THE ONE

INSERT 48

TSHEPO

Life was going to be so much easier if there were no all sorts of cravings. This baby is making me eat like a pig. If I don’t order buckets of meat then I have boxes of pizzas waiting for me to devour. I have made peace with it, I am going to lose my figure for good. How am I going to gain ten more kilos and shed it off afterwards? I wonder how.
I was also never warned about hormones and how crazy they can get. I get excited, angry and sad in the same second. Just like that I snap like a ticking bomb.
I don’t wish to be at work today. I have some longest report to prepare and it is Charlotte’s wedding tomorrow. I honestly am not looking forward to it. Having to see Lufuno parade all over the place will just make me puke. I wish I could chose between going and not showing up. I wish to stay behind and stuff my face with cakes and pop corns. I might also get to see Tokello aswell. He left running the day my father lured him into his study. What was he thinking though? I told him my family has not forgiven him. I don’t understand how he followed my father into a private room for a chat. He listened to what my father said. He never calls me now. It is good I guess. Maybe my father saved me from my own mistakes. I mean, I get bored sometimes and maybe Tokello was going to be back in my life for the worst. I don’t need a man now. I think after Khathu, I just need to relax and do me. I never thought love could disappoint me this much once more. I was never ready. Worse, I am pregnant for a man who wants nothing to do with me. That is just too painful but I understand. This is life and not a fairy tale.
“Bakang, are you getting yourself breakfast?” I ask him over the phone. He has become my puppet and shame my poor bother is playing along.
“I already had breakfast.”
“Can you pretty please rush to Mugg n Bean and get me some?” I ask and bite my lip, waiting for him to respond.
“I am going to a meeting now…but its fine, I can rush there for you.”
“Okay I want chicken mayo and mozzarella toast anddd chocolate and raspberry oats…with a red cappuccino.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“No, I am not. I will pay you back…go now…I am waiting.” I hang up. He is my brother, he should fit in where Khathu cannot.
My phone rings before I could even put it on silent. I can’t help but smile at the man who is flashing on my screen.
“Hi Khathu.”
“Oh, it is you…thought your father still has your phone.”
“No…he gave it back. He told me what he did to you, I apologise.”
“It’s cool…How are you and the baby?”
“We good…I can’t complain for the both of us,” I say and hear a soft chuckle. He is not himself. “How are you Khathu?”
“Well…I am okay. Just a lot going on but I am fine,” he says and there is silence. I want to ask why he is calling me but that would be rude. Hearing his voice is nice anyway and I still hope that there is that little chance between him and I. I cannot lie and say I am over him. I still pray for things to work between us.
“Khathu, are you there?” The silence is deafening.
“Yeah…uhm…I wanted to ask for a favour.”
“Sure?” if it has nothing to do with Lufuno, I am game.
“I was telling my mother about you and how my family is expected to meet yours…so she insist on meeting you before then.”
“What? Why would she want to see me?”
“I don’t know. She is not giving me peace hey…it is starting to annoy the hell out of me…so I just wanted to find out if it’s possible for you to come by…preferably when you are in a hurry so that you don’t stay for long.”
“Khathu, I don’t know.”
“Please…I just want to rest and not have her nag me all day…but if you can’t, I still understand.”
“What’s up? Why do you sound so defeated? I mean I can barely hear you…what’s up?”
“Just got out of jail two days ago…and…”
“Jail? Khathu what were you doing in jail?”
“Such a long story.” He sighs deeply.
“Fine, I will come by after work.” I say before we both hang-up. I am honestly worried about him. Why would he be in jail?
The phone call honestly messed my day. I lost all my appetite before Bakang could be back with the feast. The time is ticking slowly. Instead of waiting for knock off time, I rush to Khathu’s house to find out how he is. It is awkward to be here but I need to have this done.
Khathu comes to the living room after he was called by the lady who opened the door for me. I take it, it is the nanny. I am seated on a couch facing the corridor so I can see him drag his feet to where I am seated. I last saw him a few days ago but he looks like he lost so much weight. He doesn’t have that ‘thang’ anymore. I should confess, watching him in those grey lose pants is making me feel a bit horny. I can trace his manhood in those light pants. I quickly look away before anyone notices me drooling over my EX.
“You made it early,” he says while sitting next to me. I tell him I am worried about him. “You shouldn’t be worried about me, I am fine.”
“Why were you in jail?” I ask.
“I am out now…it ain’t important.”
“But, why were you there in the first place.”
“Because of Lufuno,” a voice says from behind the couch. I turn to meet an elderly woman who is definetly Khathu’s mother.”
“How many times should I say this…it is not Lufuno’s fault that I was in jail?” Khathu says while his mother sits on a couch opposite us. I want to ask so many questions but I don’t. I am curious of how the precious Lufuno got her man in jail though.
“So, you must be Tshepo,” she says and I nod. She looks very friendly.
“I am Mme,” I say.
“So you are carrying my grandchild…how are you?” She asks. I won’t dare mention Khathu’s surname coz it leaves me tongue twisted, always, so I will settle on calling her ‘she’.
“I am fine. It is just that the baby leaves me with so much cravings,” I say with a laugh. It is the truth.
“Nurse that craving…that’s how the babies communicate,” she says and I laugh. If I listen to her, I won’t be able to walk soon.
“Tell me, why are you two not working on your relationship?” she asks while staring at me. What am I supposed to say? Khathu is seated with his hands on his temple. He doesn’t look like one who will rescue me.
“Mme…Khathu and I decided on co-parenting this baby.”
“Co-parenting…co-parenting…for what reason?” she asks, seeming annoyed.
“Uhm…we just could not go on with the relationship…and we were both happy about the decision.” This is the truth. Khathu and I were never going to work with Lufuno in the picture. She fills a very huge space in his heart, that I am hundred percent sure. I was not about to compete with another woman so I had to walk out of the relationship. It is painful, I won’t lie, but that was the best thing I could do for myself. When I love, I do it whole heartedly. When I give my love to someone, it is undiluted. Khathu was never going to give me the love I deserve. I don’t think he is capable of doing so with Lufuno at the back of his head. If we can deal with Lufuno, then I stand a huge chance of being his one.
“I am an old person…and I am going to tell you something very important…” she says and clears her throat. Khathu is still uninterested.
“Yes, Mme,” I say.
“It is always best when a child grows up from a loving family. Sometimes you will have to take some decisions to make your child happy and for her to grow in a loving family…I think your break-up reasons are workable. All I am saying is, can’t you do this for the baby?” she asks.
“I cannot be with a man who is in love with another woman.”
“Who, Lufuno? He is just confused,” she says and a smile creeps in my lips. I would love to know that Khathu is just confused. I would love to know that he loves me and not her, but I would be lying to myself. Khathu loves Lufuno and no matter how much that makes me sick, I cannot change that. The baby won’t change that either. I just need a little healing so that I can move on and be happy all by myself. He just needs to be over her and we will be happy together.
“Well…these days we do everything differently…we can always parent together and make everything work…just like he is co-parenting with Michelle’s mom.”
“That baby is torn apart I tell you…I cannot allow all my grandchildren to grow up in this kind of a set-up. sometimes you might need to comprise and you will find happiness along the way,” she says. She doesn’t have an idea of what I will be dealing with. I will be dealing with a man who will physically be there with me but will be emotionally detached from me. That is what Khathu will give me.
“Tshepo, thanks for coming…but I think you can go now,” Khathu finally says from his seat. He doesn’t look at me.
“She is not going anywhere…i am still having a chat with her.”
“I don’t see a point of any of this…no point at all. All you do is criticize Lufuno and you know nothing about her…nothing at all Makhulu wa Michelle,” he yells. I widened my eyes. I have never seen Khathu like this.
“I tell you always that I know better.”
“Know better about what? About my life? Please ma.”
“What do you know?” she asks.
“Tell me what Lufuno did to you for you to hate her so much? What did she do, huh?” he says. See what I meant? This is what I want my man to do for me, defend me.
“Lufuno ended you in jail…what more sign do you want from all of these? You have a woman pregnant…why not marry her and be a family? Are you going to be popping children everywhere you go? I am helping you here because I know better.”
“Lufuno never got me in jail…never…it was just a misunderstanding. How many times should I mention that?”
“Inwi Tshepo, don’t you love Khathu?” she asks. Why is she making everything so awkward. I find myself nodding. “If you love him, don’t you want to start a family with him?” That is what I wish for but not with Khathu anymore. I love him so much with everything in me but he doesn’t love me the same way, shame. I think I am too young to settle for that. Call me naïve or young, but I don’t want to be in a forced relationship. This is going to be a forced relationship. What Khathu’s mother is doing is forcing a relationship.
“Uhm…I think I should get going. Tomorrow is my friend’s wedding and she needs me and the other friends to help her around.”
“Others are getting married and you two are still fooling around.”
“Ma, Please.”
“Please what…nne I am not going to pay for Tshepo’s damages…we are going to ask for her hand in marriage,” she says and Khathu shoots his eyes to her in shock. He doesn’t say anything but his face said it all. You know, I had that little hope within me that I was wrong about Khathu. I am glad I came here today because I got my confirmation. Khathutshelo Ne..Nee…eish, Khathutshelo does not love me the way he loves his woman. Done, sealed, this case is closed.
“Ma, we don’t really need the damages and all…my father said it is not necessary.”
“Haibo?”
“Yah, we are not so traditional…your family do not have to come for anything,” I say, hoping she believes it. I am done with Khathu. I will hurt myself even more for fishing for more truth.
“I need to be part of that baby’s life…you know what your father said,” he says.
I pick my bag from the couch and hurry out. I think my hormones are taking over now and I am proud of myself for even staying longer than I did. Maybe I am just sad to know that there is no more hope for me and Khathu. That little fire of hope is deemed now. This is it, I am done wishing and I am done dreaming about my future with this man. I got my answer today and with that, I will live happily knowing the truth.
I am not the one for Khathu, I was never it.
“Tshepo, please…you cannot walk away just like that…” he says from behind.
“Why not? So that I can hear about how much me and you can never work?”
“No…not that. I want to be part of the baby’s life.”
“Fine.”
“Fine what?”
“Fine, you can be part of your baby’s life…but please stay away from me until the baby is here.”
“What?”
“You heard me. I will let you know.”
“Please Tshepo,” he begs.
“No Khathu…I want to carry full term…please…I want to stress about what to eat and what colour to start buying for it…not that you are coming to see my baby while your woman is waiting for you in the car or something. I am jealous…please…just give me space until then.”
“Tshepo, please…”
“I got it, I am not the one for you…fine…I always knew it anyway…please give me space…just a few months. Let me get over you,” I bowl at him. My face is a mess now because ‘hormones’.
“Tshepo…”
“Bye Khathu…I will call you when the baby is born.”
I can’t keep hurting myself like this. I can’t!
What did I say about being happy, angry and sad in one second?? I know the hormones might be taking over but I know I cannot settle for this. I can’t.