“Mandy, I’m sorry you had to find out this way” he apologized. No, he was just sorry I had to find out, period. If it were for him, I wouldn’t have found out about it and Sibusiso and I would have raised our child, far away from him. He didn’t want to be a part of it, so he had no business trying to act like he cared. I got up and went to stand by the window. Normally, nature’s landmarks and accessories play a huge role in calming me down, but just not that day. That day, nothing born of mother nature could ever calm me down. I stood there, with my arms folded in front of my chest, holding my tears back with every bit of strength that I had in me. “Desmond wanted to be there for you. He wanted to take responsibility for fathering you, but his wife made it a point that he stayed away” he explained. I could hear it in the sound of his voice that he was coming towards me. “If he wanted to be there for me, nothing was going to stop him” I pulled the lowest of tones, with my eyes still fixed on the other side of the window. There was really nothing worthy to calm me down..”I know he wanted to be there for you, and he loved your mother so much ” he said. “Then why did he choose his wife, over his own flesh and blood?” I turned to look at him. His mouth was hanging open. He wanted to tell more lies about Desmond’s love for me, but words obviously failed him. “I spent the most years of my life, wondering who and where my father was. I spent my years as a child, enduring abuse from a man I knew wasn’t my father. Days and nights, this was all I was thinking of. I cried over this. I .. I died a million deaths over this” tears streamed down my cheeks like a waterfall over the desert mountains. It was like, I felt empty inside. Like I was dry and worn out, inside. I’ve cried so much, I’ve hurt so much and I felt I had no more emotions left in me.. Hence the waterfall over the desert mountains.

He got behind me and gently rested his hands on both my shoulders. “We will find a way around this. It will all be sorted out” he whispered. I moved away from him, automatically removing his hands from my shoulders as I went to stand on the other side of the room.. “What kind of a father turns his back on his own child? His own seed?” I asked. As we were standing on opposite sides of the room, looking at each other straight in the eye like we were searching for each other’s souls, Sibusiso walked in.. “So, for how long were you going to keep this from us?” he asked. His dad looked at him. “I was hoping you kids would abort, and move on with your lives. I never thought it would get to this” he replied. “I told you we were not going to abort. Why didn’t you tell us the truth, instead of threatening to disown me?” Sibusiso asked again. “I was threatening to disown you because I wanted you to freak out, and consider abortion. I didn’t want you guys to have this child together, and I didn’t want to be the one telling you why not” he explained. “You’re my father. How could you keep something like this from me? Or, are you even my father?” Sibusiso asked. “Of course I’m your father, why wouldn’t I be?” his father responded. I was feeling my dizziness coming back.. It was like I was floating or something.. “Who knows? Maybe my father is some old alcoholic, in some old shack, wondering whether I look like him or not” Sibusiso replied. “Nonsense, I’m your father. This whole thing has nothing to do with you. This is Desmond’s mess, and he needs to come back and sort it out” his father said. “How? How will he sort it out? Plus, you know his wife would never agree to that” Sibusiso said. I was feeling very light headed, like my head was disconnected from my body.. I threw myself on the couch.. “This is his mess. I didn’t force him to have extra marital affairs, so I will not be expected to clean up after him” his father responded.. I started fanning my face with both hands..

The next thing I knew, I was on a hospital bed, with Sibusiso tightly holding on to my hand as he leaned his head on my bed. “Mmhm” I softly moaned. He removed his head from the bed and looked at me. “Hey, you’re awake” he whispered. I nodded, licking my dry lips. “How are you?” he asked. “Uhm, what happened? Why am I here?” I asked too. “You got sick. Apparently, your blood pressure is sky high” he replied. “And my baby? Is my baby okay?” I held my tummy. “Yes, but you just need to rest. The doctor says you have to spend a couple of days here, because you’re getting yourself worked up out there” he replied. I sighed. “Its really hard not to get worked up. I mean, it’s not everyday that you get pregnant and find out the father of your baby is actually your cousin” I said. The nurse who was passing by, stared at me like I had my genitals hanging on my forehead. I ignored her.

My phone rang, from Sibusiso’s pocket. “Oh, I kept it because you were sick” he explained, taking it out and handing it to me. It was Thando, calling.. “Hello?” I picked up.. “My sunshine” he greeted. I somehow found a sense of belonging in that man’s voice. His deep baritone sent chills down my spine. “Hey.. How are you?” I asked. “I’m good. Phila tells me that you’re in hospital. Apparently, your baby daddy picked up the phone when she called” he told me. Oh wow, how did we get to that point, Sibusiso and I? “Oh, yes. Its just a minor sickness. I’m fine” I replied. “We’ll come by, later” he said. “Okay, cool. I’ll be waiting” I replied. “Sharp, keep well” he hung up.. “So you picked my phone up” I said, putting my phone on my locker. “Yes, it was ringing and I thought your friends needed to know what was going on” he explained. I nodded. “Look” he held my hand.. “I’m really sorry you had to go through all of this. You don’t deserve all this confusion and pain” he said. “It’s okay hey, its life” I replied. It was far from okay, but I had to be strong, for my baby’s sake.. “How’s your father?” I asked, shifting the attention from myself. “I don’t know. He was fine when we left earlier” he replied. “You need to check up on him. He has health issues of his own” I suggested. “But why is everyone around me having health issues?” he joked. I laughed. “I have no health issues. I’m just pregnant” I said. He laughed. “Still, you’re in hospital. Health … Issues” he emphasized and I laughed. “Uh, I have to go. My wife just called. It’s my turn to pick up Enkosi from crèche” he announced. “Oh okay, see you later” I replied. He got up and walked out..

Later, Phila and Thando woke me up.. “Hey, sleepy head” Phila planted a light kiss on my forehead.. “Hey guys” I greeted back. “How are you?” Thando asked. “I’m okay. How are you?” I responded. “I’m good. You scared us. We thought you were having an early labour” he said. I sighed. “I might as well” I replied. “What does that even mean?” Phila asked. I sighed again. “I just discovered some very disturbing news” I replied. “What?” Thando asked. I swallowed.. “You’re both going to have to sit down for this one” I advised. Phila, who was placing flowers on my locker, sat down next to Thando. “What? You’re scaring us now” she asked. “I just.. I found out that Sibusiso is my cousin” I announced. The look on their faces, priceless. They remained silent. “Its true guys, I know its hard to believe it” I added .. “How did you find out?” Phila asked. . “Alex’s mother told me” I replied. “It was difficult to believe it, until Sibusiso’s father confirmed it.” I replied. “My friend, I’m so sorry. So the creepy old woman told the truth. So what now?” she asked. I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know. All I know is that I am not terminating my pregnancy” I replied. “How’s Sibusiso taking these news?” Thando asked. “He’s trying to be strong, for my sake, but I know he’s also not coping well” I replied. “I’m really sorry, sunshine. So how exactly are you related?” he asked again.. “Our fathers are brothers. I’ve never met my father, because he left before I was even born” I told them. They were feeling really bad, but I tried to remain positive. They assured me that I could count on them if I needed anything. It was always good to know that I always had them in my corner throughout my stormy life. “Thank you guys, for everything. I don’t know what I would have done without you” I said. “Its only a pleasure. We love you, sunshine,” Thando said.

Later, they left. They had brought me a lot of goodies, but I wasn’t hungry so I kept everything in my locker. “Miss Soldati” the doctor said, walking up to my bed. “Hi, doctor” I greeted back. “How are you feeling?” he asked. ” I’m feeling okay, doctor” I replied. “Okay. We’re going to have to keep you here for a couple of days though. We need to closely monitor your progress, to avoid any further complications” he said, and I nodded. He opened my file and went through it.. “We have ran some tests on you, and some results will be back before the end of tomorrow” he told me. “I hope everything is okay” I said.. “Well, we can only hope. What we managed to pick up from the onset though was how much the other twin wasn’t coping in there. His heart beat is slower and lower than the other twin, and he doesn’t seem to be getting enough nutrients as well” he announced. Wait, what?? The other what? I looked at him.. “Miss Soldati, are you listening to me?” he asked. “Doctor, please tell me you’re joking. Please tell me you’re freakin’ joking” I replied. He blankly stared at me.. “Twins?” I asked. He smiled. “Aah, yes. You’re carrying twins Miss Soldati. It is important to visit your gynaecologist regularly when you’re pregnant. It is the only way that complications can be detected sooner” he lectured me. “I went to the clinic, once” I replied. “I hate to say this, but nurses at the clinics are sometimes very careless and full of negligence. We can’t deny the fact that there are so many reports about clinic nurses and how they fail to practice the community health care that they specialise in” he said. I nodded.. “We promise to do everything in our power to make sure that the other twin makes it out of there, alive and kicking” he excitedly assured me…