I sighed. Wow. I don’t know, but it felt like a breakup to me. I wanted to explode and tell him how much I loved him, but I had to keep my cool and make sense of what he was saying. He was right. Him and I stood no chance, and there was no point in even trying it out. All I needed to do was to settle for the friendship he was offering, and appreciate everything he was doing.

“Uhm, yeah! Well, I also feel…”

“Mandy, you don’t have to say anything”

He interrupted me.

“No, I have to say this. Besides, you said we needed to talk, and this is us, talking”

He chuckled.

“But you really don’t have to reply to this”

“Would you let me get this off my chest?”

He sighed.

“Okay, I’m sorry. Go ahead”

I cleared my throat.

“Okay. I also want to be as honest with you, as I possibly can. Firstly, I don’t want to get into details of how we broke up, because as you said, we will end up playing the blame game. The first time I laid my eyes on you, at that mental hospital, I felt the connection between us. The way you looked at me. The way you held me. I mean, the way you spoke to me.. I just felt the connection. It took every bit of energy in me to convince myself that we wouldn’t work out. I convinced myself that I needed to find my feet again, before looking for love.. And then we got here and I saw your wife and son, and everything changed. I couldn’t digest the news, and my feelings were all over the place. I promise you, I tried keeping them under watch, but I couldn’t. The way Ntsiki went on about you, made me realize that you and I were really done. I’m really happy that we had this conversation, because now we can be open about everything and be on the same page”

He nodded.

“So yes, I agree with you on this one. We should really keep our friendship strictly innocent.”

“Thank you for understanding, Mandy. I’m very happy that we had this conversation”

He got up..

“Uhm, let me leave you to enjoy your breakfast. I’ll see you later”

“Okay, see you later. Thank you for making me breakfast”

“Don’t mention it”

He walked away. Awkward. In all honesty, I was very happy that we had that conversation though. It was the beginning of a great stay at that house, as I wanted to avoid drama as much as I could.

After breakfast, I made my bed, and went to take a shower. I had nothing else to wear, so I wore the same clothes I was wearing, and went to watch TV.. Days went by and the TV set became my very close friend. I’d wake up and shower, then watch TV the whole day. Some days were better, while some were worse. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Sometimes I would struggle to get out of bed, because my life seemed to be losing direction, while some days brought the sense of hope to my dark shaded life. Alex and Ntsiki were very supportive. They understood me perfectly, and they took turns driving me to my sessions with my psychologist. They even took me shopping.

One Saturday morning, I woke up to the sound of a screaming baby down the passage. My eyes shot open and I looked around. It was Junior. That child was so hyperactive and loud.. I got out of bed and made my bed. Someone knocked on my door, as I was making my bed.

“Come in”

I shouted. My door swung open and Ntsiki walked in.

“Hey sis, you’re up?!”

I turned to look at her.

“Hey. Yes, I just woke up. Junior’s screams woke me up”

I explained.

“I’m sorry about that. Junior can be a little too much sometimes, I know”

“Arg, no need to apologize man. I understand”

“Speaking of Junior. Uhm, I have a little favour that I want to ask of you”

“Sure, shoot”

I stopped what I was doing and looked at her.

“Uh, Alex and I are off to a funeral, and MaDabane has to attend to her family matters. Her son has just started using drugs, and he’s always getting himself into trouble”

No, I didn’t like the sound of that..

“So, could you watch Junior for us? We will be back as soon as we possibly can”

Ever since I got to that house, I tried my level best to avoid Junior. I didn’t want to have any relationship with him. I was just not ready. Every time I looked at him, I was reminded of my own children. Thinking about my children was torture. It felt like I had a missing body part, and was wondering who had it and how it was treated. Having to look after Junior would mean that, whether I liked it or not, I would be reminded of my kids. I wanted to find the right words to explain to her why I couldn’t look after their son, while I was home, doing nothing.

“Mandy, are you okay?”

She asked.

“Uhm, yeah. I mean, I’m okay. Ntsiki look, I know you guys are out of options and you approached me because you trust me, but I can’t do it”

Her smile faded away.

“I mean, I am still at a point in my life where I am not even sure if my kids are still alive or not. The thought of where they could be, still haunts me till this day. I really would like to help, but you know kids at good at sensing bad energies, and I’d hate to pass my bad energies over to your son. I would never forgive myself if I’d fall apart in front of him, while its just the two of us”

I explained.

“Oh, I get it”

Even a fool could sense that she didn’t get it one bit. Her voice carried so much disappointment and I hated being the reason of her disappointment.

“I’m really sorry Ntsiki, I wish I could help. Its just that, I can’t fully trust myself around your child. That’s why I’m avoiding him”

Her eyes popped out.

“You’re avoiding my child?”

“Not like that. I just don’t want to…”

“You know what, you don’t have to explain. I’m sorry we asked. We were just being insensitive, I am really sorry”

“Its okay. I really don’t blame you guys”

“Uhm, so when are you visiting them?”

“Visiting them? I don’t even know where they are”

I realized that she didn’t know the full story, so I sat her down and told her everything.

“I’m really sorry to hear that. You know what I think?”

I shook my head.

“I think you should go look for your children and build a relationship with them. No child deserves to be without a parent.

” Those people would never allow me anywhere near them”

“Its not up to them. They are yours too, and you have every right to see them”

“I don’t know Ntsiki. I really don’t think I have the energy to fight”

“No, Mandy. These people will never take you seriously if you always let them get away with treating you like trash. Let’s fight these people. You need your children as part of your healing process. You will never heal if you are still haunted by this. Free yourself from the claws of self pity, and fight for what’s yours. I’m here, and I am ready to help you fight those people with your might, to get what’s rightfully yours”

I looked down..

“I’m ready. whenever you are. Don’t take too long to think about this. Deep down, you want this so bad, so don’t fight your emotions, rather fight the people who are caging your emotions into little boxes of pain and misery. Get up. Fight”