THE ONE

INSERT 54

TSHEPO

I am a mother!
It is a greatest feeling ever, I must say. The very first time I held my son was just so priceless. It felt like the world stopped for a second to allow me to welcome my son. Matt stayed with me until they took away the baby after delivery. He didn’t have a choice but to be with me. I don’t know what happened but it didn’t take an hour before I gave birth. From the time I was in the delivery room, the contractions speeded up and they became worse by the minute until I felt an urge to push the baby out. I am glad it happened that way because I heard some people take hours or even days before the baby is ready to come out.
Matt was called-in to assist. He said he followed the nurse that told him that he is allowed to come in and be with me. He said he thought I was still having light contractions like those I had in the car. So, yes, he was the one to hold my hand while I push Khathu’s baby.
Khathu should never find out! It will not sit well with him.
My boy is sleeping beside me. He looks so peaceful and innocent. I have seen Michelle just a few times but I swear he is a boy version of her.
“Hey, are you sleeping?” Matt asks from the door.
“No, come in.”
He pushes the curtain and walks in. Charlotte left hours ago with my parents but he insisted in staying.
“How are you feeling?” he asks while sitting on a couch next to the window.
“I am good. Thank you again for today…I don’t know what I would done if you never showed up.”
“I am glad I showed up when I did.”
“Uhm…so you have the keys to the apartment, right?”
“Yes, I guess we will sign the lease agreements once you are out.”
“Yeah! Bakang will handle all of that with you…I will be moving in with my parents from here.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“You coming?”
“Why not? I have work til three so I will come after work,” he says and there is a knock. A door opens and Khathu asks if he could come through.
“Sure come in,” I say and he walks through the curtains. He has paper bag and an overnight bag.
“Uhm…I think I should get going,” Matt says while grabbing his biker jacket from the chair.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then…heeyyy Matt, please close the bathroom window everytime you go out. If it rains, the curtains always get wet from the rain.”
“Sure!”
“I will get Bakang to call you.”
“Thanks…goodnight,” he says while walking to the baby’s cot bed. He peeps and smile at the baby before walking out silently.
There is silence before Khathu clears his throat.
“Well…who is…that?” he asks while placing the bag on the floor. “I saw him this afternoon too.”
“What do you have there in the bag?” I ask.
“Tshepo, I asked…who is he?” he insists.
“Why are you always concerned?”
“Does he stay with you already?”
“Should that be a problem?” I ask. “’He is my new tenant.”
“Ohh…”
“What did you get for me?” I ask while reaching for a take-away brown paper bag.
“Sushi…I know how pissed you were when you couldn’t eat sushi since the pregnancy…and I got a few thing and clothes for the baby.”
“You are very thoughtful,” I say while unpacking the take-away box. It is only the first day of postpartum but I am already eating my heart out. I am making up for all the days that I was sick from all my favourite foods.
“How is Mulalo doing?” he asks while looking down on the cot bed.
“Ohhh…he already has a name from you?” I ask and he smiles. He looks happy and content with his son.
“Peace, the name means peace. He is the one to bring peace in my life,” he says while picking him from the bed. He is admiring his son the same way he does Michelle. His love for his daughter always made me love him more but that stops now. He is the father of my son and that’s it.
I think I love this Mulalo name. It is easy to pronounce and this boy of mine brought closure in all the mixed feelings I had about Khathu. I made peace with it, he is never mine and I should keep it that way.
“I wanted to name him Kamo…Kamohelo or Peloentle…I also loved Mphoentle but Bakang said I will make him too soft coz most girls has those names…so Dad picked Khosi for him and I loved it coz he is going to be the king of my heart and he is destined to be a king this one, what do you think?”
“As long as he gets Mulalo or Dakalo as a first name.”
“Dad says your family has to do what is right for the baby to take your surname,” I say and he nods.
“Are you okay?” I ask. He suddenly changed the mood…all of a sudden.
“Yeah, I am good.”
“Are you sure? You look disturbed…is it the surname thing?”
“No, I inderstand the surname issue.”
“Then what’s up?”
“Okay…I kinda flopped you know? I forgot how the baby’s birth is unpredictable after 36 weeks…and Lufuno and I planned a vacation…and now I had to cancel…”
“Why do you have to cancel? Where were you going?” I ask while dipping the California roll into the sauce. I throw it in my mouth and wait for him to tell me about his vacation. Talking about vacation, I need one before I go back to work. Just a weekend alone, somewhere with no cellphone reception and television. I just want to sleep peacefully without stressing about anything.
“Maldives,” he says quietly.
“What? Who on earth cancels a vacay to Maldives?” I yell and he giggles. I didn’t mean to yell but who cancels a trips to such a place. It is in my bucket list too you know?
“The baby…I just want to make sure that all is well with him.”
“Ahhhh, that is so sweet Khathu,” I say. This is what I always admired about him.
“Khosi will be fine…come on, jaundice is very normal to babies. He will be fine in a few days,” I say. I mean it.
Okay I think Tshepo is coming back to me. I am jealous about his vacation…just like I would be of Charlotte and her husband…it is Maldives we are talking about. I am certain about moving on with my life and the first thing I need to do is to let him go. I want to be the best parent for my son and I think I am better off when peaceful that the opposite.
“I haven’t been there for you guys for the past few months…I want to be there for you now,” he says.
“I had my reasons Khathu. I needed to do that all by myself and it turned out well. All I am saying is Khosi and I will be here for just two days and we are moving to my parents house and you know it well that you won’t set your foot in my father’s house until your family comes do what is right.”
“That is also a reason why I should be here for these two days.”
“Come on Khathu…I know you want to be here but I understand if you can’t be here. I don’t want your woman to resent my child because of the decisions you might take in his name…so please man…go to your bae-cation and you will find us in one pierce,” I say. As hard as it was, I had to say it. I don’t want Lufuno to hate my son for the changes he will be bringing to their lives.
“I don’t know…” he says while putting the baby back on the cot.
“Wena just fill those Home Affairs forms and go to your vacation…” I say pointing at the forms for the birth certificates.
“I really don’t know…” he deeply sighs and I shrug. I tried.
He keeps me company, talking about the plans he has for the baby. The schools he will go to and the vacations he will take him to with Michelle.
“Are you going to allow him to visit me and Lufuno?” he asks. Isn’t he pushing it? I said he can go to his bae-cation with her…not planning my son’s visits to her. Okay, I am kidding!!
“When he is older, why not?” I say and he looks shocked. “What? You moved on and I accepted that and I will also have a boyfriend who Khosi will get to know…so we will make it work for the both of us.”
“So you have a boyfriend now?” he asks.
“You should stop asking me like I am not supposed to,” I say and he laughs. He is all here sounding like a jealous boyfriend.
“It is him, isn’t it?” he asks. “The coloured guy who was here?”
“What?” I laugh. Not yet. I will be jumping the gun by saying anything about him.
“I don’t buy that he is your tenant…”
“He is…”
“A tenant who was here all day until eight o’clock at night…ohhh please Tshepo,” he says and man-roll his eyes. Why does he sound so jealous right now? I laugh at him.
“Okay, he is my tenant who happens to like me. We should be going on a date when I get discharged,” I say and he glare at me. What? Was is too much information? I thought if we could chat about his bae-cation to Maldives then we could talk about my date with a potential.
“What? I thought you don’t mind us talking about this…since we are officially over, you know?”
“No…I am happy for you,” he says.
“How are you and Lufuno? Honestly?” I ask. I don’t know why but I just want to know.
“We good… just this vacation mix up…”
“Just go man. Khosi will be fine,” I say. I need space. I have to be prepared before my father starts enquiring him about his family coming over. If he is away then I will breathe for a week or two.
“If you are sure…then…maybe I should,” he says while pulling a phone from his back pocket.
“I am sure,” I say and smile. I need some space and you Khathutshelo going to your vacation will ensure I get just that.
He looks excited. I like how he loves his woman. It is the same spark that he has in his eyes that turned me away from him. His love for Lufuno is desirable and unforced. Who was I to think I could compete with that? I have Khosi now. I have all the reasons to be excited about life and what it brings me from today going forward. I am looking ahead to school camps and yearly birthday parties and matching outfits with him.
Khathu leaves just before ten and I fell asleep immediately. I am only woken up in the morning at five o’clock when the nurses brought the first teapot of rooibos tea to start a day. Who on earth wakes up at five? I don’t remember when last I did that. I prefer staying until late than waking up too early.
At five o’clock, I am woken up to freshen up so that I can have first cup of tea. They say it helps with milk production and I have to learn to start my day early with a baby.
I have a baby boy, yall!
It feels like a dream you know? The feeling of being a mother is out of this world.
I take a quick shower before having a cup of tea while reading a mother’s book I got from Mum. I am paging through when Matt’s face appears in my head. I don’t know what I should do about him but I think I am going to like him. His craziness is sexy. Who on earth asks a pregnant woman out on a date? Worse on the day one was in labour. Who does that?
“Want me to bring you tea and biscuits? – Matt,” a text comes in. I smile. I want to tell him I was just thinking about him but that would sound too desperate and weird.
“Who is this guy?” I text Charlotte instead. She should be up helping her husband get ready for work. She chose to be a house wife so I know she is up already until her husband leaves for his businesses.
“Are you not supposed to go on a date with him to know all of that?” – Charlotte.
“I need to know before I write him off,” I text.
“Engineer, 32 years and sexy,” – Charlotte.
“Your husband should never know about the latter.”
“He knows, everybody know. Don’t dare turn him off. He really likes you. Look, I have to join my husband for a shower, I might score another morning glory. I will see you at ten and tell you all about him,” she text. TMI Charlotte! TMI! Are they trying for a baby? They are always having sex.
“I would really appreciate tea and biscuits,” I text Matt back, put my phone on the table and sip my tea. Matt’s tea is welcomed too. I want to see how he looks when he goes to work.
Is he the clean and well-dressed type?
Is he the “I get my hands dirty so I can’t dress-up” type?
“Come Matt! Let me see how you go to work,” I whisper with a chuckle.