My world was literally spinning. I felt like everything was turned upside down. How could Alex do that to me? He promised me a better future. He said he loved me unconditionally. Love forgives- why couldn’t he forgive me? Alex killed the hope of ever trusting people with sweet rehearsed words.

“Are you okay?” she asked. Was I okay? How could I be okay, after she dropped heart breaking news on me? Of course, I was not okay. I held the wall for balance and cracked a smile. “I’m fine” I replied. “Come, I’ll get you some water” she suggested, holding my hand and leading me to the kitchen.. “Sit” she pulled a chair for me and made me sit down. She went to draw a glass of tap water for me.. “Here, drink that” she handed me the glass. “Thank you” I took the glass.. She pulled a chair and sat down. “How far along are you?” she asked. I blankly looked at her, sipping on my water. “With the pregnancy” she explained. “Oh” I swallowed my water, and put the glass down on the table. “I don’t want to talk about it” I said. Honestly, I hated discussing my pregnancy. It was a part of my life I hated the most. “You know, your people are ready for you” she said. “My people? What do you mean?” I asked. “They are unhappy with your lack of identity, and they would like you to reunite with them” she added. “What are you talking about?” I asked. She tightly closed her eyes. “I see blood. I see pain, surrounding you.” she announced. Okay, I was getting freaked out.. My heart started hitting hard against my chest. “Mama, what are you talking about?” I asked again. I kept asking questions after every statement she made, but she never answered any of my questions. “Mama, you’re scaring me now” I said, with a very shaky voice.. Her eyes shot open and she looked at me. “You need to be reunited with your people. Yes. And… And… And you need to be cleansed. Ya… Also, you need to let go of your mother, in order for her spirit to rest in peace” she said. A tear escaped my eye. “How can I do all that?” I asked. She held both my hands. “I will help you. Your baby cannot be born into this” she replied. I slowly nodded.

Ntombi walked in.. She stopped on her tracks and looked at Mama and I. She greeted, and we greeted back.. “Mama, you’re up already” she said. “Yes, I’m up” she replied, removing her hands from mine. “Oh great,” Ntombi said, pulling a chair and sitting down too. “What are you doing here?” Mama asked. “Well, I took the rest of the say off, because I want to spend the day with you” Ntombi replied. “Oh,that’s so sweet of you. Not even a single child of mine thought of taking a day off, to spend time with me” Mama said. Ntombi laughed. “They want to, but their jobs are really demanding” she said. “I see” Mama said. “So, please go and get ready, we’re going out” Ntombi said. Mama looked at her, “out?” she asked. “Yes, out” Ntombi replied, giggling. “Where to?” Mama asked. Ntombi laughed. “Its a surprise” she replied. I pushed my chair back and got up.. “Oh, Mandy. I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were around. I only prepared for Mama and I” Ntombi said. I felt like pulling her teeth out, one by one. “Its okay, I already have plans for the day anyway” I said. Honestly, spending the whole day with Ntombi would feel like spending the whole day watching a love sick puppy, sucking up to its owner. “Are you sure?” she asked.. I looked at her. “Sure about what?” I asked. “Uhm, about not wanting to tag along?” she said. I sighed. “Yes I’m sure, Ntombi” I replied. “Mandy, we will talk later. Okay?” Mama said. I nodded and walked away..

I got to my room and tidied up, and then went to take a bath.. When I was done, I got dressed and left for my computer lesson. My phone rang as I just got off the taxi, in town. I didn’t recognise the number. “Hello?” I picked up.. “Hi, how are you?” it was Sibusiso. “I’m okay, and you?” I replied. “I’m good. I want us to meet” he said. “About what?” I asked. “About you, and your pregnancy” he replied. “When?” I asked. “How’s tomorrow?” he suggested. “Tomorrow sounds fine.” I replied. “Cool, I’ll call you tomorrow then” he said, and we hung up. After my class, I went window shopping. I was bored and didn’t want to go back home that early. My ringing phone disturbed me from my fantasy world, as I window shopped. I took it out. I didn’t recognize the number, again. “Hello” I picked up. “Sunshine, hi” the deep voice gave it away. It was Thando. “Thando, hey” I said. “Hey. How are you?” he asked. “I’m good, how are you?” I responded. “I’m okay. I’ve missed you.. I’m back in the country” he announced. Bye-bye boredom!!! “Really? When did you arrive?” I asked. “Yesterday, but I decided to rest before meeting people” he replied. “Oh, okay. That’s good to hear” I said. “So, when can I see you?” he asked. “Uh, I don’t know” I replied. I wanted to say “whenever you want to see me”, but I didn’t want to sound desperate. ” Can we meet today? Or you already have plans?” he asked. No, I had no plans, but I was pregnant. My tummy was starting to show, my skin was not as clear and smooth as it used to be. I had terrible mood swings and I vomited almost all the time. Only hot chips and eggs were eatable. “Uhh, no. I don’t really have plans, but there’s something I have to tell you” I said. “What?” he asked. “I’m… I’m pregnant” I announced. Silence. “Hello?” I called out. “Yeah, I’m here. I thought you were single” he said. “I am single. This happened way before we even met, but I recently found out” I explained. “Oh okay. We can still meet, I don’t see why not” he said. He was trying to sound so polite, and I appreciated that.. We agreed to meet at 5, as he was taking me out to dinner. I warned him that I had a messed up eating plan, and he insisted that we do dinner. I got home and bathed again, to keep my body clean and fresh. Luckily for me, nobody was home, so I quickly bathed and got dressed in a long Black dress that Phila bought me on one of our shopping sprees. I wore it and a pair of flats. When I was done, I tried fixing my face and walked out of my room, feeling a little beautiful. On my way out, I bumped into Zizo. She looked at me, from head to toe. I greeted,with the lowest of tones, and she greeted back. “I see you’re always going out these days” she said. I remained silent and continued walking . “So Mandy, you have a boyfriend now?” she asked. I stopped on my tracks and turned to look at her.. “Why?” I asked. “Just asking” she shrugged her shoulders. “Because if you do have one, you can always go and stay with him. I mean, there’s nothing left for you here anyway” she said. “Leave me alone, Zizo” I said and walked away. I didn’t want her to ruin my evening. Thando was already waiting outside. I got into the car and faced up, trying to keep tears from falling down.. “Are you okay?” Thando asked. I looked at him and tried smiling. “I’m fine. Sorry for not greeting” I replied. “Its okay”. He started the car and drove off.. ” You don’t look pregnant” he said. I laughed. “What does that even mean?” I asked. “Your tummy is not as big as I expected it to be” he replied. “Oh” I said. “How many months now?” he asked. I hated that question, because I wasn’t really counting. “I’m not sure” I replied. He looked at me. “Don’t look at me like that” I said . “I’m trying to understand what you just said” he responded. “Look, this child is not my pride and joy, like babies always are. This child to me is a painful reminder of the worst time of my life, a time I desperately want to forget” I told him. He remained silent the rest of the way to the restaurant. I figured I had spoiled his night, but I was just being honest. After ordering, he looked at me straight in the eye.. “Would you like us to talk about what you said earlier?” he asked. “If that won’t ruin your night” I replied. “Don’t worry about my night, this is about you” he replied.. We talked about it and I told him how depressing having something growing inside me was. I told him how much I was struggling to accept the whole situation.

He held both my hands, still looking at me straight in the eye..”I know you won’t believe me, but I know what you’re going through. I know how a child can change your life and turn your world upside down” he said. “I am here for you. Okay? We will get through this together” he added. “I’ve heard that line before. The man who told me that, is marrying someone else” I said. “I’m not that man. I’m Thandolwethu, and I mean every word” he said. “And why must I trust you?” I asked. “Because I have no reason to lie. Look, I like you so much. I liked you the first day I met you. This pregnancy doesn’t change that, but its just a test,for me to prove myself to you” he replied. Our food arrived, and the waiter walked away.. “Mandy, from now on I will personally make sure that you accept this pregnancy. This is supposed to be the best time of your life” he said. Yeah, right! Nothing was ever going to make me accept that pregnancy.. We talked about it, and agreed that the following day, I would go to the clinic.. It was goin to be my first clinic visit after finding out I was pregnant, and I didn’t know how I felt. “I also have something to tell you” he said. “What?” I asked, sipping on my juice. “I’m married” he announce. WHAT??! I nearly choked, but I managed to keep calm.. What’s up with all the good guys getting married? I blinked rapidly, not knowing what to say.. “Its been five years now. My wife and I were forced to get married, because she is the pastor’s kid and we went to the same church. Our parents forced us into getting married, even though we were honestly not ready for it” he told me. “Why didn’t you tell them you were not ready?” I asked. “That’s how we grew up, there was no way they were going to listen to me. Plus, my wife kind of got excited when the marriage idea was brought up. You know church girls and marriage, its like they go to church only to get married, and take that as some sort of an achievement” he said. “I don’t know church girls. I was never really a church girl” I replied. “Well, church girls are desperate. Go to any church, and you will see how they all fantasize about marriage and all those things” he said. “So, are you guys getting used to the idea?” I asked. “No. I am not getting used to it. One of the disadvantages of marrying someone I don’t know- discovering things I don’t like about her while already deep into this marriage life” he explained. “Hang in there” I said. “I am, its not like I have a choice” he said. “Make it work. I’m sure there are things you like about her” I responded. “There are, but I still don’t think we deserve each other. There is a man out there who would love her holistically” he said.

I didn’t know whether to feel sorry for him or not. I was not really familiar with the church scene and how church people do things, but to marry someone you don’t love? What’s up with that? I thought marriage is a lifetime commitment that requires two individuals to walk into, with extremely sober senses- and not some church excitement. Church won’t be there when one sleeps on a wet pillow at night from crying.. But then again, what did I know? Nothing. What I wanted to know though, was what he was doing in that restaurant with me. I wasn’t going to be his escape from his real world. My heart was too damaged to be subjected to that, and my spirit was too broken to even attempt messing with a married man. It seemed like I was back to square one- back to the loneliness and self pity..