I looked everywhere, but I could not find anything that would send me back to my ancestors. I was frustrated out of my skull, turning everything upside down.

“Hey Mandy, Mommy is asking if you’re going to bathe the kids”

Trevor said, as he walked into my room. Dammit, why didn’t I lock my door? Damn, damn, damn!!! I was in the bathroom when he walked into my room. I rushed to him, he was standing by the door.

“Mandy?”

He called out.

“Hey, here I am”

I appeared from the bathroom.

“Oh, there you are. Mommy is asking if you’re going to bathe the kids or she should do it herself”

I cleared my throat, looking at the bag of money that was still on the floor, by the door.

“Uhm, yeah. I will do it”

“Oh, okay. Cool.”

He turned and faced away, walking away. He then stopped on his tracks and turned to look at me.

“Are you okay?”

I smiled wider, trying to prove that I was okay.

“I’m fine, why?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“You seem a little jumpy, that’s all”

I inwardly punished myself for being unable to keep it together, forgetting that what I was trying to do was almost impossible for someone who has been through what I have been through.

“No, I am just tired and I was just worried about the kids the whole day. You know, it was their first time without me for that long”

He smiled.

“I understand. Don’t worry. I just want you to be okay, that’s all”

I nodded.

“Thanks Trevor. That really means a lot to me”

He looked down at the bag.

“Uh, you left your bag on the floor”

I wanted to pick that bag up while he was there, but I didn’t want to attract attention towards it. I was hoping he wouldn’t notice. He bent over and picked it up. My heartbeat was faster than lightning, but )I tried keeping it together.

“Whoa! Its heavier than I expected. What’s in here?”

I rushed to him and grabbed the bag.

“Its just books and stuff, you know”

I giggled.

“Books?”

“Yeah”

I placed the bag on the bed, making sure that its zipped up fully.

“But I thought you said it was clothes from Phila”

Dear universe, please kill me now!! My mouth hung open and words refused to come out. I cleared my throat.

“Clothes and books. You know us women, always on about clothes”

I giggled nervously.

He nodded doubtfully.

“Anyway, I’ll see you ate dinner. Let me quickly take a shower and bathe the kids”

I tried chasing him away.

“You haven’t showered yet? You’ve been here for more than an hour”

What the hell? What’s with the questions?

“Yeah, I got busy with other things”

I explained.

“Oh, okay. See you at dinner then”

He walked out. I rushed behind him to lock up. I sighed silently, facing the ceiling. That was close. I rushed to my bed and took the bag. I didn’t even know where I was going to hide it, because I was practically sharing my room with Mommy and the kids. There was no sense of privacy whatsoever. I shoved it under the bed, with the hope that nobody would see it. It’s the only place I could think of. When I was done, I went to take a quick shower and wore my pajamas. I was going to have dinner in pajamas and I didn’t care what anyone was going to say. As I walked to the living room, I made a mental note to myself to try and get hold of anything that would help me put an end to my miserable life. I got to the living room, and the twins were held by Trevor and Thoko.

“Hey, its bath time”

I whispered.

“Come, I will help you”

I took Uyinkwenkwezi from Trevor and we went to my room, followed by Thoko who was carrying Uyingelosi.

“So, tell me more about it”

Thoko said, as we got to my room. You know, I was honestly hoping that the kids’ bath time will be a quiet time, with each of us minding our own businesses.

“Tell you what?”

I asked, as I placed Uyinkwenkwezi on the bed.

“You know, your day”

She grinned excitedly. I squeezed a smile out of my thick layers of frustration.

“My day was okay. I went out with Phila, and came back”

I knew my explanation was empty.

“What did you guys do?”

She placed Uyingelosi on the bed too, and we both went to the bathroom to fix their bath water.

“We watched movies, and ate, and you know, walked around”

Again, my explanation sounded empty.

“Oh, okay. Are you still dating the guy you once told me about?”

We got the twins’ bath water and went back to my room. I was carrying Uyinkwenkwezi’s basin, while Thoko was carrying Uyingelosi’s. We placed the basins on the bed, a little further from the babies.

“Oh, we are still together. He knows I just gave birth, so I am allowed to have my own time away from him”

I replied.

“I see. He is such an understanding man”

I nodded. If only she knew.

“My boyfriend is getting impatient. He thinks I’m still childish because I still have a curfew and all”

She giggled.

“You are still a child, what did he expect?”

“He expected me to spend more time with him, especially nights”

She explains.

“No, now I not the time. Men should stop tricking us into doing things that they want us to do. We are not their puppets. We are human beings too, with feelings and a mind ready to reason”

She stared at me.

“Are you okay?”

She asked. I laughed.

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I got a little carried away there for a sec”

She laughed too.

“You gave me a fright. You sounded like those hardcore feminists that we always watch on TV”

We both laughed.

“My boyfriend’s parents are getting a divorce. That is why he is sensitive all of a sudden”

She explained.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I hope he also understands that your home situation is beyond your control”

She nodded in agreement.

“That’s what I was telling him earlier on the phone. There is nothing I can do about the way my parents raise me. It’s not cool, but I still can’t do anything about it”

“It’s not cool?”

We were chatting up a storm as we were bathing the babies.

“Its not cool, dude. Having to be home before sunset, being unable to go out on weekends, having my dad dropping me off at a friend’s place and picking me up later- not cool”

I smiled.

“You know, I would kill to have had an upbringing like yours”

She looked at me.

“I mean, having to be treated like a five year old all my life would not amount to the pain of losing a mother to violence, and having to go through everything I went through”

“Oh, sis. I’m really sorry if I came across as insensitive and ungrateful”

I shook my head.

“Its okay. You have every right to feel that way. Its your life, and you feel it could have been better than that”

“Yeah, not that I don’t appreciate everything that God and my parents have ever done for me”

She added. I nodded.

“As long as you know that your life is a dream in other people’s heads, you will learn to appreciate everything that you have, especially having both parents”

“Yeah, I know. I’m sorry for sounding like a brat”

We laughed.

“I don’t blame you. You have never been in a situation that would threaten to take this life away from you”

We finished bathing the kid and dressed them up in their baby pajamas.

“Let me go and get their warm water. I’ll be right back”

I went to the kitchen, to get some warm water for their bottles. Mommy was there, with Trevor.

“Are you done bathing the kids?”

She asked as I walked in. I nodded.

“Oh, good. Feed them, and keep them warm”

I warmed some water up.

“I’ve sterilized their bottles, take them from that bucket”

She announced.

“Thank you, Mommy”

I looked at her, and she smiled with her eyes. I rinsed the bottles, and took them to my room, along with the warm water.

“Your phone rang”

Thoko announced.

“Did you pick up?”

“Yes, it was Phila, so I picked up”

I froze, but tried my level best to maintain my calm.

“She asked you to call her back”

I placed everything on the bed side and called her.

“Mandiphumle”

She picked up.

“My friend, how are you?”

“Oh, now you’re concerned?”

“Excuse me?”

“Honey, you are excused!”

“Phila, what are you on about?”

“I’m on about you, Mandiphumle. I’m on about you being the most self centered b**ch that I have ever met”

“What? Why would you call me that?”

She laughed.

“So you clearly don’t know why I’m mad at you? You are more ignorant than I thought”

I sighed.

“Mandiphumle, you were supposed to be my best friend. My best bloody friend. How could you not even care to ask how I am doing, after hearing what I am going through? On top of it all, you stop Bazukile from attending to my emergency, because you are the ice princess that deserves all the attention”

“Phila, wait. Let me explain what happened”

“No, you don’t have to explain anything to me, Mandiphumle. I now know where I stand with you and I’m glad this happened sooner, than later”

“Phila, you don’t understand. I was going through…”

She cut me short.

“Oh please, spare me your soppy stories about your miserable life. I am done”

“Done?”

“Yes. I am done being good enough for only listening to your life stories and helping you out in any way I can. I am done being a friend when it suits your selfish a*s”

She hung up on me.