“What had just happened?”
I asked myself as I looked at the coward walk away. Zethu was fully dressed but had I also seen my friend, a doctor mind you, do a striptease for a man. Yes nothing more sinister went down but seeing another woman you know and respect do such is quite something.
“Who taught you to dance like that?”
I asked her and we both burst out laughing. She blushed and said,
“Please let’s never talk about it. I can’t believe he actually bought it hey. I was so nervous and that small thing I did was whoring myself!”
She said. Indirectly she had called me a whore because I had actually slept with this guy cheating on my man.
“I can never take out the thought of him bending over to show us his ass in my brain. That was nasty!”
She said and we laughed again. She had somehow changed the conversation. Yes that had been quite a sight. As women we have seen things in our day. The things grown men do when they want to get laid. They will beg and grovel to the point of getting angry. Next time look at your boss, that mean and powerful man in the office, and ask yourself what he does when he wants some! The thought just made me laugh again. Lately I have not been able to smile a lot. So much has gone wrong in my life and for this to have turned out this way felt surreal. I was happy yes but with the way things had been turning against me, I would not be surprised if tomorrow he went into that hearing and changed his mind.
Finally she was done and she said let’s go. I walked out of that flat so fast perhaps fearing that George could change his mind and come back for us. Zethu was feeling very chuffed with herself and acted as though she had already forgotten this had happened. She even asked me to join her on her research and I could not say no immediately. I owed her one. She is the one who had saved me twice now. First from my husband finding out about me and George then now from George when he was about to humiliate me. I told her I will think about it. I was not really interested in her research though. It’s tedious work in a country that does not appreciate or understand the concept of research.
“I think we need to go out this weekend. Bring Sizwe if you must but we should!”
She said as we drove back to work to pick up my car.
“Go out where?”
I asked her.
“Anywhere I guess just so we can have fun. Things have become so routine and you haven’t been at work for so long. You will enjoy it. I wanted to take you to the SEXPO but you were gone. I will show you some of the things I bought. Amazing stuff!”
She said and again we laughed. Last year she had gone and she had brought me a vibrating dildo, imagine! Worse she wrapped it up as a gift. I knew where she had bought it and silly me opened it in front of Sizwe after having denied him sex the previous night. Needless to say he was not impressed. To Zethu it was one big joke.
“No thank you on the Sexpo thing! You almost got me killed the last time so am glad I missed it!”
I reminded her but the thought of going was intriguing to me. Ever since Durban, before the incident with Lintle I had resolved that I wanted to go out more. I wanted to party, dance and go crazy. I had been this frigid wife for way too long and I was only getting older as opposed to being younger. Some people might think it a midlife crisis but I had really become that woman who is always working. I was getting old before my time and all because I kept on giving excuses for living my life like most women my age do.
“I actually want to do Gold Reef City and I think you should come. No Sizwe just your girls and I.”
I counter offered. She protested saying that place was for kids but I told he that we were being young again. I don’t think having fun should be reserved for children only. Grown-ups who do not have fun end up being bitter and abusive as they get older. It’s almost certainly not healthy for anyone.
“Ok that’s fine. But we doing this as adults right no kids!”
She said. I know where she was going with this. She did not want me to bring my daughter which is something I was never going to do in the first place.
“Then we will have drinks later?”
She asked and I nodded my head in the affirmative. For Zethu an outing would not be one without drinks. Hell no. There had to be a bit of that for it work. I agreed. It was sorted then.
When I picked up my car I realized that I had not spoken to my father in a few days considering all that had happened. I called him but he did not pick up. I stopped by the shops and bought myself a salad. I wanted to go on a diet and start gyming again. I was not fit and could not even walk a short distance without breathing heavy. I had gym membership which I was paying for. I called Zethu.
“I want to go to gym again; don’t you want to join me?”
She too was still driving home.
“I will do it if you agree to go for three classes of this thing that I am doing.”
I agreed and said I would do it.
“In fact this one you should bring your girls. They must have high heels though!”
She said. What the hell was she getting me into? I agreed again because going to gym without a partner to motivate is just a waste of time.
My father called me when I got home. I was still in the car but my phone was on loud so I picked up. As soon as I picked up, he asked if I could come back to Bloem because again he needed help with my mother. He did not even greet me.
“But nthate I did not call you because of that. I wanted to say hello!”
I told him a bit annoyed. This is why I fight with my father, it’s disrespectful I know but like most men, it’s always about him. I told him that the last time I had intervened it almost cost me my relationship with my mother. He said my mother and the church had taken in Sibongile and now he was not allowed to see her. Men can be really confusing at times. My mother had gone out of her way to help his mistress but still it was not enough. I hate it when you give parents advice and they don’t listen simply because as adults they feel like they know better.
“I want Sibongile to come stay that side for a while. I just need you to house her for a couple of days and then she will be out of your hair. I know you are not the sharing kind but the kid is lost. Please!”
He asked me but I reminded him that I had a husband hence I could not just bring anyone home without consulting him first. He was so annoyed at me saying that. He told me that Sizwe was a wimp and the decision was mine. I told him I will get back to him but if my man said no then no it will be.
When I walked into the house I found Lintle and her father discussing politics. They were having a heated debate. I am not one for politics because all I see is lies no matter what I read. My daughter was trying to convince my husband to change allegiance and my husband was trying to make join his party.
“Mom would you please tell dad that he is not supposed to stay in the past like this!”
She said as soon as she saw me standing there. I was not interested in listening to her as I was not about to be dragged into what would most certainly be a never ending argument. Mapula had cooked already but to be honest the food didn’t look that appetising. I was hungry though so I stuffed myself on my salad but at the end of it I was still hungry. The struggles women go through!
“I think we should move!”
My husband said when I got into bed. I looked at him incredulously.
“Did you just think that up?”
It was dumb and stupid at the same time. Grown men should not be impulsive. He looked at me with a serious face so I changed my question to,
“Move to where?”
I asked him. I was not sure what he was talking about so I asked him why.
“I just feel like we need a fresh start and this place has become too crowded!”
He said. He was serious about this. I loved my house and it was in a good location. Moving house is such a lot of work. I hated house hunting the first time we got this one meaning I was going to hate moving.
“When was the last time you and I did not have a depressing conversation?”
I asked him.
“What’s depressing about me asking if we could move?”
He asked me.
“The fact that you know it will need to an argument if I disagree with you.”
I told him but he just raised his hands up as though in resignation.
“Why are we putting this much pressure on ourselves though Sizwe? This is not necessary but you always say I don’t listen to you so if that’s what you really want then by all means let’s do it!”
I said to him. No matter how strong or dominant you are at home, at times your man needs to be feel that he is the head of house. For too long I had bullied him and it had almost cost us our marriage. I did not want to fight him on this.
“I can’t do it alone. We can all choose together as a family!”
I agreed with him for now but I will have to come up with something because hell no was I leaving a home I had worked so hard to build.
The following day, 9am we were in the hearing. It was meant to be a private hearing but Zethu had insisted on there being witnesses because she told the committee she did not want a biased decision. It didn’t even take long because George was up first. I held my breath for only a moment because he came through,
“I did not sleep with Dr Duma! She is not in my league. It was people trying to smear her name because Dr. Duma is cruel and mean to the nurses!”
The disciplinary head looked up and asked him mean how.
“She is just cruel. To her we are scum. It’s not the first time we have complained but no one listens to us.”
He said. Zethu was mean to them, I could not even remember the last time she was nice. This is why they were doing this to her. It was such an easy story to sell. Zethu looked down, I think embarrassed but it all.
“Dr. Duma would it hurt you if you were a bit nicer?”
The head of the committee said.
“George you are suspended for a week without pay!”
He said. It was over. George walked out without acknowledging us. He knew what we had over him was enough to break him. When we walked out the other nurses who had been in support of George were not happy at all. They had really wanted Zethu out and it didn’t help that she clapped hands at them as we walked past. Why was she stirring a hornet’s nest though?
I had a department meeting to attend so we parted ways. On the way there I got a call. It was the police woman, who had helped us in Durban,
“I have some news. He is dead. He did not recover from the wounds when his penis was cut off. He lost too much blood before we got there and they say he had an infection what what!”
She explained to me and I screamed.
“Hallelujah there is a God!”
I know I was celebrating someone dying but she brought me down to earth.
“There is a problem. Your daughter fingered the wrong man!”
“What do you mean?”
I asked her.
“The person she fingered was actually the brother of her rapist. When he came to claim his body, we realized that they looked similar and he had the black birthmark on his neck, the one that your daughter described in her report. He even has the scratch marks still! The brother who died is a professor from Lagos who had come to visit!”
I was confused now! It was not my daughters fault… right?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
I’m a huge fan of your books. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us.
I’m a 20 years old young woman. I met my boyfriend in October 2013 at work and we started dating then. Then on December 2013 I found out I was pregnant with his baby. I told him this and he wanted us to abort but being pro-life I couldn’t go through with the abortion and he lost his job so he couldn’t give me money to do it so we decided to keep the baby. Then in January 2014 I moved to Cape Town to study as I was accepted at a university there. I then dropped out of varsity in June 2014 as I was due to give birth in August and that meant I had to go back home to the Eastern Cape as I needed my mother’s help with this baby being my first born. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and his father adored and loved him so much. He would do anything for his son. But in June this year our son passed away and he was only 10 months.
My problem is I never spent enough time with the father of my son in order for us to get to know each other better when we started dating. We rushed into sex and then the pregnancy and the move to Cape Town. During my pregnancy I didn’t want anything to do with him even though he was miles away. A phone call from him would drive me up the wall. But the passing of our son kind of brought us together and we started to spend time together and I fell in love with him all over again. After all we never broke up we just shifted our focus to our son.
Then the problem started when he put another girl on his WhatsApp profile and when I asked him about it he said it’s his brother’s child and he defended himself by saying that I don’t know his family which is true I never met them. And we had an argument about that and he ignored me for a week, no calls, texts, nothing. I apologized for assuming the girl was his girlfriend and we were fine. Then the second time a friend invited me to a house party they were having and I came because I needed to unwind and not think for a change. My boyfriend then asked me via WhatsApp where I am, I told him I’m at a friend’s party and he asked me why I didn’t tell him I was going to go to a party. He accused me of cheating on him and asking me who’s paying for the alcohol I’m drinking and that ndizowinwa. He then rocked up at the party and said to me ‘awugqibo swelekelwa ngumntana'(haven’t you just lost a child?) I won’t lie that comment hurt me big time cause my child died in my arms and I would have given anything to save him. That was such a low blow coming from him. He left the party and went to his car and drove off. I later found out that he too was invited to the party but pretended not to be when he saw me there as his was not expecting me. I confronted him about it and he turned the whole thing on me; he does that always when we have an argument and I’m left to be the one who has to apologise for something I did not do.
He has been ignoring me for weeks now and I texted him today that his silence is not okay with me. If his angry with me I’d like us to sit down and talk it out. He has not replied to my text. He also does not want me to drink but I’m a shy and reserved person so whenever I go out I drink so as to be free and open up. I’m not even a heavy drinker. I drink occasionally.
My friends have been telling me to just let him be, if he wants to talk to me he will. But the thing is I’m tired of this hide and seek his doing. The worst thing is regardless of the way his been treating me my love for him has grown immensely. All I want from him is to tell me if he wants out of the relationship or not. Yes I love and I would love to build a future with him but I can’t keep on forcing myself on him. I just want him to tell me if he doesn’t feel the same way anymore not to string me along.