THE ONE

INSERT 74

TSHEPO

I have been standing in here for far too long. I can’t make up my damn mind about what I want to eat. Honestly, I feel like a chicken mayo wrap, but the carbs are just too much. I am working extra hard to get my body back in shake but the cravings are over powering me. I feel like chips with lots of vinegar and mayo, but the chest pains I get when I run up the heel are making me think otherwise.
“I’ll have a piece of chicken breast and a garden salad, please,” I say to the young woman who has been impatiently waiting for me to place my order. She is new and doesn’t know who I am. “May I also have a bottle of water?”
“Still or sparkling?”
“Still,” I say and she nods before punching on the till.
“That will be sixty bucks,” she says and I give her the money and my discount card. She gives me back my change and I go grab a seat at the corner of the canteen. I grab my phone from my jacket and text back Matt. He asked me what we are doing after work. I want to ask him over but I have learnt to stop inviting him over unless I want to disappoint myself. You know what drives me crazy? Matt is too damn perfect BUT…. The man is everything a woman, including me, would wish for but he scares me. I wish he could open up to me. I have that gut feeling about him and it worries me that I cannot let it go. He is just too damn perfect and God knows I am worried about something. He is not willing to talk and that worries me. I text him that I am not around this weekend. I am spending it with Kgosi, in preparations of his moving in with me. I have a meeting with the lady from Neat_it, to finalise the nanny issue. My son is moving in with me in a few weeks.
“Order number fifteen,” I hear the lady yell from the counter. I pick my receipt and hurry to get my order before rushing back to my office. I have a meeting now in few minutes and another one at three.
“Why do I have a feeling you are avoiding me?” – A whatsapp text from Matt.
Me: Why would I ignore you.
Matt: I don’t know. It is just a damn feeling.
Me: I am not avoiding you.
Matt: So when do I get to see you?
Me: I told you this weekend is out.
Matt: When do I get to meet Kgosi? You are doing a great job keeping him from me. He wouldn’t even remember me if you ever choose to leave me.
Me: Who is talking about leaving you?
Matt: I know it is just a matter of time. My heart is kinda prepared for all that shit. I wish it doesn’t happen but I know it will.

I pick my landline phone and ring him. He lets it ring once before answering it in his sweetest sexy voice.
He knows it is me so he greets and sighs deeply.
“I never said I am going to leave you,” I say.
“I know you will.”
“Why would I leave a perfect man like you?” I ask. Why is he even worried? Does he know how perfect he is? He is even sexier when he prays.
“You know…”
“I think you need to open up with me so that you will know where we stand. Can you do that?” I ask and there is silence.
What did I say? Matt has a lot to tell me.
“Fine, I will tell you everything and…and you will decide if you want to stay or not.”
“I will appreciate that.”
“So when do I get to see you?” he asks once again. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he is too clingy.
“Sunday after dropping Kgosi back to my mother,” I say and he sighs.
“Tshepo, are you over your ex?” he randomly asks.
“Yes, why?” I reply breathlessly, one could question my response.
“Why won’t you let me see Kgosi? Is it that you can’t move on from his father? Maybe you hope things work out for the two of you some day?” he asks.
“That is just crazy Matt…very crazy. I told you my reasons and that hasnt changed,” I say. Does he know who my ex is by the way? He is happily in love with the woman of his dreams.
I raise my eyes to the door. It is slightly opened and I can see a lady standing outside. I think it is my guest. I ask to call Matt back and let my guest in.
“Mrs Tshivhathi…from Neat_it..” she says while standing in the middle of my office. I smile at her. I honestly thought she was older than she looks. We communicated via emails. She smiles back at me, showing off her perfect teeth. She looks like one that has an effect on people.
“Please take a seat,” I ask. I move my lunch to the end of the table. She carefully sits and takes out her file. “So I need a nanny.”
“Yes, we looked at your requirements from the form you emailed us and I am here to show the best five. I emailed you the pictures and their profiles. We did the police clearance for all of them. We can set up interviews with all five of them with you so that you can choose your best.”
“I can trust your judgement can I?” I ask while opening the email on my tablet. I swipe around looking at each of the five women.
“Ofcourse…but I will be pleased to know that you are happy and certain with your choice.”
“I need the person to start in three weeks. Can I rather meet with this one?” I ask pointing at a picture on my tablet. She is from Lesotho and that is just what I need for Kgosi’s sake. And she looks friendly.
“Okay, yes…I can arrange for that…yes,” she says, “we have a placement fee ma’am…so that if you need me to replace that nanny…then I will be able to do just that.”
“Oh yes…I read about that from your email.”
“Perfect. You will let me know when you want to meet the candidate and I will arrange to bring her to your home,” she says while packing her file into a bag. Her ring on her finger catches my attention.
“What would you do if you find out that your husband kept a secret from you?” I ask.
“Excuse me?”
“Sorry…I am just going through a bit of a hiccup with my new boyfriend…you know?” I say. This is not Charlotte. She is not my mother who forces information out from me. I told her about the weekly pre-marital counciling that I am attending with him and she is thrilled about it. Everyone says it is the way to go but I don’t know. I am not cracking Matt’s head and this sex issue is deeper than us. I thought I loved sex but not really. I haven’t been with a man inside me since I was pregnant and Kgosi is almost a year old. This one before me is a stranger and I might trust her judgement.
“What’s the problem? Maybe I can help. My husband and I do share conversations with young married couples and all,” she confidently says. She looks very young but her opinion might matter.
“Sex before marriage…I think I am starting to understand. My worry is his reasons… He is kinda scaring me.”
“Have you communicated about it with him…your fears and expectations?” she asks. “Communication is underrated but is very crucial.”
“He promised that he will be honest with me this weekend.”
“Then call me for a cup of coffee after that chat then,” she says. “All you need first is a thorough discussion with him.”

*****

This was the longest weekend ever. I have been trying to think about what Matt wants to tell me. We have dragged this issue for too long, today we are going to seal it. I am going to make my final decision. My hands are shaking on the stirring wheel. I just dropped Kgosi back to my mother and heading to Matt’s apartment. I know better than to seduce him this time. We just need to talk.
I pull my car next to his, pick my handbag from the boot and head to the house. I knock once before he opens the door with a widest smile. I can’t help but smile back at him, hiding my fear. He opens his arms for me and I get in his chest. He wraps his hands around me and kiss the top of my head. He has been drinking.
“What are you cooking?”
“Chicken stew and bread,” he says while leading the way to the kitchen. There is a glass on the table with whisky in it. He grabs it and take one shot.
“Easy on that,” I say and he huffs a laugh. He is kinda weird today. Like he is nervous about something. At least I am not the only one.
I pour myself a lemonade and go sit on the couch. I am not wearing a dress today. The Pastor advised to be appropriately dressed when we visit each other to avoid…uhm…weakness.
He picks the remote on the table and lower the volume. He squats infront of me and pull my hands to his. I stare into his eyes and he struggles to keep contact. He drops the eyes and sniffs.
He is freaking me out.
“I was so happy when you came into my life Tshepo…but it breaks my heart to know that you are going to leave me like what all others did.”
“I didn’t say I will leave you.” It is too soon to say but I think I want to be with him.
“They once called me a sadist…and it was fine with everyone until I realized what I actually did to her.”
“Who?”
“The girl I dated in high school,” he says with his eyes still on the floor. I pull my hands from his and he raises his eyes. I show him with my head where to sit. He stands and fill the spot next to me.
“Why would they call you a sadist? Are you one? That’s why u once liked BDSM?”
“It was my escape…my escape to justify what I did to her.”
“What did you do her?”
“They told me she would like it.”
“What did you do her?”
“I had sex with her when she didn’t want,” he says with a hoarse voice. I feel a lump growing bigger in my throat. “I was young…I was…stupid and it affected me.”
“Where is she?”
“She committed suicide years ago,” she says and I jump. He raises his eyes and begs for me to understand.
My heart disappoints me. I can feel it throbbing out of my chest.
“They told me she would like it. They said girls liked it rough but will never say…”
I am silent. I don’t know how to take this. Matt raped the girl. He did and it messed his head. That is a lot to deal with.
He tries to reach for me but I block him. It wasn’t my intention and I feel bad for judging him and making him feel worse than he does.
I hurry to the bathroom. I don’t know how to take this. I don’t know to really take this. I jump from the knock on the door.
“I’ll be right back,” I say. I need to process this.
I sit on the mat and let myself calm. I knew there was something fishy about his sex life. I knew it.
Do I love him enough to ignore this? This freaks me out.
Do I love him enough to help him heal from his mistakes?
He knocks on the door once again and I quickly wipe the tears that are falling out of my eyes. I wished for us to work but how do we do this? I have heard so many rape stories and I don’t know how we are going to work this out. Did his fiancée really cheat on him or she just couldn’t take it? Is it why he can’t be with anyone?
He knocks again and I walk to unlock the door. He looks helpless, like he was crying too. I pass him and go sit where I was seated. He has to answer all the questions in my head…if we need to do this.
“What did you to her?”
“We were dating but she didn’t want to sleep with me. When I told my friends, they told me to just do it because she is obviously going to refuse. She was a year younger than me and I was a virgin…but knew what to do..videos. They told me she will cry because it hurts the first time. One of my friends gave me a pill…which I now know was a Viagra. I was turned on and needed to release…and she was there in bed. I forced her to take me in. she cried but I didn’t stop. I had tried masturbating to release but nothing was coming out…so I had to force her to do it with me. She liked me…and I thought she was playing hard to get. She cried when I got in. she cried until she stopped,” he sniffs the tears away, “after that…we went on as normal. She changed schools and we never spoke about it. Only when I was in varsity, I heard she hanged herself. I just knew it was my fault. But my friends told me it wasn’t…and that’s when I joined the BSDM club through one of my rich friend. There are a lot of them out there.”
I sigh. I didn’t know it was going to be this intense.
“So with the club…it was just crazy sex…forcefully and all of that bondage shit and it kinda made me feel better but I never had peace. I became very violent with sex when I left the club hence I prefer non-penetrative now…it makes me feel better that I am not hurting anyone. I give it my all to please a partner.”
“Is it why you broke up with your ex?” I ask.
“I told her the truth but instead of walking out…she promised me that everything is fine but she cheated on me…and that hurt me. I am not proud that I took it all on other women…I was just hurt and I was just foolish…very foolish.”
I stand from the couch and he does the same.
“You are leaving me, aint you?”
“I don’t know how I can help you.”
“Don’t worry about me…I will be fine.”
“You raped a girl Matt,” I say and he turns away. I didn’t mean to raise my voice. I am just shocked.
“I will find help…I will do it for us.”
I don’t know.
“You need help…and forgiveness.”
“Please don’t leave me.”
“And this…this sex before marriage?”
“My relationship with God…also…since I met you…I wanted to do right by you and Him. But honestly, I thought I will get help before I marry you. I didn’t want to lose you so I wanted to propose to you the other day.”
“What?”
“I kept the ring.”
“You need help,” I say and he drops his eyes. “I don’t know if I can be able to help you.”
My phone beeps in my bag. I sit back on the couch and reach for it. I wish it is my mother asking me to come back for supper or something. I need to get out of this apartment to breathe.
“Tshepo, I need to see you now. Please. I will call you when I am outside your apartment. Khathu.” – a text message.
“Who is that?” Matt asks. I might have frowned while reading the text. What does Khathu want?
“My ex,” I find myself saying.
“You are going to him, aint you?” he asks and then swallows hard. I shake my head while putting it back in my bag.
“I need to go,” I say and he gasps while putting his hands on his waist.
“To him?”
“I don’t know what to do Matt. I don’t know what to say. I just need to breathe…please,” I say with tears falling down my cheeks.
“You can’t leave me Tshepo.”
“I don’t want to leave… I just need to breathe right now…”
“Do it here with me. Breathe right here. Go to the bathroom…or my room…or the guest room. I promise I will give you space…just don’t go…please…please don’t walk out on me on right now…”