I fiddled with my fingers. I didn’t know what to do or say. 

“Mandiphumle. Say something!” 

I looked at him.

“His name is Bazukile, Daddy. I have been in a relationship with him, for a while now”

They both gave me an “are you listening to what you’re saying?” look. 

“I love him, and I want to spend the rest of my life with him”

Mommy’s eyes popped out.

“Honey, you are eighteen years old. You have your whole life ahead of you”

“She is a child. What does she know about love? What does she know about life?”

Mommy cleared her throat.

“My love, please calm down” 

“Don’t tell me to calm down. Mandiphumle is about to make the biggest mistake of her life, and you’re telling me to calm down?”

“My love, now is not the time to be pointing fingers at who is right and who is wrong. We need to keep calm, so we can all come up with solutions with collective calm minds”

Mommy tried talking sense into him.

“Now I have to call everyone and announce that Mandiphumle has been seeing a boy, behind my back, and now thinks she is ready for marriage. What do you think that does to me and my dignity?”

Oh, wow. So it was about him and his image, and never about fearing that my life was being led astray, but was about his reputation. Nice. Daddy got up and angrily walked away. 

“Honey, please take time and think this through. You are too young for this. Give yourself some time to be a child”

I shook my head. 

“I love him Mommy, I really do”

Tears welled up in my eyes. I wished it was simple to just open up and be honest about everything, without anyone getting hurt. 

“You are still a child. You are not ready for this kind of commitment. Please Mandiphumle, I am begging you. Please think about this. Please”

She begged me. I felt the warmth of a tear, rolling down my cheek. I got up.

“Mommy, I need to go and rest for a few minutes”

I walked away, leaving her sitting there, caged in thoughts. 

“Ppsss!! Hey!” 

Someone whispered behind me. I turned around to check, it was Thoko, tip toeing towards me. I folded my arms as I watched her. 

“So, how did it go?”

She whispered. I rolled my eyes, unfolding my arms.

“They are trying to convince me that I am not ready for this. They think I’m too young to be getting married”

We walked up the stairs together. 

“Whatever man. Those people don’t know what they are talking about. We are not going to let our soul mates pass us by, while we’re still stuck in the belief that we are too young” 

I laughed. 

“Exactly. We can’t let them live our lives for us. I love that man, and I will do everything in my power to fight for what I love”

I replied.

“Or who”

Thoko added.

“Yes, or who I love”

We laughed. 

“So how did you guys decide to get married at such short notice?”

I cleared my throat.

“Where are the twins? I miss them so much”

I changed the subject.

“They are still sleeping, in Sis Nolly’s room”

She replied. 

“Can we go and see them? I won’t wake them up. I just want to see them”

I suggested.

“Sure”

She agreed. We went to Sis Nolly’s room and knocked. 

“Come in”

She shouted from inside. Thoko opened the door and we walked in. The twins were fast asleep, and the lady who invited me in was sitting on her bed. We walked in and greeted. She greeted back. 

“This is Mandy”

Thoko announced. The lady looked at me.

“Oh, I’m so happy to finally meet you. You look so young. I was expecting someone a little older, given the things I’ve heard about you”

“The twins are still sleeping? Oh man, they are so cute” 

Thoko changed the subject. Sis Nolly smiled.

“They are still sleeping” 

“Okay, let’s leave you guys to it then. We will see you later”

Thoko dragged me out. 

“Hey Mandy, Uyi has your eyes” 

She announced. Uyi? Which one of my kids is Uyi? I asked myself, still maintaining my smile. 

“Thank you”

“The funny part is that his father also has the same eyes. Now I truly believe that their father is also their uncle, and their mother is also their aunt”

I died, right on the spot. Her laughter on top of it was just adding salt into my fresh wound. 

“Sis Nolly, how could you say that?”

Thoko asked. I walked out and Thoko followed me. 

“Mandy, wait”

She held my arm and turned me to face her. 

“What?”

I looked at her, with tears welling up in my eyes.

“I’m sorry about what just happened. Sis Nolly is so rude”

“It’s okay”

A tear escaped my eye. 

“No Mandy, it’s not okay. She shouldn’t have said that. She was rude and I will tell my parents about it”

I sniffed. 

“She said it. How I feel about it doesn’t matter. That’s what always happens to me, people do as they please and expect me to take it lying down”

“I’m sorry man, I really am”

I wiped my tears with the back of my hand.

“How did she know about it?”

I sniffed.

“I don’t know, Mandy. I haven’t talked to her about personal stuff”

“Then that means Mommy told her. The question is, why? Why would she discuss information that sensitive with a stranger?” 

I wiped my tears again. 

“I am really sorry Mandy” 

“Let me go and have a word with Mommy about this”

“What are you going to say to her?”

She asked. I shook my head. 

“I will see”

I walked away. When I got to the main bedroom, the door was closed. I knocked and nobody invited me in,  so I walked in because I could hear voices from inside. 

“My love, she is just a child. Please give her a break”

I heard Mommy’s voice coming from the bathroom. 

“Just a child? Mandiphumle is not just a child. She is trouble and she will influence our kids into being rascals like her”

Daddy replied. My heart sank, deeper than it had already sunk. 

“How will we chase her away? She has been through a lot, and she needs us”

“No, she needs to go. She needs to find other people to bother. I will not be disrespected like this by a child”

“My husband, please”

“No, my love. She needs to go”

“How will we chase her away?”

“I will tell her to pack her bags and go. She is not our responsibility, so we can’t be dealing with this whole thing alone. Whether she marries this boy or not, is not our business.”

“My husband, please”

Mommy’s voice was shaky. 

“So what are you saying? That she should stay? How will you prevent her from poisoning Thoko and turning her into a little version of herself? How will you protect Thoko from finding Mandy’s life exciting? She needs to go”

“She is just a child. Please don’t be like that”

“This conversation ends here. Get out of my way”

Daddy replied. I ran out of the room, because I didn’t want him to see me standing there. Back to square one!