THE ONE

INSERT 46

LUFUNO

“She is not pregnant, is she?” my mother asks and I give her an eye. Why would she think pregnancy out of all things? I have a condition that they need to help me fix.
“Pregnant? Oh…well,” the doctor says.
“Oh, well what?” I gaze at him. “Oh…well, what?”
“I take it, a pregnancy won’t make you happy… I was saying oh well, the focus was not on that but she is not pregnant.”
Phew!! Did he really have to make me stress like this? I let out a sigh and the doctor seems to regret playing about such important news.
“Fine,” I say. I am glad I am not pregnant because it was just going to complicate my life and I don’t need that right now. I also have to get over my first child before welcoming the next one. It is safe to say that the healing journey is going on well. When I feel ready and content, then I will be ready to welcome another baby. All this might be impossible with Tshepo’s baby on the way. Khathu might not want another child with a different mother and that leaves me childless and nursing other people’s children. That is the mountain that stands between Khathu and I.
“I thought I was going to clear you today but due to the high blood check up with the nurse, hours earlier…I feel it will be best that I stay here and monitor it until tomorrow.
“Please, I need to get home and start finiliasing Charlotte’s wedding,” I say. People should understand that Charlotte’s wedding is meant to be the wedding of the year and I have to be hands-on to ensure that all is well.
“Lufuno, you need to rest. Don’t you pay people to run everything for you?” Mum says and I give her a weak smile. She doesn’t understand but it is okay.
“Okay, I promise not to work…but I need to be in my space. This place depresses me even more. I just need to sleep in the shower and smell the roses and do things that makes me happy. I promise to take it easy on the work.”
“Well, I can have you sign the papers to release you…I think it shouldn’t be a problem, but I would loved to keep you for a day or two.”
“Let me sign, I need out,” I say and Mum frowns. Can anyone understands how hospitals are? They are more depressing. I want my own space and to watch TV without headsets.
The doctor shares the rest of the results and I am grateful that the heart failure is not worsened, as long as I take my meds and run away from problems. Run-away from problems, the doctor said but how do I do that when I am in love with a man who has another woman pregnant? I am conflicted by this one because I might end up hurting myself. I want to love him but I am afraid he might not love me back without holding back.
The doctor clears me to go and Gean drops my mother and I at my apartment. The first thing I do before anything else is to take a longest warm bath, contemplating on what to do next. I
“Do you still love drinking soup?” Mum asks while standing from my bedroom door, “Are you loosing weight?”
“Ah, not really…I think it is just because of the hospital stay,” I say while scanning my body on the mirror.
“We need to talk, don’t we?” Mum asks.
“I don’t think so…I am fine.”
“That right there is what you always gave me when you were raging in your heart, always.” She sits on the bed and I join her. We are about to get deep, I know we are.
“How was I when I was growing up?” I ask. Maybe what I am going through has everything to do with my childhood. Sometimes it gets so complicated that I get to think maybe I am cursed, you know? Happiness, just a bit of it, is what I long for. I want to be happy, genuinely happy but it seem impossible.
“You were always amazing, from a very young age,” Mum says with a smile and I smile back, “You always hosted tea parties for your dolls and you loved to pick your own clothes. I think everybody, actually nobody understood you and I think it is still that way even today. You used to do you, always. I remember Lucy used to go out to play and you stayed in the house, re-arranging my furniture and helping me cook and bake.”
“I still love to bake and cook.”
“I knew you would end up baking and cooking and hosting people…it has always been in you.”
“How was my relationship with Lucy…she hates me now.”
“The divorce with Oscar turned her sour but give her time, she will be alright. She always blamed you anyway.”
“She did?” My mother never told me this.
“You should know she lived in your shadow for so long. She wanted to be you but you were unreachable. I use to dress you both in this particular way, she liked it but you hated it so you re-arranged your clothes and people loved it and praised you more than her…leaving her heartbroken. You used to do things together but you were praised and cheered more than her because of your final touches. I never blamed you, you were different and you are almost the same age.”
It does make sense why she blames me this much. I just wish she had done things differently. Accusing me of cheating with her husband was a blow to my stomach.
“Ma, I need your advice,” I say. Maybe she can tuckle this with me.
“Anything.”
“I met someone.”
“When do I get to meet him?” she asks and I blush.
“He also has a pregnant woman who…,” I say and she frowns. The smile she had is wiped away from her face. It is a big piece to chew. “Don’t worry Ma…it was before we decided to be in a relationship. I thought I was going to handle all of that, but now I am scared if I might be able to.”
“It is not going to be easy,” she says. That is just the truth I know.
“I don’t know if I can do this.”
“You know it baby…you know what you want. Deep down in your heart is the truth you want to do…don’t hesitate on it,” she says while squeezing my hand. She is not a typical mother who would help you run away from your problems. She had always wanted us to make our choices, mistakes and decisions. I think that is why she leaves a happiest life with her husband.
“What about the baby? He has another older child and what if he doesn’t want the third child so soon, and I want one?”
“Then you will have to decide what is more important to you…the baby or him,” she says. I need her to tell me what to do. For the first time in my life, I want someone to tell me to be with Khathu and endure whatever pain coming my way or to leave him because our relationship will not work out.

Dad sends us a text that Khathu is released from jail. I am thrilled to the news. Atleast I can get him lawyers to clear his name if he ever gets to court or something. I want to go see him but Dad says to give him space. I am told he looks like a person who needs space right now. I have to respect that. What I could do is to call and find out how he is holding up. His phones rings to voicemail. That left me sleepless almost the whole night. I am worried about him. As complicated as we are, I am worried about us aswell.
I only slept in the early hours of the morning. I watched movies after movies until I dozed off. I am woken by my mother walking in my room. Unlike Gean, she respects my curtains. She knows I don’t like the light from outside. She puts a tray of breakfast on the pedestal next to my bed side. She has eggs and a toast, just like I love it. She also placed the pills on a container.
“I can get used to this,” I say and she cracks up. I missed my mother dearly.
“How are you feeling?”
“I am okay, I guess.”
“Don’t be afraid to say it when you are not okay Lufuno. It is okay not to be okay.”
“I need to see Khathu. I really do.”
“Why don’t you go there after lunch? Let him rest this morning while we go shop for some flowers. After your afternoon medication, then you can see him.”
I like that because of the flower shopping and having to give Khathu sometime to himself. He hasn’t called since last night and I am trying to be fine about it. Why is he not calling me?
I force myself to eat breakfast before getting ready for the day. I pick a simple long red dress and a black biker jacket. I should have been working on Charlotte’s wedding but that will stress me a bit if things are not going accordingly. I want to flood Gean’s phone with texts but I choose to trust my team. I pay them well to do a greatest job.
Muzi’s name rings in my head as I comb my hair. He was my angel, wasn’t he? How could I be so stupid to be blinded by his love? I will deal with all these on another day. I have to choose to do things that will make me happy. Shopping for flowers makes me happier.
I follow behind my mother as we walk around PlantLand in Atterbury. For the first time in my life, I don’t want to be here. I want to be in Khathu’s house. I need to find out how he is doing.
“You know what, go…before you faint on me.”
“What?”
“You are miles away. I said go see him now before you faint on me,” she says and I clock an Uber without hesitating.
The Uber drops me at the gate. I take a deep sigh before knocking on the door. The nanny opens for me and leads the way to the living room.
“Is Khathu here?” I ask and she nods before telling me he is sleeping. I want to rush to his room but I am told his mother is here already. I settle on the couch and wait for anyone to join me.
Mrs Nengwenda walks to the living room. She is older than my mother but not too old. She has an unwelcoming face.
“Ndi do ri ndi nnyi?” she asks while taking a seat in an opposite chair.
“My name is Lufuno,” I respond. I hope she doesn’t ask how I am related to Khathutshelo. Atleast not now.
“Oh, you are the woman who took my son to jail?”
“No, there was just some misunderstanding…he was…”
“What misunderstanding? Khathu left his child to go to jail for you…that’s what I was told,” she says with her voice slightly raised. Why am I not surprised? I am used to people blaming me for their troubles.
“I am sorry for all the misunderstanding Mrs Nengwenda…I am truly sorry. I came to see how he is doing and…”
“Let him rest,” she says.
“Can I bring something to drink?” the nanny asks.
“I would love a glass of water, please.”
“And also Mandiwana, please make that tea that Khathu loves…and take it to his room,” Mrs Nengwenda says and I stare at her. I didn’t know the nanny goes to his bedroom.
“Haaa…vho Nengwenda, he is still sleeping,” Mandiwana, I had forgotten her name, says.
“Ndiri, take a cup of tea to his room.”
“Okay, if he is awake, can you please ask him to join us? I need to ask how I can help regarding the lawyers,” I say. I don’t know if it is wrong to ask. I just want to see Khathu and see for myself that he is okay. By the look of things, I might leave this house without seeing him.
“Mandi, take a cup of tea to your man…he might be thirsty,” Mrs Nengwenda says and Mandi shy away while I am stunned.
What is going on here?
“Mrs Nengwenda…mara Khathu is not my man vhathuwele,” Mandiwana says and rushes out of the room.
“I don’t know how many times I should tell you that he is…heee Mandiwana…you need to get that into your head,” Mrs Nengwenda yells at her from the living room to the kitchen.
I want to jump in and ask but that would be disrespectful, right?
“Mrs Nengwenda…did Khathu mention anything about me?” I ask calmly. I can’t directly ask her if she knows that I am Khathu’s girlfriend.
“He only told me that he was in jail because of Lufuno,” she says and cross her arms with an angry face.
What a blow.
Mandiwana brings me a glass of water and tea for Mrs Nengwenda.
“Inwi Mandiwana, I said take tea to Khathu’s bedroom. Why do I have to repeat myself? That man needs your warmth and care…who is going to be there for him if you can’t even give him a cup of tea?”
Is this about a cup of tea?
“Haaaa Vho Nengwenda…” Mandi says while treading to the kitchen.
Yah neh! I smile to myself.
This is going to be harder than I thought.