Those were the slowest few minutes of my life. Waiting for the device to read and provide results was torture and a half. My palms were sweaty. I could almost imagine myself sick from the virus. I had scary scenarios in my head, of myself, bed ridden and fighting for my life.. I had images of myself, dying a slow and painful death. Finally, the nurse picked the device up and turned it to me.. “How many lines do you see here?” she asked. I looked at the device. “One” I replied, with the shakiest of voices. “Do you know what that means?” she asked. You know, instead of acting smart with me, she could have just told me what the damn thing meant. My mind wasn’t fully functioning, I didn’t know what I knew or didn’t know.. “Uuhh, I’m not sure” I replied. She banged the device against the desk, still looking at me. “You’re not sure? You are not sure? What are you sure about? Huh? Opening legs? Having sex?” she asked. I looked down and fiddled with my fingers. I felt really violated. “I will never understand you kids! All you know is how to satisfy these filthy penises that you dedicate your lives in satisfying. You have no goals, no dreams” she said. I felt the warmth of a tear, escaping my eye.. “Oh no, no! You are not going to act all childish on me now. Do you cry when you’re having sex? No, don’t answer that. I bet you enjoy it more than life itself” she said.. I wiped my tears, but they kept flooding out. I really hated what that woman was doing to me. I mean, she didn’t even know me. She didn’t know how I got pregnant, but she was ready to assume that I got pregnant from sleeping around. What if I was a rape victim? What if?

After the crappy service that I received there, I took my new clinic booklet and walked out- holding it on one hand and holding my hand bag on the other. I was relieved that I was HIV negative. With my rate of bad luck, I was expecting the worst. Maybe the universe understood that the virus would have been the death of me. The mere diagnosis would have pushed me to the melting point. It would have been a show stopper for me. I took my phone out and called Thando. “Sunshine?” he picked up on the first ring.. “Hey, I’m done here” I said. “Already?” he asked. “Uuh, yeah. Already” I replied. “Oh okay. I’ll come and pick you up. Give me a few minutes” he said. We then hung up.. I sat on the bench outside and waited for him. I waited, and waited, and waited, and waited- until he arrived. He parked his car and rushed up to me as I was still sitting there.. “Sunshine, I’m sorry. I got held up at the office. A client walked in, just as I was walking out” he apologized. The ungrateful brat in me wanted to throw a tantrum, but I contained my emotions. “Its okay, I understand” I replied. “Thank you. I’m really sorry. I wanted to come as soon as you called. I’m sorry” he said, holding both my hands. I gently removed my hands from his.. “Its okay, really” I said. We walked up to the car and he drove off.. “I brought you something to eat. Its all eggy, just the way you like it” he announced, reaching for his back seat and taking a take-away bag.. “Here” he handed it to me.. “Thank you” I said.. I wanted to rip the bag apart and drown in that food, but the lady in me slowly opened it and ate in the slowest of paces. “So, how was it?” he asked. “It was horrible. From today onwards, I officially hate nurses” I replied.. He looked at me, and then at the road ahead. “Was it that bad?” he asked. “It was worse. That woman made my visit a living hell. She kept insulting me, telling me that all I knew was opening my legs and having sex. She made me feel like a slut” I said. “What? No, she has no right to treat you that way man” he said. “I even cried. Those insults didn’t sit well with me” I added. He pulled over to the side.. “Why did she insult you?” he asked. “At first, she insulted me because it was my first clinic visit. Secondly, she insulted me because I didn’t know I had to lift my top for her to be able to scan .. Thirdly, she insulted me because I didn’t know what that one line in the HIV test device meant. I know what it means, but because she was insulting me every little chance she got, and I was also nervous with the results, I said I didn’t know” I explained. “So basically, you were attended by a bitter nurse who doesn’t know that her job requires her to be soft and sensitive” he said. “Worse part is that she is so young. I was hoping we would get along well” I said. “Let’s take actions against her” he suggested. “What? No man, I don’t want drama” I said, looking at him. “Its not drama. These nurses need to know that their job is to take care of the community. I’m sick of hearing complaints about rude nurses” he said. “No man, really. Let’s let it go” I said. “Okay, if you don’t want to take actions. Let’s go back there, I want to have a word with her” he said. “That’s really not necessary” I responded. Without a word, he turned and drove back to the clinic.. We got there and he parked outside.. “Come” he said, stepping out of the car.. We walked into the premises.. “Which one is it?” he asked. I looked around, and saw her walking into the consulting room. “There she is” I pointed at her direction..

“Come, let’s go” he walked towards the direction and I followed him. We got there and he knocked.. “Enter!” she shouted.. He pushed the door and we walked in.. She looked up.. “Ma’am, can I have a word with you?” Thando asked. “How can I help you?” she asked, signaling that we should sit down, and we did.. “I’m sure you remember this lady from earlier, she was here for your clinic services” Thando said. She looked at me and nodded.. “Well, she has complaints about your services” Thando announced. “Complaints? What complaints?” she asked. “She’s complaining about the way you treated her, and the things you said to her” Thando replied. “What did I say to her?” she asked. “If you are going to play dumb with me, maybe I will have to have a word with your superior” Thando got up.. “Wait Sir!” she said. Thando looked at her.. “Please sit down” she asked and Thando sat down .. “I remember her from earlier. All I was saying to her is that girls her age are irresponsible. Maybe I was a bit harsh” Thando cut her short, “Maybe??” .. “Okay, I was a bit too harsh on her. I was just trying to teach her a lesson not to find herself in this same situation again” she explained .. “Look, you clearly don’t know your scope of practise. Let me tell you this: I know the law inside out, I know what should and shouldn’t happen in these premises. I’m sick of nurses who ill treat clients in health care facilities, simply because they are in authority. I can get you unemployed within the blink of an eye, if you think you’re superior to your clients” Thando preached, taking out his business card.. “See, not blabbing, young lady.. I can have you thrown out of here for your failure to perform your duties” he added. She stared at the business card and her eyes widened. “Sir, I’m really sorry. Please don’t take any actions against me. I didn’t mean to be rude to her. Please. I need this job. I have a sick mother at home, waiting for me to provide for her. I just got out of college. Please Sir” she begged. “Now your problems are important? What about this lady’s problems?” Thando asked. She looked at me. “Sisi, I’m really sorry. I’m just frustrated. I didn’t mean to be rude to you” she apologized. Thando up again, putting his business card back into his pocket.. “Do that again and you will be out on the streets” he said, and walked out. I followed him out.. We got to the car and drove off.. I could see he was angry, so I decided to keep quiet..

We got home and he parked outside.. “I’m sorry I got a little angry back in there,” he apologized. “Its okay, thank you so much for looking out for me” I said. He leaned closer for a hug.. “I love you” he whispered. His deep baritone sounded so sensitive, so vulnerable when he said those words.. We shared a hug, then I stepped out of the car and walked away.. In the house, Mama was in the kitchen, making herself a cup of tea.. I greeted, and she greeted back.. “How are you?” she asked.. “I’m fine, and you?” I replied. “I’m also fine. Have you thought about what I said?” she asked. Really, I had no energy for her superstitious beliefs.. “Uh, no. I haven’t” I replied. “This is very important. Your kids cannot be born into this. They need to be born into light and truth” she said. “Kids? I’m only having one child, and I’m never going to have kids again” I responded. She smiled and shook her head.. “Well, there is a lot you don’t know about-” my ringing phone cut her short.. “Hello?” I picked up.. “Mandiphumle, its me, Sibusiso” he said.”Oh, hi.” I replied. “Can we meet now?” he asked. I agreed and gave him directions to the house. After hanging up, I excused myself from Mama went to my room.. A few minutes later, he called again, telling me he was outside.. I went out.. “Hi” I greeted as I stepped into his car.. “Hi” he greeted back.. I closed the door and looked at the road ahead.. “How are you?” he asked. “I’m good. And you?” I replied. “I’m okay too.. Uhm, we need to talk” he said. I looked at him.. “Firstly, my father has woken up, and he is very unhappy about this. I told him the truth about us, and that there is a chance that the baby could be mine. He is not pleased at all, and he is ordering us to get rid of it” he told me. “And what did you say?” I asked. “I told him we can’t, and the baby is innocent. We can’t punish it for our mistakes” he replied. I exhaled. “We had a huge fight, and he told me he wanted nothing to do with this baby, or us” he added. “Wow, that’s pretty hectic” I said. “Now, I don’t know what I’m going to tell my wife. I’m scared she might suspect that something is going on” he said. “You can’t hide a child forever though. At some point, you’re going to have to tell her the truth” I said. “I don’t know hey, I’ll make a plan. Look, I called you here to apologize for the way I treated you. I know you are a very loving girl, with a heart of gold. What I did to you is unforgivable. I took advantage of your desperation, and I’m really sorry” he said.. “For the sake of the baby, let us move on from these things” I replied. He sighed.. “I know my wife will never forgive me for this. She might even divorce me” he said. “Which is why you need to tell her sooner, than later.. “And then there’s dad. I really don’t understand that guy. Yes, I screwed up, but he can’t punish us both for my mistakes” he said. I nodded.. “I don’t know how I could ever make up for all the pain that I’ve caused you, Mandy. You know I’m not a bad guy, I really don’t know what came over me. With the way things are going, it seems like its going to be you and I against the world. It looks like all we will have is each other”..