THE ONE

INSERT 53

KHATHUTSHELO

“We need a holiday…don’t we?” I ask Lufuno who is cooking. I am seated on a corner couch in the living room, watching her do her thing, looking so damn fine while at it.
“How about Maldives?” she asks while taking off the baking gloves. She sashays to me and sit on top of me. “I have always always wanted to go to Maldives…I had always been waiting for the right one to go with. How about we go there next week?”
“Next week?” I ask. Next week could make sense to drive down to Durban or fly to Cape Town.
“Yes…can you get some time off?” she asks and then pouts. How can I say ‘no’ to such beauty?
“Babe, for Maldives…I should look at my finances you know?” I say and she smiles. The last time I looked at Maldives travels, the quote ended at over fifty grand for just one person. I cannot just rock up there with the baby on the way.
“Look, I have a token with a free stay in The Finolhu Villas for a week…I have been saving on this travel account so we can just add few more days and stay longer…or stay just a week.”
“Are you serious?” I ask and she nods. In that case, I can take care of the rest of the trip.
I am glad we chose to do us. I have been happy and she has been happier. Even though there are some cases we choose not to dwell on, we are doing just fine.
My daughter doesn’t visit when Lufuno is around though. Julia makes so much noise, I decided to let her be. Julia is hurting that baby and one day she will turn to be so rebellious against both me and her mother. I don’t mean to spoil her but I give her an opportunity to express herself. She should tell me what she wants and what she thinks is best for her little life and if it possible, I give it to her. I hustle for her as much as I hustle for her sister or brother on the way. I have already set up a trust fund for the baby and I know it will be so expensive raising him or her. Maake will make sure to compete with me so I have to be armed for my responsibilities. Anyway, I wish for all my kids to have the best life that I didn’t have.
“So I am going to call Pentravel tomorrow to unlock the token and book the flights,” she says happily.
She deserves a holiday. This year might be the worst for her. With people stealing from her and her health going south, she deserve a little holiday just to unwind. I need it too.
Her ex and his friend are still on the run. I should commend them, they are too smart for our justice system but they won’t run forever. The police raided Zodwa’s house in Olievan but Muzi was gone. Like ghosts, they disappeared into thin air. I just pray they don’t do anything stupid to Lufuno or anyone close to me.
They should not dare me.
Mr Mkhize haven’t made me partner but things are looking good.
All things are going great for me except…the issue with Tshepo. She still hasn’t unblocked my phone. I tried to respect her wishes but it hasn’t been great without knowing how she is doing. What I do now is stalk her on her social media. She posts now and then and she still looks as beautiful. She hasn’t posted recently but her friends tag her in pictures when they go out and that’s how I get to see how she is doing.
My mother still doesn’t want to send my uncles to her family. She claims it is them who should bring the matter to the family. That’s what I also know but the last time Mr Maake was in my office, he wanted it to be my family that approaches him. I wish for them to bend these culture differences, I need to be part of my child’s life. I don’t want her or him to ever blame me for never being there.
“Babe…are you okay?” Lufuno asks, snapping me out of my thoughts.
“What? Yeah…” I say and she moves back to the couch.
“What’s on your mind?” she asks. I can either lie and say I am planning the vacation in my head or tell the truth. I have learnt the hard way with Tshepo so I settle to tell the truth, no matter how much it will hurt the next person.
“I am thinking about Tshepo and the baby,” I say and she folds her arms.
“What about her?”
“Nothing…just how she is doing with the baby…she should be giving birth in the next two weeks.”
“Another reason we should go to this holiday…after two week everything is going to change,” she says and I pull her to me.
“Come on babe…I told you not to work yourself up about this. I am going to make this work for all of us…me, you and the baby.”
“I am just worried that things might change you know? What if you choose them over me? I have no one and these past months have been the best.”
“I will not intentionally hurt you…I promise,” I say before planting a kiss on her lips. “So, what were you saying?”
“I wanted to ask if you are joining me for the vacation shopping this week?” she asks.
“Shopping with you? Neeevvverr… the last time I did, we spent the whole day.”
“Oh please…it wasn’t that bad.”
“It was…so go shop for us. I am not going anywhere.”
“Fine,” she says standing up. “I will buy you ugly shorts and those brown sandals.”
“And ruin your instagram pics? I bet not.”

Our vacation is set for Monday morning. Lufuno is over the moon about it and I sure am looking forward. Her Instagram posts are a count-down to the big day. I took a week and a half off so I over worked myself this past week. Two major accounts sealed…more pressure on Mr Mkhize to make me partner.
It is Sunday afternoon and Lufuno is doing her nails while I watch from this salon’s couches. We were in the mall for lunch but then she remembered the precious nails. I am checking the Maldive’s pictures on Instagram. This will be one of the best vacations ever. It should have been my honeymoon vacation but I don’t think I am to get married the soonest.
My phone rings and I ignore the call. I hate unknown numbers because you end up talking to people looking for the wrong people or selling policies of some sort.
“Tshepo has a boy,” a text message says and I jump from the couch while dialing the number that texted me.
“Charlotte…hello…” she says as she answers the phone.
“Yes..where is Tshepo?”
“Mediclinic Midstream…I will text you the ward number,” she says.
“Thanks, I will be there in few minutes,” I say while walking to Lufuno.
“Hey babe…you good?” she asks.
“Yah…Tshepo has a baby. We have to leave now.”
“Uhm, do you want me to come with?” she asks.
Ofcourse! It starts now.
Luckily she was done, just shining the nails, whatever they call it. She picks her bag and we rush to the hospital. I open the text message sent by Tshepo’s friend and rush to the ward. There are chairs and couches next to her private ward.
“Babe…I am not coming in,” she says. She sits on a couch next to the coloured guy who is seated with headsets on. He should be here with Tshepo’s family but I don’t know him. I walk in to Tshepo and her family seated happily in the room.
Oh God, I have a son. All the balloon in the room are blue.
“Uhm…can I please come in?” I say. Mr Maake gaze at me with so much anger but I dont care. Tshepo has the baby in her chest.
“We are going to get coffee…right my love,” Mrs Maake says to her husband. He hesitate to walk out but he finally follows his wife without saying a word to me.
“I am also going outside…Matt and I will go grab lunch. He hasn’t eaten anything,” Charlotte says.
“Tell him to go home. He has been here since morning,” Tshepo says.
“As if he will listen to me,” she says while grabbing her bag from the floor. “Do you need anything?”
“Chocolates,” Tshepo says. Can this damn friend leave already?
“Not good for the baby…I’ll get you apples,” she says and disappear.
I walk closer to the bed so that I can carry my son for the first time. I missed his birth.
“He is so beautiful,” she says while preparing the blanket to pass him to me.
I have a son.
“He looks just like me,” I say with a smile. I thought it was another girl and I was ready for one. I did a great job with Michelle. I knew deep down in my heart I wished for a son but didn’t want to get disappointed if it turns out to be a girl.
“The doctor is coming with the results,” she says. I can see worry in her eyes but I don’t want to jump into conclusions. I haven’t seen Tshepo in months and it feels good to be around her and our son.
“Is everything okay?” My heart is throbbing now. Why would the doctor be coming with tests?
“After birth the baby was under some few tests but the doctor wanted to confirm something regarding jaundice.”
“Is it bad?” I ask while glaring at my son.
“I pray not.”
The doctor walks in minutes later.
“Good day…how are we doing?”
“I am still super exhausted,” Tshepo says.
“You should be…you did a great job earlier.”
“Uhm…so the results?” I ask. I need to know that all is well with my boy. I can see Tshepo is fine.
“Well, yes the baby has jaundice but you shouldn’t worry…”
“We shouldn’t worry? Why not?” I jump in.
“Jaundice is a common, temporary and usually harmless condition in newborn infants hence I say do not worry as yet. I will monitor the baby for these few days that you are in hospital…if breastfeeding doesn’t reduce the bilirubin then we will use the phototheraphy. We will put the baby under the light to eliminate bilirubin in the blood. Your baby’s skin and blood absorb these light wave and he should be fine.”
“How long can it take?” I ask.
“It should disappear in a week or two…if not, then we will explore severe treatment…but you shouldn’t worry.”
Two weeks.
“Okay…I will try breastfeeding,” Tshepo says.
“If it doesn’t disappear before you leave…then I will have to allocate phototheraphy and a nurse to monitor the baby from home.”
I stay with Tshepo for a little while until the parents are back.
“I will see you tonight, okay?” I say while handing the baby back to the mother.
Lufuno is not seated at the couches outside so I head to the car. She is here playing with her phone.
“Hey, babe…sorry I kept you waiting,” I say as I get into the driver’s seat.
“How is she?” she asks. I can’t read her face.
“It’s a boy.”
“That’s nice. Congrats!”
This is awkward! I never pictured the first time I would be telling her the news and how her reaction will be.
I start the car and drive us out of the hospital. I just need to take her home so that I can go back there later with some few stuff for the baby and Tshepo.
“Do you want to go baby shopping with me? I need to buy some few clothes and stuff to use,” I say and she doesn’t respond. “Okay, let me go alone today and we will do proper shopping together.”
“Alright.”
I get to my place and lead the way to the house with all the shopping bags. She did more shopping earlier before the nail appointment.
Eish, I still have to tell her the news.
“Babe, I think we need to postpone the vacation,” I say.
“Are you serious?” she asks with a sad face.
“Yes…babe it will be unfair for me to travel now and leave Tshepo to stress about the baby alone. The baby has jaundice and the doctor has to monitor it for days before starting the phototheraphy… it will take two weeks for it to finally disappear.”
“Wow,” she says and swallows hard.
“I am sorry babe…I want to do what is right,” I say. “Lufuno, are you okay?”
“Yeah…I saw this one coming…it’s just so painful that it is happening now. Again, you are the one to ruin my vacation…but I understand.”
“We can postpone.”
“The time you book with the token, it is done. I will just have to lose it or go there alone,” she says. She stands from the couch and walks to the bedroom. I understand, she was super excited about this vacation.
I follow to the bedroom and find her packing the luggage.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“I am going.”
“No, how can you go to Maldives alone?”
“I don’t want to come between you and your family…so I am going.”
“Really?”
“What do you want me to do? This is the first of the hundred situations we are going to be in. We have to both sacrifise for us to work, are we not?”
“Yeah…but I thought you understand.”
“This is me understanding.”
“How?”
“What do you want me to do? Stay here and watch you go spend the week with them until the baby is better? I am giving you that room while I go on this vacation. I need it. I think I should just go…worse it is worth more than hundred grand.”
Well, I don’t know!
She continues to pack all the things she bought the previous week, including the lingerie and bikinis she bought for me.
“Are you testing me?” I ask.
“Why?”
“Lufuno…I don’t want you to go.”
“What do you want me to do here? I already took a week off. I scheduled my week off and I am never going to have another week off until the next five months. I need this vacation Khathu, you know that well,” she says.
“I don’t want you to go.”
“Would it be fair for me to say I don’t want you going to see your family? No…you will call me selfish…and here I am, telling you I am going to this vacation that we planned together…you will be selfish to stop me.”
“Lufuno, if you go to this vacation…then I don’t know.”
“You don’t know? I don’t know too.”
She continues packing.
“You need to learn to sacrifise…really.”
“So should you. Why can’t you let me go? I am so used to doing things alone, this won’t even hurt me. I am trying to be so understanding Khathu…but if your definition of understanding, is me staying here to watch you running between work and hospital then you are unfair. Just let me go,” she says.
How do I let her go to a vacation like that all alone? Why can’t she just understand that we can’t go right now. We can always call and make arrangement.
“Okay, I have to go by the stores before they close…then I will drop off a few things to Tshepo.”
“I will Uber home so that I drive to the airport without a hustle tomorrow morning,” she says without looking at me.
I shrug and walk out.
I guess we will just have to see…we will just have to see.