A year later.

I am still looking for a suitable word to use, to describe how my life turned out, after that day. Brother Lwando, the guy that helped me escape the world of misery, became my most trusted mentor. He helped me find my feet in world of salvation. He was such a blessing in my life. My very own guardian angel, sent in human form. About six months after I took that life changing decision, one of the church members offered me a job in his surgery.My life was slowing falling into place. Sibusiso trusted me with the kids, he even let me spend weekends with them. If I could, I would get on the highest roof top and announce the grace that God showered me with, just by doing a simple thing- accepting Jesus Christ. I wished I could let everybody know that the love of God is enough to fill in all the gaps. My life was complete. I was content. Reading the Word of God and constantly praying, helped me to understand the gospel even more and grow as a believer and follower of Christ.

It was on a Friday morning, my alarm went off. I opened my eyes and yawned. It was time to wake up, and I had no time to waste. I got off bed and made it, and went to take a shower. When I was done, I got dressed in my knee high Navy skirt and a White shirt, neatly tucked in, and a pair of navy heels. I tied my braids in a bun and wore as minimal makeup as possible and wore a nude lipstick. I looked so beautiful, I smiled to myself as I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I said my morning prayer, grabbed my handbag and rushed out.

“Good morning, good morning, good morning!!”

I greeted, as I bounced into the kitchen. Alex and Ntsiki greeted back.

“Someone is in a good mood”

Ntsiki said, as I pulled a chair and sat down.

“Well, what can I say? God has been failthful”

“Oh, Mandy please don’t start”

Alex said, and Ntsiki laughed.

“My love, you are being rude”

Ntsiki looked at her husband.

“Am I? Oh, I’m sorry. I was just being honest. Mornings were meant for soft and light conversations, especially for people like us, who do a lot of thinking for a living”

He replied.

“Relax, Alex. I wasn’t going to preach. I was just saying”

I replied, giggling. We all enjoyed breakfast.

“Mandy, I’m dropping you off today”

Ntsiki announced, just we finished having breakfast.

“Okay, thanks”

I replied as she walked out of the kitchen.

“We need to talk”

I said, looking at Alex.

“About what?”

He asked, looking at me too.

“About the fact that Ntsiki knows me as your sister”

I replied.

“What about it?”

I cleared my throat.

“The Holy Spirit is totally against this lie”

Just as he was about to respond, Ntsiki walked back into the room.

“We can go now”

Ntsiki said.

“Uhm, baby.. I think I’ll drive Mandy. I just remembered that I have to go that side for the bike we talked about”

Alex got up too.

“Bike? SO early in the morning? Why would you go and ask about a bike, while you should be on your way to work?”

She looked at him.

“I might be busy later”

He replied.

“Alright then…”

“Actually, I really wanted to ride with Ntsiki”

I cut Ntsiki short. Ntsiki looked at me.

“I mean, I could use some girl talk, and obviously good music”

I giggled. Ntsiki chuckled.

“Guys, make up your minds, its late”

“Let’s go Ntsiki, we’re really late and Doctor Booi can’t stand such behavior”

I walked towards the door. I didn’t want to talk to Alex at that moment, because he was still very shocked, and we would argue about it. I wanted him to think about it too. Something inside me didn’t want to stay there anymore. I could not carry on with the lie, because it prevented me from praying peacefully. It felt like it was weighing my heart down- a constant reminder of my past. Ntsiki was blabbing all the way to work, and I was just sitting there, moaning softly and giggling every now and then. My phone rang, it was Alex.I cleared my throat.

“Hello?”

“Mandy please don’t say anything to Ntsiki about us”

He begged.

“Whoa! Why would I say anything? What do you take me for?”

He sighed in relief.

“Thanks. You and I still need to talk”

“Okay. Later, bye”

I hung up. We arrived..

“Thanks Ntsiki, see you later”

I said, stepping out of the car.

“Bye, see you later”

I closed the door and she drove off. I walked into the building. Ayanda, our pharmacist had just arrived, along with sis Nana, the cleaning lady.

“Good morning”

I greeted, walking over to my desk.

“Good morning Mandy. Looking beautiful”

I smiled.

“Thank you”

“Ayanda, you’re also handsome. Mandy, why don’t you tell him that?”

Sis Nana, the cleaning lady asked. We laughed.

“I was just about to”

I replied.

“Why don’t I believe that?”

Sis Nana jokingly asked. I laughed harder.

“Believe me, sis. I was really going to compliment him”

I insisted.

“Like you’ve ever complimented me before”

Ayanda rolled his eyes. I laughed.

“Give me a break, will you?”

“A break is granted my lady, I have medication to sort out anyway”

“Ayanda, do you know why Mandy is so scared of telling you that you are handsome?”

Sis Nana shouted as Ayanda walked away.

“Why?”

Ayanda stopped on his tracks and turned to look at sis Nana.

“Because she thinks that God will punish her if she admits that a man is handsome”

They both laughed. I just smiled.

“Not funny guys”

I said.

“Don’t worry Mandy, God understands. I mean, He is the one who created this flame and called it Ayanda”

He joked as he walked away.

“Sis Nana, that’s not nice”

I said, looking at her, as she made her way to Doctor Booi’s consulting room. She laughed.

“Loosen up a little. You can be saved, and still have a boyfriend”

“Sis Nana, I’ve been telling you since forever, that I don’t want a boyfriend”

“Keep saying that. You will change your statement when love sweeps you off your feet”

She disappeared into the consulting room. I sighed. It was a Friday, and Fridays were normally very hectic. My phone rang, as I was wrapping my day up and packing everything away. It was Sibusiso.

“Hello”

I picked up.

“How are you?”

He asked.

“I’m good, thanks. And you?”

“I’m okay. Are you picking the kids up or should I bring them?”

“Uuh…”

I looked at my wrist watch.

“Please bring them. I had a very busy day, I’m still at work as we speak”

“Okay, I really wish you’d tell me in time when you want to make that kind of arrangement”

Gosh.

“I’m sorry, it won’t happen again”

“Thanks. I will bring them over. I’m on my way home now”

He said.

“Thank you”

We hung up.I took my bag and walked out. Sis Nana and I took a taxi to town.I stopped by the store, to buy a few things for the kids to keep them entertained. When I was done, I took a taxi home. Alex was already there when I arrived. I greeted and went to my room. He followed me, and knocked just as I closed my door behind me. I opened the door, and blocked entrance.

“We need to talk”

He pushed me to the side and walked in.

“Please make it quick, Sibusiso is on his way with the kids”

I said, closing the door behind me.

“Mandy, you can’t tell my wife about this”

“I told you I won’t tell your wife anything”

“What are you saying then?”

“I’m saying, that this lie doesn’t sit well with me. Its torturing me”

I replied.

“So how do you plan to solve this problem?”

Just before I could reply, he beat me to it.

“Because Mandy, you can’t be that selfish now. I sacrificed a lot, for you to stay here. I bent over backwards and walked an extra mile in ensuring that you have your life back on track. I’ve always done that. Every time you are done and out, I always jump to your rescue. I don’t deserve any betrayal from you. My wife doesn’t have to know about this, because it would destroy her. It would destroy us”

“But what about the fact that I am not comfortable with this lie anymore?”

“Well, you just have to learn to live with it, Mandy. I would never forgive you if Ntsiki would find out that you are not my sister, but my ex”

“Okay, fine. I’m moving out”

I said, folding my arms in front of my chest.

“Moving out? Where to?”

He moved closer to me.

“I don’t…”

An idea popped up in my mind. I had to move back into my mother’s house and build my own home, in my own space.

“Uhm, I’ll move back home”

“Home?”

“Yes, home. My mother’s house”

“Are you sure Mandy? That’s .. huge”

“I know its huge, and yes I’m sure”

“Mandy, you can stay here. You don’t have to move out because of this”

“Alex, I’m trying not to be selfish here. I’m stepping out of the way, so that I won’t have to face Ntsiki everyday”

“Still, you can still stay here and avoid facing her”

“Alex, please man”

“That house has been vacant for years. How do you expect its condition to be? Is it even going to be safe?”

“I know its probably in a very bad condition, but I’m going to fix it”

“I know you, when you have your mind set on something, nothing can stop you. You can move back to your mother’s house, but we will make sure that its safe and conducive for you and the kids”

I nodded.

“That way, I will be out of your hair and still be able to live a normal life”

“You make it sound like you are in my hair, whatever that means”

My phone rang.It was Sibusiso.

“Hello”

“Hey, we’re here”

“Okay, I’ll be right out”

I hung up.

“They are here. Can we continue later?”

I walked towards the door, holding my phone in my hand. .

“Sharp, we will continue later”

Alex replied as I walked out, with him, walking behind me. I went to Sibusiso’s car, to get the kids. He never walked into our house, ever. He always parked outside, for reasons known to him, and only him. When I got there, him and the kids were already standing outside the car. They both ran up to me as I walked up to them. I knelt down and hugged them both. They looked really excited to see me.

“Babies, how are you?”

I broke the hug.

“Me, I’m fine. Mama, Uyinkwenkwezi fought at school”

“No, I didn’t. He started, and Dad told me to fight for myself”

I looked at Sibusiso and he shrugged his shoulders. I got up..

“You guys are not supposed to fight. Remember, you are friends with Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is a prince of peace”

I said.

“That’s what I told him!”

Uyingelosi shouted.

“Shut up”

Uyinkwenkwezi replied.

“Uyinkwenkwezi, why are you being rude?”

Sibusiso asked. Uyinkwenkwezi didn’t reply.

“Hey, I’m talking to you. Why are you being rude?”

Sibusiso raised his voice.

“I’m sorry, Dad”

“Apologize to your sister as well”

Uyinkwenkwezi looked at Uyingelosi.Uyingelosi stuck her tongue out and Uyinkwenkwezi freaked out. Story of their lives. Those kids were always at each other’s throats, fighting over everything. I decided to step back and let Dad deal with them, I was still going to deal with them for the whole weekend, so I was saving my energy for later. when the conflict was settled, Sibusiso took out the kids’ bags and handed them over to me.

“Thank you”

I said.

“I will call and check up on them later”

“You don’t have to”

I whispered. He smiled.

“No, we talked about this. You don’t disturb my time with them”

I said.

“Okay fine,”

He patted my shoulder, trying to get me to keep it down.The kids kissed their Dad, and he drove off, while we got into the house.

“Mama, where is Junior? I want to play with him”

Uyinkwenkwezi asked.

“He’s probably asleep”

“Let me go and look for him!!”

He shouted, running down the passage.

“Uyinkwenkwezi, you just got here.Come back here!!”

I yelled behind him, but did he come back? Correct, he didn’t. While I was standing there, screaming for Uyinkwenkwezi, my phone beeped with an incoming text. I opened it, and it was a text from Sibusiso.

“You are doing so well. I am so proud of the mother that you are becoming, and I hope things stay this way forever. Your presence in their lives has added another value, and I will forever be grateful for that. When my kids are happy, I am happy as well”

My heart melted.