Mama was left devastated and I felt useless because there was nothing I could do to take her pain away, or even bring her son back. When Alex said he was following his heart, I just knew that ish got real. He chose her, over his own mother. There was no turning back from that. He walked out, without thinking twice, leaving his mother drowning in tears. I got up and gave her a hug, even though I knew it wasn’t going to do much in comforting her. She needed her son, not hugs. I gently rubbed her back with the palm of my hand, while resting her head on my shoulder. She cried helplessly, and the sound of a parent, crying over her child broke my heart. I almost imagined myself, crying over my own children. After a few minutes of sobbing, she removed her head from my shoulder. “Please lock up, I’m off to bed” she ordered. I couldn’t believe her. Even at her worst, she still tried so hard to keep it together. She walked away..

I locked up, and decided to quickly make something to eat for dinner. I knew mama was hungry, even though she was badly hurting. The snack she was making had to wait, I put everything she was using to make it, into the microwave. Someone knocked on the kitchen door, while I was cooking. “Who is it?” I asked. “Open up Mandy, its Chukwudi” he replied. I wiped my hands on the apron that I was wearing, and went to open. He walked in.. “Hey Mandy,” he greeted. “Hi” I greeted back, closing the door behind him. “How are you?” he asked. “I’m okay, and you?” I went to check on my pots. “I’m good too. I’m just exhausted” he replied. I ignored him and continued stirring my food. “Mandy, listen. We need to talk” he said. I turned to look at him.. “About what you said yesterday” he pulled a chair and sat down. “I don’t want to talk about that” I dismissed him. “No, we need to talk about it” he insisted. I put the spoon I was holding on the kitchen counter and folded my arms. “I don’t know what you meant when you said you and I are no longer friends. What I want to tell you though is that I miss you, everyday. I really don’t know what happened between us” he said. Was that guy for real? Like, was he being serious? I was tongue tied.. “I knew you before you even met Alex, and I didn’t want your relationship with him to mess our friendship up” he added. I felt like throwing the hot food all over his lying face, but I remained silent. “Mandy, please say something” he begged. “I have nothing to say to you, Chukwudi” I unfolded my arms. “You were here when I was being treated like an outcast. When they all turned their backs on me, you were here. You were a part of everything that they put me through” I pointed at him, inwardly promising myself that I wouldn’t cry. “I didn’t..” I cut him short. “Shut up! Just, shut up” I covered my ears with both hands. I couldn’t listen to any more of his lies. He kept quiet. “Please leave me alone, please. I want nothing to do with you guys, ever!” I said. He got up. “For what its worth, I want you to know that I miss you and that my door is always open if you ever need anything” he said. Whatever. He walked away.

When I was done cooking, I dished up for the three of us and went to Mama’s room with her food. I knocked on her door.. “What?” she shouted from the inside. “Its me, I’ve brought you supper” I replied. “Come in” she said. I opened the door and walked in. “Here’s your supper” I stood by the door. She was buried under her blankets, but she had her face uncovered. “Thank you, put it over there” she pointed at her dressing table. I went over to her dressing table and placed her plate. “Thank you” she said. “Do you need anything else?” I asked, looking at her. “No, I’m fine” she replied. I walked towards the door. “Mandy?” she called out. I stopped on my tracks and turned to face her. “Don’t forget to rest. Okay?” she said. I nodded and walked out..

I went back to the kitchen and took Chukwudi’s plate, and took it to the lounge, where he was watching TV. “Here ” I gave him his plate. “Thank you” he said. He tried maintaining eye contact but failed at every attempt. I had no business looking at him in the eye. I went to the kitchen and and sat on the high chair with my plate placed on the kitchen counter in front of me. While I was eating, my phone rang.. I didn’t recognise the number, but I picked up. “Hello” I picked up. “Hey my pretty pregnant lady” a bouncy voice said. I laughed. “This is Bazukile, I hope you still remember me” he said. “Of course I remember you” I replied. “Oh great. You know, I’ve been thinking about you the whole afternoon. Your beauty sends chills down my spine” he said. “I’m just glowing because I’m pregnant. Maybe I’m not this beautiful when I’m not pregnant” I replied. “Shame, you’ve taken a huge slice on the humble pie. I like that” he said. I giggled. “But its true. Wait till I give birth, then maybe you will see a totally different person” I replied. “I doubt. But anyway, what are you doing this coming Friday?” he asked. “Uh, nothing. Why?” I replied. “I’m hosting a little pool party at my place, and I’d appreciate it if you would come” he said. “Hello? I am pregnant” I replied. “Would you stop behaving like you’re sick? Its just pregnancy, you will give birth in a couple of month’s time” he said. “Have you ever seen a pregnant woman partying before?” I asked. He laughed. “Okay fine, can we do lunch then?” he suggested. “As long as there won’t be any drunk people or loud music around me” I said. He laughed. “I promise” he said. “Okay cool, lunch sounds nice” I said. “Great, I will call you for venue and times” he said. “No problem” I replied. “So, where is the man who scored two goals at once?” he asked. I laughed. “We broke up” I replied. “What happened?” he asked again. “Its a long story. A shorter version, he cheated” I replied. “Oh man, I’m sorry. Why do men always cheat?” he asked. “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that?” I asked too. “I’m sorry you had to go through that. I hope you don’t think all men are trash” he said. “Ja well” I mumbled. “Not all men are trash. Get that idea out of your mind.” he said. “I didn’t say anything. You’re putting words into my mouth” I replied. “Okay then, looking forward to seeing your beautiful face again” he said. I smiled. We wrapped up the call and hung up. I continued eating, smiling to myself. Bazukile was crazy, in a very cute way. I couldn’t picture him angry. He stroke me as the forever happy chappie. When I was done eating, I placed my plate in the sink and went to my room. My feet seriously needed a massage, but there was nobody to give it to me. I changed into my pyjamas and got into bed.

I suffered from the mother of all Insomnias, so much that I was still awake during sunrise. I was standing by the window at the crack of dawn. When a new day approached, with a new package of second chances and opportunities, I was watching it. I got the privilege of witnessing how the sun rose from a deep sleep, to claim its position and taking over from the darkness that was nicely covering the peaceful baby Blue sky. I watched how the sun brought a new sense of hope to the universe, with a brightness that stretched from the waving leaves in my yard, to the mountains that were artistically situated in the far ends of the horizon. It was such a beautiful sight. The sun rose, like a baby waking up from a deep sleep. Its brightness wasn’t sudden, but gradual as each second passed and darkness subsided. It was a very beautiful thing to watch. It was only when the sun was shining bright on my face that I felt drowsy. Without any hesitation, I jumped into bed and slept.

Later, Mama came to wake me up with a warm soup and a few slices of bread. I sat up, still feeling drowsy as hell.. “Why are you still sleeping? Are you feeling sick?” she asked. “No, I’m just sleepy. I was awake the whole night” I replied. “Doing what?” she asked. “Doing nothing, I trying to fall asleep but I couldn’t” I explained. “Could there be anything bothering you?” she asked.. I shook my head. “Nothing is bothering me. I was just sleepless” I replied. I don’t know whether she believes me or not, but she didn’t ask any further. “How are you?” I asked, tasting the soup with my spoon. It was so delicious, with a very rare taste of a collection of spices. “Mmhm, this is delicious” I mumbled under my breath. “I’m feeling better now. I have realized that falling apart is not an option. This is war and I need to face it fully armed ” she replied. “Now Ntombi is turning him against his own family” I said. She nodded. “And she won’t succeed. The good thing that she doesn’t know that I see through her” she added. While I was still trying to comfort her, telling her that everything was going be okay, Phila bounced into my room. “Hey guys, the door wasn’t locked, so I decided to see myself in” she said. Mama and I both looked at her. “Phila, why didn’t you call?” I uncomfortably asked. “What do you mean? I’ve been calling you the whole morning” she replied. “I was asleep, sorry” I apologized. “You should be sorry. You had me worried there for a sec” she said. “Let me leave you two to talk” Mama walked away. “What, are you now friends with miss creepy two shoes?” she whispered. I badly wanted to laugh, but I didn’t want to entertain Phila’s madness. “Stop it, okay?” I pulled a very serious tone. “No, seriously though. What is she doing in your room? Did she bring you that?” she pointed at my food. “Stop it already, let’s not talk about her” I said. “Okay fine. Let’s talk about you then” she threw herself on my bed. “What about me?” I asked. “You just disappeared from the face of the earth. What’s up with that?” she asked. “Things have been a little hectic hey, this whole incest business is getting complicated by the day. ” Is that bastard even supportive though? she asked. “In a way” I shrugged my shoulders. “What does that mean? Its either he’s supportive or he’s not. There is no grey area here. Its either he’s black or white” she asked. “He’s just going through marital problems, but he’s trying by all means to be there for me” I replied. “Mmhm” she nodded. “I’m glad. You’re not in this alone, so he can’t expect you to suffer alone” she said. “Yeah, I know. Hey, Thando is mad at me” I announced. “What? Why?” she asked. “Because I refused to have dinner with him the other day. He got all emotional on me” I replied. “The poor guy is going through the most. Maybe he just misplaced his emotions and took his frustrations out on you” she said. “Maybe. I tried calling him yesterday, but he didn’t pick up” I replied. “I’ll have a word with him. One thing I know about him is that he loves you dearly. Maybe he’s just not in the right emotional space” she explained. “I want to be there for him, but I feel he should spend more time with his wife” I said. “He will never. Thando doesn’t love his wife. In fact, they don’t love each other. They are just stuck with each other” she said. “Do you know her personally?” I asked. “Yes. She is a very nice lady, very beautiful too. I’ve been to their house a couple of times” she replied. “I feel for them. I wish there was something I could do” I said. “Just be there for Thando. He needs you more than ever. The nigga is really going through hell” she advised. I sighed. “Its not as easy as it sounds, but I will try my level best” I told her. She cleared her throat.. “Mandy, there is something I need to discuss with you” she said. “What?” I asked. “Uhm, Vuyani and I have been talking about this for a the past couple of hours, and we feel its the right thing to do” she said. “What?” I asked again. “I know it may sound like a huge step to take, but its okay, we will give you enough time to think and even discuss it with Sibusiso. We’re only trying to lighten the burden” she blabbed. “What are you talking about?” I asked. She cleared her throat.. “Vuyani and I have agreed to help you raise one of your twins. To make your parenting life bearable. You will raise one child and we will raise the other” she said. Shock must have been written all over my face. “Mandy?” she called out.. I blinked and looked at her. “Its okay if you don’t want to, we will understand. We were only trying to help. You are too young to be raising twins as a single mother. If you let us help you, both babies will be raised in loving homes, getting all the attention they deserve.. ” …