Two months later..

My life was slowly finding its balance. Not that everything was in place, but I just managed to look on the bright side, especially because my support system was on part isn’t. Phila was my shoulder to lean on. She offered me the kind of support my own blood family would give me. I know it’s crazy and stupid, but I always fantasized about her being the sister that I never had. Maybe she was trying to make up for the time she missed in her own pregnancy. Maybe she was trying to fill voids in her heart. No matter what her reasons were, but all her efforts were appreciated. She supported me through trials and tribulations. She fussed over my sicknesses or fears. She was a little too much sometimes, but I enjoyed it. She understood that I was still learning to love the little thing that was growing inside me, so she never gave me any pressure to go for ultrasounds and what not. She let me be. Thando on the other hand was sent to England by the company he worked for. It was a great opportunity for him, but I missed him everyday. He was also my happy place. What made him stand out was his listening skill. The guy was a very good listener, and that worked well for our friendship. Apart from being a good listener, he was generally fun. I always enjoyed being around him. I was counting each minute that passed, with him still in England. During that time, Alex and I were like total strangers. We literally had nothing to say to each other, and that killed me. That man was once the centre of my world. He was once my reason for smiling and he was the bearer of my strength to face each other. Looking on the bright side, our “distance” meant no drama for our fellow housemates. The house was filled with peace.

It was on a Saturday morning- a very cold Saturday morning. I got out of bed and went to open the curtains.. The trees were shivering, with leaves turning pale.. It was really cold, that even the lawn was no longer glowing. I was sad, because I loved my trees when they shine and smile at the sun. My phone rang, disturbing me from the sadness that filled my heart. It was Phila, calling. “Hey” I picked up. “Hey, how are you?” she asked. “I’m good, and you?” I responded, sitting on the bed. “I’m good. Do you have plans for the day?” she asked. “I have no plans. I’ll just do my laundry and sleep throughout the day” I replied. “Please visit me. I will hire DVD’s and I’ll get you your favorite ice cream favor” she suggested. Ice cream, an offer I couldn’t refuse, no matter the weather. “Okay, I’m coming” I replied. She giggled excitedly. “Excellent. Let me know when you’re here so I can let you in” she said. We hung up. I quickly made my bed and went to take a long, relaxing bath. The water was gently massaging my back and rubbing my tummy. After a while, I stepped out of the bath and wrapped a towel around my body. I felt so relaxed as I walked out of the bathroom..

I got to my room and got dressed in a Black denim dress, with stockings and a Grey coat. I loosely tied my weave, courtesy of Phila. My whole look was sponsored by her. She spent the money she made from sleeping with men, with me. I was looking okay. Not beautiful, just okay. I was no longer a breakfast person, because food made me sick. Generally, food made me sick. It was almost like, the little thing that was growing inside me wasn’t the type that survives on food. All it ever wanted was to twist my insides upside down. I grabbed my sling bag and walked out . Alex was in the kitchen, preparing a huge hearty breakfast. I greeted and he greeted back. That was as far as we could go, just greetings. As I walked away, “going somewhere?” he asked. I stopped on my tracks and turned to look at him. “Excuse me?” I asked. “I’m asking if you’re going anywhere. I mean, its cold outside” he explained. “Yes, I’m going somewhere” I replied .. Before he could say anything, a woman walked into the kitchen. Her bun in oven was too visible. She looked rather shocked to see me, while I was equally shocked to see her. “Hi” she greeted. ” Hello” I greeted back. She folded her arms, looking at Alex. “Uhm.. Ntombi, this is Mandy” he pointed at me. “Mandy, this is Ntombi” he pointed at her. “Pleased to meet you” she said. Pleased?? I cleared my throat. “Pleased to meet you too” I responded, looking back at Alex.. “I have to go” I added. “Okay, enjoy yourself” Ntombi said. I walked out and closed the door. So Alex decided to bring his woman into the house, to show me that he had moved on. What about me? Did his love for me end, just like that? How would he feel if I would bring a man into the house? I know I would never, but still, how would he feel? He was so selfish, and inconsiderate.

I got to sis Meissie’s. One of the girls who worked for sis Meissie let me in. I went into the house through the back door. Sis Meissie was there, with two girls .. I greeted and only the girls greeted back. I didn’t care about sis Meissie’s attitude towards me. I went to Phila’s room and knocked on her door. I knew how much she hated it when people walked into her room without knocking. She invited me in, and I walked in. She was still in her pyjamas, in bed. “You’re still in bed? Are you okay?” I asked as I went to sit on her bed. “I’m fine, I’m just a little emotional, that’s all” she replied. “Why are you emotional?” I asked again. She sighed. “Sis Meissie is forcing me to break up with my man” she replied. “What? Why?” I asked. “Its bad for business. Apparently, I haven’t been bringing my A-game to her clients.” she explained. “Phila, maybe you should leave this job and start all over again” I advised. “How will I survive? How will you survive? Alex has not been giving you money for transport. So how are we going to survive?” I could tell from the way she addressed me that she was annoyed. I decided to let her be. We watched movies, one after the other, until we fell asleep. Phila’s ringing phone woke us up. While she was picking up, I jumped out of bed and wore my shoes. By the time she finished on the phone, I was tying my hair. “Hey, what are you doing?” she asked. I turned to look at her, still tying my hair. “I’m going home. I can’t believe we fell asleep” I replied. “Dude, what’s the rush? Its not like you have a strict mother waiting for you at home” she said. I sighed. “I just wanted to get home early” I explained. “But why? Its not like anyone misses you when you’re not there” she said. Those were the harsh realities that I didn’t want to face. “I know, but -” she cut me short. “But nothing, stay. Vuyani will take us out for dinner, then we will take you home” she suggested. “Okay, cool” I replied. “Great! Let me take a quick bath and call Vuyani” she jumped out of bed. “I’ll keep you company while you bath” I said. She laughed. “No problem” she ran off and I followed her. We got to the bathroom. I closed the door and sat on the closed toilet seat.. She undressed. “So, tell me Mandy, when are you fetching your brother from the Nkomo monsters?” she asked. My brother. How could I move on with life, without him? What kind of a sister turns her back on her baby brother? He was a baby, for crying out loud. He needed me. He needed his family. “Mandy?” Phila called out, snapping me out of my thoughts.. “Mhm?” I looked at her.. “I’m asking, when are you fetching your brother from those monsters?” she repeated. I sighed. “Where would I take him? You know I have no place of my own, and I’ve lost my value in that house” I replied. “At least visit him. That boy is still very young to understand what is going on. He needs to see you” she said. I’m sure she thought I didn’t know all that, well, I did. I knew all that. “I know hey, I know. I just don’t feel like facing those people” I lied, justifying why I never even thought of visiting him. “Dude, you’re not going there to see those people. Enkosi is your brother and he needs you in his life” she said. Again, I knew that, so I silently nodded. The thought of facing the Nkomo’s was just too draining .

When she was done, we went to her room and she got dressed. Later, her man came to pick us up, and took us out to dinner .. I had a great time, and the food was amazing. I enjoyed it when I wasn’t the centre of attention in a gathering. After dinner, they drove me home..

When I got home, it was around 22:00 and Ntombi was in the kitchen, staffing her face with food. Was it her way of moving in with Alex? What was Alex’s take on the situation? Or maybe he is the one who asked her to move in? I guess I’ll never know.. “Hi” I greeted as I walked in.. She turned to look at me. “Oh, hey honey.. How are you?” she sounded happy to see me. How was I? Not okay. Annoyed. Angry. Disappointed. “I’m okay, and you?” I responded. “I’m good” she wiped her hands disgustingly on her dress. “You’re home late. Pregnant women aren’t supposed to go around at night” she said. And I’m sure Alex appointed her to be the spokesperson for the pregnant women’s club. I just smiled and took a few steps away.. “Mandy, wait” she called out. Annoyed, I stopped on my tracks and turned to look at her. “How far along are you, with your pregnancy?” she asked. I was still learning to accept my pregnancy, and therefore, was in no space to be discussing trimesters and all that crap. Yes, crap! “I don’t want to talk about it” I said. She laughed. “I know exactly what you mean. People ask me that question all the time, so much that I ended up hating that question too” she giggled. “Yeah” I silently said. “But you know, we could go to ultrasounds together, and go shopping together” she suggested. Was she kidding me? Was she flippin’ kidding me??? I gave her a blank stare. “Come on, it would be fun” she almost jumped up and down with excitement. I sighed. “Maybe, I don’t know” I said. “Yeah, it would be really fun. Come and sit, I want us to discuss something” she said. Wait, did the woman know how much I loved her man? “I can’t, I’m tired. I had a very long day” I declined. “Oh okay. Uhm, you know, we could have some sort of a double date. You know, you and your man, and me with mine” she suggested. Okay, I was either too annoyed or Ntombi was plain stupid. I sighed, again. “That won’t be necessary” I replied. Like, really now.. “I really should go to bed now. I’m exhausted” I added. She shrugged her shoulders. “We’ll talk about it tomorrow. Go and rest now” she replied, walking up to me and giving me a tight squeeze. Yes, she hugged me. Alex’s woman hugged me. I knew it! All of that was all just an act. There is no way that she didn’t know the depth of my relationship with Alex. How? I’m sure you’re asking. Well, I could pick it up from her breathing pattern. I naturally don’t trust heavy breathers. Don’t laugh. Don’t even smile, because its true..

“Are you going to church tomorrow?” she asked as she broke the hug. I shook my head. “Cool, Alex’s mother is arriving tomorrow. Zizo and I are going to clean the house, and it would be really cool if you would help us” she told me. Alex and Chukwudi’s mother was coming over and nobody bothered to tell me? If this wasn’t registered in my mind as a silent message kicking me out, nothing else would. I mean, I was treated like a ghost-invisible. Nobody told me anything. Even Chukwudi was distant. I think I had overstayed my welcome..