I could not risk my relationship with Mr Nkomo, over some Nigerian boy. I know you’re probably sitting there, thinking that I’m the mother of all hypocrites .. Believe it or not, but I felt like one too. Hatred towards foreigners was never in my system, hell, I was even ready to advocate for their rights. Treating them like trash because of their nationality, as if being South African came with any perks, especially for someone like me- was never in tune with my spirit. What life taught me though was that, not everything is about me and my beliefs. What I felt or thought about the foreigners and their rights didn’t matter to Mr Nkomo. For peace sake, I had to be in agreement with his feelings and thoughts..

“Uh, Sir..” I softly called out.. He took a short glance at me, and then looked at the road ahead. “Sir, I’m really sorry about what happened earlier. What happened between Alex and I was a mistake” I said. He remained silent, clearly waiting for me to carry on with whatever it was that I felt like saying. “I swear, I was never their sex slave. They were like brothers to me, until today when Alex tried to kiss me” I explained further, to have a great stay in his house .

He drove into the petrol station, to fill up. “Good afternoon, Sir.. How can I help you?” the petrol attendant asked, as he leaned against Mr Nkomo’s window. “Afternoon, son. Please fill up with R200” he responded. The petrol attendant nodded and walked away. “Let me quickly go and buy myself some airtime, what can I get you?” he asked. “Uhm, nothing, thanks” I replied. He stepped out of the car and went into the convenience store. My phone rang, and I didn’t recognise the number. “Hello?” I picked up. “Mandy hey, I forgot your charger at home” he said. Really? I was trying to break ties with him, and he was telling me about phone chargers that I didn’t care about . “Alex, you should stop calling me” I said. “How can I? Mandy, I love you and I want to spend my life with you” he said. “Alex please, we both know that this thing would never work out” I begged. “It would never work out? What do you mean by that?” he asked, with a voice that carried loads of confusion. I was hoping he wouldn’t ask me that, because really, I didn’t believe in what I was saying. “Exactly” he said, at my silence. “But Alex, you have a pregnant fiance” I said, trying to make an excuse that wouldn’t sound insensitive. “Can we talk about that when we meet?” he politely suggested. How were we ever going to meet? Alex clearly wasn’t understanding my situation. “Mr Nkomo…” he cut me short.. “Forget the old man, this is between you and I” he said. I sighed. Just before I could say a word, I saw Mr Nkomo walking out of the store. “I have to go” I said, and hung up.

Mr Nkomo got into the car and handed Enkosi a packet of chips. “Here, little champ” he said. Enkosi took the chips and I opened the packet for him.

“Please recharge this airtime for me” he asked, as he handed me his phone and recharge voucher. He then started the car and drove off while I was punching in the recharge pin. When I was done, I handed him his phone. “Thank you. I want to call Sibusiso, its been a while and there is a lot to talk about” he gladly said. The mere mention of Sibusiso’s name made my insides turn. That’s how much I hated the bastard! He called the bastard, and they had a very lengthy phone call, which was torture for me. I hated the fact that his father thought so highly of him, like he had any sense of decency. Mr Nkomo was giggling and laughing, clearly enjoying every bloody second of the phone call. I couldn’t even imagine how I was going to react when I finally had to meet him, after the crap he put me through.

We got home, and Mr Nkomo offloaded his stock to the shop, while Enkosi and I went into the house. I started preparing dinner, just to be helpful around the house. I went all out of my way, making the best meal that Mr Nkomo has ever tasted in a while. My phone rang, again. I was getting uncomfortable with the random phonecalls. “Hello” I pulled the lowest of tones. “I’ve seen where you stay. Can I visit you tomorrow?” he asked. “And how do you expect me to allow you to do that? I don’t want to mess my relationship with Mr Nkomo up” I said. “We will keep it from him, just until we’re ready to face him” he said. I remained silent. “Please let me come and visit you. The fear of losing you, Mandiphumle is making me lose my mind” he added. I’ve never been that wanted before, or even have someone who is willing to risk it all, just to be with me. “But still, we can’t meet. I have to help out around the house and look after the baby”. As I was talking on the phone, I turned around to face the kitchen entrance. My heart started pumping more rapidly than it usually does, as I saw Mr Nkomo, standing by the doorway. My eyes must have shot wide open, as I was staring at him, with my phone still on my ear. “Hello?” Alex called out .. I hung up, as soon as I could. “Sir, I didn’t see you there” I uncomfortably said. He smiled. “Who was that?” he calmly asked. “Who?” I asked, trying to give myself some time to think. He silently looked at me. “Oh, that” I giggled. “Its my friend, Lindani” I said. He didn’t have to ask “Who is Lindani?” , because his eyes did the talking. “Uhh, Lindani is an old friend of mine. We used to be best friends, until she repeated a Grade, then she made new friends” I explained. A huge part of me was convincing me that my explanation carried no trace of sense in it, but I had to say something. “So, she wants you guys to meet?” he asked. “Yes, because she wants us to work on our friendship, but I just told her that we can’t meet” I said, sounding innocent more than the word. “Why not?” he asked again , walking into the kitchen and pulling a chair and sitting down. “Well, I mean, I have to help out around the house and stuff” I replied. He laughed. “Nonsense, I don’t need your help. You need to go out and meet your friends. I can’t expect you to be locked up in this house all your life” he said. I smiled, that was so sweet of him, and I had to use his sweetness to my advantage. “Are you sure?” I asked, shrugging my shoulders. “Because friends are not my first priority right now.” I added. “I’m sure, you can go and meet with your friends. It can never be easy for you to be dealing with this whole thing” he said.. There, I had my Visa. I scored myself a way out, but I still needed to be extra careful.

“What are you cooking? It smells divine” he complimented. I almost blushed, because he was noticing my hard work. “Its nothing fancy, it’s just normal dinner” I humbly replied. He laughed at my humbleness.

We then had dinner, and I did the dishes. When I was done, I went to bath Enkosi and put him to bed. “You’re so good with your brother, your mother must be so proud of you” Mr Nkomo said, walking into our room, to say his goodnight.

The following day, I woke up to the loud sounds of giggles and laughter, and kisses in between. It was Enkosi, overly excited over God-knows-what and showering me with wet kisses. “Good morning, little man” I said, kissing him on the cheek, and he giggled some more. I got out of bed and opened the windows. Our view was nothing close to the view I woke up to, in Chukwudi’s house, but I can assure you that it was way better than waking up on the streets. I went to take a quick bath, and bathed the baby. When we were both clean and fresh, I went to the kitchen, to prepare breakfast. Mr Nkomo was already selling at the shop. While I was busy, feeding Enkosi, the kitchen door swung open and Sibusiso walked in.

The shock in his eyes when he saw me there was crestal clear. Our eyes met, no matter how much we hated it. Memories of the time he was throwing me out to the streets, like I was yesterday’s trash, came flooding back.. “What are you doing here?” he asked. After screwing me over like I was some kind of trash, and then asking me the dumbest question in history?! “What does it look like I’m doing?” I asked, looking away. “Hey, what the hell are you doing back here?” he asked again. This time, moving closer to me. I got up, making it easy for him to do whatever it is that he was hoping to do. “What I’m doing here is none of your business” I replied. We stared at each other straight in the eye, as he came to stand closely in front of me. “What kind of sick game are you trying to play?” he asked again. “Because if you’re hoping for more money from me, you have another thing coming” he added. So in his eyes, I was a low class prostitute. I let out a slight laugh. “Your money? Oh please, get over yourself” I said. “I’m warning, little girl. Try anything nasty and I will personally make sure that you don’t live to see another day” he threatened. . His father walked in.. “Good morning kids. .” he greeted .. His smile faded away when he realized that there was a bit of tension between us, with the way we were looking at each other. “Dad!” Sibusiso called out, turning to look at his dad. “Mandiphumle and I were just having a little chat, right Mandy?” he turned to look at me again. I nodded, faking a smile. “Why didn’t you tell me that we have guests?” he asked. “It’s one of the reasons why I called you over today, to formally introduce you to Mandiphumle and to share the latest developments of her case. ” his father replied. “I know Mandiphumle, what I don’t know is what she’s doing here” Sibusiso said. “Kids, please sit down. I want to have a word with you” Mr Nkomo said. “Dad, just tell me what this child is doing here” Sibusiso said. “Kids, sit down” Mr Nkomo insisted .. Sibusiso and I involuntarily sat down.

“Kids, I know this came as a shock to both of you, to be sitting here and having this kind of conversation. Firstly, Sibusiso, I know I never mentioned this over the phone to you, because I didn’t want us to have this conversation over the phone” he said.. Sibusiso and I remained silent, because we both were not interested in whatever it is that he wanted to say. He told Sibusiso my life story, not knowing that he knew my problem before anybody else. Little did he knew that Sibusiso was the first person to hear my life story. “So,what is this about?” Sibusiso asked. “I called you here to let you know that I have taken Mandiphumle and his brother in, and I am thinking of doing it legally” he said. “What? Dad, what??” Sibusiso exploded, getting up. “They need a family, especially at a time like this” Mr Nkomo responded .. “You were supposed to discuss that with me. I’m your son, dad, and basically the only family member you have around here” Sibusiso said. “Sibusiso, sit down” Mr Nkomo ordered. “No, but dad, how could.
..” Mr Nkomo cut him short, “Sibusiso, sit down”. Sibusiso sat down, with anger written all over his face. “That’s why I’m calling you now, to formally introduce you to your new brother and sister” Mr Nkomo said. How was I going to maintain that kind of relationship with a man who used me as a sex object and threw me out the window when he was done with me? Maybe I never thought things through, maybe I was better off at Chukwudi’s than in the house of a man who passionately hated foreign people for things that his beloved South African son did like a pro.