THE ONE

INSERT 52

TSHEPO

“It’s a boy…it’s a boy,” I hear my mom scream in excitement.
I open my eyes and the inside of the cake is indeed blue. Today is my baby shower and also the gender reveal party as Charlotte calls it. I was willing to know the gender when the baby is born but I got pretty anxious about not knowing. Just like everyone, I was now dying to know if it is a boy or girl.
“Oh, my God…it’s a booyyy?” I say with tears threatening to fill up my eyes. I had prayed so much for a boy so that a girl won’t have to be heart broken by men just like what I went through. I have no idea what to do as a mother but this boy will teach me exactly what I need to know. I can just imagine him as handsome as his father. He won’t be as dark but I can just imagine how cute he will be.
Mum takes the knife from my hand and continues to cut the cake while my few friends and family hug me, congratulating me on the boy. I know, I know…the doctor might be mistaken, but I consulted with Dr Mula and Dr Robbie; and the results where the same. Charlotte told me so because she is the one who collected the results from both my GP and Gyne.
“Now I can shop for boys’ clothes,” Mum says while hugging me. She insisted on coming to the baby shower and I am glad she did.
“You thought it was a girl,” I say while carefully landing on my couch.
“Those morning sickness you had throughout? I was sure it was a girl.”
I was literally sick the whole pregnancy. It was either I was grumpy or didn’t have appetite. The morning sickness and heart burn were the worst.

It was a long day but I had fun with my family. Now I am exhausted from posing with hundreds of people and smiling for the camera all day. Bakang and his friends are packing my presents into his car to take to my parents’ house. Apparently a pregnant woman cannot stay by herself, in case she goes on labour. I still have two more weeks before the delivery day. I just need one last night all by myself before I move back home.
I will be renting my apartment out until I am capable of nursing my child all by myself.
The babyshower was hosted at a boutique hotel in Midrand and everything looked absolutely gorgeous. If Charlotte didn’t know how much I don’t like Lufuno, I would have thought it is her company that hosted us. But she assured me that Lufuno was never part of any of these.
I am sitting here waiting for Charlotte to drive me to my apartment. I left the house, thinking I am coming here for a massage, only to find my family seated and waiting for me. She still owes me a full body massage…I so neeed it.
“Remember I told you my husband’s friend saw you at the wedding?” she asks while leading the way to my apartment. We are now at my complex. She has my bags and I am dragging my feet behind her.
“Charlotte…please…”
“What is wrong with you? It’s not like you are in a relationship or something?”
“Seriously Charlotte?”
“I am damn serious…when last did you see Khathu?”
“I don’t need to see him,” I say. The last time I saw him was at his house, visiting his mother and that was it, many months ago. He hasn’t bothered me since then and his family never came to mine for any chat or whatsoever. My father is pleased because then the baby will belong to my family. I am saddened, even though I am the one to shush him away. It was for the best though because I cried less and never had much room to be angry about him and his girlfriend.
“I am worried about you,” she says. “I am hooking you up…and here you are playing hard to get.”
“I am not playing hard to get…I just don’t want to complicate things.”
“Complicate what thing? You making room for Khathu to come back into your life, ain’t you? I think the dude is happy wherever he is…I mean, he didn’t even force to be in your life after you told him to stay away…if he really loved you, then he would have made means…but where is he now?”
Truth hurts sometimes. I just had that little hope but I know I am just fooling myself.
“Do you want tea?” I ask as we get into the house.
“I will make us tea…it is fine,” she says while proceeding to the kitchen. I settle on the couch and switch on to TLC. This is my birth preparation channel. I watch those scary birth stories so that I prepare myself for the worst scenario.
“Do you think I should invite Khathu when I give birth? I had always wished for the father to be there for support and that bond, you know?” I ask. I have been conflicting myself with this question.
“I think you should invite him…but be prepared for anything.”
“What’s anything?”
“What if the girlfriend doesn’t want him to be there with you?”
“Do you think it can get to that?”
“Yes, why not? I know a colleague of mine who was in your situation…the ex husband asked if his new woman can be there for moral support.”
“What? Lufuno is not coming near my baby at birth.”
“Why do you hate her so much?”
“Do you hear yourself Charlotte? I know she is your favourite person…but really? How can you be this insensitive?” I ask and she shrugs. I might be over reacting but I don’t need Lufuno in my delivery room. If Khathu has to choose between us, fine, he can choose her all over again!
“Sooo…what are you doing with this apartment. It is so cosy and beautiful.”
“I am renting it. I plugged an AD but no responses yet. I will let Bakang handle it once I get home,” I say.
“So when are you moving out?”
“Tomorrow…most of my things are gone. I just have a luggage bag and toiletries in my bedroom, Mum wants me home ASAP.”
Charlotte only leave when it was already time to sleep. Problem is, I can’t easily fall asleep. I get a lot of Braxton Hicks and they are getting intense by the day.
I toss and turn until I pick my phone for Facebook. First, I unblock Khathu’s cell number from the caller list and whatsapp.
Flip! I forgot I blocked him. But if he really needed to talk, he would have made the means. I wish to call him and ask how he is doing, but the thought of calling at this hour and having his precious girlfriend pick the phone is making me sick so I let it go.
I think of leaving an SMS to let him know I am going on labour in a few weeks, but it will be too obvious that I need his attention and that is just embarrassing.
My phone beeps an SMS.
“I am interested in renting your apartment.” – An SMS from a stranger at 23h30. Who does that?
“When do you want to move in?” I respond back on WhatsApp. Blame it on the boredom.
“How soon can I move in? I am desperate.”
“As soon as Monday. I am moving out tomorrow.”
“Do you allow pets? I have a dog.”
“No pets, No parties and no overcrowding the apartment,” I respond. Why didn’t I hand this to a property management team? I shouldn’t be dealing with tenants.
“Where is this apartment?” the potential tenant asks and I leave the name of the building without the unit number. They will have to call me before knocking on my door.
I toss and turn until I made it to fall asleep.

I am woken up by a bang that sounds like Bakang’s. He knocks like a man and I am easily irritated. Since the pregnancy, I am irritated easily so I storm to the door in a tank top and pj shorts.
“Whaatttt?” I shout after opening the door.
What the heck? What is a handsome man doing on my door step?
He is standing infront of me with one hand in the pocket. Since when do they make coloured man this fine?
“We spoke last night,” he says with a smile.
“We did?” I ask. I had an impression I was chatting to a woman and that was just minutes ago.
“We did…”
“But, wait a minute…I never gave you my unit number,” I say. I gave him the complex but never a unit number. He stares into my eyes and smile sweetly. I am here standing in Bakang’s old tank top and invisible shorts. I don’t even want to think about how my hair looks like. Once I sleep, I sleep…unless we need to pee.
“I asked around,” he says and I hesitate to let him in. This is how you let strangers kidnap you and kill you without anyone knowing, “Okay, I got it from Charlotte.”
“Oh…” I slowly open the rest of the door and let him in. He walks in slowly and takes a look around the kitchen. Thank God, Charlotte cleaned up for me last night, or else I would have been embrassed right now. I am so lazy these days.
“This is a beautiful apartment…why are you renting it out?” he asks. I am still here when I should have rushed to my bathroom to get cleaned up. I don’t even know what time it is.
“Uhm…I cannot be myself, can i?” I ask while showing off the belly. “So you can only rent for six months or so.”
“Six months…fair.”
“Please take a sit, I will be back in a minute.”
I rush to my bedroom and lock the door. I don’t even want to look myself in the mirror.
“whaattttt??” I silently scream to myself. I didn’t put on a head wrap before bed so my hair is all over the show. My chubby cheeks are so swollen and I am wearing the most horrible sleep-wear ever…and I am fully pregnant so I obviously look like a hippo.
“Tall, sexy talking handsome coloured man?” I text Charlotte and brush my teeth while I wait for the responds.
“He insisted.”
“He is the guy from the wedding??????” I text back.
“Yes…and he needed a place to rent.”
“What a coincidence,” I respond with a hundred ‘rolling eyes’ emojis.
“He is a very nice guy…don’t dare kick him out.”
“You should have told him I was pregnant…or atleast let me give birth first,” I text.
“I told him.”
What? Where does he want to take a pregnant woman?
“I don’t understand,” I text back. I would have loved to call but I know she is still in bed with her husband.
“I told him about you and Khathu and the baby. Look Tshepo, I have to give my husband another round of morning glory. So I have to go. Don’t tell him I told you about him…just let him do his thing.”
Ewww!! But how I miss a good morning glory!
Morning glory? All things glory!!!!
I get cleaned up and put on a simple dress before rushing back to my guest. He is watching TV when I get to the living room.
Guess what the time is? Seven thirty. I should be angry at him but I am not. I usually wake up after nine o’clock on a day like this. I attend the evening church service.
“I thought you will be coming tomorrow…”
“I had to urgently get here. I am sorry I made it so early…I drove all the way from KZN last night and I thought maybe the place will be available instead of booking a hotel room…I am sorry,” he sweetly says.
“It’s okay…I uhm…I am just not prepared and I never got to clean the apartment before you arrived. I am only moving out today.”
“You don’t have to worry yourself…I will clean up and stuff,” he responds.
I like his dimples. They not deep but I can trace them with each smile. His hair is dark and he didn’t tream his bead but still look sexy.
“Do you…” I am struck by a Braxton Hick but this one is tighter than them all.
“Are you okay?” he asks and I nod. I can literally hear my Mum screaming at me for being stuborn. I should have moved back home a month ago but I needed my space to deal with everything.
“Ouch!” I say silently. No, this is no more an exercise. It feels more worse than what I have been getting weeks ago. My stomach is frozen…followed by a sharp minor pain.
“Grab a seat,” he says while standing. I can see panic in his eyes.
What was he thinking, showing up at people’s places before eight?
“Ouch!” I say with another sharp pain shooting straight into my stomach. Okay, I think I should activate that plan I had always prepared for.
“What should I do?” he asks.
“Uhm…first I need to call Mum…then she will…she will call the hospital to…to be ready for me…and while she drives here…we need to call Khathu,” I say while trying to do the breathing exercise.
“Why don’t we just go to the hospital? I can take you there,” he says.
“Fine, fine,” I say while standing from the couch. Get my…hospital bag from my closet, it is pink in colour…also pick my handbag on the pedestal,” I say and he rushes to the direction of my room, “Don’t mind the mess…I didn’t make the bed.”
He comes back pulling the bag prepared for hospital. I know it is a huge luggage bag but it is better to be over prepared than less. He has my bag hung on his shoulder.
Shouldn’t this be Khathu? How I wish.
He leads the way of the apartment and I follow behind. I know the possibility of being returned from the hospital because ‘false alarm’ but I was told to rush there whenever I don’t understand anything.
The pain is bearable, honestly speaking, but the hicks has turned into serious contractions.
“My name is Matt by the way…Matthews,” he says while reversing out of the complex.
“Tshepo,” I say and he smiles.
“I know.”
He had to meet on the day of all these happenings. I know I don’t look sexy with all the pain overpowering me every few minutes.
I pull my phone to call Mum and Khathu, but it dies while I was unlocking it.
“Just perfect,” I hiss before I am attacked by a mini contraction.
“Uhm…Tshepo I had always wanted to ask you on a date. See I first saw you at Charlotte’s engagement party last year…” he says while focusing on the road.
Who on earth asks for a date when someone is about to give birth?
“Can you go on a date with me?” he asks and I shake my head.
What does he want me to say? Yes, I am about to give birth right now but when I am done we can go on a date? Come ooonnnn! I have serious things to take care of, right now.
When we get to the hospital, he helps me to the maternity ward.
Where is Khathu Neng….. where is Khathu when I need him? The struggle with his surname though!!!
This stranger guy helps me, shame. He helps me sign the papers and roll the bag for me to my delivery room. I settle on the bed there.
“Please call Charlotte to call my parents,” I say and he nods while punching his phone and then put it on his ear.
Isn’t he just an angel? It is only clicking now that I might have been in a dilemma if I woke up thirty minutes later than I did and alone in the house, with a low battery phone.
“I will go on a date with you,” I say.
He smiles at me.
“Oh Charlotte, she is about to give birth…” he says on the phone while walking out of the room.
God-sent? Maybe…maybe Not?
My smile is interrupted by a longer contraction!