Short Stories, Tale Africa

Torn (7-Finale)

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By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa:

“I think it’s a boy,” Nozipho is saying while she and Sipho lie in bed, as Sipho touches her stomach.

“I want a girl.”

Nozipho is surprised, she has heard that many men want boys to carry their surname. It’s a known secret, like how Santa doesn’t exist but people still make their children write to him. Lebo barges in the room again, for the second time today. Nozipho wonders what is going on with her. A part of her understands that Zweli’s death must be hard on her but she doesn’t get why she still suspects her of it. And why she keeps bringing up her family. Luckily the couple is now wearing gowns, only Nozipho’s is open exposing the expanding stomach.

“Nozi…”

Nozipho suddenly feels a rush of panic. “What’s wrong Lebohang? Sisi, I think you should really take some time out yazi, go home and…”

“I’m sorry Nozipho, I just wanted to help. I’m sorry…” Lebo cries.

Nozipho cannot stand seeing her friend cry like this. She has also noticed how Lebo has lost weight and feels horrible, she can’t help feeling responsible. Sipho on the other hand cannot stand Lebo, especially after their one night stand. He always feels like she will try breaking him and Nozipho up.

“I slept with Sipho.”

“I know baby girl”

Nozipho’s response shocks both Lebo and Sipho.

“Is that what you’re sorry about? You really don’t have to feel bad about that, it’s history.”

Lebo sobs and says; “I also went to…”

Sipho and Nozipho are wondering why Lebo is confessing, is she considering suicide maybe? Her confession is interrupted by Sister Bhengu, Nozipho’s personal help at the mental clinic. Sister Bhengu has been with Nozi since she was diagnosed with schizophrenia 12 years ago. Nozipho was held in the same clinic she attends now, Sipho thought it’s best they settle in Pietermaritzburg where it is located. They’ve had to travel here from Pretoria when she had hectic episodes.

“Hawu Ma, what a pleasant surprise,” Nozipho says smiling. Just as she embraces the nurse, a police officer walks in.

“What’s going on?” Sipho acts. He feels crowded and exposed, they are just covered by gowns by the way.

“I have to admit you back to the clinic nana, to monitor your progress.”

Nozipho looks sorrowful as she whispers; “Lebo?”

“I’m sorry.”

‘All I ever wanted was to be normal, have a normal life but all that is just a dream’ Nozipho thinks to herself. She is trying hard not to cry.

Sipho shakes his head roughly, he is visibly protesting this. “Sister what brought upon this sudden decision? Nozi is fine,” he says.

“Miss Molefe has mentioned how you’ve changed her medication. The drugs you’re giving her may have a bad reaction to her, or the baby.”

“Please don’t take her.” Sipho pleads

“Should everything check out, she’ll come home.”

Nozipho simply surrenders herself to the officer.

‘I’ve been torn between these lives for far too long, it’s time.’ She assures herself. Nozi feels like she is being arrested once again, exactly like she was all those years ago. She is paying for her crimes, justice is finally catching up with her and she isn’t protesting because she felt she deserved it.

“Bring my things,” she says to Sipho with a reassuring look. He is crying, she doesn’t want him to cry, she needs for him to understand this is for the best. She turns to Lebo and says;

“You win,” and she walks out.

—-

“How are you? How is our baby?”

“We’re fine.”

Nozipho looks calmer than she has been in weeks, and she is glowing – Sipho notices and lets her know. She laughs in a childlike innocence and says;

“Thanks my love, see I told you I had to come here. It’s best for me and the baby.”

“Nobody is troubling you in there?”

Nozipho shakes her head. Sipho is visiting her for the first time after she was taken away two weeks back. He wanted to come sooner but Nozipho insisted he waits until she’s settled in. She took this very well and Sipho can no longer argue it is for the best.

“Where is Lebo?” Nozipho asks.

“Went back to Pretoria.”

There is a brief silence and then Nozi says; “I hope she finds peace.”

“When are you coming home?” Sipho asks, ignoring the Lebo issue. He doesn’t hide his dislike for her. The way he is looking at Nozi displays his undying affection to her, it can be spotted a mile away.

“After I’ve given birth…it’s for the best myeni wami.”

Nozipho hardly refers to him this way, it is usually when she wants to soften him. Sipho smiles and says;

“I have a surprise for you?”

“Oh? What is it?”

He reaches for Nozipho’s hands and holds them tight. They are seated on the couch located in the visiting area, Nozipho’s condition is calm so human contact is allowed.

“You know I don’t want us to be apart right?”

Nozipho nods.

“And that I love you so much I’d do anything for you?”

“Hawu bakithi Sipho, yes!”

Sipho laughs at how impatient Nozipho still is, she has always been a sucker for surprises.

“I’ll be shadowing Sister Bhengu from the beginning of next month,” he says with a huge grin on his face.

Nozipho’s jaw drops, “But how?”

“I’m doing a paper on schizophrenia remember?”

Nozipho’s face lights up with a smile that warms Sipho’s heart. This is all he wants; to make sure she is happy. He leans over and whispers;

“And then you can give me lots of tattoos”.

*myeni wami – my husband

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