He stared at me, with eyes that begged for my honesty.. I wanted to sit him down and tell him everything, but I was scared of losing him. Okay, maybe I was already losing him with the lies too, but the truth scared the hell out of me. Dear God, why did he have to find out before the abortion procedure? Why??? I panicked, pacing up and down, with tears streaming down my cheeks. He was just standing there, looking at me as I paced up and down.. “Mandiphumle, I’m talking to you” he calmly said. I stopped on my tracks and blankly looked at him. “Just tell me the truth!!” he shouted. “Alex, please calm down” I begged. “Stop telling me to calm down. Tell me the truth!” he demanded. “I have already told you the truth, Alex. What do you want me to say?” I responded. “Oh, I get it. You’re cheating on me!” he said. “No! No! No!! No, Alex” I panicked even more, nearing closer to him. “Then what??” he shouted.

“Guys, is everything okay?” Songezo asked, as he walked into the kitchen. We both turned to look at him. “Is everything okay? I could hear you guys from down the passage” he asked again, explaining at the same time. “Everything is fine. Mandy and I are just having a conversation” Alex explained. Songezo looked at me, and my eyes were almost clouded by tears. “No man, Alex. What exactly is going on here?” Songezo asked again. “Nothing, Songezo. Mandy and I are just talking” Alex replied. “Then why is Mandy crying?” he asked again. Alex looked at me and I looked away. “She’s just emotional, you know how women are” he replied. “Guys, I know your relationship is taking strain, but you really need to be strong” Songezo said. “Thank you, Songezo .. Can I call you tomorrow? Something came up and I really need to attend to it urgently” said Alex. “So you’re kicking me out?” Songezo jokingly asked. In a normal scenario, Alex would laugh and go with the flow- but he was in no mood to entertain jokes. Songezo cleared his throat, upon realizing that his joke received no attention. “Alright. Uhm, let me leave you guys to it then” he said. “Thank you. I’ll call you tomorrow” Alex responded as Songezo walked out.

Alex turned to look at me again. “You have ten minutes to talk. I have to go and prepare for work” he announced. I cleared my throat.. “I really don’t know what you want me to say, Alex. I already told you, I was with Phila earlier” I said. “Why the secrecy then? If you were with Phila, you would have mentioned it to me, instead, you asked me to leave you, so you could perform your evil actions” he said. “I swear, I was just with Phila” I said. “Mandiphumle, please. Please talk to me. I am begging you, please be honest with me” he begged. “I am being honest with you. Please believe me” I responded. “Okay fine. I see you don’t want to tell me. Keep it that way” he said, turning away from me. He took a few steps away and, “Alex, wait!” I shouted. He turned to look at me. I looked down, fiddling with my fingers. “I’ll tell you the truth” I announced, looking at him. He shrugged his shoulders. “Out with it then” he said. “Please sit down” I suggested. “Mandy just talk already!” he said. “Please sit down, Alex” I insisted. He took a deep sigh as he went to sit on the high chair. I went to sit next to him. “Alex, this is not easy for me. Believe me, if I could turn back the hands of time. I would turn them back in a heartbeat” I said. He remained silent, looking at me straight in the eye. “This is the most difficult time of my life, and I really wish there was a way I could change this” I added. “Just get to the point,” he silently suggested. “Okay.. Uhm.. Do you remember what I told you about Sibusiso and I?” I asked. “Yes” he replied. “That happened before we met and I had no idea that it would lead to this. When I was hospitalized, the doctor told me that I’m…. he said that I’m… I’m..” words just wouldn’t come out. “You’re what?” he asked me. “I’m .. Alex, please you have to understand that this wasn’t planned” I blabbed. “What? What are you talking about?” he asked. “I’m pregnant, Alex” I let those words slip through my lips and I looked down. He remained silent, like he was severely shocked. Silence filled the room for a couple of minutes.. He looked down..

“Alex, please say something” I begged. “What were you doing at the hospital?” he pulled the lowest of tones. “Because I love you, and I want to fix things between us. I went there to abort this baby” I replied. He looked at me. “I know you’re not ready to be a father. I’m also not ready to be a mother. When the time is right, we will have our own child” I explained. “So you were going to abort, and come home to me, acting like nothing happened?” he asked. “I didn’t want this pregnancy to mess things up for us” I replied. He looked down again. “Alex, I love you. I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you. I’m willing to do anything to save our relationship” I said .. He still remained silent. “Alex?” I called out. No response. “Alex, please say something” I begged. He looked at me. “What do you want me to say?” he asked. “Anything, please talk to me” I replied. “I have nothing to say to you” he got up from his chair. “Alex, please” I begged as he walked away..

There goes my only chance at happiness. I knew telling the truth would mess things up. Alex was not a special breed- he was just a man, and like any man, he walked out on me. I wanted to scream and run after him, but my mind told me to give him some space, for him to let everything sink in.. While I was still sitting there, feeling sorry for myself, Chukwudi and Zizo walked in..

I tried wiping my tears off, as fast as I could, but they just kept rolling down. They greeted, but my mind was miles away. “Hello?” Zizo jokingly called out as she came to stand in front of me. “Oh my goodness, you’re crying” she dramatically said. I wiped my tears away, but they would just not stop streaming down.. “Mandy, are you okay?” she asked, as she held both my hands and gently brushed them.. “What is going on?” Chukwudi asked, as he also came closer to me. I really didn’t feel like talking about it, but I also didn’t want to sound like a spoilt brat. “Guys..” I said.. My voice was a bit husky, so I cleared my throat just to fix it a bit… “I will tell you all about it, later” I said, getting up. “Are you okay? Can I get you some water?” she asked, and I shook my head. “Mandy, why are you crying? Did Alex do this to you?” Chukwudi asked .. “Where is Alex by the way?” Zizo asked. I felt crowded. I got up from my chair.. “We’ll talk later” I said, and walked away.

When I got to our bedroom, Alex was getting dressed. I walked in and closed the door behind me. “Alex, can we talk?” I asked. “I have nothing to say to you” he replied. “Alex, please. We need to talk about this” I begged .. He stopped what he was doing and looked at me. “Talk” he said. “Alex please. I want us to fix this. Please don’t do this to me” I said, wiping my tears away. “Now I’m doing this to you? After you went behind my back and plotted abortions and what not?” he sarcastically asked. “I know, but I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to fix this problem” I replied. “The mere fact that you’re referring to your unborn child as a problem speaks in volumes about you,” he said, continuing with what he was doing. “Okay Alex. Please tell me what to do,” I asked.. “No, I’m not going to tell you anything. You already has everything planned out. Leave me out of it, and leave me alone” he said. “Alex…” he cut me short . “Look dude, stop wasting my time.” he said. I sat on the bed, in great despair. He took his bag and walked out, without saying a word.

I changed into my pyjamas and got into bed. I couldn’t believe how my life was taking a bitter turn, yet again. It was almost like happiness didn’t suit me. I didn’t know why everything kept falling apart right before my eyes. If that was God’s punishment, then it was severe. What I didn’t know though was why He was punishing me like that. How was I going to move on with my life, with a baby involved? Honestly, I meant it when I referred to my pregnancy as a problem .. I meant it because it was only set out to destroy me and my future plans. I hated the little rascal that was growing inside of me. I couldn’t sleep, I tossed and turned the whole night, trying to come up with a sensible solution to my “problem”. I was even hungry, but I didn’t want to face Chukwudi and Zizo, so I decided to hang in there just until midnight. I fell asleep, in the midst of all my thoughts..

The following morning, I woke up to Alex’s voice, talking on the phone.. ” Yes, I promise. I promise, mom, everything is okay. I swear, its just one of your dreams. Mom, really now? You don’t have to.. No, you really don’t have to..” he sighed.. “Okay mom, fine. No problem. Bye” he hung up. I pretended to be fast asleep, but listened attentively to everything that was happening around. He sat on the bed for a while.. I assumed it was time for us to talk, while he was still sitting. I opened my eyes and sat up.. He turned to look at me for a second, and then looked away. I cleared my throat.. “Alex?” I called out. “Mandiphumle, please. Not now” he said. “We have to talk about this, Alex” I insisted. “Well, I don’t want to talk” he said. “No, you have to talk. You have to tell me what you think, and how you feel” I insisted some more. He turned to look at me. “Can I sleep? I’m exhausted from a long night at work” he asked. “When are we going to talk then?” I asked. “I don’t want to talk, so since you’re so eager to talk, you will have to talk when I wake up” he said. “Okay. I’ll just go and attend the computer class in the meantime” I announced. He didn’t respond. I got out of bed and wore his slippers on my way to the bathroom. When I was done bathing, I went back to the room. I don’t know whether Alex was asleep or just pretending, but he looked peaceful. I stared at him for a while, missing him so much. He turned and faced away, with his eyes still tightly closed. I got dressed and went to the kitchen. I still had a few rands from the money he gave me the previous day, so I didn’t wake him up for anything. I made myself some breakfast, ate and left the house.. I needed to get out of that house, before losing my mind.. I decided not to go ahead with the abortion, just until Alex and I sort things out. He sounded like he had a problem with me having an abortion, so I didn’t want to push him over the edge. My day went well. From there, I went straight home. Alex was still asleep when I got there. I watched TV, with my legs curled up on the couch, with a remote control next to me.

Chukwudi walked in. It was still too early for him to be home. “Hey, what are you doing here?” I asked.. “Hello? I live here” he jokingly replied. I laughed. “You know what I mean, man” I said. “Actually, no. What do you mean?” he asked, laughing .. I laughed too.. “Never mind then” I said. He came to sit next to me. “How are you?” he asked. I stopped laughing.. “I’m okay, how are you?” I responded. “I’m good. Yesterday, you were crying” he said. “Chukwudi, please” I stopped him.. “No, but you have to talk about it. If it was painful enough to make you cry, then you must share it. We’re here for you” he said. I took a deep sigh.. “Chukwudi, my life is complicated at the moment. I don’t know whether I’m going left or right” I told him. “What do you mean?” he asked. I told him everything, from the beginning. I know he knew my story from before they took me in, but I felt like reminding him, up to the part that made me cry helplessly. “So.. So you’re pregnant now?” he asked, in disbelief. I nodded, feeling the blanket of shame covering my shoulders. “Yho!” he exclaimed. “What kills me now is that Alex won’t talk to me” I said. “Maybe he’s still shocked, give him time. Its not everyday that your girlfriend falls pregnant with another man’s child and plans abortion behind your back. This is a lot to take in, even for him” he said. “I was trying to fix things, because I knew that this pregnancy would complicate our lives” I explained. “I understand. This must have been difficult for you too. Nobody would just wake up and decide on aborting, just for the fun of it” he said. “Alex should know that I was doing it for him. Chukwudi, please help me win him back” I begged. “Honestly though, Alex needs to understand this. Its not like you cheated on him with this guy and you didn’t even hide sleeping with him” he said. “Exactly, he can’t treat me like I cheated on him” I added.. “Give him time, he will come around” he said .. “Oh wow, now you’re running to my brother for sympathy?” Alex asked, standing by the entrance. Chukwudi and I turned to look at him.

“Alex, hey” Chukwudi greeted. “Alex hey? Alex hey? Is that what you’re going to say to me?” Alex asked, walking in.. “Alex, don’t be like that now” Chukwudi tried to calm him down. “Like what?” he asked. “Like that! Just calm down and talk to Mandy about this.” Chukwudi said. “Like she calmed down and talked to me about planning an abortion?” Alex asked. “Alex, please” I begged. “Please what? No man, no” he said.. “Alex, you can’t throw tantrums like this when things don’t go your way” Chukwudi said. “I’m sorry guys, I can’t do this. If you expected me to roll over and play happy families, I’m sorry for disappointing you. I can’t do this” he said. “Do what?” I asked. “This. Mandiphumle, I don’t know you anymore” he said.. “Come on, Alex. You’re overreacting now” Chukwudi said. “If I’m such a bad guy, why don’t you take over from me then? Seeing that you already have your head wrapped around my affairs.” Alex suggested. “What does that mean?” I asked. He looked at me. “Figure it out, like you figured out how to take a life”… He walked out ..