The value of life is often taken for granted because we all assume that we will wake up tomorrow morning. I am sure
even a prisoner in one of our notorious jails wakes up every morning with a reasonable expectation of waking up in the morning the following day. A pregnant woman is no different but her reasonable expectation is somewhat further extended in that she has to look at it two fold. She has to wake up alive for her child to be alive. What happens then when you lose that child? That was going to be Miriam.
“You seem to have a lot of questions Bongani. She was doing nothing wrong! Right now you need to support her more than anything. You have to be strong for her!”
I advised him. A lot of men when it comes to miscarriages tend to behave as though it’s the woman’s fault hence it’s a female problem. They don’t have the same bond with the baby that she has so they don’t have the same empathy even if they wanted to.
“Of course I support my wife come on but she was fine before, now this! I obviously want answers and if it’s the Miriam that I know she will give me none! She will tell me that its life and it’s not life! I just lost my baby for heaven’s sake!”
He said. I could see his anguish and I could feel his fear. Howa could I tell this guy that his pregnant wife was cheating on him with the father of the baby he was now mourning for.
“I wish I had more answers than you but unfortunately I do not. I am sorry!”
I told him.
“Can we go to the hospital please or is it to early still?”
He asked checking is time. It was too early and I needed clothes. I decided that it was best I risk it now and go to the mall and maybe some shop opened earlier than others. Unfortunately like with all malls they think like robots and are synchronized to not be innovative. I had to wait until the first shop opened until I could buy something to wear. By the time I got to the hotel Bongani was pacing up and down impatiently,
“What took you so long? I have been waiting for you so we can go!”
He said to me very annoyed.
“I thought you would take a bit of a nap before you went to see her! You have been travelling all night!”
I told him as I put my things down.
“A nap? Who can sleep under such circumstances?”
He asked me and he was right. Who could sleep though I guess I was not thinking straight.
“I am sorry I needed to go get clothes. I did not have a change of clothes!”
I told him without thinking.
“Clothes? Didn’t you guys have clothes when you came? I also noticed that you have no bags? What’s going on?”
He said. He was suspicious and I had let the cat out of the bag without noticing. I had to think fast.
“Yes I know don’t worry though! Our bags were lost at the airport. We should be getting them back soon!”
I said and immediately walked into my room to change. I did not want his asking too many questions hence the hasty retreat. I had forgotten all about Jerry and now was not the time anyway. When I was done, which was in fifteen minutes because I could hear Bongani pacing, I found myself in shorts and slops. I was very bad at shopping to be honest but I was fine with it.
“Finally please let’s go! Miriam is all alone!”
He said when I came out. We walked out together and I told him that we did not have to drive as the place was pretty close. It was a bad idea! The man walks fast now we looked like those people in the morning who walk to work. We were literally running at some point.
“Dude slow down come on!”
I had to protest to let him slow down. Finally we were there and we went to her room. She was awake.
She said as he walked in. Immediately she burst into tears.
He said running to his wife and he hugged.
“I lost our baby Bongani I lost our baby!”
She said. She cried into her husband’s arms. I decided to slip outside for a moment to give them a bit of time. I had tears running down my cheeks as well so I felt her pain. About thirty minutes later he came to call me,
“She wants you; I need to go sign some papers for her!”
He told me. I was no longer next of kin as he was the husband so I guess that’s where he went. I went to the room and as soon as she saw me she started sobbing again,
“I want my baby Lungi! I want my baby!”
She cried when she saw me. I didn’t even know what to say but I went over and I hugged her.
“Everything will be fine!”
I said trying to reassure her as best I could. What else do you tell someone who had just experienced this?
“How Lungi? How is this going to be ok? How is my baby going to come back to life?”
She asked me and turned away from me as she cried.
“I don’t know my dear but we are here for you!”
I reassured her.
“Yes you are but Lungi this is my fault. What was I doing partying in Umlazi and living my husband at home? This is what happens when you think you are clever!”
She confessed to me. Now this was not Miriam, must be the drugs speaking. Miriam never saw herself as a cheat or promiscuous. It was her right, her body and she could do whatever she wanted. She was like one of those radar less Instagram slay queens who feba with no direction hence why she had no regrets.
“Stop saying that. You are going through something traumatic but don’t let it weigh you down like this! You will rise above it!”
I told her. This happened as Bongani walked in.
“Lungi can I speak to my wife alone please!”
Bongani asked me. It was what I wanted and I was happy that he came in when he did. I did not know what to do with myself. For the second time I walked back to reception area. I had sat there twenty minutes when a familiar voice said,
I looked up and there was Mbilahelo standing there!
“Dude this either creepy or flattering but honestly how did you know that we were here?”
I asked him? Indeed how did he as I had not told him where I was.
“I know a lot of things. How is your friend?”
He asked me sitting down next to me.
“She is not ok of course! You caused this! The doctor said the stress must have led to this!”
I lied to him but serve him right for putting her in the middle like this. If it was another day I would have told him I hated him.
“Then she needs a new doctor because that is not true! Regardless I am not here for your friend I am here for you!”
He said coldly and dismissively. I always tell people that I will not date a cop because these people are cold and emotionless. It’s not their fault of course it’s the society. They see a lot of bad things in the line of duty and because of this they honestly can no longer be normal like the rest of us.
“Ok then if you say so. If you came here to rub it in just leave!”
He told me.
“Of course I did not come for that. I came to ask you something. Can we take a walk on the beach?”
He asked me changing his tone.
“Why? Can you not see that my friend needs me? She just lost her baby and no matter what you think of her she is my closest friend in the whole world!”
I responded rudely to him.
“I am not fighting with you. Miriam and her husband need space. If you go sit in the hotel all day you will have a heart attack so believe me this could be the stress reliever you need!”
He told me trying to encourage me.
“My aunt and your mother said that I can’t go near the water because of the calling!”
I told him. Having a Sangoma mother I knew he would not be surprised by this nor would he act funny.
“Ah you too! I have a lot of do’s and don’ts as well! I have not died yet so someone is lying!”
He said dismissively and we both laughed be it uncomfortably.
“So how bad is your calling? Do you get bad dreams like I do?”
I asked him.
“I used to get dreams but I learned to handle them. I work as a policeman and accepting the calling would put my job at risk. Let’s be realistic, it’s not the coolest gift to have and it easily scares people!”
He said to me in a humorous tone but I could also tell he was serious.
“So if you work with people with guns I think the last thing I would want is have them scared of me!”
He said. Somehow the way he spoke calmed me down. He understood what I was going through and I figured that maybe now I had the chance to tell someone what I was going through. Bongani walked towards us but with one of the nurses. I went to him with Mbilahelo,
“Bongani this is a friend of mine from home. I am going to go with him for a moment to give you space and some alone time with Miriam!”
I told his outside. Before we left. He was fine with it and I think he was actually happy I did that. As we left my heart felt heavy, I was going to relax when Miriam was in pain.
“Which beach do you want us to go to?”
He asked me.
“I want the beach with people. I dont want these empty ones because part of going to the beach is seeing people right!”
I told him and he laughed. I was still a bit hostile with him so I did not smile with him.
“Ok then, we will go to South Beach!”
He said and off we went. I don’t think I had ever been alone with him like this where it was just the two of us.
“Suddenly it feels like we on holiday!”
He said looking very satisfied with himself.
“Don’t flatter yourself! I am only going out with you right now because I needed somewhere to go as my friend needs some alone time with her hubby!”
I told him.
“I know you see me as the bad guy here but your friend was with a gangster and cheating on her husband! How do you even support that?”
He asked me. I think he had been curious for a while now about this.
I asked him defensively.
“She is heavily pregnant and still gets to cheat! How does that even work?”
He asked me sounding disgusted or astonished by it all. I can’t say I blame him though I think many people would have felt that way.
“It’s none of my business nor yours for that matter what my friend does in her spare time! We cannot judge her for it and look now how badly it ended!”
I told him.
“Its hard not judge and even God will forgive me for judging! Its nasty and its cruel to her husband. Now look who is left holding the broken woman? Him!”
He was not letting this go.
“If you keep on talking about this I will rather go to the hotel. I don’t want to gossip about my friend nor her marriage please!”
I said trying to shut him down.
“Its ok I will stop but I am an honest person and I will always be honest with you. The tragedy of modern relationships is that we tell each other that what he or she does not know won’t kill him or her and that’s wrong. The moment you say that about your partner is the moment you start keeping secrets and with secrets all the bad things start coming!”
He said to me as we drove into the parking lot. We had chosen not to go by the Casino but rather we had parked just up from the Garden Court. The place was packed and there were even school buses.
“Crap now I regret saying let’s go to a crowded beach!”
I told him and he switched off the car and said,
“You have to stick by what you say so here we are and this is where we are going!”
He told me cheekily and got out of the car. I got out too a bit taken aback by this guy.
“You are trying to shela me yet you not being a gentleman?”
I asked him.
“How many guys who were gentlemen are you still dating?”
He asked me.
“I am single ok so the answer is zero so what’s your point?”
I asked me. Crap, I fell for that one! I did not realize it was a trick question.
“I rest my case then!”
He said to me casually as he walked onto the pavement. This guy was rude and bossy!
“Are you coming or you going to stand there burning in the sun like a tomato?”
He asked me.
“You are so rude you know that?”
I told him as I walked towards him pouting visibly and not like those girls who do it for pictures! I don’t know how most girls don’t see that when they pout in pictures they look like an old person’s anus! Sigh! Someone had to say it!
“… And you my girl are beautiful so we are even!”
He said. He opened his hand for me to hold it and walked past him and said,
He must have lost his mind shem!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading my letter. I am sure you know everyone’s problems by now yet you continue to listen to us. You are very gifted sir that much is fact.
I am a 27 year old man from Soweto. I grew up in an abusive family where my father used all of us as punching bags. With me it was worse because I was the first born so sometimes I had to take it for the others. This man was beyond evil. He would beat us until we could not go to school then bribe us with sweets. Our mother died when we were young so he remarried and the woman could not have kids of her own so she would take it out on us. She used to torment my sisters more than anything. When my sister turned 19 she moved out and got into bad company. My other sister got a bursary and is in university. My father got into a car accident last year. He is paralysed waist down and can no longer work. The woman left him. It’s easy to call it karma but I am writing because now that the tables have turned I have seen the worst in my family. When I am not there they will make him sit the whole day without bathing. They don’t take him to the bathroom and sometimes I come back late from work and find him having soiled himself. He was a bad man I get it and I should be angrier than the others but I just feel sorry for him at best. My sisters are the worst; they don’t give him food or give him just enough to survive. They say it’s for all the suffering he put us through. I don’t want this because it means that we are just as evil. I guess what I am asking for is how do I get my family to act right? This man tore us apart for years but now we perpetuating that cycle as well.