One of the twins is here.
I can’t tell them apart, I don’t know which one this is so I just call him “boy”.
It’s weird that he’s the only one here because the kids of this family are always together.
I’m ready to go.
Qhawe is dropping me off at the airport where I’ll meet everyone. From there we’re flying straight to Durban and then drive to the south coast.
I’m surprised nobody is being sent with us to babysit and drive us around.
“Mama where are you going?”
He’s been following me around the house all morning. He walks with his hands behind his back and asks one question after another….
“I’m going to the beach boy,”
“What’s the beach?”
“It’s a big place with a lot of water.”
“Are you going to drink the water?”
“No, the water has salt,”
“Who put the salt there?”
“Jesus put the salt there, come on, it’s time to go,”-Qhawe says brushing his head.
I’ve been saved.
I think I’m a bit too early but it’s okay, I still have a few things I need to buy at the airport, including a bikini. I’ve never owned one, even Cuban beaches were not enough to make me buy one, or walk around in one.
“Which one is this? Msebe or Langa?” I ask as we drive.
“One of them. Don’t worry about it, you’ll never be able to tell them apart anyway,” he says and changes the topic.
He’s right. My stomach still turns when I think about that time I almost threw myself at Mqhele.
He’s been sitting quietly at the back looking out the window with those bulging eyes.
He’ll fall asleep anytime now…
“Why did Jesus put the salt in the water? What are we going to drink when the water in the tap is finished if all the water has salt in it?”-he asks.
I take it he’s been trying to figure this out in his mind, that’s why he’s been quiet.
I’m waiting to hear the answer to this.
“We’ll drink beer,”-Qhawe
I look at him and roll my eyes.
“I don’t drink beer, I don’t want to have a big stomach,” he says.
Good my boy, tell him!
“Here, eat this,”-Qhawe says passing him a whole packet of chewing gum.
“You can’t give him gum Chawe,”-me
“Unless you want to start answering questions about where babies come from, let him eat that gum,” he says.
Eat the gum child!
“Don’t swallow it,”-me
“How old is he?”
“Six,” he says.
Oh! Hlomu said they were seven.
“I’m going to drop you off and leave baby, I know it’s early but there’s something I need to take care of, urgently,” he says.
Great! He’s going to leave me alone at the airport to take care of something more important than me.
“Get on the trolley,” he says to the little bugger.
He’s excited. It’s nice to be a kid.
They’ll leave me outside Woolworths.
I’ll wait for the others before I check in.
“I’m going to miss you,” he says.
I’ll miss him too. Three days is a long time.
“Ewwwww,” the little bugger says when we kiss.
“Close your eyes,”-Qhawe says to him.
He quickly puts his hands over his eyes.
We kiss again.
I watch them walking away. He picks him up and puts him over his shoulders.
I must do some biological research on how these people of this family can look exactly the same, there’s not even a drop of gene dilution.
Our flight leaves at 1pm
“We should never have let Gugu drive. This is crazy, we were supposed to be there an hour ago,”-Xolie
Yes, we’ve been getting lost all afternoon.
She claimed to know the south coast, and now we are confused because she keeps taking the wrong turns.
“It’s not me, it’s this GPS thing,”-Gugu
“I told you to not listen to this GPS thing,”-Hlomu
“Let’s go to a garage and ask for directions,”- me
“We don’t stop at garages Naledi, what if we get there and there are taxi association people and they start shooting at us? Why do you think we are traveling in a car with tinted windows?”-Gugu
I see Hlomu rolling her eyes.
“There it is,”-Thando says.
Oh yah, there’s the name of the street in which the house is located.
Thando is Mpande’s girlfriend. She’s new too, but there’s one called Gwen, an ex apparently. The problem is she doesn’t know she’s an ex. I hear she’s a mental case.
It’s a nice house. I can hear the sea from my room. I open the window and there it is, just metres away.
What if there’s a tsunami? We’ll all die here.
“The house is lovely,”– I SMS him
“Not as lovely as you, do you like it?– he replies.
“Yes I do,”
I don’t trust that “okay”.
“Qhawe, don’t buy it,”-me
“You like spoiling the fun don’t you? Enjoy,”-he says
I know him too well.
“I love you,”- send.
“I love you more. Look inside the wardrobe,”
It’s an Aero mint slab.
How did he do that?
“You’re such a charmer…”
“I live to impress,”-he says.
Now I’m going to be smiling to myself all day.
As to how and when he managed to slip a chocolate in here, I don’t know.
I have to go downstairs and join the rest.
“Someone is happy,”-Hlomu says as I walk in.
I did say Qhawe had turned me into a nutcase.
They’re all looking at me and my phone in my hand.
Let me explain.
“I was telling Chawe that we arrived here safe, he says we must enjoy ourselves,”
They’re still looking at me and I’m blushing because I know what they’re thinking.
Gosh I’m like a love-struck teenager.
Thando is still raving about how nice the house is. She’s just, excited about everything around her, and the fact that she’s dating Mpande.
Hlomu said she was a typical Mpande type, dark and tall and pretty. There’s just no chemistry between us though.
I’m trying to send Qhawe and SMS.
“Is this correct?”-I show Gugu my phone screen.
“Ngigugumbule…..” she reads out loud.
“What is that?”-Gugu.
“I want to say I miss him,”
They all burst out laughing.
“Ngikukhumbule, that’s what you should have written,”-Gugu.
I’m embarrassing myself here, but I’m going to keep trying, especially if I’m going to end up with a name like Naledi Zulu at some point in my life.
“I’m trying to learn Zulu,”-I say.
They should be offering help instead of laughing at me.
Xolie is on a mission to get Zandile drunk. I’d love to see her letting loose instead of always being perfect.
It’s dinner time, a bit too early for me but the chef, yes we have a chef here, says it’s time.
“So, Thando, where are you from?”-Hlomu asks.
I’d also like to know.
“My parents are from KZN but I grew up here in Joburg,” she says.
“How long have you known Mpande?”-Xolie.
This sounds familiar. I guess the interrogation is part of dinner table rules.
“Can you tell him apart from Mqoqi?”-Gugu
She laughs and says yes.
“Don’t worry Thando, I was also interrogated,”- I say
I remember it like it was yesterday. Luckily for Thando, she was not ambushed.
Zandile hasn’t touched her dessert at all, she’s been constantly typing on her phone, smiling and frowning and blushing…..
But nobody has said anything to her about that while I’m sitting here fighting the urge to take my phone and chat to Qhawe.
The decision is that from here we are going to sit on the porch and get drunk while we watch the ocean.
Zandile says no to that. She walks straight to the bedroom while we all follow Xolie out.
“I could make cocktails if you ladies want them,” the chef.
He’s speaking my language now.
“I’ll have a martini,”-me
“I’ll have a strawberry daiquiri,”-Thando.
“The way you bitches know alcohol!” Hlomu says.
“I’ll also have a mojito,” she says.
This was a perfect idea. The air is so fresh it reminds me of the glass house and that balcony I like standing on and breathing the air from the lake.
Did I tell you we once had sex there? At night, on the floor, the tiles were cold on my back but the man on top of me was giving me so much pleasure I was happy to bear the pain.
“What are we doing tomorrow?”-Thando
Hlomu and Xolie look at each other.
“We’re not sure, swimming and drinking,”-Xolie
I could just sit in this house and eat and drink forever.
“Good to see you without your phone,”-Gugu says to me
They’re starting again.
“I’m ignoring him a little but he’ll start going crazy soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him walking in here just now,”-me
“Qhawe and Mqhele are so similar, it’s like they’re one person,”-Xolie
“I still can’t tell them apart, after all this time,”-Gugu
“It also took me some time. I used to notice Mqhele by that scar he has on his arm,”-Xolie
I’m drunk now.
“This one time, before I met all of you, I almost hugged Mqhele thinking he was Qhawe, I was saved by the cigarette in his hand,” I say.
“Whaaaat??” they all scream.
Why am I telling this story again?
“I’m serious. I was at Qhawe’s house. He wasn’t in bed when I woke up so I went outside to look for him. I heard someone talking behind me, I turned around, I was sure it was him. I stopped just before my hands reached him,”-me
They all look shocked.
“What did he say?”-Thando
“He just stood there and looked at me. And then he said he was hungry,” I say
Great! They’re laughing at me again.
“I can just imagine him. It’s funny because I’ve always been able to tell them apart. I met all of them at night, at a hospital….it was madness,”-Hlomu says shaking her head.
“Yes, about two months after I met Mqhele. It’s a long story, I was still working, I was a journalist…”
“So I was on night shift and I went to cover a service delivery protest…..”
“You were physically at a service delivery protest?”-Gugu
It’s hard to believe.
“Yes, it was my job. And then, I got shot, by police, with rubber bullets. I called Mqhele and told him it was a minor thing but……you know him. I was taken to hospital, just for a check-up. The next thing I knew there was commotion at reception, I just knew it was him. I thought he’d brought the whole taxi rank but when I got there, I found big eyes all over the place, I had never been that freaked out in my life before,” she says.
I know they’ve been together for almost 14 years, so this must have been a long time ago.
“How old were you when you met?”
“I was 22, he was 27. I had just moved to Joburg, six months to be precise. One day, while queuing for a taxi at Bree….”
I can’t imagine her queuing for a taxi, or anything else for that matter.
“..this guy comes to me and tells me to move with the queue. I thought he was a queue marshal and I didn’t pay attention to him at all. He turned out to be the driver of the taxi I ended up in. He kept looking at me on the rear-view mirror. I was so annoyed,”
This is funny.
“And then the next morning I found him parked at the taxi stop, offering to drive me to work. I said no. In the afternoon he was parked at my office gate offering to take me home, I said no again. The next morning he was back, I said no,”
Wow! They really are the same.
“Again that afternoon, he was driving the taxi I was in, he played me this maskandi song. I was so disgusted. Imagine being stalked by a taxi driver in Joburg. Again, he was back the next morning, I said no gain. That afternoon, he was driving the taxi again, he played that maskandi song, I smiled. I had been trying not to think about him all day but I couldn’t help it,”
“I knew he’d be back the next morning so I spent the night thinking about how I was going to make him leave me alone, even though I knew I had started to feel something for him, I was not planning on dating a taxi driver,”
“So when I saw him that morning, I asked him when he was going to stop following me around. He said: “When your surname is Zulu”
“Ohhhhhhh” we all say at the same time.
“I couldn’t help but smile. I got in his car, a green Sprinter, and the rest is history,”
“Yes, a Sprinter. He loved that car. I thought it was dodgy. They were serious taxi-rank material, even the way they dressed and talked,” she says
Suddenly she looks serious.
“The thing is, they are all suits and tie now, but when I met them they were nothing like this. They already had taxis and they did have money. Mqhele had a house in Naturena, Nkosana also had a house, Nqoba had a house in the township from which he ran a pub of some sort. Sambulo I think was living in a flat in town with Qhawe and Mqoqi and Mpande were renting somewhere. They were scattered all around but they literally lived at Bree taxi rank. They were there all the time,” she says.
It sounds unreal if you look at them now.
“They didn’t really have a place they called home. Ntsika was living with Nqoba and he had stopped going to school. He was 17 at the time. One day, the first time I met Nkosana, he arrived in Naturena with three kids, the eldest being nine. I had never been told about kids existing in the family. They just said: “boys, you’ll stay here with your mother,” before they disappeared for four days. That’s how I met Sbani, Lwandle and Mvelo. That’s also when I became “mami”.
That must be the Mvelo that died with Oleta.
“The kids were just……..the younger two didn’t even go to school. Nkosana was trying but you know, he was a man also trying to raise his seven siblings. I had to take them shopping for clothes on that same day. I got them in school the following week and I got Ntsika back at school….”
“And you were only 22?”-me
“Yes, just 22. The worst was when Sambulo got shot and ended up in a coma, later in a wheelchair and after that on crutches. It was the most difficult thing to deal with,” she stops.
“Mqhele asked me to marry him a year after we met. He proposed at Bree taxi rank…” she says shaking her head.
“It was all great and fun until the question of where the traditional wedding was going to take place came up. We all knew my family wasn’t going to give me away unless things were done right. And so came the time to go back to Mbuba, for the first time since they ran for their lives while their parents were being hacked to death….”
That story still makes me cringe.
“It was tough, really tough, but they did it. And they made a decision that day to stop running. They rebuilt their home, that’s why we have Mbuba today. They were also reunited with Mzimela…”
Oh that old man with a mole over his eye.
“They owe him their lives. He’s the one that helped them escape when they were kids,” she says.
She’s quiet for a while.
“They’ve worked really hard for everything they have, really really hard. And we must appreciate that by spending the money as much as we can,” she says.
It’s funny how she can drop a joke in the middle of an intense statement.
Now I understand why she is valued so much. I know that I can never say something bad about Hlomu, not to Qhawe, I figured that out a long time ago.
“And then, fast-forward to when Sambulo brought a bubbly girl with beautiful eyes that blinked like a mermaid,” she says looking at Xolie.
“You didn’t like me at first Hlomu. Be honest,”-Xolie
“It’s not that I didn’t like you, it’s just that I was used to being the only female in the family and I had become overprotective of everyone. To let you in I had to trust you first. There were girls, Nkosana never had a stable one, Nqoba had Mandisa but she was a complicated story. I knew exactly where each woman in the family stood,” she says.
“Like that one who was with Qhawe…”
Oh-oh…..she’s going make my psycho now.
“I knew she was never going to last,” she says
How did she know?
“So Xolie, I had to figure you out first. I had to be protective…”
“But you’re still like that…”-Gugu says
“Yes you are. Do you remember how much Chawe freaked out when we pretended you didn’t like me?”-me
“Okay okay, I guess I still am like that. And yes, I will never let anyone destroy this family, or come between these brothers,” she says looking at Thando, her face suddenly serious.
What was that all about?
I leave them still sitting and go to take the call in the bedroom.
I hate lying to him, but if I tell him he will tell the others that we’re on our way home.
This is supposed to be a surprise, which doesn’t make sense because we were going to be home tonight anyway, the difference is we are going to be there at least three hours earlier than expected.
I don’t remember whose bright idea it was to do this but I didn’t protest because, you know, I’m still new in town.
Thando must stop drinking, she looks like hell today.
We should have hired a driver, Hlomu is a speed maniac. She did say when she took over the wheel that nobody was going to sleep while she drives. I’m glad we’re almost there. But then, I’m going to Zandile’s house, Qhawe will pick me up from there, which means instead of arriving at the airport to find my man waiting to take me straight home, I’m going to have to sit in this car for another hour while all these women and being delivered to their homes. I knew this was a bad idea.
We drop Thando off first. She looks like she’s about to cry. I don’t get it, I mean, the getaway was nice and all but we are all looking forward to seeing our men.
Zandile starts the car and leaves her standing there looking at the car like it’s the last time she’s seeing us.
“This man is not home,”-Gugu says when we drive inside her gate.
The house is dark, which means the baby is also not here because if Nqoba had fetched him from MaMnguni they would both be home by now.
Hlomu’s house is also empty.
“I hope haven’t left for the airport already,” she says.
It’s a bit early though. Our flight from Durban was going to leave an hour from now. MaMnguni is in her house, which means wherever they are the kids are with them.
Now it’s just the two of us. Zandile seems excited by the fact that we’re going to arrive unannounced. Maybe Nkosana loves surprises, I don’t know. But I know I wouldn’t pull this stunt on Qhawe, not on purpose, he’s too paranoid.
“I think they’re all here,” she says when we park outside.
They are, all the cars are here, including MY Maserati.
I sent Qhawe an SMS a few minutes ago saying I can’t wait to see him.
“Hello,” Zandile says with a smile on her face.
Nobody is smiling back, all we see are big eyes looking at us like we’re ghosts.
“You’re here?”- Sambulo speaks first.
Of course we’re here.
“We decided to take a road-trip instead,” -Zandile says.
They still look stunned.
Qhawe stands up and comes to me.
There’s noise, it’s the kids.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,”-Qhawe says to all of them and pulls me by hand out the door.
“I wanted to see the kids….”
“You’ll see them tomorrow, it’s late now let’s go home,” he says pushing me inside the car.
What the hell is going on?
“What’s going on?”-I ask
He’s not looking at me.
“What’s going on where? Nothing, I was waiting to go fetch you from the airport and now that you’re here we can just go home. So how was the beach?” he says running his hand up my thigh.
I hope they weren’t up to some dodgy bullshit because the way he pulled me out of that house was very suspicious.
His hand is still on my thigh and it’s going high up.
“What are you doing?”-me
“Touching my property,” he says.
Why is he always horny?
“So you can’t wait until we get home?”-me
“No,” he says pushing his hand inside my panties.
Why am I telling him to stop yet I’m sitting with my legs open?
“It’s so warm in here,” he says.
This guy though!
I push his hand out and sit with my legs closed. I can’t let him continue because he might just repeat what he did in the garage that night.
He was so shocked when I told him my father was getting married. But then, he said he knew my father had a woman in his life because no man can live without having sex. Just the thought of my father on top of a woman makes me cringe.
He thought it was funny but said that maybe when he has a wife he will stop terrorizing him. I haven’t told them that the game-farm situation was a joke. They still think they’re buying a game farm. But I heard Nkosana saying they will talk to my father about it again at the right time. I’m not sure what he meant by that.
The house is dark, which means he left during the day.
He leaves me in the garage and goes inside to turn the lights on.
“You can come in now, it’s safe,” he says.
He never forgets that his girlfriend is a psycho.
Damn! I missed this place.
His phone rings.
“Bafo,” he answers.
“We’ll talk in the morning,” he says and hangs up.
He has his hands over his head.
“What’s going on Chawe?”
He stops and stares.
“Nothing,” he says.
He must stop lying because he’s bad at it.
“I’m serious, it’s nothing to worry about, just……….a little problem that we shouldn’t worry about,” he says, picks up my bags and walks upstairs.
I’m tempted to call Hlomu and find out if everything is okay. But then again, what if it’s personal and she doesn’t want to talk about it, especially not to me.
I’m just going to take what this lousy liar told me and hope that I’ll find out the truth eventually.
“Did you eat?” I ask when he comes back downstairs.
I know he won’t say yes, that’s how much he loves his food.
“No I’m hungry,” he says
Why did I ask?
His phone rings again, he goes outside this time.
I’m going to make him a sandwich, he can’t expect me to start cooking at this hour. Besides, they should have ordered that deadly food they always eat when they are alone together, skop and tripe and all that stuff…..
I wonder what they fed those kids, including the crawling one.
“I haven’t seen you wearing your present yet,” he says standing in front of me.
I look up at him once and look down again.
I only wore it once, and that was when I tried it on.
“I’m going wear it on special occasions,” I say
“To me, every day with you is a special occasion,” he says.
Oh, I’m hanging out with the sweet Qhawe tonight.
“Chawe it’s a Hublot, I’m scared to wear it randomly, what if I drop it or if I lose it…….?”
“I’ll buy you another one,” he says.
He knows I loved it and I was happy when I found that box under my pillow. I didn’t open it until my dad and sisters were gone and I was left all alone in my house, and then I called him screaming……
But I don’t understand why he’d buy me a R70 000 watch when there are starving children all over the world.
But then again, they say when you have too much you forget about what the world outside looks like.
Let me just ask…
“Do you give back? As in, do you have something that you do to give back to society? Donations and stuff like that?”
He looks like he’s in deep thought.
“Yes, but I’m not sure who it is exactly that we give to, it’s Hlomu’s kind of thing. If she says she wants this much money to give to whoever, it’s given to her, no questions asked,” he says.
Oh. I had no idea. At least some good is being done.
“She also had this thing set up for children of our drivers, the ones who do well in matric go to tertiary with that money,” he says.
That is cool….
“And oh, she and Xolie made us apologise to the people of Mbuba, and the next thing we knew we were building a school and a clinic and some community centre place,” he says shaking his head.
I can just tell that he’s not into this thing of giving back. There are things about him that make it obvious that he has never had a woman in his life on a full-time basis.
I promised Lesedi this.
“You know Lesedi is a teacher right?”
“In a high school,”
He nods again.
“So I was thinking that if you have time, whenever, it would be nice if we went there and you know, we could stop by the school and just……”
He looks confused.
“Lesedi says a lot of boys are dropping out of school because of things like drugs. Some come from fatherless homes so they think it’s their responsibility to find work and support their families……it’s a long list really,”-me
He’s still confused.
“So I think it would be nice and helpful if you go there and give a talk. Tell them your story and how you came from nothing but made it this far. You could save a lot of them, they just need someone to tell them that it’s doable,” I say
Maybe I shouldn’t have…….
“When?” he asks.
“Whenever you’re ready,” I say
“Hi, I brought you breakfast in bed,” he says.
He still does this thing of waking up early every morning.
“Really? What did you make?”
It’s a cereal. Sigh.
I stand up and go to the bathroom. I don’t even know what time it is.
When I come back he’s sitting on the bed, his eyes all over the place.
Something is wrong.
I pick up the cereal bowl and start eating.
“What time is it? Where’s my phone,”-I ask.
Normally the alarm clock wakes me at 7am.
He doesn’t answer.
I look around the bedroom, I don’t see it anywhere.
“I must have left it downstairs last night,” I say
He looks relieved.
“No, it was here next to me when we went to sleep, I remember I sent Tshedi a message just before I slept,”
Oh well. I’ll look for it later.
He’s a bit anxious.
“I’ll drive to Kimberley with you, we can leave now so that we can be there early,” he says.
Normally he doesn’t want me to leave when I’m here, and now all of a sudden he wants me to go home?
Did something happen while we were away?
“I want to go to the mall first, I need a few things for my house. I thought we’d have lunch too, I mean, I’m going home next weekend so I won’t see you,”-I say
I’m a bit worried.
“We can do lunch another time Naledi. I’m sure you can find whatever you’re looking for in Kimberley,”
I don’t understand.
What’s going on?
“Shower when you’re done eating so we can leave,” he says.
Why is Qhawe trying to get rid of me?
So many thoughts are rushing to my mind right now? What did I do? What did I say?
“Chawe, what’s going on?”
“Going on where?”
I stare at him.
“Why are you trying to get rid of me? Why don’t you want me here? What did I do? Is there someone else….?”
I’m breathing fast. I think I’m going to have a panic attack….
“I’m not trying to get rid of you. And what do you mean there’s someone else?”
I don’t know. I’m panicking.
There’s a sound of a phone vibrating. It’s not his, his is on the bed and it’s not vibrating.
He ignores it.
“Is that my phone vibrating?”- I ask
“What phone? I don’t hear anything,”
What is going on with him?
“Chawe give me my phone, it’s in your pocket, I can see it moving,” I say
Why would he hide my phone?
He stands up and walks to stand by the door.
This is really strange.
“Chawe I want my phone!” I shout.
He walks away.
What the fuck!
I follow him.
He stops and raises his hands.
I pull it out of his pocket.
He stands still.
So many missed calls and messages?
I look up at him.
“Baby,” he says.
What on earth is going on here?
Most of the calls are from my sisters. There are two from Tsietsi and some numbers I don’t recognise.
There are dozens of Facebook notifications too.
I look up at him again, he drops his eyes.
I’ll start with the messages.
“You’re worrying me now, answer your phone,”-Tshedi
“Qhawe says you’re still sleeping, I don’t believe him, I’m coming over there,”– Omphi
“What’s going on?”-I ask him.
Next is Facebook.
I’m all over it. There’s a picture of me in…..
He tries to snatch the phone from my hand.
“You don’t have to read that…..”
It’s a picture of a tabloid front page.
MEET THE “DYNAMITE” MRS QHAWE ZULU
I’m “Mrs” now?
And what do they mean “dynamite”.
“Where did they get these pictures Chawe?”
I have all kinds of emotions taking over me. How can they violate my privacy like this? Now my body is splashed out for the world to see…
“How did this happen Chawe?”
“Baby I’m sorry, I don’t know…”
He tries to hug me but I push him away.
She isn’t bad looking but she’s not exactly what we expected from Qhawe. The man is known for his love of the magazine cover perfect type. Now, we’re not saying the good doctor, (yes, at least she has brains) will take up two chairs at family dinner tables, but we are saying she is a bit of a downgrade from Oleta(may she rest in peace).
I stop reading. I can’t anymore. What did I do to these people?
“I want to go home,” I say
He stands still.
“I want to go home Chawe,”
“No! Don’t touch me! You let this happen! You should have stopped them but you didn’t. You can get anything you want right? You can pay anyone to make things go away but you allowed this? You allowed this to be done to me Chawe? I’m done! I’m going home!” I scream.
He grabs me by my waist but I push him off. He almost falls.
I go back to the bedroom and lock the door.
My phone rings, it’s Omphi, I switch it off.
I start packing.
This is not what I signed up for and I won’t allow it to happen again. If this is what life is going to be like with him, I’m sorry I can’t be here.
“Naledi open the door please, can we talk about this?”
What’s there to talk about? I thought he was supposed to protect me from these things. What’s my father going to say when he sees those pictures?
What are my bosses, my patients, my colleagues going to say when they see that?
I should never have listened to those women when they told me to take my dress off. Nothing is being said about them because they are skinny and perfect.
And me……a downgrade? They’re calling me a downgrade? Is that what I am to Qhawe?
“I’m not leaving until you open this door! I’ll sit here and wait all day if I have to!” he shouts.
“Just leave me alone Chawe!”
“That’s not gonna happen,” he shouts.
This is all his fault. He should have just left me alone and not pursued me. I was fine before him.
I want to leave now, but he won’t let me go past him.
Why is this happening to me???
“Naledi! Naledi!” he shouts.
I wish I could cry silently but I can’t.
He banging on the door and shouting my name.
I need a break. I just need a break from everything, including him.
“Naledi your dad is on the phone,” he says.
Where did my dad get his numbers? He’s lying.
“I’m sorry…..I don’t know how it happened….I understand……yes it’s my fault….”
Is he really talking to my dad?
“Give me the phone!” I say snatching it from him.
He tries to push his way in but I slam the door on his face.
“Naledi, where are you?”
“I’m at Chawe’s house,”
“Tshedi called me crying, are you okay?” he asks.
I don’t know what to say, I don’t want him to hear that I’m crying.
“I’ve always told you this, people who say mean things about you are not worth your tears. They don’t know you, you don’t know them, don’t allow them to hurt you with words,” he says.
He doesn’t understand…
“Ntate I don’t care much about what they said, but why did they have to splash pictures of me like that? Now the whole world has seen me naked…..”
“Yes and so what? Is it going to kill you? Is it going to take anything away from you?”
He’s just saying that. He doesn’t know how it feels.
“Come home now or I’ll drive there!” he says.
I can’t do that. How am I going to face him?
“I’ll think about it,”
“No, you won’t think about it, come home,” he says.
I say goodbye and hang up.
I hate feeling like this.
Qhawe is still there, I just know it.
I have to sit.
If I have to sit on this bed all my life then that’s what I’ll do. I can’t go out to face the world, not when it does this to me.
I hear another voice outside the bedroom.
“Baby……” he says knocking.
He must go away
“Naledi, baby please open the door,” he says
“Baby Zah is here, she wants to see you,” he says.