok! Why are you so angry at me anyway?”
I told him as I walked away from where the main music and crowd was. If people know Eyadini there is an open place in front of the tables and it’s usually used as a mini dance floor for big events. That’s where I was standing.
“Lungi how do you know the guy you are with?”
He asked me totally disregarding what I had just said. He still sounded upset at me and if he did not know me well I was seconds away from snapping at him and blocking him.
“How do you know that I am with a guy?”
I asked him realizing that this guy knew way too much. I started looking around immediately because it made me so nervous and awkward. No one wants to be watched and for a woman it’s even double scary.
“Because I am looking at you Lungi keep up! I asked you how you know the man you are with.”
He asked me again.
“Are you being jealous right now Mbilahelo? Ah ah ah that is so not sexy but if you should know he is Miriam’s friend. Miriam is the girl we were together at the police station, the pregnant one!”
I reminded him,
“And that’s her baby daddy! She is my best friend and we grew up together. We came together for a business trip and are sleeping at his place to save costs.”
I explained to him. The extra information came out because of the alcohol unfortunately. I was very tipsy at this stage.
“Lungi listen to me carefully and this stays between us. That man is the reason why we are here in Durban. He cleans money for most of the major drug lords in Johannesburg even your friend Mthobisi. On his own he is not a dangerous man but his friends are. We are about to make an arrest on him right now and our instructions are to arrest whomever he is with right now because he was supposed to have a meeting with some of his friends today!”
He told me. In all that all I heard was “friends” and “Mthobisi” that’s it. Those two together were enough to sober me up.
“But how … I don’t understand…how was I supposed to know that?”
I asked him so confused at this stage. What on earth was going on? Was I followed around by so much bad luck I ended up in situations that did not involve me?
I need a break.
“That does not matter right now. I need you to walk away right now; don’t even go back to the table! The arrest is imminent. If you are on the table you will be arrested and this one will be hard to let disappear!”
He warned me.
“What about Miriam?”
I asked him.
“She has to be arrested. Too because someone has to be on the table with him otherwise our bust fails.”
He told me. Miriam was pregnant and there was no way I was going to leave her there by herself.
“If no one is with him we will arrest you and her as you were the. Last two seen with him and we have footage.”
He explained. I did not want to ever be arrested again in my life and going back to the table meant that.
I looked at Miriam doing her thing on the dance floor next to our table; she was having so much fun!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I have to start by asking you a question, how do you do it? How do you wake up every morning and come up with a story that’s so compelling and always deliver! If I was you I would probably have gone mad by now.
Thank you for reading my letter. I am a married professional woman and I am 36 years old. I have a husband a son and a daughter. My daughter is the first born whom I had before my husband. I had her when I was 19 from a previous relationship but my husband raised her as his own. We have a close knit family but the problem is my husband’s infidelity. I won’t lie and pretend to be a saint; I started off as his side chick too. I met him when he was with his wife and within six months he had divorced her. I don’t think it was because of me though because when we started dating he had moved out already but still married. Over the years he has cheated with several women mostly one night stands. It hurt to the point where I got used to it. Living in the suburbs having come from the rural areas like I did is a great motivator to stay with bullshit. In spite of his infidelity he does his bit in the house and more. I have never cheated on him before and I feel like I am about to. There is a guy I met at a conference who has taken interest in me. I actually like him and we get along. I have never kissed him but I am dying to. I have often thought of divorcing my husband but truth be told apart from his cheating moments he is an amazing man. He is funny, caring and is actually asking for us to have a third child. We don’t fight unless he has cheated again and he is sloppy meaning he always gets caught. He apologizes, loses weight for a time, begs me not to leave him then he does it again. I don’t know what to do. The last girl he cheated with was an acquaintances daughter imagine! For his troubles I called the father anonymously and they beat him up properly. That was last year and he has been behaved since. He is even scared to go out! I now have this itch for this guy I mentioned but am also so scared. Am I as bad as my husband? How do I fix him not to cheat?