“You know what, I don’t care what you do. Go. I have things to do.”
Her words are still on my mind. Was it really necessary that we argue? She added I should consider us over. What a really horrible day, considering it’s my birthday and I’m supposed to have an awesome day, today has been the worst day ever. Pathetic. I thought it would be great. The landmark of a life achieved in years. I had it all planned out, go to work and make it through the day; meet my girlfriend, Sibongile for dinner, celebrate the birthday in style and simply just relax at her house and do those things lovers do. Cake and bed.
But instead I’m in my house, single, tired, hungry, angry, heading to my room and to top it off, in the mood for a love making session. I deserve it tonight even if I have to use the birthday card. I’m willing to consider a random woman at this point in time to get the mood out. What was supposed to be a perfect day turned out like this. I went to work, at least my colleagues where happy I was aging; I went to see my lady, Sibongile, who didn’t care about my birthday because she had plans with her “girls”, whatever that meant; we ended up arguing and words were uttered, insults mostly and instead of making up she broke up with me on my birthday. Who does that? I swear she has issues but I usually brush them off hoping and praying that maybe she will change and become the lady I know she can be. After everything I’ve done for her she chooses to forget my birthday to hang out with her girls at a party. Yet she knew the day was coming. We talked about it days ago and just like that she decided to dump me. Just one day in a year that’s important to me. Actually one day in a lifetime. You only turn an age once. I turned thirty and I was hoping for epic moments. But that will be impossible now. She is probably having so much fun. Was she cheating on me? Probably. Who knows with these wanna be divas.
I loosen my tie and take it off as I reach my bedroom door. Maybe I should have gone out with the guys instead. Have a couple of drinks to forget my sorrows. I could still go out but with my temper on high I just need to sleep this off and I’ll call Sibo tomorrow; I know we shall sort it out like we always do. We understand each other that way I guess. I’ve been with her for a almost six months and I think I like this one though to be honest she demands too much. When it’s not my time she needs, it’s my money or things she needs to use. Maybe I should let it end like this for my bank account to stabilize. Literally. But then again I’ll miss her craziness. Sibo has some good parts and bad parts just like everyone else. I’ll forgive her when she apologises tomorrow but not before.
Note to self: Next time pick a sensible woman. Who knows how to spend wisely. Who has natural hair too. Who can remember dates.
I open the door to my bedroom and I see the lights are on. What the hell? Who is in my room? Why are the lights on? This is my safe haven. Nobody is allowed to enter my room, unless the maid left the lights on when she left. Shit. Does she know how much I spend on power bills every month? I’m going to have to talk to her about this. Why can’t anything go right today. For crying out loud it’s still my birthday. Only four more hours till it’s over and life can come at me. I throw my tie on the floor as I walk in. The room is decorated to my taste, a dark brown colour on the walls and dark beddings, a reflection of my mood when I’m home because my home is the worst place to be in the world. Why? Because of the things that reside in it. Not more on things but because of the person who lives under my roof with me. My level of anger increases when I see the reason my lights are on, sleeping on my bed. Winnie. Why is she here? She knows the rules. I don’t need her drama as well. One woman’s insulting words are enough, I don’t need hers too. Though if Winnie could say what Sibongile had said to me earlier while Sibongile was the one I found on my bed then I would be elated. I could live with that. I would gladly run around my house in joy. Why? Because then I can get rid of the mess that was on my bed once and for all. What the hell is she doing on my bed? I can’t have a moment to myself anymore. The prospect of going out to see the guys seems attractive but then again if I don’t deal with this then it will happen again. She has to learn this lesson today. I walk up to the bed ready to unleash my full temper that has been building up for hours on her. This is invasion of privacy. She has to leave. Now.
Last time I found her in my room I lost it. She claimed she had been cleaning and she had some pain in her abdomen so she decided to lay down, on my bed. I had told her to stop cleaning my room and to stay far away from it. I had told her we had a maid who would do what she was doing for a salary but she never listened to that anyway. I also told her to see a doctor and to get the hell out of my room for good. Of course she didn’t listen to that too, which only infuriated me. She chose to do things her way as an attempt to get me to notice her. Pathetic. What’s with women and forcing things that they know will never work. It wasn’t going to work. This living arrangement wasn’t going to work.
I look at her. She’s fast asleep, breathing softly oblivious to my presence. If she knew I was here she would leave immediately. Her long weaved hair – expensive nonsense that I paid for – is in curls, surprisingly, when I always see it in a bun at the back of her head. Why I even pay for her expensive weaves if she wont style them is a mystery. Then again who would she be styling her hair for? A new boyfriend perhaps. But wait why did she curl her hair today anyway? Did she leave the house today? Wait. Why does she have makeup on? I see signs of makeup on her face; her face looks too smooth, long eye lashes seem too dark, her red lips slightly parted as if to breathe through her mouth. Was she sick and I didn’t know? And she didn’t tell me? I notice she is wearing a long black wool dress, so I know she did leave the house. Where the hell did she go in her state? She sleeps on her side but the thick dress fails to hide that she’s pregnant. Her hand cradling her pregnant belly as if to protect her unborn child from danger.
Her unborn child. Our unborn child. She is carrying my child. Son or daughter I don’t care. So long as the child is born healthy nothing else matters. She looks tired, she probably overworked herself again. Why should I care? Whatever she does to herself is none of my business. It only becomes my business if it affects our child. Besides the woman doesn’t listen. The maid came to me weeks ago complaining about how “the madam” shouts at her most days when it comes to checking what cleaning has been done. The maid wanted to quit but I managed to convince her to come back to work the next day. I should be sad that she overworks herself everyday but I’m not. I’m barely in the house anyway. After all isn’t that what my future wife is supposed to do? Make sure everything is fine at home.
Future wife. The words are heavy for my tongue to utter but it I know that’s what she will be soon if I don’t have my way. For four months she has been in my house, living with me; the worst four months of my life if I may say. My life just can’t seem to get off the bad path of karma. Karma truly is the B word. This is the punishment I got for meeting a girl and getting her pregnant. Not just any random-out-of-a-club girl but a lady I knew so to speak. It was simply a deal to get what we wanted or was it what I wanted. And when the worst happened, I told her to abort but she refused. And her parents? They wouldn’t let their twenty-one year old daughter have the baby without a ring. Marriage or marriage was the ultimatum. “If she has a baby alone which man will look at her?” They said. They acted like their daughter was some villager with no prospects of a good life when she was actually a university student, who would one day be able to provide for the child, if she wanted. But no, they didn’t understand. Instead they let me pay her university fees too which to be honest I didn’t understand. I mean child support was cool with me not marriage and extra unnecessary bills. Who in this era is forced to marry a girl they don’t even love? Yes, I slept with her but for fun and she knew that. Yes, she was attractive but not attractive enough to be my future wife. I was not dating her when hell broke lose. But I “damaged her” and I had to do right by her. I had to pay the price with my bachelorhood, a life I was and still am not not ready to give up. I will fight this tooth and nail if I have to but I will not marry this girl.
To make matters worse my family agreed to their terms. Why? To keep the families happy. To teach me a lesson. To settle me down. Because I was nearing my thirties and still acting like I was twenty-five. And their final reason? A child should be raised by both parents under one roof sort of crap they pulled on me. For that, I hated her. She ruined my life. I was forced to live with her when she was four months pregnant because I said no to marrying her and now at eight months pregnant I wanted her gone. Back to her parents. We both learnt our lesson. Always use protection. But I know taking her back will cause more problems. So I will wait till she has the baby then she will leave. For good. My vow for the time being is never to touch the woman again. Ever. And I’ve managed that very well thank you.
In the past four months we have argued, or is it I have found faults and called her out on them while she looked on. She never answered back. She just kept quiet. She was and still is a quiet person. Soft spoken and shy. That was the reason I liked her once. She never cursed or lost her temper. She was always reserved but happy. But by living with me, I watched her happiness switch to full blown silence. I started dating Sibo, and I’m not sure if she knew or not but she kept silent. I am never home before twenty-two hours. I stay out at my girlfriend’s till I need my bed, a shower or a change of clothes. And she just looks on in silence. After all I give her everything she needs. That was the deal. Give her everything and she leaves me alone. And she followed those rules. I could probably bring my girlfriend over and I’m certain she would keep quiet if not give me a box of condoms to ensure I was safe.
To be honest I tried. I tried to see something in her that would convince me that even though I was forced into this situation that she would be someone I could spend my life with. Sometimes I see it, the spark, a smile or two when she thinks I’m not looking but it disappears behind her wall of silence. How did I get her into my bed in the first place I wonder. She has to go now, gotta wake her up. I reach out to touch her shoulder but something catches my eye on the bedside table and I see a cupcake, chocolate cream cupcake, my favorite, with one candle in it though it’s off. What’s the occasion? I see a leather box beside the cupcake, curiousity makes me pick it up and open it and in it is a man’s watch. It looks expensive. Did she buy this? For who? Whose money did she use to pay for this? I take out the watch and see a small card hanging on the box.
Happy Birthday Thabo
What the hell! She remembered my birthday? Why? Did she think I would celebrate my birthday with her? What exactly would I be celebrating? The trap she put me in? But she still remembered, trap or not she earned a point while the ex lost one. Finally I get it, she dressed up for me I think, she had her makeup on for me. Probably trying to impress me again. But then again she wouldn’t have done it if she didn’t want to.
I look at her and in that moment I feel pleasure. Pleasure at the fact that she still considered me first. I’m being selfish I know, but after the night I have had and I’m still having, I’m allowed to be selfish.
She groans and her hand moves lower to the base of her abdomen. Is she in pain? And in that moment my feelings of pleasure are replaced by feelings of guilt and shame. She’s resting and maybe in pain and I was about to throw her out of my room and probably say the worst. I was out with another while my future baby mama remembered my birthday without so much as a reminder from me. She got me a gift while I was arguing with another woman about her making time for me on my important day. I put the watch back in it’s box and place the box next to the cupcake. Maybe I should go out and meet the guys.
I look at her hand cradling her belly and I feel sad as I notice her swollen fingers. Were her feet swelling too? Does she visit the doctor every week like she’s supposed to? I should have been there for her. I’m the guy that got her pregnant. But I didn’t care about her needs and treated her like shit. Always ignoring and blaming her for my mistakes and she took it all in like the woman she was, she kept silent.
What kind of a man have I been? I behaved like I was alone in this mess but she was in it too. Stuck with me just like I was stuck with her. I was geared to let all my temper on her tonight for something she didn’t do just like I did some weeks ago when my girlfriend had pissed me off again. I remember the words I uttered to Winnie’s face.
“You know what I think?” I started. “You trapped me. You did this on purpose. You can’t do anything right.”
“Do you even care?” I asked her
“You don’t even care about what I’m saying. You should go back to your parents home.” I said
“You know what, you already insulted me. So what should I say? Should I argue with you? Should I cry?” She said.” You already said I trapped you countless times. What should I say? Should I convince you that I didn’t. No one is forcing you to stay. You’ve said way too many things and I’ve watched you and kept silent. I wish I aborted. I wish I never knew you. So many regrets but not helping me.”
Even when she was angry or sad she never screamed or lost her temper.
She stood up and walked out of the livingroom with her shoulders shaking and I left the house to spend the night at Sibongile’s. She probably cried all night. Looking back now I feel bad knowing I went too far. I feel like an idiot. I shouldn’t have said half if not all the things I said but the damage was done. I made the mess.
I reach out and touch her feet, I can tell they are slightly swollen, probably from walking around too damn much. Does she attend classes or does she stay home? Does she rest enough? I let her go to class without so much as a car ride from me. Why? Well I didn’t want to see her face. How has she managed all this without help? And she keeps at it because I know she wants to graduate. I know she’s not happy with me here. She did say she wished she had aborted the baby. So it’s pretty obvious she hates me. Her eyes open and look at me and she moves her feet away from my hand. Though I’ve never laid a hand on her she looks scared. She’s scared of me. She sits up as quickly as she can manage, groaning as she holds her tummy. She’s too big and probably tired. Are we having twins? I wonder. I sit down next to her and she stands up slowly. She’s not comfortable with me because I made it so. I look at her and for the first time I see her for the mother she will be. I see her beauty, the beauty I saw a long time ago when all I wanted was pleasure and nothing more. Gosh I woke up next to her before and I know she’s a beautiful little thing in the morning. When did I lose sight of this?
“I’m sorry.” She says as she yawns. “I had brought the cupcake to your room and I think I had dozed off or something. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t hear you come in. I’ll prepare your supper now. ” She says
Every night she prepares my supper. No matter how late I come home she stays up and makes sure my meal is hot but I never eat it. I walk past her every night and ignore her and her food but everyday she keeps at it. I always ate at my girlfriend’s house while I let a pregnant woman who is not my wife stay up late for me. How did she feel about my actions?
I hold her hand before she has a chance to walk away.
“It’s okay. No need. I’m not hungry. I already ate.” I say. I know I’m lying but after what I’ve done to her I think she deserves a night off.
“Are you sure? The veggies and fish are done. The nsima will be fast.”
Fish and veggies? When was the last time I had such a meal. Probably at my parent’s home when mum cooked the meal. Sibo never cooks traditional meals. Claming she is soo busy with stuff. I realize then that I’ve never tasted Winnie’s cooking. I treated her like a maid. She is a strong one, she goes to uni if she finds the time and strength. Lucky her being in her last year wasn’t that bad, or maybe it was and I didn’t know. I didn’t even pick her up from school so how did she manage getting home with her big belly?
“No. It’s ok. I had a bad day. I don’t feel like eating.”
She keeps silent. She pulls her hand but I hold onto it and I pull her close to me she comes willingly but still doesn’t say a word. Silence becomes her. Did she even want to be with me anymore? Was she living through the moments day by day? Granted I knew somethings about her when I was sleeping with her. I led her on and then the pregnancy happened. But after our four months of living together did she still want to be stuck with me?
She stands in front me and for the first time in my life I touch the big belly. She will be the mother of my child. She carries my child right now. Never taking out her anger on our child. I’ve never been with her to any of the sonograms. I have no idea if she is healthy or not. I wasn’t paying attention. After all didn’t her parents force her to live with me as mine did. Force her to marry me after the child is born like mine did. I feel it then. The best thing I’ve ever felt. Right through her thick dress I feel movement. Is that my child? I feel it again and I hear her groan. I look up at her and I see her biting her lip.
“Are you okay? ” I ask her
She looks at me in silence but still keeps biting her lip. I know she felt it. Is she in pain or hiding a smile. I smile as I move my hands trying to feel more. Fascinating.
“She is probably pressing on my bladder.” She says slowly
She? It’s a girl. She has a human being in her. Our little mini us. Life. Wasn’t this mini me the reason Sibo would countlessly tell me she couldn’t manage our relationship. That was I getting married as soon as the baby was born; and I was going to have a baby while she would be the girlfriend? The bond I would have with my Winnie would never end were the words she said. I didn’t understand but now I got it. The mini us is the bond. Our bond.
I am amazed. I never touched her or her stomach after she moved into my house. I stayed away. But feeling this, I wonder why I stayed away. I wonder how many things I’ve missed. Eight months worth. I will never catch up. I kiss her tummy. She doesn’t move away. I simply stay like that with my hands on her stomach and my lips on it, I don’t know for how long. I know she’s scared and probably wondering if I’m the same man.
“Are you okay?” She asks. “I can leave now and you can have your rest.”
“Winnie, I had a bad day. It’s my birthday and I had a bad day.” I say.
Silence. Did she know why? Should I tell her?
“I came home to rest; to forget my stupid day, but instead I find the mother of my child had not forgotten my birthday. I came home and for the first time I touched you, felt our baby move and there is no greater feeling. So I’m great. My day is better. So just stay here. Like this. I need this.”
“Happy Birthday.” She whispers
I feel her hands on my back then. I feel relieved and I can’t explain why or how. All I know is I feel much better. If only I could cry out the last bit of my anger; but I am a man and men don’t cry. I know I have to make it up to her. Show her I can be a better man at this pregnancy thing. I know I won’t marry her but we are in this together for now. Maybe something good will come out of this situation. Who knows. I’ll make the first step. More like steps.
Firstly, I need to get her off her feet before they swell up even more.
Secondly, I have to see Sibongile and talk to her about the way forward.
Lastly, I need to put an alarm for tomorrow and make my baby mama breakfast. She deserves it.
*All images courtesy of pinterest 😘