Mzansi Stories : Unscripted love
Showing posts with label Unscripted love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unscripted love. Show all posts

Monday, September 12


Unscripted love Chapter 96

Kindred Spirits
Why did I stay in a toxic relationship?
I asked myself this question countless times.
I would ask myself after each horrendous fight or a heart-breaking exchange. I’d be applying foundation to the bags under my eyes while getting ready for work, glancing over at the empty spot on the bed where Mayihlome was supposed to be when he chose to spent the night with that duck, Forgiveness.
I’d ask myself while counting money for offering, hoping there was enough to cover the bills whenever Mayihlome gambled money for mortgage away or after counselling a woman torn apart by her husband’s philandering ways. Wishing that I would take my own advice and leave… start a new life.

Each time I would offer the same excuses as I did before and live on with the hopes of a better tomorrow. With each well-rehearsed answer I’d glance at my children sitting in the front row at church and stand behind my reasoning. I had to do whatever it took to keep my family together.
There were days when I hated myself as much as I hated Mayihlome. It didn’t seem understandable, staying in a horrid, abusive and downright humiliating marriage. But I was obsessed with making it work by any means necessary, even in the end when it became clear that he no longer respected me. I hated myself for blaming myself and questioning what I could have done differently to stop it from happening.
I wanted to break free but I didn’t know if I could. I’d become too depended on his affections that I could no longer live with mine. So there I was, finally pinpointing what it was that kept me in a relationship that hurt me and my children.
I hoped my children would live in a household where they saw their mother and their father daily. I hoped my marriage would work.
No one gets into a relationship knowing it will fail. When you make promises, especially ones that involve the words “forever” or “always” or “eternity”, you wholeheartedly believe you’ll keep them. I intended to keep my promises, and I believed I owed those promises to my children. Especially when the memories of a happy family were dangled in front of me like a carrot in front of a donkey.
My hope of a better tomorrow or a renewed relationship or a partnership with the charming, enthralling man that once shamelessly courted me, chained me to a life of torment. He would rip my heart to shreds, then suddenly transform himself into the loving husband, promising what he once whispered in my ear or proclaimed in front of cherished family and friends.
Mayihlome successfully harnessed my hope into a corner, subtly fixating my efforts on the perfect family for my children. Not the perfect life for my children.
Or me.
At some point I forgot that I mattered.
Like many people that stay in a turbulent marriage or relationship, I stayed because I saw myself as the slaughtered lamb, hanging onto the hope of a better day, a better life, a better family…. for the sake of the children.
What I failed to realize is that being a parent doesn’t mean sacrificing yourself for your children. Instead, it means demanding everything for yourself so that you can give it to your children and, at times, walking away from everything so that you can give your children more.
When I saw Mayihlome waltzing into the hospital with his heavily pregnant duck while our grandchild was fighting for her life, the hope I once had, shifted.
I reeked of desperation. He reeked of distance and somewhere, in-between running after Mayihlome and running away from him, I lost myself.
There I was loving him like he was supposed to belong with me, knowing that he was already hers. He was miles, cities, and provinces away from me and yet the distance between our hearts seemed longer than our bodies.
I was hollow inside, trying to find meaning to the new complexities in our relationship while the flame had run out. It was almost juvenile for me to realize this, after a long while of knowing that we were over but somewhere in my subconscious still hoping that we hadn’t had our last time. That we hadn’t had our last call, our last laugh, our last couple’s conference together and our last kiss.
I no longer hoped for the perfect family, gathered around a Christmas tree or a dinner table. I didn’t dream about my children coming home to one house, sleeping in their bedrooms with their spouses and children over the holidays or reconvening from family camping trips.
I finally put himself first. My hope was now for a better life, not a better family. I stopped compensating for all the mistakes Mayihlome made as a man. And I stopped fixating on the dream of a family that wasn’t broken when we were broken beyond repair. I realized that I did not have to subscribe to society’s view that as I woman I had to forgive even though he wouldn’t if the shoe was on the other foot, propelling my view that a lot of marriages survive on the level of chicken shit the wife can take. When I let go of the elusive hope I’d been clinging on to, I was that much closer to finding my existence outside of Mayihlome and the relationship we had.
I gazed at the little soul lying next to me and I smiled lovingly at Uluthando. She’d dozed off after another bottle feed a while ago but I couldn’t bring myself to switching off the side lamp and joining her and the rest of the world in lala land. Perhaps it was the excitement from spending the night with my granddaughter for the very first time and the joy I felt just looking at her.
I picked up my cellphone, checked the time, 2:27am. The twilight zone. The only people that were awake were the night time grafters, the nurses, prostitutes and insomniacs. I turned the lights off and pulled the blanket up to my chest, careful not to cover Uluthando’s little face. My eyes fixated on the ceiling as I relieved the past couple of months in my mind. I thought of all the things I could have done differently, all the decisions that I now regretted. I felt myself drifting to sleep, to dream of little feet and pink ponies at a park.
“NO!” A roaring voice yelling those words jolted me awake. Was I hearing things?
“NO, Please!” The male voice yelled again. I jumped out of bed and ran across the hall, following the direction of the distress call.
My hand found the cold metal of the doorknob to the room where the agonizing cries were coming from and I twisted it. Thank god it opened.
“Please…” he yelled again. If someone was hurting him, I had no idea what I would do, I didn’t think this through. I fumbled around for the lamp and switched it on. Joel was shirtless and tangled in the thick comforter, thrashing and tossing in the web.
Without thinking, I sat on the bed and reached for his shoulder. His skin was hot, too hot.
“Brother Joel!” I said quietly, trying to wake him.
His head snapped to the side and he whimpered but he didn’t wake.
“Brother Joel, wake up!” I blubbered and shook him harder while my body moved to sit astride his. Both of my hands went to his shoulders once more and I shook him again. His eyes flew open, terror filled them for a brief moment before confusion, then relief. Beads of sweat covered his forehead.
“Maria.” The way he said my name broke my heart then healed it. I didn’t even know he’d memorized it with the very little interaction we’d had. Within seconds he untangled his arms and brought them to my back, pushing me forward to rest his chest on mine.
The wetness of his chest and his sudden move startled me but I stayed put. I could hear his heart beating, pumping rapidly against my chest. Poor Joel. I placed both of my hands on his sides, hugging him. He stroked my hair as he mumbled something inaudible over and over, as if I was his talisman in the dark.
“Brother Joel, are you okay?” My words were lower than a whisper.
“No.” He confessed. His chest rose and fell slower than it was before, but his breathing was still shallow. I didn’t want to push him to discuss the terror he’d just dreamed.
I didn’t want to ask him if he was going to be okay, somehow I knew he was. When I tried to stand to leave his body tensed and held me in place.
“Please….. stay for a little while. And please, call me Joel. Brother Joel sounds like we are in a convent.” He whispered.
I dropped my hands and moved to sit on the nightstand beside his bed. “Why are you sleeping in here?” The question tumbled out of my mouth.
“I…I” he started, but abandoned his sentence.
He looked straight ahead of me, not even glancing at the face of the person who’d just shaken him out his nightmare.
“What’s going on Joel?” I asked.
He looked at me like he wanted to say something but he couldn’t.
“I was dreaming of the day my parents were shot in front of me.” He said, eventually.
My lungs felt frozen inside. My eyes scanned his face. His hair was a rich shade of auburn. It fell over his ears with its medium length. It was the type of hair I’d seen upon a movie stars head in a scene where they were driving in a car, wind running through their hair as they stated they felt alive. It was interesting to see it without the gel holding it in place.
His eyes were narrow stars, filled with a light, piercing shade of blue. I had never seen such blue eyes before. The way his light brown lashes curled was unusually long and beautiful for a boy. His jaw was shaped like a diamond, classy and sharp. His skin was creamy, it reminded me of vanilla ice cream and honey.
For the first time in weeks, I felt emotions – actual emotions – that swirled when I looked at him. I felt self-conscious as he studied me as closely as I was studying him. I pulled my robe closed and suddenly felt naked under it even though I had short pajama pants and a tank top. I felt… like I wanted to know him more. It was as if he jumpstarted something.
“I’m fine now. Go back to sleep.” He tilted his head slightly, “I don’t want to bore you with my nightmares.”
“I- I want to know about them.” I stuttered, trying not to look into his eyes. They were so powerful- so determined. “If you don’t mind me asking, why aren’t you sleeping with your wife?” I asked, a little suspicion crossed my face as I perked up an eyebrow.
This time he didn’t think before he spoke. “Because we broke up months ago. We are separated but we still live in the same house, which is easy to do in a house this big for just two people.”
He froze and I froze. He seemed shocked by his revelation, while I felt like an idiot for asking questions that had nothing to do with me.
“Emily slept with my best friend and my business partner, Henze,” he said, surprising me.
“My ex-husband is having a baby with a woman that is young enough to be his daughter,” I said, surprising myself.
We communicated our hurt in a comfortable silence.
“You don’t look comfortable on that thing.” He said, breaking the silence. He pulled me with that unrelenting grip on my arm, and I felt like I was a dog on a leash.
“No, I’m- I’m fine here.” I tried to resist, but he was persistent.
“Sit on the bed. I’m not going to bite you.” He said.
“I’m fine, really.” I tried to raise my voice and shove his hands off, but it hardly made a difference to him.
“Please, just sit on the bed.” Joel took my hand and it made me nervous.
“I’ll sit on the daybed.” I informed him and walked over to the daybed positioned at the foot of his bed. He grabbed the throw then sat on the other end of the day bed, picking up my feet and placing them on his lap and covering them with the throw.
I noted he looked tired and drawn.
“Aren’t you supposed to be starting a company somewhere overseas?” I asked.
“Austria. Something that required my premature return came up. I arrived yesterday morning but I’ve been hiding in this room. I wasn’t in the mood for company and this house is just crawling with Emily’s guests.”
“Why don’t you move out?” I asked him, slightly hurt by his statement because I was one of them.
“Because this is my house. I asked Emily to move out but she refused.” He replied, a scowl crossed his face.
“Then file for divorce and divide the assets.” I offered my unsolicited advice.
“Let’s just say that I would file for divorce if I could.”
“Why can’t you?” I don’t know why I felt like I was entitled to ask. I was a stranger – I might have looked harmless, but in the end I was simply a stranger. And strangers shouldn’t be trusted.
“She knows too much.” He said simply.
I accepted his answer and didn’t push further.
“Are you okay now?” I asked.
“I am, now that you are here.” He replied, shooting a tiny smile at me. It made my stomach do a flip-flop, and I clutched my tummy at the strange feeling.
I couldn’t figure out why he trusted me with this. He didn’t know me, I didn’t know him. For some reason, I wanted to open up to him about our shared hurt, and then there was another, larger part that wanted to run back to my room.
But there was something in his eye. Perhaps it was a sparkle or just the way he glanced at me. It was something that made me postpone my retreat. It made me sit there and listen to him. It made me tell him that my ex-husband was coming to Uluthando’s birthday party with his duck. I couldn’t help the lone tear that came trailing down my cheek.
“Don’t ruin your beautiful face by crying for a man that clearly doesn’t deserve you.” He said but all I really heard was the word beautiful. Did he really think that or was he saying it to make me feel better?
Me: Sometimes I wish I was a man. I would have moved on by now and I certainly wouldn’t be crying over it.
“What makes you think men don’t have feelings?” He croaked his eyebrow as he thumbed my tear and looked me in the eye.
Me: Do they?
Joel: We do. As a man, it’s almost as if my duty is to hold back my feelings. I had to act strong when the only thing I knew to be family was taken for me. It breaks my heart every time I envision the relationship Emily and Henze had. I do not trust a lot of people but I trusted my wife and my best friend…. Henze and I were like brothers Maria. I may not cry about it but hurts, it hurts so fucking much.
I looked at Joel for a moment. I felt my heart warming a little bit more at his vulnerability. I jumped when a bolt of lightning pierced the sky followed by a loud clap of thunder.
I wasn’t the only one startled by the roaring thunder as I heard Makhosazana’s earsplitting cry. It swept through the house like a whirlwind, upending our banter. I hurled out of Joel’s room and jogged to my room to clutch the little angel. I nested her against my chest so that she would be calmed by the body to body contact.
“Is the baby okay?” Joel asked, walking into the room.
“Yeah, thunder must have woke her up.” I said, grabbing her bottle and putting it on my cheek to check if it was warm enough. “I have to warm this up.” I stated, deciding that it was too cold.
“Let me warm it up. Do I pop it in the microwave?” He asked, taking it from me.
I chuckled. “No. Put it in a bowl of boiling water. Come, I’ll show you.” I said above the baby’s cries.
I soothed her with lullaby's and stroked her tiny back and soft hair while Joel and I waited for the kettle to boil.
“She is beautiful, just like her grandma.” My heart fluttered at his statement and I looked away so he wouldn’t see me blush.
“She is such a blessing,” I responded and went back to soothing her.
Uluthando was a dear little thing, born premature, but she gained weight fast on her mother's milk and soon looked not too different from other babies born in the same week. She was becoming quite chubby, developing those chubby bracelets where the fat folded at her wrists and ankles. She was an easy baby to feed, opening her mouth wide at every bottle feed. I whispered sweet things in her ears and covered her with kisses as she wiggled her feet, clearly enjoying her milk.
“She is too adorable,” Joel cooed, rubbing his index finger on her chubby cheeks. “What’s her name?”
“You don’t know her name?” Shock was evident in my tone.
“I heard Hailey-Hope flying around at some point but I don’t know what she was actually named at birth. I told you Emily and I are separated so we don’t talk. Levi and Zain don’t have any regard for me so they didn’t tell me anything.”
My heart sank. “That’s terrible. Well, she is Hailey-Hope Uluthando Cohan on paper but she has two more names that don’t appear on her birth certificate.”
Joel: And those are?
Me: Bokamoso and Makhosazana.
Joel: Sounds like a mouthful. What do they mean?
Me: Makhosazana means princess, Uluthando means God is love and Bok-
“Levi named his child God is love? That’s a shocker, given that he is atheist.”
“I am guessing you didn’t hear about the little scare this little one gave us at birth?” Surely someone should have told him. He wasn’t Levi’s father but he raised him.
Joel: A scare?
I told him about the dread that filled me when I first saw that she was blue. After an hour of Joel and I talking about everything from the circumstances surrounding Hailey-Hope’s birth that turned Levi into a believer to what we did for a living and everything under the sun, he told me he felt like we were kindred spirits and I agreed.
“I think we managed to put her back to sleep.” He smiled.
“Yeah, you did.” I moved to get up and take Makhosazana from him but he moved towards me, placing a hand on my shoulder and pushing me back down.
“Please don’t get up. I’ll put her down. She sleeps on her tummy, right?”
I nodded and didn’t follow his instruction. I followed closely behind him to show him how to put her down.
I was sleepy but hunger drove me to the kitchen to root out something for an early breakfast. Joel went to his room to catch up on some sleep. I’d just pulled out the spices, eggs, onions and tomatoes when Joel entered the kitchen.
“I’m not sleepy.” He said, sitting on the counter.
“Are you hungry?”
“Starving. What’s on the menu?”
“Scrambled eggs,” I held up a skillet. “You eat that, right?”
“I haven’t had eggs with rajah spice before,” he gave a husky laugh.
“You’ll love it, trust me.”
I was aware of him watching me cook and it made me fumble what I was doing a few times.
“Where did you learn to cook?” he stole a piece of bacon.
“My mother. Do you cook or do your girlfriends cook for you in Austria?” I didn’t attempt to be subtle.
His face grew serious, “I don’t have girlfriends, Maria. I have friends with benefits.”
“What are friends with benefits?” I asked.
He chuckled, “your innocence is intriguing. I’m not going to corrupt your mind, let me rather say that I don’t think I’m in the right frame of mind to commit to a long term relationship. I also have too many responsibilities, I don’t wish to add anymore.”
I turned and studied him, he met my eyes honestly, making sure I understood what he was saying without really saying a word.
I nodded once then laughed.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
“Are you aware that you can boss people around without even saying a word?”
Joel stopped with a piece of bacon halfway to his mouth.
“Are you planning to save me any?” I looked at the half empty plate.
He grinned, “I can’t help it. You missed your calling as a chef. Shall I make the toast?”
Me: You cook?
Joel: I can make toast and I’ll stir whatever you put in the pot.
Me: Lucky for you, eggs are ready so you don’t have to stir today.
Joel: When am I going to stir something in Durban?
I glanced at him and laughed off his question.
Eventually, we finished cooking and sat down to eat in a companionable silence. When we were done I left him to wash the dishes but he came and took the sponge from me.
“Leave that for the help.”
I laughed, “You are so wrong.”
“Is the baby up again?” He asked.
I stopped to listen and I heard her crying like a wounded animal. “Yep, she’s up.”
“We put her down two seconds ago.” He grunted.
“She is just like her mother. She feeds for an hour, screams with trapped air for an hour, sleeps for an hour, then starts the whole cycle over again. Levi says she slept for two hours yesterday but it gets better after six weeks.” I said as we padded back to the room.
“So you went through the same thing with your daughters?”
“Yes. My son was raised by my sister.”
His eyebrow raised in question.
“I had him when I was young. Very young. Do you have children?” I asked, putting a pacifier in her little mouth and taking Uluthando’s pants off for a nappy change.
Joel grabbed the baby wipes and said, “My companies are my kids.”
I laughed. “You never wanted children?”
“Emily fell pregnant but she aborted the baby before she told me she was pregnant. She said it wasn’t the right time and the right time never really came.” He said.
Levi and Thando walked in the room before I could say anything, a look of shock registered on Thando’s face when she saw Joel. I made a note to ask her why she seems uncomfortable around him later.
“Good morning.” Levi said with a grin.
I sulked. “Oh no, daddy is here to take you away from grandma and grandpa. Tell them you don’t want to go.” I cuddled her.
“Congratulations, Levi….Thando. I didn’t even know she was born already.” Joel chimed in, a hint of sadness in his tone..
Levi: Thank you. I didn’t know you were in the country?
Joel: I came back yesterday but I’m not staying for long.
Thando gave a quick wave and hello, took the baby and left the room under the guise that she had to go bath the baby. I folded Uluthando’s dirty clothes and packed her things in a bag while Joel and Levi had a brief chat. I handed over the bag and kicked them out so I could get some sleep.
That morning as I climbed into bed I was exhausted. All I could hear was Joel’s voice in my head. We’d spent hours talking and it felt like we could go on forever. It was hard to believe that there was a person who could understand exactly what I was going through without me having to explain myself. It was also refreshing to speak to a person who didn’t expect me to work on my relationship with Mayihlome and accept being disrespected because ‘men are weak.’ Joel was right, Mayihlome did not deserve me.
I’d just started to doze off when there was a knock on the door. Convinced it was Thando wanting to know what I wanted for breakfast, I was going to let it pass and pretend to be asleep, which I practically was, when the knock came again.
I jumped from the bed grabbing my robe and padding over to the door on my bare feet. When I unlocked it and cracked it open I was surprised to see Joel standing on the other side, dressed in a suit.
“Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping?” I asked with a chill in my voice. I was aware that I looked like I’d just awakened. I now had an old stocking on my head and my cheeks were burning, I was not happy that I didn’t look my best.
“Sorry I woke you.” He said in a firm business tone. “I have meetings all day and I will be back when everyone is asleep so I would like your contact information please.”
I considered him for a moment then turned and walked into the room to get my phone. When I turned around he was right behind me having closed the door behind him.
He gave me his phone to punch in my number and I gave him mine.
“There you go.” I said a minute later, nodding to his phone in my hand.
“Do you only have one number? Please give me your work number just in case you forget your cellphone or misplace it.” Joel moved closer to me as he spoke.
“I’m a nurse so I’m not office bound.” I was rooted to the spot, I couldn’t move even if I wanted to.
“Enjoy your meeting.” I was finally able to take a step back; a move that he registered in a glance.
“Surely you have another number a person use to contact you if you aren’t answering your phone. Family, boyfriend….. someone.” His stare was harder if that was possible.
“If you wanted to know my relationship status you only had to ask.” I tightened my robe.
He gave a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Do you have a boyfriend or someone special in your life?”
He took a step towards me again and I looked at his large frame as it filled my vision. Somehow he made the room look smaller even though it was huge.
I straightened my shoulders and marched towards the door. “I don’t have a boyfriend. Thando can always get you in contact with me if I misplace my phone.”
Joel moved to stand in front of me as my hand landed on the doorknob. He placed his hand over mine, stopping me from opening the door. I felt a current of electricity leave his hand and travel right up my arm making my heart beat faster. How could a simple touch be so exhilarating?
“Joel… This is wrong.”
“What’s wrong with a single man talking to a single woman?”
“Our kids are married.” I noted.
“Levi is not my child.”
“On paper we are both still married. We are waiting for the judge to make the settlement agreement an order of court and you don’t even want to file for divorce.” I said.
“In reality we are divorced.”
My gaze raked his face stopping at his lips. He must have sensed my weakness because he snaked his free hand around my waist and pulled me in for a hard kiss. The moment his lips touched mine my wobbly knees caved in and I landed hard against him. I gasped at the full length contact and he took advantage of my gasp to deepen the kiss.
His other hand left mine, came around my waist and he held me to him. His smell was intoxicating. I trembled at the continued power that was radiating from him. I could feel the muscles in his arms ripple as he took my full weight.
I heard myself give a little cry in the back of my throat and even I didn’t know whether it was a cry of delight or a cry of distress. He must have heard it because the next thing I knew he had set me aside and was looking at me as if he’d never seen me before.
He searched my eyes for a moment as if he was trying to solve a puzzle then told me to have a nice day and was gone. I closed the door behind him and leaned against it, my heart about to beat right out of my chest.
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Saturday, September 10


Unscripted love Chapter 95

Formatted Memory
The sound of a hundred chairs dragging against the floor echoed throughout the examination hall like the rumbling of thunder as the first hour passed. ‘Happy hour' is what the students had taken to calling it. Students were not permitted to leave the examination hall until the first hour of a semester test session had passed, which meant after sixty minutes there was a mass exodus. If you finished within the hour because it was very easy, you were relieved. If it was because you had given up and accepted failure, then you were off to get drunk and re-evaluate your academic future.
I wasn't leaving at 'happy hour', and I hardly registered the sound of a human checkerboard of happy and dejected students migrating its way out of the large hall. No, I was too absorbed in solving the matrix equation I was using to solve a system of linear equations to come up with the answer to the sixty mark question that I'd been working on for nearly thirty-five minutes. I performed a few quick mental calculations and arrived at my solution.
There was a sobbing sound from somewhere in the sea of students scribbling furiously in answer booklets; someone had broken. The stress of exams and semester tests at post-secondary education institutions was one of the leading causes of anxiety in teens and young adults. For me it was being a father for nearly a month. Turns out adjusting to life with a new born was on the same list as exam and semester test pressure. I wrote rapidly, cursing my professor for the difficulty level of the test, but managing to get satisfactory answers to each question.
I sighed with relief when I completed the final question, and pushed my chair away from my desk, my long legs propelling it backward before I collected my calculator, writing utensils, and student card, and headed towards the adjudicator's desk at the front of the expansive room. I glanced at my watch, two hours fifteen minutes, considering the exam period was three hours I felt pretty good about that number. I handed the test paper and booklet to the woman at the table before retrieving my jacket and backpack, and then left.
Sleep. Sleep. Glorious sleep. Was all I could think about.
I drew my phone out of my pocket and turned it back on. I answered the text messages I'd received while I'd had it off, mostly family wishing me good luck for my test and requests to hang out or attend some or other party. There was one from a person I wasn’t expecting to hear from: my ex-girlfriend, Jenna. We'd broken up after dating for 5 months, when we left high school. She went to study medicine in Russia and it just ended. It'd been mutual, in a way, with promises that we'd still be friends and still talk all the time.
For a few weeks that had been true, but then the emails and text messages had dried up and so had my mother’s hopes that the breakup was just a temporary thing until we got back together. I’d seen her post photos of herself on her Facebook account showing what she was wearing for her 'night out with the girlz!', where they were going to go 'pick up some guyz!' because they were so 'hawt'. I worried what university was doing to Jenna's brain sometimes.
I continued to swipe searchingly through my text messages, and considered sending Jenna a reply but decided against it. I sighed and slid my phone into the pocket of my jeans. Rather than go to the gym like I was supposed to, I decided to head straight home and crawl into bed with my two favourite women.
I went to the stairway and descended the steps to the ground level. I reached the landing of the stairs and saw Futhi talking to her lanky guy that was eventually introduced to me as Lesiba. My slightly dimmed mood brightened at the sight of her.
"Hey Mr Cohan," she said when she saw me. “Phela I must show you respect now, you are a father and a husband.” She joked.
I chuckled to myself. “You make me feel like I’m 50.” I held out my hand to her non boyfriend, boyfriend “Lesiba.”
He shook my hand and said, “Mr Cohan.”
All three of us laughed.
“Please stop calling me that. Were you guys writing?” I asked.
Futhi: We were writing literature.
My brow furrowed in question. “What does literature have to do with law?”
Futhi: We have to do two elective modules so we chose literature.
“She chose literature and roped me into it.” Lesiba gave his account which earned him a playful shove.
Me: You never told me why you chose to study law. I thought you were set on teaching English, you’re clearly passionate about it if you chose literature as an elective.
Futhi nodded. “I was but my mom told me that teachers don’t make enough money. I had to choose between accounting, engineering, law or the medical field so I chose law seeing as its closest to writing and stuff.”
“Sounds unfair to me,” I replied. “A child should be allowed to study what they want to study.”
“That’s what happened to me as well.” Lesiba weighed in. “I wanted to study music but I was given the same choices.”
“I don’t think that was such a bad thing,” Futhi said, laughing. “Being an engineer is far better than being a musician.”
“An engineer? I thought you were studying law.” I pointed at the law of evidence textbook in his hand and said, “you are always carrying law textbooks.”
Lesiba: This is Futhi’s textbook. She attends all my classes and I attend all her classes.
“I don’t know why he insists on carrying my thick textbooks.” Futhi tried to play down the sweet gesture.
Lesiba: A woman shouldn’t have to carry heavy things. She might break her back with all these books.
“Oh, really.” I said, looking from one to the other as if waiting for them to profess their undying love to one another right there. Futhi dropped her eyes and looked at her hands like her nails were the most fascinating things she’d ever seen.
Me: If I didn’t know better I’d say you were dating.
Futhi gave a slight laugh, “don’t start.”
“I didn’t say anything. Anyway, I need to go home and get some sleep.”
“Umm, do you mind dropping us off at the mall on your way home?” Futhi asked.
“Sure. Not a problem,” I replied. “What do you want to get at the mall?”
Futhi: We are going to watch the new Spiderman movie. And no, it’s not a date.
I would have paid to see Lesiba’s facial expression but he walked two steps ahead of us. He held the door open for us and Futhi smiled her thank you.
"How were your other semester tests?" I asked, raising my voice over the howling crowd as we spilled out of the building.
"Good," Futhi replied at the same volume, "Historical Foundations to Private Law was kind of hard because it bores me to tears, but pretty good overall."
I looked up at Lesiba in anticipation for his answer and the sun tore at me. “And you?” I asked him when his answer wasn’t forthcoming.
Lesiba: I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch so I will wait for my results.
"How about yours?" Futhi asked me.
"Good," I said.
“How is the baby?” Lesiba asked.
My face lit up at the thought of Hailey-Hope. Perhaps Lesiba wanted a one word answer but they were bombarded with endless photos and stories. I mentioned the time we struggled with the car seat straps for close to 40 minutes and we were late for our meeting with the lactation consultant. I worried that the consultant didn’t really know what she was doing as she couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason why Hailey couldn’t latch on properly, but I was too unsure of myself to question her.
They were grossed out when I told them about her popping explosively on my bare back at her new born photo shoot, my wife and I thought it was hilarious. I left out all the other poop and weeing incidents and went on to talk about how I’d lost out on a major opportunity for sleep the previous night when Hailey-Hope slept for two hours straight for the first time. I had to use that time and all other nap times to study.
“You make it sound like she never sleeps.” Futhi commented from the passenger seat next to me.
Me: Let’s just say there is no longer a difference between night and day, it’s just a vicious 24 hour cycle. I don’t remember the last time I went to bed at ten and woke up at five.
“I suppose you sleep when she sleeps.” Lesiba said.
Me: Most of the time. Sometimes we just look at her sleeping and marvel at her dignity, her placidity, her tiny, perfect ears and gush about the awesome responsibility we've assumed. It’s not a walk in the park though.
Parenting is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. It’s daunting, frightening, and frustrating. No wait…. It’s been the most stressful, sleep deprived, time of my life. But it is also positively challenging. I see myself growing as a person in ways I never expected. And it is extraordinarily rewarding seeing Hailey-Hope unfold as we help guide her through her first weeks of life.
As we continued to talk about babies I didn’t mention that Hailey's Snuggle Nest, placed between our pillows so we could co-sleep, was a vast canyon separating me from Our Love. It's as if Hailey-Hope got her own king-size bed while Our Love and I had to hang on to the opposite ends of the bed. At this rate we’d never have sex again. I felt bad but I wanted my princess out of our bed and in her own bed soon, not in two or three years’ time. I knew that this was going to be met with resistance from the little one that only wanted to sleep in our exhausted arms and my wife.
Driving home after dropping the two off at the mall, I mentally ticked off the list of things I needed to do for Hailey-Hope’s birthday party on Saturday. I couldn’t believe that she was going to be a whole month old already.
I pulled up to the garage enclosure and there wasn’t any space so I had to drive to underground parking. I parked on an empty spot and cut the engine. For a moment, I just sat there, rubbing my eyes. I was tired and my stomach was grumbling from the peperoni smell that filled the car. I didn’t even like pizza but it’s the first thing that popped into my wife’s mind when I asked her if she wanted anything from the mall. That and socks for the baby that was crying in the background.
Knowing that the baby was going to be handed over to me as soon as I walked in, I selfishly pushed my chair down and took a short nap before I finally forced myself out of the car and strolled into the house.
Our Love was half asleep, watching reruns of NCIS on the television. I figured Hailey-Hope was with one of her grandmothers.
“Hey babe, how was the test?” she asked in her melodic voice. “You look tired.”
I fell on the seat next to her, totally exhausted. “Rough.”
She didn’t understand half the stuff I had to study so she didn’t probe. “Did you get the pizza?”
“Yes. But I want us to eat it straight from the box.” I said, not wanting to impose on her to go to the kitchen to put it on a plate and present my food on a tray like she always did.
I set the pizza box on her lap and said, “bon appétit.”
She gave me a wide grin and her attention focused back on the show as she ate. I studied her, still not believing how lucky I was. I’d royally screwed up my career and I was back to the beginning. I was no longer the ‘it boy’ or the blue eyed prince with the golden boots but her eyes still held the same admiration when she looked at me.
She was a devoted mother and wife but I sometimes felt guilty for being the reason why her dreams were deferred. Being a housewife is not something that she chose so I knew something in her was yearning for something more, even though she never complained. She resigned to follow me halfway across the world and now the ‘we wish you well with your future endeavours’ rejection letters she used to send came at her from every direction.
I stroked her neck. “How has my little girl been acting?”
She chuckled, “acting up is more like it. She passed stool twice but she hardly passes urine, which means she isn’t getting enough milk even though I breastfeed for three hours at a time.”
God, how can any mother be that patient? Most women would have given up on breast feeding but not Our Love.
Me: Do we need to see another lactation consultant?
She heaved a sign. “No, I think it’s time to accept defeat. Your mom thinks she is latching on just fine so that’s not the problem, I don’t produce enough milk. We will give her breast milk and formula.”
Me: I know you wanted to have her on breast milk exclusively but formula is not such a bad idea. I was on formula and look at me, I turned out great.
She smiled at me. “And handsome.”
“Careful now, you might just find yourself in bed on your back if you keep talking like that.” I joked.
Her head fell back in laughter. “You are getting yourself worked up when you know we have to wait for another two weeks.”
“When that day comes you won’t be able to walk by the time I am done with you. They must just get you a wheelchair.” I smirked.
She laughed even louder. “You are hopeless.” She placed the pizza box on the coffee table and straddled me.
“Now that the princess is on formula, my mother offered to sleep with her to night. So I was thinking that maybe we could make it to second base.” She purred. Her face, a breath away from mine.
My hand travelled down her back, light and playful. I coated my palm over her jean covered thigh. “I wish you were wearing a skirt.” I whispered.
She laughed and pushed my chest. I pulled her back to me and told her that I missed her.
“I miss you too.” She smiled, her lips slid against my cheek as her hand travelled up my stomach.
“I know the factory is closed due to biological reasons but maybe you could show me your chest.” I said.
“Levi!” she slapped my hand as my finger hooked in the top of her shirt.
“Just a peep.” I cooed.
She arched her back to show off her chest, still shaking with suppressed laughter as I trailed my hands over the curve of her breasts, adjusting her bra to lift her cleavage.
“Love them,” I smirked. “Now I get to gawk at you like you do when I get dressed in the mornings.” I joked, we bot laughed.
“Have I told you just how good you look naked?” she asked in an airless voice.
I moved my hand to the small of her back to pick her up and moved this to our bedroom.
Her eyes were the portals to her soul. Her lips, the corridor to her mind. I sensed what was on her mind as my lips reacted to her thoughts with a smile. Her mind expressed its bidding with words of love, and showed its intentions with a tender kiss on my shoulder.
I kicked the door closed with my foot as she pecked my lips. Denying her would be like refusing water in a desert. My eyes fluttered shut but my lips parted ever so slightly. It took me back to the moment when our lips touched for the first time ever. Her arms were around me. She slowly pulled me closer by wrapping her legs tighter around my waist. I responded and our bodies pressed tightly together.
I made love to her mouth by nibbling and teasing and taking pleasure from the soft caresses of our lips and tongues. Breathing became difficult, and my heart rate became erratic. The sweet invasion stroked my mouth to ecstasy. The kiss said many things that are difficult to put into words. When it ended the words “wow”, uncontrollably jumped from my mouth.
“That just took me back to the very first time you kissed me at the back of my car.”
My statement made her eyebrows knot. “WHAT? Did you just mistake me for one of your pigeons?” She snapped and forced me to put her down.
“What did I do?” I asked, in shock.
“Our first kiss was in the kitchen, in your old apartment!” She exclaimed.
I took a moment to look at her, convinced that someone was going to jump out of the bushes and say that I was getting pranked.
She sent the pillows flying off the bed in fury and crawled under the covers, leaving me dumbfounded.
“So this isn’t a joke?” I asked.
“Does it look like I’m joking?” She fired without turning to look at me.
“Babe, are you telling me that you were too drunk to remember?” I asked, sliding into bed.
“It was the day we went to the club.”
“We went to the club a thousand times,” she replied, curiosity evident in her tone.
Me: As in the day you were singing worship songs. We were in the backseat waiting for the others to get in their cars so we could move the party to my place. I leaned in to move your hair from your face but you kissed me. Kagiso hopped in the driver’s seat and told us to get a room. Do you honestly not remember?
“No.” She chuckled. “You must learnt to separate reality from fantasies.”
Me: You weren’t wearing your dress when you woke up the next day. How do you think that happened?
Thando: You took it off because it would have been uncomfortable for me to sleep in a tight dress?
I chortled. “I am a hot blooded male, I would never take off a girl’s dress for that reason.”
“So did we? You know….”
“No, we only got to second base. I cared too much about you to cross that line until we were both sure that it’s what we really wanted. I didn’t want you to think that I was just another guy only interested in getting you under the sheets when I was actually more concerned with getting into your mind, not your panties.”
Thando responded by moving closer to me, placing her back flush against my chest. It felt like a lifetime since we slept so close to each other. The warm fuzzy feeling sealed Hailey’s fate – she had to move to her own bed that cost me an arm and a leg.
“Does it really matter to a guy how fast he was able to have sexual intercourse with a woman? Like does it have a bearing on the way he perceives her and their future together?” Our Love asked.
Me: I don’t think it’s something that is measured with time. How fast or how slow a woman and a man take to have sexual intercourse is not in itself indicative of how long the relationship will last or how a man would perceive the relationship but we are all different. I believe that the greatest sex stems from an internal energetic connection between two people that truly love each other and it takes time to fall in love with someone.
“Do you think Lesiba and Futhi are having sex?”
The sudden question made me giggle. “I don’t know but I think it’s inevitable. They can only play the cat and mouse game for so long. The cat will catch the mouse and chow it eventually.”
My playful response elicited an unexpected chuckle.
Thando: I’ll chat to her about contraceptives just to put it out there so that history doesn’t repeat itself.
“Or find herself in Sbahle’s situation.” I added.
She laughed but I was dead serious. “You will never know what people are getting up to these days.” I said.
Thando: Sbahle’s not pregnant by the way so that’s a relief.
Me: Kwame must be relieved.
Thando: She didn’t tell him. I think she wants Kwame carry on acting a fool and show her who he really is. People show you their true colours when stuff hits the fan.
“Why are people always playing games? She should tell the guy and move on with her fiancé.” I said.
“Anyway, enough about Sbahle. When are you meeting with the prosecutor to prepare for the trial?”
Our Love sprung out of bed like an energizer bunny before she squealed, “I’m going to bath.”
“Now?” I asked. “Is this about the trial?”
Thando: I don’t want to take the stand. All I had to do was tell them when and where the drop was taking place and I did that. I don’t want to put my life or my baby’s life at risk by testifying.
Her statement came as a shock to me. “You think they are just going to let you go if you do not cooperate?”
“Everything is just a blur, babe. So much has happened. The therapy sessions have done more bad than good because I’ve had to dig deep, let all my demons lose so that I can face them. All my thoughts blur into each other. The prosecutor has files of pictures of people that I have to identify and they all look the same to me now.”
Me: But how? We spoke about this in depth. You told me about Obvious, Pharaoh, Danger and the others.
Thando: Who are the others?
I sat up. “I don’t remember all of them.”
Thando: See, I also don’t remember. I think I remember who did what where and why then I don’t remember.
“What are you saying?” I asked.
“I am saying everything is mixed up in my head.” She croaked.
I exhaled slowly, shaking my head in my mind, not wanting to send her into further distress. “You don’t remember?”
Her chest heaved. “I don’t want to remember.”
She marched across the room and went digging for something in the closet before going to the bathroom, leaving me to my raging thoughts. She had to remember.
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Unscripted love Chapter 94

Our Little Miracle
Everything happened so fast and agonisingly slow at the same time. I saw the wave of cold shock registered on everybody’s faces when they looked at the tiny blue baby. The gynaecologist, paediatrician and Emily were huddled around Hailey-Hope’s miniature body trying to resuscitate her. All the words they threw around were nothing more than a mumbled blur that I couldn’t decipher.
“She is suffering from asphyxia after a placental bleed but s-she is going to be fine.” My mother said as if that was meant to mean something to me.
“What does that mean?” Levi asked.

“The baby's brain and other organs weren’t getting enough oxygen during and right after birth. This happened because your placenta separated from your uterus too soon.” The midwife jumped in.
“Again, what does that mean?” Levi probed.
The midwife let out a deep sign. “The amount of harm to the new born depends on how long and how severe the period of asphyxia is. Babies with mild or moderate asphyxia may recover fully. Babies whose cells did not get enough oxygen for a longer time may have permanent injury to their brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels or other organs.
Your baby is premature so the damage may lead to cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or impaired sight. In the most severe cases, asphyxia can lead to organ failure and death.” She said.
The whole world vanished for me, now there was only pain enough to break me, pain enough to change me beyond recognition. All hope was lost when all the panic buttons were pressed and an army of medical professionals descended in the room.
I cried like there was too much raw pain inside me to be contained. Like my spirit needed to break loose from my skin, desperate to release an elemental rage on the world. The soothing words of my doula, the nurses whose eyes were now glossy made no difference at all. I was beyond all reason, beyond all natural methods of calming.
She was my daughter, my only child and she could not die. Levi tried to hold me back, to calm me and assure me that the doctors were doing the best they could, even as his own eyes turned blood red but in my hysteria I was too robust, too desolate.
My mother held my hand and erupted in prayer. Her upper body and shoulders wracked with every sob that forced their way out, chest rising and falling unevenly as she gasped for breath in-between petitions for God to show mercy. I tumbled to my knees, intent on praying but I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, I couldn’t stop weeping like she was already pronounced dead.
“It’s been 20 minutes. She isn’t going to wake up.” One voice said.
“Even if she’d started breathing, the damage would have been too severe and she probably would have had cerebral palsy. It’s sad but it is better to die than live like a cripple.” Another said.
I dissolved in the kind of despair that can take one's mind prisoner and never give it back.
Emily shoved her way past the army to get closer to her first grandchild that was born still. “Don’t you dare give up! We cannot give up!” She roared and continued with the chest compressions in an attempt to get her to breathe.
I opened my mouth to call out to God, but not a sound came out, my head violently quivered as if there was a drill to the back of my skull. My eyes lost all sight of what was and what could have been. My mouth was open, letting out an eternal silenced scream.
I could feel myself unravelling with each second that passed. The threads of every happy memory I expected to experience when I saw my child for the first time, all but a disarray of strings scattered about my feet. My sharp knees dug into the bed, my free hand unsteady as it silently clawed at the dirty sheets.
“God.” The whispered word escaped Levi’s quivering lips. “If you really brought Jesus and Lazarus back from the dead please bring Hailey-Hope back to life. Please. We will not survive this.” A single tear streamed down his cheeks, his whole face was red, and each word was nothing more than a whisper.
I watched Levi as if life was passing in slow motion. His feeling of elation, excitement, and pride that he had as a father-to-be ready to meet his daughter on her day of delivery, had vanished with the words, “She’s not breathing."
I reached for my husband and pulled his head into my chest, with the doula and a nurse staring silently at us, my mother still praying. Levi and I wept. Our worst nightmare had come true. I said I was sorry. I was so so sorry.
Hailey-Hope spluttered and coughed. Our heads shot up but I couldn’t see much past the bodies surrounding her. She opened her mouth to cry but all she could manage was a quiet snuffling at first. Within minutes a new born cry filled the room and her father burst into tears of relief and joy.
He turned his glossy eyes to me and in a voice that was almost broken he told me we had a beautiful daughter that was perfect. Even if she’d suffered permanent injury, she would still perfect to us.
He said this again two weeks later when we were told that we could hold her for the first time. Through my exhaustion I smiled and I let my eyes leave Levi’s face to take in the baby that was being brought to lay on my chest. In that moment I began to cry the sweetest tears I’d ever known, all the pain of moments before melted away.
It was as if only sunshine existed the world, as if all the earth was ushered into harmony. I looked into those new eyes, a new consciousness, perfect and reaching out for my love. In that instant I knew I would do anything to protect my child, that my love for her was as vast as the universe yet solid as rock.
Tiny fingers curled around Levi’s pinkie. We watched our little miracle peer through brand new eyes at what must be such a strange world after life in the womb and incubator. Excitement, hormones, and anxiety fuelled me; we'd barely slept since my water broke two weeks ago and it felt so good to just hold her. My face hurt from smiling. I wanted the world to stop and celebrate this moment with us.
We’d sit gazing at our baby for hours while she lay in her incubator. Levi and I couldn’t see a resemblance to either of us but my father claimed that she looked like her father. I didn’t see it. Then again, people thought Futhi and I looked like twins but I couldn’t see that either. Now that she was so close I could see my husband’s nose and my eyes, like God took the best parts of us to create a new being.
Her legs kicked in a tiny jagged motion, looking for that resistance they were used to I guess, but finding nothing but air. I wondered if that was unsettling or a relief, it must have been pretty cramped in my womb. When she stretched, her hands barely rose above her head and I thought of how strange we'd all look if we kept those body proportions as we grew.
I wanted to drink in the moment in, this moment with my little girl in my hands. Her eyes were more brilliant than I could have dreamed they would be, her hands more delicate. She felt so light, looked so beautiful and smelled so divine. I couldn’t believe how tiny new humans are, how vulnerable, how awe inspiring. She was perfect.
My husband held our little human to his shoulder and she was smaller than a bag of sugar. Tiny feet peeked from her pink fluffy blanket, dangling in the summer breeze. I would soon learn that would be regular site because Levi was a baby hog.
Our smiles grew wider when the doctor told us that her days of staying in a glass box were behind her. All was well but she wanted to keep her in the hospital for observation.
“Awwww bakithi uMakhosazana kagogo. [Makhosazana, grandma’s little girl.]” I heard a shriek from behind us when we were sitting in my hospital room.
My mother and Futhi laughed as they followed closely behind.
“Makhosazana?” I asked when I fell into my grandmother’s open arms.
“Ehe. Angiyizwa indaba yabo Hile mina, nizenza abelungu abam’nyama. [Yes. I don’t get this Hile name, you are behaving like black white people.]”
I laughed. “Hailey-Hope, gogo.”
“Khona lokho. [That.] uMakhosazana lo. [This is Makhosazana.]”
My sister looked on as she put a fresh bouquet of flowers in my vase and said, “She is so tiny. I’d hold her but I am scared of breaking her.”
My grandmother giggled and turned to Levi. “Can I hold the baby?”
The room was soon filled with laughter when Levi reluctantly handed the baby over and gave my grandmother strict instructions on how to hold Hailey-Hope like he was the expert when she raised twelve kids.
Breastfeeding was shockingly painful. She was like an alligator clawing on my nipples. Plus, the cycle was relentless; Hailey-Hope nursed for an hour, followed by a diaper change and being soothed to sleep - and an hour later her thin, delicate wail signalled she was hungry again. I was grateful to have my mother and my grandmother there to guide me.
They also shared their pearls of knowledge a young lady I shared the room with. Vangile and I were different in so many ways, but there was a common denominator: we were both mothers to fragile new-borns, and we were petrified. After giving birth to actual human beings which led to everything being sore, vacationing hormones, no sleep, and a serious case of ‘what do I do with this baby’, I was glad to see someone else who had the same fears.
We bonded quickly, exchanged numbers and became Facebook friends. It didn’t matter that in our before baby life, the chances of us crossing paths, much more forming a friendship, were slim. It did not even matter that we knew each other for less than 35 minutes before we decided that we wanted to see more of each other in the months to come. There was something about connecting over a shared experience, especially one as overwhelming and momentous as new parenthood, that made forging the friendship seem easier.
The masses caught wind of the news that the miracle baby was out of the NICU and descended to the hospital. They gushed over the little soul and came bearing gifts, flowers, cards, prayers and well wishes. I was overwhelmed by the way they adored the little one. Seeing how much my daughter was loved by uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, old colleagues and friends made my heart swell and I found myself crying happily.
I was shocked when Thato was among those that came to see me and the baby. I couldn’t help but ask about my old job at the law firm but the position was filled. He mentioned that he was looking for a PA and asked if I was interested. I wasn’t interested in being someone’s glorified errand girl.
“You won’t be a glorified errand girl. I might ask you to deliver flowers here and there but its real work. Presentations, typing up letters to clients, travelling.” He argued.
“Not a chance.”
Thato dropped it and filled me in on all the office gossip before my grandmother started cross examining him about his life, family and spiritual beliefs. My eyes popped out of their sockets when she showed him a picture of Sbahle and went on and on about how compatible they were.
I wanted to dissolve when she went on to gave him Sbahle’s number. He took the number but I highly doubted that he’d actually call.
Khumo came with Kagiso and Nthato who let it slip that Kagiso and Khumo were basically living together so he was thinking of moving out and actually buying his own place. This came as news to me because Khumo never came over when Levi and I were squatting there.
I was told that Khumo kept her distance because she did not want to stress me out unnecessarily while I was pregnant and working through what had happened, which was thoughtful of her.
She’d apologised to me over and over again and made it clear that she did not know that Sandiso was my ex, she acknowledged that she shouldn’t have divulged personal information about me to a stranger and she was not interested in seeing Levi’s penis again. I figured if Kagiso could forgive Khumo for her one night stand with Sandiso so could I.
I called truce with Khumo after she apologised for the hundredth time and bribed me with an outfit she made for mini me. At the end of the day, she was dating my husband’s closest friend so we were going to see a lot of each other. I also didn’t want any negative energy around my daughter.
Sbahle came to see me that evening even though she was jet lagged from her two week long Belgium retreat. I really missed her. She was on the flight when I was giving birth and she wanted to come back the next day when she heard what’d transpired. I told her I’d disown her if she came home prematurely. I didn’t want anyone other than parents around during those two weeks of uncertainty, even Forgiveness was sent packing. I didn’t want to put on a brave face and I didn’t want anybody’s pity.
“Guess what?” the question came rolling out of my mouth as soon as Sbahle walked in the room. “Khumo and Kagiso are not only back together, but they are living together.” I didn’t even wait for her to guess.
“Can you just let me settle in before you start throwing grenades?” She joked and walked over to me to kiss my cheeks in greeting.
Sbahle: Didn’t she smash Sandiso while they were dating?
“Yes. He forgave her and they are taking things slow.” I stated, raising my hands to put the words in quotation marks.
Levi chuckled to himself in the corner, waking Hailey-Hope up in the process. “I think I’m gonna go and get some food and move some of our stuff over to my mother’s house while you two gossip.” He said.
He gave me a kiss and gave Sbahle a tutorial on how to hold the baby before handing over his precious cargo. Sbahle took Hailey-Hope from Levi and sank on the seat he’d just vacated. She didn’t seem to mind Levi’s over protectiveness over his child as he corrected her posture before he left.
“You are moving in with his mother?” Sbahle asked as soon as Levi was out of the door. “I thought you were going to stay with my aunt for a month or two, she got a room ready and everything.”
Me: I want to go home but Emily had a long chat with me and I realise that I can’t put Hailey-Hope’s life at risk by insisting on going to Durban. Fact is, she is sick. Her doctors are here. Her hospital is here and her house is closer so we will get here faster if there is an emergency. It’s also better to live in a house with people who will know exactly what to do if she stops breathing in the middle of the night.
Sbahle: Aunty Maria is a nurse. Doesn’t she know how to resuscitate a baby?
I shook my head, “No. Both of us won’t know what to do if Hailey-Hope stops breathing again. On the bright side, mom is also going to be moving in there with me so it’s not like she is totally out of the picture and Joel is in Austria on secondment for 4 months so he is not around. Thank God.”
Sbahle: I am guessing you don’t like Joel?
Me: I don’t. I also don’t like the idea of living in that house but look at her. I would never forgive myself if something happened to her.
She looked at the baby in her hands. “You are right. She is tiny kodwa that doesn’t take away from the fact that she is so cute bantu ununuza,” she admired. “I can tell that she is going to be a heartbreaker, such cuteness.”
I tittered. “Just like her aunt that has two men wrapped around her finger. How was the trip with Kwame?”
Her face lit up at the sound of his name, she was so smitten by this dude. “Knowing how dirty your mind is I know you want to know if we had copious amounts of sex and no. There was no sex, no oral sex, no back door sex, no finger sex just no sex in anyway shape or form. Just constant fighting and bickering,” she stated.
Me: About the engagement?
Sbahle: Girl, I am late.
My eyebrows knotted. “Late as in Hailey-Hope’s cousin is on the way?”
Sbahle: Yes. I’m three weeks late.
“So who is the father? Alu or Kwame?” I asked innocently.
She grabbed one of Hailey-Hope’s teddy bears and playfully threw it at me. “What kind of skank do you think I am? Alu and I always use condoms. Kwame and I stopped using condoms centuries ago. I switched to the patch recently and I must have miscalculated the weeks or something.”
Me: So what did Kwame say when you told him?
She silently assessed the baby for a moment. “Kwame told me to take care of it.”
Me: Take care of it as in have an abortion?
She nodded her response. “First he gave me a long lecture about how I was supposed to make sure that something like that didn’t happen then he told me to take care of it.”
Me: Are you….. going to get rid of it? Wait, did you take a pregnancy test?
“I’m never late, Thando. Never. I don’t need a test to tell me what I already know. I am pregnant, look at this zit,” she said, pointing a finger at a minuscule pimple that I didn’t even notice until she pointed it out.
“I think I need a microscope to see your zit.” We both laughed at my response.
Me: On a serious note though, what are you going to do? Surely Alu needs to know about this.
“I do not know what I’m gonna do. This whole situation made me realise that Kwame doesn’t respect me and any talks about a future are nothing more than a pipe dream. He went on and on like I purposefully fell pregnant to end his marriage. Conveniently forgetting that he was stuck with her for the sake of the kids.
He shipped me off to another hotel like I had leprosy and only came to see me the day before we had to leave to give me my passport which he held captive so that I couldn’t leave, my ticket and shit on me for not taking the necessary precautions to make sure that I don’t conceive.
Who drags someone halfway across the world only to abandon them in a hotel that only provides breakfast? Who does shit like that? What would have happened if I didn’t have my own damn money to feed myself?” The tears she was trying to hold back fell thick and fast.
I swung my feet over the bed to walk over to her but she stopped me. “No. Please just stay in bed. I am not crying. I am done crying over that man.”
“You are crying.” I said softly as I rose. She didn’t try stop me as I put the baby in the cot and enveloped her in a hug.
“I am done with Kwame.” She mumbled in the crook of my neck in-between sobs.
I wished I could believe that it was really over between the two but we’d been here so many times before.
Just when we were about to attend to the baby that started crying, Emily burst in through the door. Her mouth was raised into a smile and her steps had a bounce to them. Behind her trailed a mass of gay balloons, jostling in the brilliant night lights, each as beautiful as the next. I almost didn’t see my husband hidden under all those balloons.
“What’s all of this?” I asked, picking up the baby.
“Hailey-Hope is coming home tomorrow. I don’t know how this happened but she has made a full recovery. Given the amount of time that passed before she took her first birth we were expecting the worst but all the tests indicate that everything is fine. Her doctors can’t even explain it.” She beamed.
“God not only brought her back to life but he healed her. What happened is nothing short of a miracle, that’s the only way to explain it.” Levi said simply.
I looked up to the heavens and thanked God before curling my hands around our little miracle. At last I could breathe. I could release the stress of the last two weeks, let it float away into obscurity. Happiness flowed through me, warming my skin like the rays of an early summer sun. My customary cautious grin exploded into a radiant smile that I had never worn before, not even as a small girl. Even Emily’s glittery "I am a grandma" badge couldn't outshine my smile.
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Wednesday, September 7


Unscripted love Chapter 93 - B

#93 B
Day Four
Levi decided to take the day off in a bid to be my lifeguard and save me from myself, so we decided to go out and run some errands. I complained about having to squeeze into a bra and joked about how I was not going to wear a bra and embrace the ways of my ancestors. I liked saying that just to get him riled up.
We slipped into Victoria’s Secret to get bigger bras and panties for my bigger booty before we headed off to another store at the other end of the mall. I knew something was up when Levi was a little too excited about going there.
“Oh. My. God.” I exclaimed at the site of a massive photo of Levi and a female model hanging behind four mannequins at the entrance to one of the biggest retail chain stores in the country. “When you told me that you landed a modelling gig you didn’t tell me it was something this big. Like, this means your face is basically in every mall. Men are going to look at your pictures to get ideas on what they should buy.” My voice went up an octave in excitement.
“That’s the idea.” Levi smirked. “You are going to have to stop fast forwarding the commercials because yours truly is also featured in the TV commercial.”
I smiled warmly at Levi as we walked around the men’s section taking photos of him in front of his own photos. His smile almost never left his face as he relayed the story behind every photo and the look they were gunning for. We shopped steadily for the next two hours then we decided to get some books before heading home.
Sitting at the bookstore café my husband was reading magazines about rifles and cars as he sipped his double tall breve mocha latte while was drinking my apple juice and reading Cosmo for ridiculous sex ideas that never work.
I was about to tell Levi about what they called the scissors when I heard a snicker in front of me. I raised my head, ready to scold whoever dared to stand too close to me but the culprit beat me to it.
“Maybe next time, you should try the Soweto wheelbarrow,” Lerumo suggested with a hint of humour in his tone.
I was genuinely surprised to see Lerumo – as though some part of my brain had ceased to remember that he existed in real time and space. I had gotten to a point where I wasn’t making a conscious decision to forget Lerumo. I’d forgotten him. Levi and I stood and shook his hand in greeting before settling on our seats again. We engaged in a cordial conversation about the baby’s due date and brushed on the autobiography he’d purchased before he turned on his heels and left.
There weren’t any butterflies. My pulse wasn’t racing. My heart wasn’t skipping a thousand beats and that’s when I knew that my brain altogether ceased to fixate on the relationship that could have been. And it turned its attention to all that I had now, instead. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact time when my love for Lerumo soundlessly packed its bags and slipped out quietly into the night when it realised that in the wake of bigger things, it was no longer needed.
Levi and I headed off to visit my sister and drop off the stuff we’d picked out for her. On our way to the car, he stole a single pink rose out from their garden and handed it to me. I looked at him, pure lust and love in my eyes.
As we made our way down the street leading to the house, I reached over and felt in between his legs while kissing his neck and jaw. Teasing him as he drove. I was surprised when he adjusted his seating, allowing me more access. I liked this daring Levi.
He pulled into the garage and we were out of the car within seconds, leaving our purchases behind. I walked towards the door leading to the house. Levi grabbed my hand and pulled me back, grasped me by the hips, and gently pushed me against the hood of the car. He quickly closed the gap between us, grabbed my thighs, and pulled my core to his jean-clad erection.
His lips grazed my forehead. His fingers strummed my hips. I laid on the spot in his arms, in that nook right below his shoulder. My hand rested on his stomach, my fingers played with the buttons of his pants. The strumming became stroking. I let my fingers glide over the fabric, gently scratching his erection on my way back up. A smile crept on my lips.
His hands were now rough and possessive on my skin, reaching up to grab a fistful of hair. My head was thrown back. My eyes met his; dark, hazy. That look. He groaned out loud and pulled away just enough to reach underneath my knee long nude dress and relieve me of my black panties which conveniently located themselves in his back pocket. My mind reeled, sounds of excitement reverberated through the garage.
In a swift movement his pants and underwear were off and he positioned himself at my entrance. I laid back and reached between my legs to grab him and pull him into me. In an instant I was filled, my whole existence succumbed to this force of his, this awareness of pleasure deep within my walls. My favourite sound escaped his lips.
I couldn’t think, couldn’t process. He moved within me, his strokes got faster, my body matched his rhythm. I wanted him. I wanted him in every pore of my body. I wanted to inhale him, swallow him, take as much of him as I possibly could. My hands slid down his back and over his behind, cupping the round flesh in my palms.
He watched as my mouth opened in a gasp of ecstasy while my chest heaved with desperate gulps of air. I pulled on his shirt, my breasts pushed up into his hands as my back arched. He watched me come completely apart beneath him. We devolved into a muttering mess of words jumbled together: Fuck. Baby. Oh Yes.
I clung to his shoulders, aware of the throbbing going on between us, the fierce madness my insides hadn’t felt in so long. I cried out, the sound stuck in my throat, tears welling in my eyes. He sensed the force that was threatening to weaken me so he trailed kissed up my leg, one hand around my neck.
“Cum for me.” He whispered. It was as if on command my body responded. My legs stretched out beneath him, the waves threatened to crash inside and over and under and again he commanded, “Let it go.” I lost all semblance of control as he pounded into me with absolute reckless abandon. My body convulsed under, relief and satisfaction apparent in my limbs, both of us trying to steady the heavy breathing.
And it ended exactly how it began. His fingers strumming……and his lips grazed my forehead.
His lips slowly kissed my stomach while we landed. I draped my arms around his neck. He smiled down at me and I smiled up at him. That moment being the one I looked forward to every time.
It took moments –several of them- for us to disentangle, re-dress and stumble away from the hood of the Gaydon headquarters produce.
I ran a bubble bath for myself but I ended up inviting Levi to join me. I didn’t think that we’d both fit in the tub but we managed when we sat facing each other with my stomach between us.
He gave me a look as he leaned forward and began rubbing my clit underwater. I was tired, but horny pregnancy hormones surged through me once more and increased when I saw his erection surface through the water. I loved that turning me on turned him on.
I brushed my lips along his jawline and he shivered. Goosebumps rose on his skin as my fingertips slid down his arms, I knew the water was cold but I wanted to think that they were partly from my touch. He tried to climb on top of me in the tub, but no amount of spreading my legs or bending my body was made this position possible with my huge belly between us. He mentioned how he missed being chest to chest, I missed it too. We decided to drain the tub and resume this in the bedroom.
Day Five
I finally slept past the alarm. My husband had hit the snooze button about four times already and it was safe to say that he was going to miss his morning class. I tried to ignore my need to go pee to enjoy a few more minutes cuddled next to him. I had no idea how late he stayed up last night catching up on his sports, but I missed having the energy to stay up with him.
I eventually rolled out of bed at eleven and I threw some bagels in the toaster and turned on the coffee pot. I felt kind of grouchy. My husband would be home a little late because he was meeting his boys for drinks. That didn’t help my mood.
I trotted up the stairs to tell him breakfast was ready but he was still in the shower. We’d bathed together and I didn’t have any flashbacks so I dared myself to join him in the shower. My arms were crossed over my boobs in a lame attempt to keep them warm, as I shivered from the cold mist that splashed me while he was under the hot water. Our showers used to be so much more erotic but it was as though both of us were afraid to stand too close and trigger memories that would rather be forgotten. At least we were inside the shower together.
We headed in the doctor’s rooms for a check-up with the gynaecologist that had slipped my mind. I knew Levi had a good reason for missing class. Before long I was sprawled open on the table. Dr Clark checked my cervix and swabbed me for cultures or something that made me feel like a biology experiment, but having my husband hold my hand helped ease the discomfort. I wondered if she could tell we had sex last night. I blushed at the thought.
The grumpy mood was massaged away when I met up with Sbahle for a day of pampering and catching up. I thought I was observant but I only noted the bling on her finger after our massages and facials. Even then, she basically flashed it in my face under the guise of showing me her new manicure.
I squealed and immediately assumed that she was engaged to Kwame. She corrected me and chuckled at my shocked expression before turning away and heading towards her locker.
“You can’t just drop a bomb and walk away. When did you and Alu get back together?” I questioned, following her. “Does Kwame know that it’s over forever this time? Wait, didn’t the guy move to SA to be with you?”
Sbahle shrugged before unleashing a grenade that I didn’t see coming, leaving me speechless and al out of questions.
When eight o’clock rolled around and Levi pulled in the garage I all but ran to get my view on the love triangle off my chest.
“So Kwame is married and has been married this whole time?” Levi asked as he grabbed his plate of food from the oven.
“Yes. But she didn’t know at first. It’s not like Forgiveness that gunned for a man knowing that he was married.”
Levi was not deceived by my careless distinction. “So that makes it okay?”
“I’m not saying it is okay. I’m saying it’s different. It’s complicated.” I tried to explain.
Levi huffed. “I don’t understand your double standards at times. Your family was ripped to shreds because your father was having an affair. Sbahle is doing the same thing to another family and she has you drawing distinctions. Fucking a married man is not okay. It is never okay!” Levi exclaimed, shoving his food in the microwave and pressing the start button to warm it up.
“Did you hear the work ‘okay’ coming out of my mouth? I said her situation is complicated because she was already in love with Kwame and they’d been dating for three years when she found out.” I eyed Levi’s back that was turned to me.
“Does his wife know about Sbahle? Has Sbahle told her married stud that she is engaged to someone else?” He shook his head. “This is why AIDS is rampant in this country.”
I was taken aback by his statement when he was so free with his penis. “So says the man who was humping someone else a week after burying his wife.” I sneered.
Levi turned. “I told you about Pearl because I didn’t want you finding out years down the line and making it a huge deal. I did not tell you so that you could shove it in my face when you make nonsensical distinctions that do not exist.
I am not holy and I am far from it but that doesn’t take away the wrong here. Sbahle is fucking two guys at the same time and that is wrong. One of the two is married which is also wrong. She has one thinking that she is in love and ready to settle down with him which is plain fucked up. The fact that you don’t see that worries me.” He admitted.
I sunk to my seat. “I know it’s wrong. That’s why I told her to take a step back from both of them to figure out what she wants to do. I guess I understand that it’s not always easy to do the right thing given my misgivings in the past.”
Levi shot me a look at my sombre tone. “At least Lerumo wasn’t married. Nothing good ever comes out of an affair, honestly. If a person can cheat with you then they sure can cheat on you. Ask my mom.”
“Is Joel cheating?” I asked innocently.
Levi chuckled. “Funny how we always assume wrongdoing on the man’s part. She was cheating on him with Henze. Guess that’s why he didn’t warm him about the raid.”
So why was Joel asking me to lie on the stand? I wondered.
“Did Joel push you?” Levi suddenly asked a question that had been asked and answered.
“No.” Was all I said not bothering to look up at Levi.
I got the feeling that Levi knew I was lying but he didn’t dwell on it. Instead, he made me pinkie swear that we wouldn’t cheat on each other which made me laugh.
The massage, new hair and nails made me feel like a new woman. My body was ache free and I was in the mood but my husband was sitting on the couch with our cat, reading some news article on his phone. I tried to distract him by feeling up on him. Sadly, he didn’t seem horny. He was much more interested in reading up on our doula in between jokes about the size of my feet. I didn’t find his jokes funny. I cried and stormed off. Stupid hormones.
He followed me to the guest bedroom and climbed into bed next to me while apologising for making fun of me. He handed him his iPad and suggested that we watch an episode of something before bed. I chose some animal show. I fell asleep watching wilder beast drinking water.
Day Six
I was rudely awakened by what felt like a thousand babies stabbing my lower back. Thinking that I was in labour, Levi and I rushed to hospital only to be turned back and told it was a false alarm.
When we settled back to bed at four in the morning my husband offered to massage me and I handed him the cocoa butter. He rubbed my back and my tummy as he spoke to our baby. The baby kicked in response. I loved seeing my husband interacting with the baby. It made me fall in love with him all over again. We fell asleep while talking about how it would have been nice to meet her that day.
I leaned against the door frame, sipping my late morning coffee as I watched Levi sleep. He was sprawled out in the middle of the bed, with one arm tucked under the pillow and the other resting low on his stomach under the thin white sheet. A slow smile played on my lips, and I felt my body react to the man in our bed. We had to attend some or other conference he told me about and I knew just how I wanted to wake him up that day.
Putting down the mug on the dresser, I walked over to the bed and slowly started tugging down the sheet off his body along with his shorts. I smiled appreciatively as his cock came into view; even in its flaccid state it was impressive.
I watched him stir as the warm summer air caressed his skin. He settled back into his sleep as I positioned myself kneeling between his spread legs. I lightly slid my hands up the inside of his muscular thighs, and I watched him shift once again.
The sides of my small hands brushed against his cock, ever so gently. I saw him twitch at the touch of my soft skin against his flesh. I traced a fingertip along his shaft and saw him harden even further. His hips gyrated almost unnoticeably as I squeezed the base of his cock. Moving my hand up slowly, I grasped him harder and heard a low moan escape from his lips.
I looked up at his face as I leaned down to tease his tip with my tongue. I saw his lips part and his dark eyes open as I wrapped my lips tightly around him. I heard his low growl when his eyes connected with mine and I slowly took him deeper into my warm mouth. His jaw clenched as his hand went into my long, dark hair and gathered it in his fist.
He didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to; it was all written across his face. I wanted to give him the same pleasure he had given me in the past; I wanted him to get lost in the same desire I had given myself to.
My eyes stayed locked with his as I rubbed the head of his cock across my flattened tongue. I was the one in control now; it was a powerful feeling. I pulled my mouth away from his throbbing shaft, started to stroking him fast and hard. I felt the grip in my hair tighten, and his look intensified. I felt him swell moments before pulling him out, just before he found his release.
“Good morning,” I smiled before jumping off the bed. “Time to bath and get ready for your conference. You still haven’t told me why I have to wear a red dress.” I could tell that his mind was still unravelling and the last thing he was thinking about was the dress code. I placed a single kiss on his parted lips and slipped into the shower. He waltzed in moments later and made sure to return the favour.
The day only got better when the conference turned out to be the baby shower. The white and gold affair was beautiful, grand and I cried through the entire thing. Apparently Levi insisted on having a shower for both of us because it was OUR baby. Instead of arguing with him and trying to make him understand why baby showers were reserved for women, his mother got the event planner to run with the idea and invite all of his friends and mine.
They also got him a fake pregnancy belly that he had to wear that day. Two hours in, he was already complaining of back ache. He jokingly mentioned something about getting a massage from some Thai massage parlour that he liked when he threw in the towel and took off his belly. I made it clear that I did not want any female putting her hands all over his body, professional or not. He didn’t argue. He knew by now that there was no use in arguing with a jealous, hormonal pregnant woman.
I had very slight pain in my tummy, and wondered, ‘Is this another false alarm or am I in labour?’ I told both my mother and Emily about the slight pain but they didn’t think I was in labour because I was so calm. They made it sound like I wouldn’t mistake a real contraction for a cramp. From that moment on, the pain I anticipated was a prison for my mind. In that jail cell of fear and confusion the time passed without me being able to keep track.
I had a huge smile on my face long after we got home with all the presents that didn’t even fit in storage. I thanked Levi for coming up with the ingenious idea of having a joint shower because I had so much fun playing all the baby shower games with him and all his crazy friends. It sort of hid the fact that I didn’t have a lot of friends because I sucked at keeping in touch with people. I was so engrossed in my relationship I sometimes forgot that there were other people.
It was a lovely day where I forgot about the aches and pains and just focused on the joy of having life growing inside of me. I was still having cramps that felt like period pains but I was not strapped to a bed, screaming like a banshee, begging for drugs and in insurmountable pain, so obviously I was convinced that I was not in labour.
Day Seven
I managed to get a little sleep, but at about 3:30 in the morning, I was rudely awakened by a gnarly contraction. I woke Levi up. We sat there chatting about the possibility of being in labour and waited for another contraction. After a few minutes and I said, “No way. I'm going back to sleep.” After all my due date was four weeks away.
I realized with the next contraction that it wasn't going to happen. I was awake, my husband was asleep. Although my contractions were getting tough, I never thought to go to the hospital because they weren't lasting any longer, or any closer together in time, just more intense. In my mind it was still false labour and I just had to pace up and down until the pain went away.
Somewhere around 4:15, I was shoved into panic mode when I saw what looked like water tricking down my leg before my waters gushed out with a huge push, exploding all over the floor. My stomach tightened, I heard my own scream without being aware of making it. Seeing the look on Levi’s face when he hurdled out of bed, I couldn't help but chuckle.
I put on some clothes while Levi ran down the hall to tell my mother my water broke. He believed it was a wonderful coincidence my mother was around when my water broke but I felt God planned it that way because we would have run around like chickens with our heads off. Mom quickly packed a hospital bag and we headed out.
I lay still on the maternity clinic’s bed as the medication was administered and waited for the agony to subside. With each contraction came a pain that dominated my entire being. The pain was more intense than anything I had ever imagined. Nothing could be more brutal, not whips or chains. The room was only the bed and four walls. As the hours passed my helpers melted into the background as if they weren't even there.
In those moments, for those seconds that stretched into infinity, there was nothing else. I could hear screaming from other rooms, yet I made no sound at all. When the pain passed it was only for a minute or so and I breathed with closed eyes, unwilling to re-engage with life outside of my own body.
The room might as well have been empty for all the awareness I had, and when they did talk, touch, gain my attention I found it so hard to engage. To reply I had to find myself from the deepest recess of my own mind and drag myself forward, to use my voice, open my eyes.
After what felt like eternity and just when I thought I was going to pass out the doctor told me that it was time, time to push. Levi dabbed a damp cloth on my forehead and held on to my arm. My mother and my doula reminded me to breathe and that I was doing great thus far.
With a guttural grunt I pushed and was told to stop and wait for another contraction. I felt the baby crowning, the hot stretching of flesh and held my breath. It felt as though a part of my soul was ripping clear of my body and leaving me to remain with the baby to comfort her on whatever journey she was going to take.
I followed the cycle until the baby fell into my own mother’s hands. We were all expecting to hear a piercing cry but there was no sound. The silence at her delivery penetrated my being.
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