Unscripted love Chapter 57 - Mzansi Stories

Monday, June 6

Wizzy

Unscripted love Chapter 57

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#57
The best feeling in the whole world is watching things finally fall into place after watching them fall apart for so long. Unknown.

I threw the shirt on the bed and sighed. It was the third outfit I’d tried on, and nothing I’d pulled out of my wardrobe was right. I looked fat, and ugly, and stupid. The tears pricking behind my eyes only made it worse. When did I become this emotional woman that cried all the time?
Damn pregnancy hormones.

I did not know why I was so concerned with my outfit, anyway. It’s not like I was meeting Levi for our very first date. We were going to the doctor’s office to discuss our baby. The time to impress him had long passed. Only it hadn’t. It’s not that I wanted him to think I was hot or anything and I certainly wasn’t hoping to discuss our relationship status. Getting into a relationship with him was the last thing on my mind.

I was angry and I took great offence to him insinuating that I was sleeping around when he was the one whose penis had clearly moved on. I was done with him and I really didn’t care if he ever called again. I was surprised when he called earlier that day to apologise for his reaction and asked to come along for the doctor’s visit. I agreed because I did not want to be one of those women that use their kids as pawns in fights.

Looking at my watch, I realised I had twenty minutes before I was due to meet Levi. Unless I wanted to be late, the shirt would have to do. Grabbing it off my bed, I pulled it over my head, brushed my hair, grabbed my bag and I was out the door.

I pulled into the surgery parking lot to see Levi waiting there.  As I approached his car he caught sight of me, smiled and opened the door. I stepped forward and smelt the scent of aftershave so familiar to me it made my stomach flip. Every feeling I felt when we were together came rushing to the forefront. This time each emotion was coupled with something else.

Just a few weeks ago, he was a guy I really fancied, whose smile left me breathless and his touch made my heart race. Now, he was the father of the child inside of me. He was someone who was going to be in my life forever whether I forgave him or not and I had to find a way to deal with that thought. Trying to push the conflicting voices out of my head, I hopped into the backseat and he followed.

“Hey,” I said, anything else would have been both gracious and inadequate at the same time.
“Hey, looking beautiful as usual,” Levi replied, the anger he’d had last night was replaced by a cautious uncertainty. “I really do apologise for my reaction last night. I really did not want it to come across as me saying that you are loose. I just thought that you listened to those that told you that it is God’s plan for you to marry Solomon and assumed that you guys were together… married even. I acted like a total dick, you shouldn’t have to put up with that.”
“Thanks. I appreciate you trying to explain why you assumed that I was sleeping with other people. After all that’s what you have been doing.” I couldn’t resist throwing a jab.
“I won’t lie, I used women to try and deal with the pain and I fed off of them wanting me because my ego is bruised. When you cut me out of your life so suddenly it really broke me. But what hurt the most was knowing that you’d cut me out but you were growing closer to Solomon. I am cognisant of the fact that you could have cut me out because I deserved it after lying to you time and time again – making me responsible for our relationship’s fatal destruction.

I started doing drugs in high school, it was a cool thing to do. I got addicted, went off the rails and ended up in rehab. When I feel like I am caving in I tend to relapse. I blamed myself for you getting raped, I couldn’t live with myself so I turned to drugs to escape the throbbing pain. I still blame myself for it actually and I hope that I forgive myself for playing a part in something that caused you immeasurable pain. I haven’t touched them since the asthma attack and I am proud to say that I did not touch them in the time that we have been apart… even on days when I wished my life would end.

Pearl is a name of one girl on the long list of women I have slept with. I was drunk, she came on to me and it felt like incest. I am not here to rehash the past and explain away my actions, I just need you to understand that I regret the way things played out between us. Because all I ever wanted was for us to have our happily ever after.

More than anything I need you to understand that I am truly sorry for making it easy for you to walk away. I miss you. Despite how angry I seemed to be last night, it was all masked pain. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I hate you for what you did so that I could feel anything else other than complete despair. The way we ended hurt more than I can ever fully describe, all I can say is that the last time I felt as much pain was when my father passed away.

Your parents hate me but I flew all the way to support you. Solomon embarrassed me by hanging out my dirty laundry for everyone to judge. I stood and watched as the whole church clapped and cheered at the prospect of you and Solomon being together when they all knew that I was there with you and then you discarded me like a used tampon. It was cruel and it was harsh.

I still consider you my best friend. I still love you and I believe that we both know that it wasn’t supposed to end the way that it did. I want us to get back together when you are ready because I realise that I made the mistake of giving you everything without asking if you wanted my all in the first place…. Anyway, how are things? Are you feeling okay? No morning sickness or anything?” He asked.

I giggled to myself, thinking about my earlier hormonal outburst and shook my head. “I’m good, thanks. No sickness today, thank God.”
He just looked at me. “So nice to hear you laugh again. I really am sorry for being a bum, and I will support you in whatever you want to do.”
Me: Thanks, the next few months are going to be tough, let alone when the baby comes.
Levi: You’re keeping it then? I mean, that wasn’t meant to come out so blunt. Shit, I’m sorry. It’s just that it’s not the ideal time, your parents… Solomon?
Me: It’s okay. I… wow. I haven’t considered the other options until you asked. What do you think?
I felt like I was setting a trap for him. Since the second I’d found out I was pregnant, there’d only been one choice. It didn’t matter that I was only twenty three and unmarried and that Levi and I weren’t together. Having an abortion did not cross my mind. Somewhere between trying to trace Levi down, thinking about my father hacking me to death and booking my doctor’s appointment, I’d accepted the fact that I was going to be a mother.

“I know it’s your choice and I said I’d support you no matter what, but I don’t think I could if you wanted to terminate. I want you to have the baby and I want us to be a family,” Levi said, the intensity in his eyes like a fire kindling to life. Words he’d spoken earlier were still ringing in my ears.

Without even thinking I threw my arms around his neck. “I want to keep the baby and I want you to play an active role in the child’s life.”
Levi: I will.
Realising that I was still hugging him, I let go, and shuffled back in my seat. “Let’s go and see the doctor then.”
We climbed out of the car and entered the surgery in silence. I gazed around the waiting room at the few other people in there, and noticed a couple cooing over a small baby in a carrier. The infant looked absolutely fine to me, but as its mother kept dabbing its nose, I assumed it had a cold or something.

As I watched the family interacting together, I wondered if that would be Levi and I in several months’ time. He’d been able to make this appointment, but would he come to every appointment and every ultrasound? Would he be there during birth? Would he be there when our child was sick and needed medical attention? Would he still be there when the child turned ten? Honestly, I did not know for sure. The teens I’d watched on Sixteen and Pregnant were sure but when the baby came, most boyfriends vanished at various stages. Some didn’t even make it to the end of the pregnancy.

I hoped Levi would be a good father, but I also knew his career meant he’d be training and travelling a lot of the time. I did not even know what I would do if he actually got a call from a team overseas.

After sitting on an uncomfortable waiting room plastic chair for thirty minutes, the door to the doctor’s office opened and he called my name. I got up from the seat, and took a final look at the couple tending to their child before walking over to the consultation room.

Doctor Thovhakale confirmed that the foetal sack was in the womb, the heart rate was perfect and blamed the pregnancy on mixing birth control pills with antibiotics. He gave me advice on what I should and shouldn’t be doing during the first few months of pregnancy, and then wrote a script for something that would help with nausea and excessive vomiting.

“Do either of you have any questions?” he asked.
For now, I didn’t, but I looked to Levi, making sure not to exclude him. He shook his head. “Not at the moment. I think we’ve got enough to take in for now.”
We left the doctor’s office with a few pamphlets on early pre-natal care, folic acid that I had to take to reduce the risk of birth defects, and his best wishes for us and the baby’s future.

We were making our way back to the car park when I realised just how hungry I was. For the last month, I’d struggled to keep food down, and usually felt quite nauseous throughout the day. I did not know why it was called morning sickness if it actually lasted all day.
“I’m starving. Do you want to get something to eat?” I asked.
Levi looked up from the pamphlet Dr Thovhakale had given us and smiled. “Okay, but no mould-ripened soft cheese, pate or raw seafood.”
I laughed, touched by how serious he was taking this. “Damn, there I was hoping to get some sushi.”

Leaving our cars in the car park, we crossed the street and headed to a nearby café. Once through the glass doors, my stomach growled loudly, and I felt certain I could eat everything on the menu, and everyone who walked past me. However, to prevent looking like a complete pig, I settled for a large portion of lasagne and a pint of orange juice. Levi ordered all-day breakfast, leaving out the black pudding in case it somehow affected the baby, and didn’t even complain when I stole one of his hash browns.

“Do you think you’ll to come to all the scans and stay in the room while I give birth?” I asked as we finished our meals. “I mean, if you want to, and you can get off work.”
Levi: The coach and the manager know that we are expecting so he shouldn’t mind letting me take a few hours here and there for scans and doctor’s visits.
“You told your coach and the manager?” I asked, ignoring his offer of support for the moment.
“Yeah, I kind of had to because I was losing my mind earlier.”
I looked up from my glass of juice. “Were you that disappointed?”
Levi: There is just so much going on at the moment. I want to have a baby with you but I would have preferred it if it happened at a time when there wasn’t so much confusion.

The fact that you entertained the idea of Solomon after all that we have been through has been a bitter pill to swallow and I just feel like you took me for granted. It’s like you had the audacity to put my life on pause and wandered off to pick and choose who you want. It’s almost like you were arrogant enough to think that I would just sit there and hope that you choose me. You made me feel inadequate and disposable yet I still came back and begged like a fool.
Me: Let me stop you right there. This is not about Solomon and it’s never been about him. I ended things because I had a huge problem with you carrying on like you were single and I just did not understand why you lied all the time. I know its things that happened in the past and I can’t crucify you for things you did when we weren’t together but I have an issue with you lying. Rather say you don’t want to talk about it, don’t lie.

I made it very clear to you that I don’t like Solomon. I have also made that clear to him as well. I just wanted time away from everyone to figure out what God has planned for my life. I want to know my purpose. I wanted to know for sure if he has called me into full time ministry and I wanted to hear from him, not other people. I needed to make things right with God, which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do with you in my life.
He shook his head. “I’ve never stopped you from going to church, reading the bible or doing whatever it is that people who believe in God do.”
Me: True, but I wanted to do everything right. I would like to follow all the commandments and not just pick and choose based on what’s easier.
Levi: In other words no sex?
Me: Yes.
Levi: Until?
Me: Marriage.
“No sex until marriage.” Levi said it to himself and let out a long breath. “Wow, that’s very interesting. And you still want to get married in two years’ time? So no sex for two years basically?”
I didn’t give him an answer. “Anyway, no matter what happens between us I can guarantee you that I will be there when my daughter is born.” He said, changing the subject.
Me: How do you know it’s a girl?
“Because I saw a vision.” We both laughed at his statement and went back to eating our food.

The issue of sex before marriage wasn’t the only thing that was on my mind. If he’d told his manager and coach, did that mean everyone else knew I was pregnant too? I wasn’t ashamed or trying to hide anything, but I hadn’t even told my parents and I did not want them to read about it in the papers.

I’d mulled over all possible outcomes and all of them ended in my father hacking me to death as soon as whichever words I chose left my mouth so I decided it was best to tell my grandmother and have her tell my parents that I was with child. I was planning on driving down to Ermelo to see my grandparents at some point and now that Levi and I had seen the doctor, there was no point in putting off telling them.

I desperately wanted another woman to talk to about being pregnant. I’d noticed a few small changes in the last few weeks and I would have liked to talk to my mom or my grandmother about them. No amount of research online would convince me waking up in the middle of the night craving ice cubes was normal. Besides, I’d shared all my important milestones with my mother. It would be wrong not to get my grandmother to tell her about her first grandchild as soon as possible.

I knew my parents were going to skin me alive but I wondered how my grandparents would take the news given the circumstances. Knowing how my grandfather reacted to change, I guessed it would probably be best if I broke the news gently. I remembered when he found out that I was moving out of home – it’d taken him three whole months to forgive my parents for allowing me to move to another province.

Then there would be my grandmother’s reaction. I was a lot closer to my grandmother, I guess because we’d bonded over our love for baking. She understood me way better than my own father. Even though I’d always been daddy’s little princess, he was standoffish and strict. Actually, I had a feeling, on this occasion my grandmother was the only one who would calm everyone down and make them realise that a baby is a blessing. I just hoped she wouldn’t be disappointed in me, or worse, disown me for getting pregnant in the first place.

It had been a while since Levi and I said anything to each other, and I didn’t want things to get awkward. I still didn’t know what to make of his initial reaction when I told him I was pregnant, but for now I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because I was also in shock when I found out.

Trying to fill the void of silence, I gulped down the last of my orange juice, and asked, “So, how do you think your parents will react to the news they’re going to be grandparents?”
Levi put down his tea cup, and looked wide-eyed, like I’d just told him I was visiting the queen for dinner or something.
“Shit. I haven’t thought about it. I’m still getting used to the idea myself.”
“But you are going to tell them, right? Are you going to tell your biological father? Maybe he will want to know about the addition to the Mmola family, he might even want you to change your surname.”
Levi laughed. “Once my mom gets over the initial shock there’ll be no keeping her away. I bet she’ll want to deliver the baby even though she isn’t allowed. Every single time I talk to Keagile he asks for money, it’s like he sees me as an ATM not his son so I am avoiding him. I’ll share the news with my mother and Joel.”
“So you think your mom will be pleased?”
“I think she will be happy to have a grandchild, she will not be pleased that her grandkid will be born out of wedlock though. She is also quite traditional.”
“Right, so both sets of parents will be waiting for you to pop the question and make an honest woman out of me.” I’d meant it as a joke, but as soon as the words left my mouth, I wanted to take them back. “I didn’t mean that. It was a joke. I don’t want to get married now. Not that you aren’t lovely….” The more I spoke the deeper I dug myself in. “Can we just pretend I didn’t say that?”

Levi stared at me for a moment, a stunned look on his face, and then chuckled. “Okay, we’ll just pretend that you didn’t indirectly ask me to pop the question.”
“Shut up.”
Both laughing, we left the café and headed back to the car park. I was glad that Levi came with me to the doctors. Even after he’d called me that afternoon, I was still unsure if he’d meant what he’d said about supporting me, but talking with him, and joking around put me at ease. Even with a matter as serious as telling my parents we were having a baby weighing me down, he’d still managed to make me laugh.

I was still trying to figure out what the future held for us, now that we were bound together by this life we’d created, but if every day was like this then we would be okay.
“I think I am going to tell Keagile that he is going to be a grandfather. I never really had a dad growing up so I want to learn how to be a good father from all the men in my life.”
Hearing Levi talk about doing what he could to be a good dad made my heart do a little somersault.
“Will you call me and let me know how it went?” I asked.
“Of course.”
I stood awkwardly for a moment, unsure what to do next. Simply saying ‘bye’ and getting in my car didn’t seem right, somehow.
“Thanks for coming today,” I said eventually, stepping into Levi’s personal space and opening my arms to him.

He wrapped his arms around me, and pulled me to him, our chests pressed together and his chin rested on top of my head. “I know that neither of us planned this, but now that it’s happening, I’m going to do everything in my power to be a good pregnancy partner. I started off on a bad note, to make it up to you I will change all the nappies and wake up for feeds at night for the first month.”

He was being sweet but that insinuated that we’d be staying together with the baby. I still didn’t believe in living with someone who hadn’t paid lobola, having his child didn’t change that. He snaked his arm from where it was resting on my back, to gently caress my stomach.
“I loved our relationship Thando. Even on our worst days I was happy. I love both of you very much.”
“We love you too, Levi.” I held on to him for a moment longer, then stepped away.

Without another word, I walked to my car, climbed in and started the ignition. With a little beep of the horn, I was on my way.

***

Early the next morning, I arrived at my grandparent’s house, and as expected, found my gran baking in the kitchen as my grandfather watched some old reruns on TV.

When the sound of Joe Mafela’s voice as the character Sdumo caught my ear I couldn’t help chuckling to myself. Sgudi Snaysi was a show my grandfather and I watched together when I was a little girl.
“You are playing your old video cassettes again? I’m sure you know all the words by now and I am certain that you are the only person in South Africa that still has a video player.” I teased as I sat down on the sofa next to him.
“I can watch it a thousand times over,” he said, with a smile of his own.
We fell into a comfortable silence, as we continued watching the episode and waited for my grandmother to join us with a steaming plate of freshly baked cookies.

When she eventually joined us, I was delighted to find she’d also baked banana bread and I tucked right in. Gran knew banana bread was my absolute favourite and she always baked it when she knew I was coming over. With the little tea party over, and my grandmother finally satisfied that her kitchen was immaculate again, I prepared to tell my grandparents the news that I was expecting their great-grandchild.

Tea time had given me a positive feeling that the announcement would go over well – both gran and granddad seemed to be in a good mood as we chatted and caught up on each other’s lives. When my grandmother re-entered the room, after checking that I’d tidied up the kitchen and packed things where she wanted them, I looked to my grandfather who was reclining in a chair I got him for his birthday, then took a deep breath.

“So, um, there is something I want to tell you,” I said, my voice trembling.
“My grandfather looked directly at me, smiled and then asked, ”You and Sandiso worked things out, haven’t you?
I shook my head, then gazed at my grandmother, hoping she somehow had the ability to read minds and knew what I was about to confess, so that she could make it easier for me. “No, Sandiso and I are never going to get back together. It’s something else.”

This time I noticed a crease in my grandfather’s forehead as he tried to work out what I was going to say. The look of confusion in his face worried me, and I actually contemplated backing out of telling them the truth, and making up something else but this pregnancy wasn’t going to go away.

“Okay so, the thing I’m about to say, well, it’s kind of a big deal, so I don’t want you to freak out and I need you to tell mom and dad for me.”
My grandparents nodded mutely, utterly bewildered by what was going on. I let out a long breath and the sentence tumbled from my mouth all at once. “I am pregnant and a guy called Levi is the father.”
Grandma’s eyes grew as wide as saucers, then she gave a deep sigh.
“You are pregnant?” my grandfather asked.
“Yes, I saw the doctor yesterday and he confirmed it. He says I’m about nine weeks along.”
Grandpa: What about the father? Who is Levi? Because I thought you were single now that you broke up with Sandiso.
Me: I am single. We dated for like four months and we broke up because we had some issues. But we are working through them.
Grandma: Four months and you are already carrying his child Thandolwethu. Uketula nje kwenzenjani? [Why were you spreading your legs in the first place?]

I looked to the floor, the disappointment in my grandmother’s voice made it impossible for me to keep eye contact with either of them.
“My son is going to kill you. Do you have any idea how this will taint his image? How can he lead a congregation when he can’t even lead his household? You know you are supposed to live by example, wena uyasantuza le eGoli.”

“Pretty awume ngesonto! Sonke siyazi ukuthi umfundisi akazali umfundisi. [Pretty don’t bring the church into this, we all know that a pastor doesn’t give birth to a pastor.]” My grandfather said sitting bolt upright in his chair and slamming a fist down on the table. His reaction was a shock. I thought he was going to agree with my gran.

“Thandolwethu is not going to ask anyone for money for nappies. I will not let you or our son bible bash this child and hold her up to a standard of ‘what will people say.’ I’m sure she has asked God for forgiveness so it is not up to us to judge. We are going to support her, just like we’ve always done. Now, Thando, tell us more about what’s going on. Who is Levi? Does he know that you are pregnant? Is he going to support the baby?”

“Thanks, grandpa,” I said genuinely touched by what he’d just said. “And yes, I’ve told him I’m pregnant. He said he wants to be involved in the baby’s life and he wants us to get back together. Your son is convinced that I have to marry someone I don’t like because he is an evangelist.” I told on my dad.

“Why is he choosing your partner? Ungenaphi yena?” My grandmother asked incredulously, piercing me with a glare that made me feel like a snitch. “You just got out of a relationship with Sandiso so I don’t understand why I am hearing about so many people so soon. I’m still waiting to hear what happened with Sandiso but it would seem that I am a couple of buses behind.”

“Granma it’s not like that. Sandiso and I are over and that’s just about all I am willing to say on that subject matter. Levi and I dated for four months but he was my friend for about fifteen months before we started dating so it’s not like he is a stranger. We love each other and I know that he wants us to spend the rest of our lives together.” I explained.

“Good.” My grandfather said proudly, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. “When is he sending his uncles to bring cows? I want to wake up to the sounds of his cows grazing in the yard.”
“Cows for?” I asked carefully.
“Damages for getting you pregnant and lobola. Angisho uthe he wants to spend the rest of his life with you? He must back up his words with fat cows.”
“Kumele sithumele omalume bayobika isisu. [We have to send your uncles to his house to inform his family that you are pregnant.]” My grandmother weighed in.
Me: He was raised by white parents so they don’t do any of these things.
Grandpa: Well, he got my grandchild pregnant so he will do these things, usiko lwethu [it’s our culture]. Ngifuna inhlawulo, bheka nje ukuthi umuhle kanjani. Ubuhle bakho buzogeza ingane. [I want damages, you are very beautiful – you are going to give this man a beautiful child.]
Grandma: Ubuhle bakhe abungabazwa futhi. Bheka nje ngazuthi iblom potjie. [Her beauty is undeniable. She looks like a flower pot.]
My cheeks flushed at their words. “Ave ninehaba bo. [You guys are exaggerating.]”
Grandpa: He must prepare his pockets.

A few minutes of tense silence passed as my grandparents gazed steadily at each other. Finally my grandfather made a motion with his head that I assumed was part of the secret language the couple had.
“Okay maybe my reaction was harsh,” my gran said with a sigh, before allowing herself a half-smile. “Raising a baby is not going to be easy, especially if you are going to be living alone in Jo’burg. I am going to tell my son about the pregnancy but you know he is stubborn so don’t expect him to jump for joy. You weren’t supposed to have kids before marriage but there is no use crying over spilled milk.”

Before I could reply, and say anything, grandpa stared her down and then changed the subject. “What did the doctor say? Do you have a due date yet?”
“No, not yet.”
“Her stomach is still flat so we have a long way to go.” My gran said, now seemingly calmer after her outburst. Although I wasn’t sure if she was just holding her tongue for granddad’s sake. “All you can do for now is make sure you’re eating right and getting plenty of rest. If you can’t keep food down then you must drink amagewu.”
Grandpa: Manje owakwabani lomfana? Zithini izithakazelo zakhe? [What’s this boy’s surname? Do you know his praise names?]
Me: He was raised by Cohan’s but his father’s surname is Mmola.
Grandma: Which surname is the child going to use?
Me: I don’t know. Levi has always said that he wants to take my surname and the last time we spoke about it we settled on Khoza-Cohan.
My grandfather burst out laughing, I mean proper, raucous from the belly howling laughter. “Umsangano wodwa nje. [That’s utter rubbish.] Levi must take his father’s surname.”

With my grandparent’s growing acceptance and their offer to support me, I truly felt as though everything was coming together. They were going to shield me from my parent’s wrath and I would live to see another day. I couldn’t help but wonder how Levi was getting on with telling his parents. I also wondered how we were going to convince his white uncles to buy cows and bring them to my family because their son got me pregnant.

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