Fighting sounded all easy and doable, until I had to wear those gloves and got on that ring. Ntsiki had my back 100%, bending over backwards so that I could fight those people and get my children back.

“Mandy, this is it. You need to go to those people and get your children”

Said Ntsiki, resting her hands on my shoulders. I nodded.

“Thank you for making me do this. All those long phone calls, only trying to negotiate a meeting with those people, drained all the energy out of my system”

“They were trying so hard to make it difficult for you to get through to them. I am pretty sure they have all their bombs in place. I sincerely hope that you are ready for this”

“I’m ready. I’ve been ready for a while now”

I smiled, fixing my top with so much pride.

“Remember to relax. Okay? Relax and just speak from the heart. Don’t try too hard”

I sighed.

“Pressure”

She giggled.

“I’m sorry for putting pressure on you, but I just want you to bring your A-game”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got this”

“Cool. Alex will drive you there. I won’t be able to come along, I have to be at the office within the next thirty minutes”

“Okay, I understand. See you later”

We shared a brief hug. I went to wait by Alex’s car. I was dressed in a Black pair of high waist jeans, a white shirt, tucked in and a pair of sneakers. I sighed, as I waited for Alex impatienlty. I just wanted to get it over and done with.

“Sorry to keep you waiting!”

Alex shouted as he rushed up to me.

“Its okay. I just want to go there and get this over and done with, that’s all”

“Come, let’s go”

He unlocked the car and we jumped in.

“So, are you ready for this?”

He asked, taking a quick glance at me as we drove off.

“Yes, I’m ready”

“You know, I don’t mean to put you off, but if I were you, I would have waited”

I looked at him.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you just got out. You still need time to heal and find your feet again, before reaching out to your children. What if you fall apart in their presence?”

He responded.

“I want them to be around, as I go through this healing process”

“Why? Because you are not strong enough for this”

“Alex, please don’t be like that. I need to remain positive”

“Mandiphumle, you don’t need to remain positive here. You need to remain realistic”

“Why didn’t you say anything, all this time? You were there when Ntsiki and I were trying to track those people down”

“I wanted to talk, but I didn’t want Ntsiki to think that I didn’t want you to heal”

“Why would Ntsiki think that? Alex, you didn’t say anything when you had the time to talk, I’m afraid now is not the time”

“I’m not saying you should change your mind. All I’m saying is that, consider giving yourself time to find your feet, before opening that can of worms. Reaching out to those people would require a lot of energy. Not just a lot, but A LOT of energy”

I looked down.

“Ntsiki said..”

“Forget what Ntsiki said. What do you say? This is your life, and therefore you have the final say here”

“I want to go and look for my children. I need them by my side during my healing session”

“That may sound cute now, but is that what you are going to tell those people? You think they you would hand you the kids if you admit that you are not okay, but are still in a healig proces? How do you think they will trust you around the kids?”

“Alex, I will not tell those people that I’m in a healing process. What do you take me for?”

“A desperate mother”

“I’ve got this. Don’t worry. I want my children, and I will get them back”

“Okay, fine. I hear you. Just remember, it’s not too late to change your mind”

I nodded, knowing very well that I wasn’t going to change my mind. I gave him the directions to Mr Nkomo’s house, because he didn’t remember the directions. We got there.

“Here we are. Call me when you want me to pick you up”

“Thanks, I will”

I stepped out of the car.

“Good luck”

“Thanks”

I knew he didn’t mean that. I watched him as he drove off, trying to gather my strength to walk into that house. There were about four cars parked outside. Four cars, belonging to ruthless people who took some time out, just to make sure that I never reconnect with my kids. I walked in, and knocked on the front door.

“Come in”

Someone shouted from inside. I opened the door and walked in. Just as I expected, the sitting room was packed. I greeted, and they greeted back. Mommy’s face lit up as I stood by the door.

“Come in. Sit over there”

Desmond, my father, said, pointing at the spot reserved for me. I silently went to sit down. I wanted to just get my children and leave that place at once, but I knew it was not going to be that easy.

“So, how have you been? we’ve been worried sick about you”

Why would Desmond lie like that? What was his reason? Its not even like he ever wanted to have a relationship with me anyway, so why lie?

“I’ve been fine”

I briefly replied.

“Where were you, all this time? I haven’t found peace since the day we lost you”

Mommy said.

“Lost me? No, you didn’t lose me. You threw me out of your car, in the middle of nowhere”

I replied.

“Yes, we did. You were going to get us killed. It was either that, or we were all going to die because of your stupidity!!”

Daddy yelled.I remained silently, because I had nothing to say to him.

“So, where were you?”

Mommy asked again.

“It doesn’t matter where I was. Fact of the matter is that I am here now, and I am safe and sound”

I cleared my throat.

“Oh no, not so fast. You have got to tell us where you were and what you were doing there. We can’t let you back into our lives, without knowing the kind of life you were living”

sibusiso insisted. Just as I expected, he just had to make sure I drown into trouble.

“I am not here because I want you guys to let me into your lives”

Those words slipped through my lips. The last thing I needed was to stir a fight, because that would be the end of me and my kids ever reconnecting. Everyone was looking at me, like I was some sort of alien. I cleared my throat.

“I mean, I know I have done bad things and I don’t really deserve to be a member of this family anymore”

In my attempt to avoid conflict, I was blabbing.

“Why are you here then?”

Sibusiso asked.

“Well, I am here because I want to have a relationship with my children. Now that I am back, I would love to be in their lives”

“It doesn’t work like that, I’m sorry”

Sibusiso opposed.

‘What do you mean?”

I knew what he meant, but I just wanted him to explain.

“You can’t just come here, from nowhere, claiming to want a relationship with your children. We need to know where you were, and what you were doing. The last thing we need now, is to let you into those kids’ lives, only to bring them danger”

He explained. So, there was no way around it. Sibusiso was set on making sure that I don’t achieve my goals.

“Okay, fine. I will tell you where I was”

I took a sigh and told them everything. Everyone was dead silent, obviously shaken by what I told them. When I was done, I kept quiet too.

“Mental hospital?”

Desmond asked. I nodded.

“Yes, I don’t know how I ended up there”

I replied.

“On what grounds did they discharge you?”

Sibusiso asked.

“On the grounds on my wellness. I am well, and don’t have to stay there anymore”

I replied confidently. They remained silent.

“I am not mad. Maybe I was depressed, but I am definitely not mad. Now that I am out, and have found my feet, I want to be in my children’s lives”

“So where do you stay?”

Mommy asked.

“I’m staying with a friend”

I replied.

“Help me understand how you are planning on being your children’s lives”

Sibusiso said.

“Because I am only starting out, I can come and visit them, just until I manage to build a relationship with them”

I replied.

“Yes, I also think you should visit them. yes, I hate what you did, especially to them, but I can’t keep you away from your children. I must admit, when I first heard that you had a message sent to my dad, I thought you wanted them back. I was going to make sure that, that never happens. I am very happy that you will only visit them, because it gives me an opportunity to monitor you and your behavor around them”

So, in his twisted little head, he thought I was going to settle for two hour visits for the rest of my life? He was more stupid than I imagined. I had a greater plan, and the plan was to claim my position in their lives again, and make sure that I make them want to stay with me. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I had a solid plan in place. An arrangement with the Nkomos was only the beginning. The next step was moving into my mother’s house and raise my home and clan again. I wanted to be my own person. I was busy cutting out patterns of my future, one obstacle at a time.

“No, Sibusiso how could you agree to this madness? Mandiphumle is obviously still very sick if she thinks we will welcome her with open arms, after nearly getting us killed like that. This child is dangerous. I don’t buy all this story about a mental hospital. She was probably out there, somewhere, living dangerously and now needs a place to hide and lay low. Let’s not allow her anywhere near those kids, if we want them to turn out as law abiding citizens in the future”

Daddy opposed.