THE ONE

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LUFUNO

I can hear a lot of voices playing in my head. People coming in my room and crying by my bedside?
It feels like weeks and days.
I have a banging headache and my throat is extremely dry.
“Hey, babe…I brought you your favourite flowers and a cup of vanilla Latte,” I hear Khathu says. I miss him so much and I am afraid to open my eyes and let him know I am awake. “Michelle asked me to tell you how much she misses you and how she cannot wait for you guys to go to Bounce once again. She says she is praying for you. We are all praying for you.”
I clear my throat and slowly open my eyes. I hope the curtains are not wide open.
Oh…why is he standing in the dark? I can see his tall shadow.
“Heeeyyy…babe…you are awake…” Khathu says happily. I can hear his steps towards the bed. But why is he in the dark.
“Hey,” I say and clear my throat. “Can you please switch on the light and give me a glass of water.”
“What?”
“Please switch on the light,” I say. “Why are you in the dark.”
“Uhm…babe…look…have a sip of water and I will…”
“Khathu, why are you in the dark?”
“Here…drink up.” He places a glass of water in my lips and let me take a sip.
“Khathu…”
“Babe… I will be back…” he says while his voice is fading away.
This is Pretoria East hospital, isn’t it? Why won’t they have electricity in this hospital wards.
“Hey my baby…you are awake,” Mom says while walking into the room.
“This is good news,” Dad says. I can see my parents’ shadows by my bedside.
“May you please switch on the light for me?” I ask.
Why is everyone walking around in the dark as if it is normal?
“What?” Mom asks.
“What is going on?” I am starting to panic.
“Good morning…” Khathu says and my parents greet back. I can hear him whisper but I cannot hear anything.
“Khathu, what is going on?” my voice is starting to break.
“Babe…the doctor is on his way, okay?”
“For what? For what Khathu? Can’t you just switch the lights for me? Oooh he told you not to switch them on because I don’t like the light, right? Am I right?”
“Look…you will be fine.”
“I am fine…I just want you to switch on the lights,” I beg.
“Good morning, I am doctor Mlisa…” I hear the doctor’s voice. “How are you Ms Mudau?”
“I am okay. Why are we talking in the dark?”
“Let me see what we have here…I am going to check something in your eyes, alright?” he says and thereafter I feel his fingers on my face.
What is going on here?
I can’t see?????
I can feel my tears falling down my cheeks as the doctor forces to open my eyes.
Lord! Haven’t you punished me enough?
“Babe…please don’t cry,” Khathu says as if he would stay with me with no vision. I wish to see his face right now. The last face I have of him is when I angered him. I last saw him storming out of the house. The last time I saw his smile was when we were hosting the visitors earlier that day.
“My baby…everything will be fine,” Mom says and I can feel her warm hands on my shoulder.
“What happened to me?” I ask the doctor.
“Traumatic brain injury…it happened when you fell…but you should not worry yourself, we are going to fix this.”
I have no come back. All I can do right now is cry.
“Babe, please…don’t cry,” Khathu says. No words will give me back my eyesight right now so they can just keep quiet.
“Can you all please leave right now? Please leave…”
“No…listen…”
“LEAVE!!!” I yell.
I need to be alone.
I need to take this in.
“Please leave me alone…please,” I beg.
“Miss Lufuno, listen…listen…”
“I want all of you to leave, right now,” I yell with tears filling my face even more.
“Lufuno…relax…please babe…please listen to me,” Khathu say.
His broken voice is even making me feel worse. No one understands what I am going through right now. No one will ever understand.
I hear a little buzz on the side of the bed and minutes later a person storms in the room breathlessly.
“Get me a tranquilizer,” the doctor says.
“Why? Why? Why would you need a tranquilizer for?” I ask while trying to face the direction of his voice.
“Miss Lufuno…I want you to calm down…don’t work yourself out,” the doctor says. I feel hands all over me. Khathu has his hand on mine. My mother still has her hand on my shoulder. I can feel the other hand on my other shoulder and without a warning, I get a needle on my shoulder.
“Shhh…I want you to…rest,” I hear the doctor’s voice from afar.

*****

I am afraid to open my eyes because of the nightmare I had before. But what if it was real. What if I can’t see anymore? But if it was really a nightmare and I can see?
What if?
I slowly open my eyes and I am welcomed by the darkness once again.
I break into a cry and in a second, I can smell Khathu’s cologne close to me. He pulls me into a hug and force it on me.
“It’s okay babe, it’s okay.”
“I can’t see Khathu…how is that okay?”
“The doctors are going to help you. You will see again.”
“Did they promise?”
“Yes…they will do some tests and get you into surgery…you will see again.”
He lets go and held my hand.
“You left me with her,” I say. He shouldn’t have. He should have stayed with me and shout at me as much as he wanted. He should have protected me. He should have stood between us when we were fighting. He should have just stayed a little longer.
“Babe, I am sorry for leaving you with Lucy…I am so sorry,” he says.
Do I blame him? I deserved all things coming to me, don’t I? I am punished for all the mistakes I have ever made in my life and there is no better curse than this.
I am hurt.
I feel empty.
“I hate her,” I say. “I will never forgive her for what she did to me…all those hurtful words she told me about my baby? I will never forgive her. I don’t care if she forgives me. She cursed me. She wished for this to happen to me. She pushed me Khathu…she pushed me.”
“Look…I don’t want you to hold a grudge on her…she is your sister and you two need each other…please my love,” he says and I shake my head.
“I don’t need her.”
“You do…”
“I don’t. She can hate me all she wants for a damn mistake that happened years ago. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was ashamed. I was too ashamed and even when we were drunk…I was ashamed and I vowed to die with the truth. I told you I wanted out of the circle but you…came for me and I fell in love. I wish I didn’t… I wish I lived my life far from all of you.”
“Don’t tell me you regret us? Babe…you cannot regret us.”
“Why not Khathu…why not?”
“Because you know I love you. I was just shocked. I honestly felt like a fool being around you and Oscar when you kept the truth from me. I am no angel…I had a share of fucked up things I did in my life…I was just angry at how you two made a fool of me and I regret ever driving out of that house.”
“I am sorry,” I say and tears falls down my cheeks.
I am cursed. I am truly cursed!
“No babe…you don’t have to be sorry.”
“Maybe if I say it a million times, God will forgive me and make me see again.”
He squeezes my hand.
“I need a loo,” I say while trying to get up.
“Uhm…relax…I will call the nurses to remove that urinary thing…” he says and let go of my hand.
The nurse comes and take out the catheter and help me use the bathroom by myself. I am told I have been down for a few days and I ask myself why I even woke up. Why didn’t I just let go and be with my baby? Why do I deserve to be punished like this?
The nurse helps me back to the bed and Khathu reaches for my hand.
“Don’t you mind leaving me alone?” I ask.
“No, babe…I am staying. I took some days off from work.”
“Oscar and I made out in his flat and it was too bad…” I say. Maybe I need to clear up the air and tell everyone what happened that day.
“You don’t have to tell me what happened…”
“I have to.”
“Please…I don’t want to know.”
“I deserve all things coming to me, don’t I?”
“All good things coming your way. Our wedding is coming soon…and you are going to plan it, remember? You should look forward.”
“How?”
I am not ready for this. I am not ready to adjust my life like this.
“Babe…everything is going to be just fine.”
I sense guilt in his voice. He is here because he feels sorry for me. There is no any other reason. Honestly!
“How is Michelle doing?” I ask. I remember her sweet face. I haven’t seen her in a while.
“She says she can’t wait for you to take her to bounce,” he says and squeezes my hand. He shouldn’t have said that.
“How is Mulalo?” I ask. I have only seen the boy on the pictures.
“He is good. He doing good.”
“Please forgive me for all things I ever did to you.”
“You have never done anything to me.”
“I have hurt you. Forgive me. And tell Lucy I am sorry for ever hurting her. I might not forgive her for the words she told me about my baby. My own sister told me she is glad my baby is dead. I might never forgive her as much as she might not forgive me for what I did to her…but tell her I am sorry.”
“Whats up?”
“Tell Tshepo to forgive me if I ever wronged her. Tell her to forgive me for taking you from her…and find Masala and ask her to forgive me for taking Rendani from her…because that is what she believes…please.”
“What is wrong Lufuno?”
“Nothing…I just want to start afresh. When I get out of here, I am going far away from here to start over. I think I need a new start.”
“I am going with you.”
“You have Michelle and Mulalo…and I only have Mukhethwa…in my heart. I don’t want you to hurt them.”
“You promised to stay with me Lufuno…you promised me.”
“I think I have a headache and need to sleep.”
“You can take a nap. I will be right here when you wake up.”
I rest my head on the pillow and contemplate on how to make this better.
I need to make things better for the rest of us.
I need to.
“I love you Lufuno,” Khathu says and I blink to let the tears fall off from my eyes.
I am tired.
I really am exhausted!
I am drained and need out.
I need to tap out!!! I really need to.