“That’s an insult. You’re insulting us!” Zizo yelled. Alex threw himself on the couch. “How is the truth an insult now? Huh?” Mama asked. I thought I had heard enough, and had to excuse myself from all the drama. I walked away while Zizo was screaming at the top of her voice about how Mama was insulting them, blah blah blah! I got to my room and closed the door behind me. I was exhausted and my feet were killing me. I went to take a long, relaxing bath- my body needed it. When I was done, I got dressed in my pyjamas and went to watch TV. There was nobody in the lounge, so I sat on the couch and channel hopped for a while. I finally decided to watch cartoons, something less dramatic. “Hey Mandy” Chukwudi greeted as he walked in. I looked at him. “Hey” I greeted back. He looked really exhausted. He dragged himself to sit on the single couch. I fixed my eyes on the TV. “How are you?” he asked. “I’m good, and you?” I replied, without even looking at him. He sighed. “I’m okay. Where have you been?” he asked. “I’ve been in hospital” I replied. “Hospital? Why? Is it the baby?” he asked. I looked at him. “Look, you and I are not friends anymore. Okay? Its okay to sit next to me and not say a word.” I said. “Aah, Mandy, what are you on about?” he asked. “What am I on about? Chukwudi listen, can we not do this now? Please. I’m trying to have a peaceful evening here” I said. He sighed again. “I see you’re in a bad mood. Let me not irritate you any further” he got up and walked away. Yes, we were not friends anymore. He wasn’t going to pull the caring act on me, because his girlfriend was kicked out. I wasn’t about that life.

After a while, Mama walked in. “Oh, here you are” she said as she came to sit on the same couch Chukwudi was sitting on. “I decided to watch some TV. Its been a while” I explained, looking at her. She nodded. “You’re always locked up in your room, that can’t be healthy. At times, you need to be around people” she replied. I nodded too. The curious nosy Mandy in me wanted to ask how the operation “kick them out” went, but I decided to contain myself. “My husband is arriving in a couple of days’ time. I have to prepare for his arrival” she said. “Oh, okay. Uhm, I heard you saying that earlier” I responded. If that statement didn’t get her to talk, nothing that would ever come out of my mouth again would ever get her to talk. “Oh yes. About earlier, I’m sorry you had to witness that. I was just getting rid of trash” she replied. I swallowed uncomfortably. That was a very “not so nice” way of putting it. “But Alex is still marrying Ntombi, right?” I asked. She nodded “He thinks its what his heart wants. As soon as his father gets here, we will start the healing process” she replied. “Oh,okay. All the best hey” I said. “So, when is this boy coming over? The clock is ticking” she asked. I had two choices, to lie and tell her that Sibusiso was going to make time for this, or to just tell the truth that she probably already knew. I cleared my throat. “Uhm, I don’t think he will come” I replied. She gave me a blank stare. “His father is against the idea. He wants a Xhosa traditional healer to handle this” I explained. She smiled. “If you both don’t want me to handle this ritual, then its okay” she said. “I want you to handle it. I haven’t spoken to him about it yet,but I think he also needs you to handle this” I said. “What is his father’s reason for not wanting my services?” she asked. I looked down. “He doesn’t want your services because you’re Nigerian” I replied. Even for a strong spiritual woman like herself, being discriminated against, because of her nationality, hurts. I could see it in her eyes that pain was feasting on her. A variety of pain, sorrow, disappointment and shame was quite evident in her eyes. I felt really bad. “Mama, I will try and convince them. We really need your services” I softly let the words slip out of my lips. “Its okay, if they don’t want my services. Maybe they have someone better in mind” she got up. “What would you like to have for dinner?” she asked. “Mama, I need you. I can’t let those people bully me into turning my back on you” I said. “I feel like lots and lots if vegetables. I hope you’re feeling the same way” she walked away.

At dinner, it was just Mama and I. The boys were probably out there, comforting their girlfriends. “Silence. I could get used to this” she said. I smiled. “Its really peaceful in here. I think I’ll now spend more time indoors” I replied. “So you were always on the streets because of them?” she asked. “I was just trying to avoid drama. I knew it would be all of them against me, so I didn’t want to put myself through that” I replied. She nodded. “What happened between you and Alex?” she asked. Her question caught me off guard. I took a sip on my juice. “Well, he found out that I was pregnant” I replied. “Were you hiding it?” she asked. “Yes. I honestly wanted to get rid of it and continue with my life, with him in it.” I replied. “You must have been really desperate” she said. “Yes, I wanted nothing to come between me and him, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be” I agreed. “That’s when Ntombi saw an opportunity to cast a spell on him” she explained. “And I remember how friendly Zizo was at that time, only to fish for info, for Ntombi” I said. “Those girls are evil. I just want to get rid of them” she responded. “It won’t be easy though” I said. “I know, but I’m prepared to do everything in my power to get my son the help that he needs” she said..

When we were done eating, I got up and cleared the table. “No, leave it. I’ll clean up myself” she stopped me. I looked at her and smiled. “No, go and rest. I will take care of this” I said. She smiled back. “Are you sure?” she asked. I giggled. “Yes, mama. I’m sure. Its not like I’m about to lift weights” I replied. She laughed. “Okay then, but make sure you get some rest. Okay?” she said. I nodded, clearing the table. I went to do the dishes and tidied up in the kitchen. When I was done, I made myself a cup of rooibos tea and went to my room with it. What a peaceful evening it was..

The following morning, my alarm went off at 6am. I wanted to honor the exam and show up, to avoid any fights between Alex and I. I got out of bed and went to take a quick bath. On my way out of the bathroom, I bumped into Alex. It was quite clear that he has just arrived. He was still wearing the same clothes he was wearing the previous day. He greeted and I greeted back. “Are you going to the academy?” he asked. “Yes” I replied. “Okay, wait for me. I’ll quickly change. I’ll give you a lift on my way to work” he offered. “Okay” I replied, walking away..I was honestly not looking forward to a drive with him. His mother may want us to get back together, but the reality of the matter was, Alex and I were never going to get back together. I got to my room and got dressed in a maternity dress. My feet were a bit swollen, so I decided to rock my slippers. I sat on my bed and tied my hair in a neat ponytail. I hated hair, especially the weave I had on. It suffocated my skull, especially on hot days like that one. When I was done, I took my supplements and went to the kitchen with them. Alex walked into the kitchen, as I was taking my supplements. I saw a crack of a smile, a smile from someone who was too scared to show it. “Ready?” he asked. “Yep” I replied. I placed the glass in the kitchen counter and went to open the fridge, to get myself two bananas for breakfast. I didn’t feel like anything hectic because my tummy felt like it was about to explode. I was uncomfortable with my body.. I quickly rushed to my room to get my stuff, then we left. We got to his car and drove off.

“So, now that you are about to obtain this certificate, what’s your next move?” he asked. I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know yet. I’ll have to give birth before deciding on anything” I replied. “Oh, okay” he said. Silence. “Uhm, how’s the pregnancy treating you?” he asked. “Its okay, I can’t complain” I replied. “Oh, okay” he said. Silence again. I could not wait to get to the academy. We got there. “Okay then, all the best hey” he said. “Thanks” I stepped out of his car and walked away. We were total strangers. It was almost like we never shared a life before. How did we get there?

Later, when I was done with the exam, I decide to call Thando. His phone rang, but he didn’t pick up. That was so unlike him, but I didn’t want to nag with calls. I decided to let him be. I called Sibusiso. “Hello” he picked up on the first ring. “Hi. Can we talk?” I asked. “Yeah,yeah. I’m having lunch, so we can talk” he replied. “Your father refuses to let us get cleansed by Mama” I announced. “What? He said that?” he asked. “Yes. He said that. He said they will look for a South African traditional healer” I replied. “But why? This woman knows what she’s doing” he said. “Because she’s Nigerian, that’s why we can’t let her help us” I replied. “Dad can be such a bully sometimes. Look, this is our problem, let’s solve it the best way we see fit” he said. “And what are we going to tell them?” I asked. “That we already have someone for the job. They won’t force us into doing something we don’t want to do. Besides, I’ll be the one paying whoever does this job, so its my choice” he replied. “I hope this will be sooner. Mama thinks this is a matter of urgency” I said. “I’ll make time, I promise” he said. “Okau, thank you” I responded. “Don’t worry, Mandy. We will have this our way, whether they like it or not” he assured me. “Okay, thank you. I have to go” I said. We said our goodbyes and hung up.. I decided to go to the salon and cut my hair. I cut it extremely short and enhanced it with a blonde highlight. The blonde highlight matched my light skin, which made me look very young and beautiful.

On my way out of the salon, I went to grab a bite. “What is a beautiful woman like yourself doing out her all by herself?” someone asked. I looked up, only to be confronted by an extremely handsome guy. He was dark skinned, not chocolate skinned, but dark, with string of beard that extended from his brush cut, all around his thick lips. His bright White teeth were a trademark that brought light to his dark skin. He was a little chubby, with a visible potbelly. I smiled up at him. “I’m just grabbing a bite” I replied, giggly. “I’m waiting for my takeaway, can I join you while I wait?” he asked. “Yeah, sure” I replied. He pulled a chair and sat down. “Thank you. I’m Bazukile” he said. “I’m Mandiphumle” I replied. “Nice name, I hope you are following purpose of your name” he said. I laughed. “Ya, well” I mumbled. “I hope I’m not disturbing you. Some people want to eat in complete silence. You know, the table manners type of vibe” he said. “No, you’re not disturbing me” I sipped on my juice. “You’re really beautiful I must say. Your beauty caught my eye the minute I walked in here” he said. I blushed and looked away. “Seriously. Does your boyfriend tell you that?” he asked. I looked at him. “I don’t have a boyfriend” I replied. “What? No, you really don’t have to lie hey” he said. I laughed. “I’m not lying. I’m really single, in the true sense of the word” I replied. “Why are you single?” he asked. I laughed. “I’m single because I don’t have a boyfriend” I replied. He laughed. “Okay, well, I still find that hard to believe” he said. “You better believe it” I shrugged my shoulders. “This town has like thousands of men, why are you single?” he asked. I laughed. “Thousands of men? I’ve only seen like a hundred, ever since I was born” I replied. He chuckled. “Maybe that’s because you don’t go out often” he said. “Are you single?” I asked. “Yes, I’m single” he replied and I laughed so hard. “No, listen…” he laughed too.. “I’m single because my girlfriend and I just broke up. Not because I’ve always been single” he said. “Why did you guys break up?” I asked. “I cheated” he lifted his hands in the air. “I’m not proud of it, but I guess it was a learning curve” he added. I laughed “you really don’t have to say that, you know”. His order was called out.. ” I’ll be right back” he quickly went to take his food. He then came back to my table .. “I have to go now. It was a pleasure meeting you” he said. “It was a pleasure meeting you too.” I replied. “Can I have your number? Maybe we can hook up some time” he asked. I smiled. “I’m pregnant, carrying twins” I replied. He laughed. “So?” he asked. “I’m just letting you know” I replied. “Its okay. Pregnant women are the tastiest” he said, laughing. “That’s disgusting” I dismissed him, and he laughed.. What a laughing hyena he was, and he turned me into one too. I gave him my number and he left. When I was done eating, I went toiletry shopping and then went home..

“Just in time, I’m about to make some snacks” Mama said as I walked in.. I was so full, but I didn’t want to disappoint her. “Mmhm, sounds nice” I replied. She giggled. “My boys used to love these when they were growing up. Sit down” she said. I pulled a chair and sat down.. “I can’t wait to taste it” I lied. “Patience. So how was your day?” she asked. “My day was okay. The exam was simple too” I replied.”That’s good to hear” she said. “How was yours?” I asked. “Quiet, as you can see. I want to get this over and done with, so I can go back to my house” she said. “Homesick?” I asked. She nodded. “I can’t leave my life behind for long. I have no life in South Africa” she replied.

Alex walked into the kitchen and stood by the entrance, probably from his room. “You’re up. How’s the headache?” Mama asked. “I can still feel it” he replied. “Did you take any pain killers?” she asked. “Yes, I did” he replied. As he walked into the kitchen, I noticed that he was dragging a suitcase. “Mama, and now?” What’s going on? ” Mama asked .. “I’m moving out” he announced. “Moving out?” Mama asked. “Yes, moving out” he replied. “Why? Where are you going?” she asked. “You chased the love of my life out. I’m moving out to stay with her” he replied. “Alex, you didn’t think this through. This is where you belong” Mama tried convincing him. “Stop it, mom. I’m following my heart”…