THE ONE

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KHATHUTSHELO

She is still as beautiful as she was before Kgosi. Boy, oh boy, she is still hot. She still wears her perfect smile and she is back in shape. Just the very old bubby Tshepo.
I am on her Instagram page, browsing through Kgosi’s pics and there is a selfie she took on the day I was in her office to see her.
I remember I arrived at her office early to only find the secretary clocking into her desk. I had waited for Tshepo the whole night the previous day. I had sent her an SMS telling her that I will be at her apartment. She kept me waiting for hours. I won’t lie! It kinda made made me feel like a looser.
I was there, waiting for her to show up. Ofcourse, I brought her favourite breakfast, so we could eat while catching up.
“She might be running late,” the secretary announced as I check my watch for the hundredth time. For some reason I couldn’t wait for her to get there.
“Ofcourse,” I said with a smile. I was hoping that she does show up.
She did show up ten minutes later, pulling her laptop bag behind her. She looked damn good in her pencil dress and she had her hair pulled into a bun, like she always prefers. I glanced at her as she walks towards the secretary desk. If I didn’t know better, I would think she is worried about something.
I stood from my seat when she reached the secretary’s desk. She still wore that perfect smile that drove me crazy in our days.
“Khathu, what are you doing here?” she asked the second she saw me.
You know what they say? You are never sure that you are over someone until you see them in your weakest point. That was me that day. I questioned myself about my life decisions. I wished I had done things differently but that is just a story for another day.
“I waited for you last night…for hours…you never showed up,” I say without sounding like a psycho. I wish I had seen her but had to understand that she was busy. She has a life afterall.
“You can come through,” she said while leading the way to her office. Her office hasn’t changed much. It is still the same old office with a couch and table at the end of the room. This time Kgosi’s pictures filled the room.
“He is such a handsome fella,” I said while grabbing a chair.
“He is,” she said while settling on her chair.
“Are you alright Tshepo?” I asked. She looked weary and disturbed about something.
“I am great…I just had a long evening,” she said with a forced smile. She picked the coffee and took a first sip. “It’s a perfect cup of coffee!”
“I need your help,” I announced before she could ask me why I was so eager to see her.
“What help?” she asked with a cute frown.
“Mkhize had to let me go. I am choosing to do consultation, but I have no solid clientele. Your father was supposed to give me his contacts, but we are not in the same page. So, I thought you can help me with the businesses that you work with. Can you help?”
“Why did you leave Mkhize?”
“Uhm…I am still taking care of Lufuno so I couldn’t be at work whenever they needed me and he couldn’t let me be a contractor so I decided to leave before I mess things for myself.”
“Okay, I will see what I can do,” she said and shrugged. “I will ask Nomusa to get me contacts of our contractors and other major companies that we deal with. That should help a lot…but I cannot talk to them for you…”
“Sure, their contacts…I need their contacts. I cannot ask for more than that.”
“Then I will have the details forwarded to you,” she said then snapped a selfie with a pout. “Perfect light.”
She still loves taking pictures.
“Thank you,” I said with a smile.
“You look relieved. Did you think I will not help you?”
“I didn’t expect it to be this easy.”
“You know me better than that,” she said and dig in her food. I place my coffee on the table and rest my back on the chair.
“How are you? Kgosi and your new boyfriend?”
“We are great.”
“Just that…we are great? You don’t sound excited…or convincing.”
“I don’t need to convince you Khathu. We are great.”
“Will you guys come to my wedding?” I asked and she stared at me. “I need Kgosi there and maybe you can bring your boyfriend too.”
“Excuse me?”
“I am asking you to bring Kgosi to my wedding. I need him in my family pictures if you don’t mind?”
“Oh…sure…”
“Thank you. You are so selfless,” I said and she nods.
“Okay Khathu, I need to start working…so I will get those contacts emailed to you and I will see how I can get Kgosi to your wedding. I am getting a nanny and she might come through with him.”
“You are not coming?”
“I will come if my boyfriend and I do not have plans…but Kgosi will definitely come,” she said while standing. “Let me see you out.”
“Are you teaching my son some venda?”
“Venda? Your language is just a tongue twister.”’
“Tongue twister for who? The boy needs to go stay with my mother for a good six months…he will be the one to teach you venda,” I said and Tshepo stopped on her tracks.
It was the new boyfriend staring at us.
“Uhm…Khathu, I will call you,” Tshepo said and I excused myself.
I can’t seem to forget the look in their eyes. It is none of my business but it seemed like there was something heating between them. It was also a confirmation that the dude is still there and is probably there to stay.

“Khathu, can you please help me with my zipper?” Lufuno asks from behind, bringing me back to my thoughts.
I quickly close my laptop, stand and walk to where she is standing. I slowly zipped her dress. She didn’t see that I was in Tshepo’s Instagram page but it feels like I was doing something wrong.
“Are you ready for your appointment?” I ask and she nods. “Everything will go according to plan and you are going to see your wedding.”
“Yeah,” she quietly says and walks back down the passage. She can see shadows in the light so she can easily do things on her own now. It bothers me that she is not herself. Nothing cheers her up and I am worried about today’s appointment with the doctor.
We postponed the wedding because I want her to see it and cherish it for the rest of her life. It is difficult to do that when she doesn’t talk about this wedding anymore. She lets Gean decide everything about our wedding and that bothers me. The excitement is no longer there.
“Are you coming with me?” she asks from the bedroom and I walk to her.
“Ofcourse babe,” I say, “I can always finish up my work later in the evening.”
“You didn’t have to resign.”
“I had to.”
“You don’t tell me but I know things are not going well in your business Khathu. You are always home since you resigned,” she says.
“That is because I want to be here. I work through emails.”
I cannot tell her that things are really moving slow. I have two clients so far but things are just a bit slow. I wait for their invoices for me to run the show. I cannot tell her that things are difficult because she will assume that it is all her fault. It is my choice.
“What time is it?” she asks.
“Ten past eleven,” I say. “Let’s go.”
I let out my hand and she reaches for it.
“You are doing great babe,” I say. I believe she is going to be perfectly fine.
I drive us to the eye institute in Arcadia.
The doctor’s appointments are just dreadful. Waiting for the doctor to tell you your fate? Not a very good feeling.

*****

“A’int you just happy, babe?” I ask while kissing her on her forehead.
“Yeah…it is good news.”
We are sitting in the car after seeing her specialist.
“So, in a month you are going to be fine. You are going to see,” I say while kissing her on her lips.
The doctor confirmed that she will undergo her surgery and he is confident that she is going to be perfectly fine.
I am thrilled.
“Babe, are you okay?” I ask. She is not as excited as I am.
“Yeah.”
“You don’t sound excited. What is wrong?”
“I am just…I am fine,” she says.
“Talk to me.”
“I need to go to New York for the surgery.”
“What?” I ask. The doctor said it will take her a month to recover in hospital after the surgery. We cannot afford to go to New York for a whole month. Corrections, I cannot afford to be in New York for a month.
“I have to do this for myself.”
“Why don’t you go to the Cape Town facilities? I will book a flat in Cape Town for a month and I will be able to come see you everyday.”
“I want to go to New York.”
“Okay then…uhm…let me see if I can get an apartment to rent. Something affordable for a month,” I say. This will cripple my bank account but it is for a good course. I cannot let my fiancée do this on her own. I love her to do anything for her.
“You don’t have to do that.”
“So, you are taking the Cape Town facilities?”
“No…I am going to New York.”
“Babe…what do you mean?” I ask and she looks outside the window. She is trying to stop her tears.
“Khathu, I need to do this on my own. Please…let me do this alone.”
“Why? We have been doing this together for so long Lufuno…why does it have to change now?”
“I have been nothing but a burden to you Khathu.”
HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!
“No…you have not.”
“I made you leave your job for me. I ruined your relationship with your daughter. Your family doesn’t want you to marry me. I am turning you against everybody Khathu…I just need a breather.”
“Lufuno…”
“I need a breather. It kills me to see you go through what you go through. I hear you talk on the phone and it hurts when I hear you telling everyone that ‘you are trying’” she says in a shaky voice. I had been honest when people called me sometimes. I would say we are trying and ask for their prayer. My family refused to pay lobola for me as they believe I was supposed to do things right for Tshepo and the baby. We decided to go ahead with the wedding with those who want to be part of it. I didn’t know it was straining our relationship this much.
“We did this together Lufuno…we are almost at the end of this turmoil…walk with me,” I say.
“I stopped you for having Michelle over when she wants to…let me give you a break.
“How many times should I say I don’t need a break?”
“Let me just do this one alone. I don’t want you to blame me someday…blaming me for making you change your life for me. You are sacrificing so much for me, I feel guilty already.”
“I don’t mind.”
“I do.”
“How can you be in New York alone?”
“I am going to the eye institute Khathu. The nurses will take care of me until I am fine to fly back.”
“What about the wedding?”
“I am coming back Khathu. I will deal with the wedding preparations when I come back.”
“Why don’t I believe you?” I ask and she shakes her head.
“I have been through a lot Khathu…I need some time out. Let me do this, just once and know that I am not a burden. You also need to live a little.”
I don’t believe this. I fucking don’t believe this.
“Okay, fine, I understand…I will send you off and come back after your surgery then,” I say and she wipes a tear that escaped her eyes. Her surgery will take two days so I can stay in New York for just a week.
“I will ask my mother to go with me. I need her.”
“What?”
“Please…let me do this. My mother will be the best person to go with me,” she says and sniffs the tears away.
Why does this sound like a break-up? Why?