Have you ever wondered why its so difficult to love the child of another woman as a woman? Already as women we don’t like each other so why would I love the child of my husbands ex? If your husband has an ex that he does not have kids with, is he still allowed to maintain a friendship or contact with her? I don’t think so for obvious reasons. So what changes then now that they have a child together? She is your enemy for life but you are forced to smile at her for the sake of a child you will never love. That’s the true reality of things. Nozipho was not someone I was fond of, just like Nelisa, they were illegitimate children who one day would try claim on my husbands estate taking food out of my own daughters mouth. I used the word illegitimate because that’s how the law views them its not me.
“You came to see me? Wow that’s new! Come let’s go into the study before we get disturbed and its still fresh in your mind!”
I told her. She stood up and followed me to the study. She had been here before once or twice so she knew the house.
“I am sorry to do this to you but there was no one else I could speak to. You are technically my mother and you are also a doctor.”
She said. Please tell me she did not want me to help her with an abortion. Doctor or not I would chase her out.
“I have been sick lately and I eventually did tests. I am positive!”
She said. She kept quiet. I thought it was meant to be for dramatic effect but it was not. She was expecting me to be sensitive and jump saying how sorry I was but that’s just the problem. Being a doctor desensitises you. We deal with HIV everyday we are numb to it. We don’t react the same way as a common person would who is not exposed to it. She was my husbands daughter unfortunately so I had to say something.
“I am sorry Nozipho. Its not the end of the world though!”
I told her what we are taught to say to patients when we discover this. I sound as aloof as Thabo Mbeki now eish. I stood up and went round the table to give her a hug. She needed that I suppose. Now she was crying and I felt bad. She was just a child and I know my husband did not really like her much for yet another reason I am yet to be told. I used to think that my husband thought she was not his because he never gave her that attention he gives Lintle or Nelisa for that matter. She was very much theother daughter but almost on an imposter level. I wonder what the mother had done because normally hatred like this comes from the mother not the child.
“I don’t know what to do now! I am too scared to tell my mother because she always warned me about it. I am also scared to tell my father because already we are not that close!”
She cried in my arms. This was awkward. Its not like they will both throw her away but I knew what she meant on my husband. I could not speak for her mother.
“I am talking to you like a doctor first then like a mother. Firstly this is not a death sentence. You go on ARVs and you maintain a healthy lifestyle and stead diet. Cut down on the unnecessaries like alcohol and smoking if you do smoke. Do you how the disease works?”
I asked her but I paused because I actually realized that now was not the time. Now was not the time for me to give the doctor speech this child needed a hug and to be told that the world was not over. There was nothing wrong with me telling her that I was sorry but you are stuck because you do not want to stigmatize her, but be real: its not good news. It was going to affect her lifestyle more than her health badly as now she had to be careful in what she did and consumed.
“You know what Nozipho, let’s not do this doctor patient speech right now.”
I stood up and I stood her up and hugged her again.
“I will always be here if you need me, to talk and to listen!”
I told her. I think for now she was looking for people who would stand with her now that she was scared of being shunned. Don’t be fooled, people out there stigmatize HIV positive people. They are those white people we see on TV claiming how they are not racists but they would rather let their domestic workers walk in the rain to catch the bus when they can drop them at the bus station. Its not because they are ignorant but because they just don’t want to be associated with you.
“Mommy we home!”
Nelisa said opening the door practically running in.
She said when she saw I was hugging someone but she ran upstairs saying how badly she needed the bathroom. Finally in walked in walked in Sizwe and Nelisa, they were laughing about some.
My husband said cheerfully walking towards me and he stopped,
The excitement levels were most certainly drained. I must say it got awkward really fast and this was not the first time. It was always like this with Nozipho but I never intervened because I always said it was not of my business. This time around though after the HIV thing eish, I had to say something.
“What are you doing here?”
He asked her. That’s not something he ever asked Nelisa that’s for sure.
“Really Sizwe! Is that your best opening line!”
Nelisa walked past him and came and hugged her sister. She ignored her fathers remark and actually spoke before Nozipho could respond or Sizwe could continue!
“What are you doing here? Wow I haven’t seen you in a long time! Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?”
Nelisa asked her a barage of questions before she too stopped and said,
“Why are you crying?”
Looking at her holding her by the shoulders. I don’t think Sizwe even saw the tears in his daughters eyes.
“Did she do something to you?”
She asked her turning angrily to face me. This girl really hated me yet I had never done anything to her.
“No silly! Its a private matter she is helping me with!”
Nozipho defended me immediately.
“What’s so private that you could not tell me first though?”
Nelisa asked her.
My husband asked. He had always treated Nozipho with suspicion and I guess that’s the fate of most first born kids suffer. Men are often poisoned off by the first childs mother to such an extent they project that anger on the child. Sizwe more often than not was harsh on Nozipho and I am ashamed to say that I allowed him to do so. Self preservation I guess. I think that’s why I was so suspicious of Nelisa because he never gave her that grief.
“You know that before you come here you should tell me! I have made that clear.”
My husband started in front of everyone there. Why was he belittling her like this?
“Sizwe come on, that’s not necessary!”
I said quietly but firmly,
“No love she knows she must not just show up without speaking to me first.”
“Sizwe can I talk to you upstairs!”
I asked him completely annoyed by his behavior. He followed me upstairs.
“I don’t appreciate you cutting me off when I am speaking to my daughter!”
He said as soon as we entered the bedroom. He had not just gone there!
“Now they are you daughters! When Nelisa comes here do I not treat her like my child?”
I asked him? He looked stuck for a moment,
“And where do you get off telling me that they are your daughters? This is my house and they come here because I allow it! I have never been mean nor thrown them out! I have never ever asked them where their mothers are out of respect for you.”
I said angrily. He wanted to say something,
I said lifting up my finger.
“If Nelisa can come here anytime, so can Nozipho!”
I told him. It was only fair. If you don’t exert some measure of control on the minute you love you leave room for them to do bad things in the name of loving you.
“Its my decision to make! She comes here when I say she does!”
He said angrily. What the hell was going on kante?
“Well then that means Nelisa can’t come here either! I won’t allow you to have favoritism because you teaching Lintle the wrong thing!”
I told him in what was meant to be an ultimatum. He glared at me angrily and walked to the door. I thought he was about to go downstairs but he stopped at the door.
He called out loud!
He called again impatiently!
She answered which shocked me because she had never called him dad before. It must have been such a good trip then. She ran upstairs cheerfully.
“Pack your bags, I am taking you back to your place wit Nozipho!”
“I beg your pardon? Didn’t you say we are going to…”
She did not finish what she was saying because he cut her off,
“Don’t question me! Go pack we are leaving now!”
He said and walked out! She looked angrily at me and said,
“This is all your fault! You such a bitch!”
Very angry indeed.
She blamed me!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I hope you see this in time. Did you watch the news today? They were talking about ecstacy and I recognized the side effects you mention. I am so honored to read your work. You really are teaching us. Hope those kids in KwaMashu read your blog! Is there no one in one of these government departments that can help put your work in schools because you have taught so much? I wish I could do something to make more people read.
Thank you and keep writing.
Dear Mike and readers
Thank you for keeping us entertained. I am a lady who is in her mid-twenties and for the past 7 years of my life I have had an on and off relationship with a guy who is married now. When we met he was in a relationship and so was I. He hot the woman he was dating pregnant and now they have two kids. With our relationship being on and off, I have also been dating other people and I always find my way back into his arms. I got pregnant in 2014 and I found out after I had broken up with him and he didn’t want us so I had an abortion then he later on he came back to apologize and since July 2015 things have been good between us. He told me he wanted me to consider being his second wife and I agreed though I told him I wasn’t ready for marriage then. We got pregnant again in January and he was excited. So was I.
Unfortunately that ended with a miscarriage at 6 weeks and since thane he has been distant. So everything that has happened has gotten me insecure and wondering. As much as I would like to believe that he really wants to be with me how do I know that he really does? How do I know if he doesn’t want me anymore cause of the miscarriage? I live everyday. In fear that he will just turn against us and decide to go be a a good husband to his wife, how do I talk to him about this?
I really love this guy and I believe he loves me too. Somehow I understand that he loves her too and I am okay with that because after all the man I have been with, no one makes me feel the wAy he does. Is it stupid of me to believe in him?
Please help a sister out.