“Alex, calm down. Okay? Calm down”

“My marriage is at risk, and you’re telling me to calm down?”

“Excuse me?”

I folded my arms in front of my chest, signaling that I was in disbelief of what he just asked.

“Mandiphumle, I am about to lose my wife here. I cannot calm down. I cannot sit here and pretend that everything is okay, while that old cow is capable of destroying my marriage”

“Alex, you really need to calm down. We can find a way to make her keep this to herself, without having to be rude about it”

I said.

“Mama, I am hungry!”

Uyingelosi said, standing by the doorway. Alex and I both looked at her, and then looked at each other again.

“Let me dish up for the kids”

I said. He silently rushed out of the kitchen.

“Let me quickly dish up for you guys. I’m sorry for taking so long”

I took out their their plates.

“Mama, why is Uncle Alex angry at you?”

I looked at her, and squeezed a smile out of my shock.

“Uncle Alex is not angry, my angel”

I replied.

“But he looks really angry, he didn’t even smile at me”

I sighed.

“Uncle Alex is having a bad day. He will be back to his old self again. Okay? Give him space”

I said, dishing up for the kids.

“Are you sure Mama? He really looked angry”

“Uyingelosi, Uncle Alex is not angry. He is just having a bad day. He will be fine”

I could see that she didn’t believe me. After dishing up, I called Uyinkwenkwezi and Junior to join us in the kitchen. I decided to leave them to eat, I wasn’t up for all the noise and arguing.I went to my room, and cried so much. I didn’t know what to do with myself. My phone rang, interrupting my private moment. It was brother Lwando again. I cleared my throat.

“Hello”

I picked up.

“Sister Mandy, I’ve informed everyone about this. The pastor is asking us to meet this afternoon, at church”

“Oh..”

I swallowed.

“Brother Lwando, I’m really sorry but I can’t make it this afternoon”

I said.

“Uhm, I don’t understand”

His voice carried disappointment.

“I have a personal challenge that I’m dealing with at the moment, and I have to sort it out soon”

I explained.

“What? Is everything okay?”

He asked.

“Yes, everything is fine. Its just..I just.. Look, I will explain everything in person”

I replied.

“You know you can talk to me about anything, right?”

“Yes, thank you”

“Okay then, are we seeing you tomorrow?”

“Yes, of course”

I replied.

“Okay then. I’ll see you then. Please pray about that challenge”

“Thank you, I will”

We hung up. Brother Lwando was right, I needed to pray about it. Just when I thought I was freeing myself from the ring of lies, it just got out of hand and I found myself caged even more.

“Mama, Junior broke a plate!!”

Uyingelosi rushed into my room.

“Please go and tell Makhulu. Mama is busy”

I said, quickly wiping my tears.

“Mama, are you okay?”

I sniffed.

“Yes baby, I’m fine.I just have something in my eye”

I replied, still wiping my tears.

“Go and inform Makhulu, I will be with you shortly”

She nodded and ran off. I sighed, as I dialed Sibusiso’s number.

“Hello”

He picked up.

“Uhm, Sibusiso. Can we talk?”

“Yeah, what’s up? Are the kids okay?”

“They are fine”

I sniffed.

“I just need to ask you to come and fetch them, please”

“What? Why?”

“Please come, I will tell you everything when you get here”

“Mandy you are scaring me. Is everything okay?”

“The kids are okay, I will explain when you get here. Please”

“Okay. Uuh, I was on my way to the mall, to buy a few things for Fezi, but I can pick them up and go to the mall with them”

Fezi was their son. His full name was Fezekisa, and he was six months old.

“Okay, thank you. Let me get them ready”

We hung up. I got up and went to look for them. They were all watching TV.

“Kids, Dad is on his way to fetch you. Come, let me get you ready”

“Wasn’t he supposed to fetch us tomorrow?”

Uyinkwenkwezi asked.

“He was, but there has been a change of plan”

“I don’t want to go”

Uyonkwenkwezi folded his arms and looked away.

“Uyi, please. I know you were supposed to leave tomorrow, but something came up and you have to leave now”

“Why?”

He asked.

“Something came up, Uyi. Mama has a little problem that she needs to sort out”

“Let me go and pack. Mama, are you going to help us?”

Uyingelosi asked.

“Yes. I’ll run you a bath, and help you pack all your stuff”

“I won’t bath with a girl”

Uyinkwenkwezi was the most difficult child I’ve ever came across.

“I am your sister. Mom said we can bath together”

“I am not going to bath with a girl!”

He shouted.

“Guys, can we go to our room and talk about this? I promise you, we will find a solution for this”

They got up and walked to my room and I followed them.

“Guys, Mama is going through something at the moment, so Dad will fetch you and Mama will visit you tomorrow after church”

I said.

“Cool. What are you going to bring us? I want pizza”

Uyingelosi jumped up and down.

“I’ll bring pizza”

“And you, Uyi? What must I bring you?”

He ignored me.

“O-kay. Angel, you will bath first. Okay? Come, let me run you a bath”

I held Uyingelosi’s hand and led her to the bathroom. We got there and I ran her a bath.

“Don’t splash water all over the place, and please make sure that your feet are dry when you’re walking around the bathroom. I will come and check up on you shortly”

I said, walking out of the bathroom. when I got to my room, Uyinkwenkwezi was sitting on my bed and fiddling with his fingers.

“Boy, are you okay?”

I asked, closing the door behind me.He ignored me.

“Uyi, please talk to me. Are you okay?”

“You’re sending us away!”

He looked at me.

“No, I’m not sending you away, baby. Dad is going to take you home, not away”

“Why? Why is he taking us home today?”

“Because.. Look, Mama is dealing with a friend’s death, and there is something going on in Mama’s life ad she doesn’t want you to be affected”

“Why are you not staying with us then? Why are you staying away from us?”

“Because .. Listen, our situation is a little complicated Uyi, you might not understand”

“Mama, why are you not staying with us???”

He asked again. His voice was loaded with so much pain. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes, and I tried so hard to hold them back because I didn’t want him to see me crying. I didn’t want to fall apart, not in his presence. I could see it in his eyes that his soul was torn apart and he was angry. He was angry at himself for being born into a dysfunctional family. He hated his father for being so happy with another woman, who was not their mother. He hated his mother for having her own life, almost as if they didn’t exist, in their eyes, no matter how much she tried to show them that she loved them. He was so angry, so so angry.

“Uyi, my child.Mama cannot stay with you because Dad is married to Mom”

I replied.

“Why isn’t he married to you?”

“It’s complicated, baby. I don’t know how to explain this to you. Can we at least wait for Dad, so we can all talk about this?”

I suggested.

“No. I’m talking to you Mama. I’m asking you”

He screamed. My child was broken, and nobody ever noticed.

“Baby, Mama and Dad were never really in love when you were created. It just happened”

I tried explaining.

“What just happened?”

He asked, looking at me straight in the eye, with eyes that were filled with tears that carried elements of his soul. My baby was destroyed.

“I’m so sorry Uyi, I am really sorry that you are born into this kind of family. Just so you know, none of this is your fault, hey baby? None of this is your fault”

I assured him.

“Why are you guys not together? Don’t you both love us? Can’t you both stay with us?”

“Uyi, its not that simple. Believe me, I would explain this further if I could, but I just can’t find the right words”

Tears rolled down my cheeks as well.

“Find the right words Mama, please. Please find the right words and explain to me why you are not staying with us”

He sounded defeated. My phone rang. I took a glance at it, and then looked back at him. He folded his arms and looked away. It was Sibusiso, calling.

“Hello?”

I picked up.

“I’m outside, please bring the kids”

He said. I looked at Uyi, who was still facing away.

“Could you please come in? We have a bit of a situation”

“What? What’s going on?”

He asked.

“Please come in”

I hung up. Uyingelosi walked in..

“Mama, please help me get dressed”

“Okay, I’ll give you your clothes, and you will go and get dressed in the bathroom. Okay?”

“Why?”

“Because I say so, Uyingelosi”

“Okay. Why are you angry? Mama, what’s going on? Why is Uyi crying? Did you beat him up? What did he do?”

She flooded me with so many questions, so much that my head started spinning. I was not prepared to answer any question from her.

“what’s going on?”

Sibusiso asked, as he rushed into the room. He stopped by the door and run his eyes around the room.

“What’s going on?”

He asked again. Uyingelosi shrugged her shoulders.

“Mama won’t tell me”

She replied.

“Uyingelosi, please excuse us”

“Why?”

She asked.

“Uyingelosi!”

I spoke through my teeth.

“Okay Mama, I’m going”

She ran out.

“Uyi, Boy..”

He walked up to his son..

“Son, what’s going on?”

“He just…”

“Sssshh”

He raised his hand, signaling that I should shut up.

“I’m asking him”

He whispered, and I nodded.

“Son, what is it? Son, its Dad. Talk to me”

He begged him. He turned to look at his father.

“Why are you not married to Mama?”

He asked. Sibusiso turned his head and looked at me. I tilted my head to the right, trying to avoid eye contact with him.

“What? Where does that come from?”

“I want to know. I don’t want to have two mothers anymore. Why are you not together?”

He asked.

He sat next to him.

“Mandy, could you please excuse us for a minute?”

“What? Why?”

“I need to have a word with him, in private”

He replied.

“He’s my son too, Sibusiso. I have to be here, in this room, having with this conversation”

“You can’t”

He said.

“What do you mean? He is my son, Sibusiso”

Uyinkwenkwezi looked at me, with eyes that obviously asked “Am I really your son?”. His eyes were not only curious, but they were desperate to know the truth- the whole truth, as it is. How could I turn away from that? How could I leave that, at that moment? I couldn’t.

“Mandy, now is not the time to be selfish. This is about your son and his wellbeing”

Now he wanted me to look like a bad mother who didn’t care about my son’s well being, while all I ever did was to care for my kids and love them unconditionally.It felt like it was just a nightmare, and that things would go back to “normal” the following day….