Short Stories, Tale Africa

Torn (2)

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By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa:

“What happened to her, Lebo?”

“Sipho, I don’t know what to say anymore. She just had one of her episodes.”

“She said she killed them, who are they?”

I shake my head.

“What if she really did kill people? What are we going to do, Lebo?”

What else can I say? I’ve been in this position far too many times, more?than I desire. Nozipho has got her own issues, issues only she understands. I’ve tried helping her over the years but nothing seems to work.

“She didn’t kill anyone,” I say walking away from Sipho. I need to breathe.

“Where is Zweli?”

“In Newcastle.”

“So there is no way she could’ve killed him…” Sipho says thoughtfully.

Duh!

I wish we could stop talking about this already. I stopped trying to figure out Nozipho’s mind ages ago. I’m getting tired of this place as well. The smell, the noise, and the whole atmosphere is daunting. We’re waiting for Nozi while the doctors examine her. I just hate being in a hospital. Besides, I know the drill; they will come out and tell us she is fine, we take her home and then the craziness starts.

I’m now sitting on the bench watching Sipho pacing up and down the corridor.

“Why are you still with her?” I ask.

He stops and looks at me, as if he was expecting the question.

“I love her… I really do.”

I nod and then ask, “But is love ever enough?”

He starts playing with his tongue, I still can’t get over the fact that he chews on his tongue.

“I was her first… I’ve loved her all her life and I intend to be her last.”

“How many times has she dumped you?”

He starts walking up and down again. I know he won’t answer my question. We both know it’s been too many times we’ve all lost count.

“Is this healthy, Sipho?” I ask.

It’s not the first time I’m asking him this. I’ve asked him every time something like this happens. He knows it’s not good for either of them but he just doesn’t let go.

He stops in front of me and says; “I don’t expect you to understand, you’ve never loved like I’ve loved.”

I can’t believe he just said that to me, how dare he? Just because I change partners frequently, doesn’t mean I don’t love; it means it doesn’t work out. I also wish I had Nozi’s luck, to just find a man who loves me entirely despite my craziness. I’m not even crazy but I struggle to keep a man. Even though things have been going well with Zweli, I’m just waiting for him to dump me. He will probably find someone better, like the rest of them, and then say he wasn’t ready for a commitment. I’ve been dumped so many times, I know all the words. Nozipho has always been there for me, through it all. She has fought my battles since we became friends in varsity, she’s the sister I never had. We could’ve gone our separate ways after university but the sister bond was too strong, it’s still is.

“I don’t think it’s love.” I say after a long silence, “You’re still with her because you can cheat freely and you know she can never catch on.”

I know that’s low, but he started it. Nozipho is often out of it, she can hardly tell reality apart from her imagination. Sipho has other girlfriends but she never finds out. Not because he hides it, but because she is always too caught up in her imagination to realize it.

“You can come see her now,” the nurse shouts walking out of the room that Nozi is sleeping in.

I think they should just build her a room now, we come here too often. Sipho walks in first, I follow reluctantly.

“How are you feeling?” He asks after kissing her forehead.

I know he loves her, he really does. I guess I can’t blame him for cheating…

“They say I’m pregnant,” Nozi says.

I can’t tell if she’s happy or not, or even sane.

“Wow baby!” Sipho exclaims.

He looks excited. Is he being for real? How will a child grow up with a crazy mother? They must be joking.

“They did scans, they will give us pictures shortly,” Nozi says and then turns to me and says; “Isn’t it amazing, Lebo? You’re going to be an aunt.”

I force a smile. Am I the only person who is scared for this child?

“Congrats ausi, we need to inform your family.”

“Hawu, Lebo” Sipho says almost shushing me.

The family subject is sensitive. I’ve known Nozipho for 5 years but I’ve never met any of her family members.

“I guess we’ll have to go to their graves and inform them.” She says sounding very sarcastic.

For some reason I don’t believe that her family died, mainly because she has never really explained how they died. But then again; half the things she says are fiction. I can’t even believe this pregnancy story. The nurse comes back in interrupting the cosy lovers.

“The next few months are critical, please look out for her.” The nurse says to Sipho giving him a white envelope. “We can’t give her the usual medication in this position. We will have to change it and introduce her to another type of anti-psychotic that will protect the child… I hope you understand.” She adds.

“I understand, thank you nurse.”

Nozipho doesn’t get attended by a doctor anymore, everyone in this hospital knows her situation. I’m still wondering how their medical aid doesn’t get exhausted, she probably gets free consultations sometimes. I honestly think her situation is not medical or psychological, maybe it’s traditional. How could we know? I make a silent promise to myself to search for Nozi’s family, maybe that’s the only thing that would help her situation.

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