31st December 2015
God please give me negative.
I close my eyes and open them again. Still positive. What do I do now? I am not ready for this. I am so not ready for this. No. This is not what I wanted. God. Why now? Why? When I was just getting my life in order. I just found myself somewhat and now I am stuck to this. Now I have to be committed to this. Oh my Gosh no. I can’t and will not deal with this. Maybe it’s a mistake. Maybe the sticks are faulty. All of them. Yes. All ten pregnancy test kit sticks are faulty. Expired maybe and they keep indicating that I am with child. What a joke. Me? Pregnant? No. Not in my plans yet. Not in my story yet. No. I was careful, I really was. I made sure I was on the pill. But then what is this now? Oh my this will not do.
I close my eyes and put my hands on my face and groan. Why God? Why now? Why today? Couldn’t you give me two more years? Why so soon? What are you trying to show me? I groan louder and bite my lip.
“Baby. Are you okay?”
I open my eyes quickly at the sound of his voice. James. Shit. I forgot he was waiting for me. I forgot he wanted to know what the result was. What’s the result? Do I tell him the truth or not? He has been with me waiting outside the bathroom for over an hour while I tested and waited over and over for the test results. Hoping the results would change miraculously. Then I would tell him I truly had a stomach bug and not a little human. Will he be happy with the news or will he be as sad as me and cry for an abortion. Though why would my husband cry for an abortion. That is a stupid idea. I am stupid.
“Thandi. Are you okay? Is everything okay?”
I need to face him. And then?
“Uh huh.. I’ll be right there.” I respond.
“You need some more water?”
Sweet. He stayed outside the bathroom and kept bringing me water to drink so that I could get this done. So that I could pee. But now I have to tell him I am pregnant within a year of getting married. Jeez.
“No. No need. I will be out soon hey.” I say aloud.
“Okay. I’m right here if you need something.”
What a way to end the day. I have missed Sampa’s birthday celebrations by being stuck in the bathroom of the restaurant. I could have waited till I got home but no I was anxious. James was anxious. I needed to know my way forward. Why did I have to get sick from the scent of eggs. And at my best friend’s birthday party.
I had an idea, no I knew I was pregnant two weeks ago when I got sick early in the morning; it was so bad that I couldn’t do a thing at the end of the day except rest and I passed it off as some stomach bug but when it happened again the next day and the day after that, I knew something was wrong and just as fate would have it James had been home the following days when I got sick; he insisted I see a doctor and I convinced him all I needed was rest. But the days that followed seemed to make me think I should have listened to him. But I did not want to confirm what I already knew.
Enough was enough he had said. James literally bought the pregnancy kits himself. He knew it and I knew that would be the only reason I would be sick early mornings. And the eggs business seemed to confirm it. But this. Oh my, this is proof that I am carrying my husband’s child. I just wish the earth would open up and swallow me right now. I do not need this. Why am I going through this. James’s baby? Is this a joke? Life playing a joke on me as punishment for my desires. What the hell will I do now? I stand up from the toilet and quickly pull up my underwear and push my dress down patting my hips as I do so. So I will lose my body shape. I will gain weight and have stretch marks. How disgusting. I will leak milk and have baby noise and puke. Why God? I flush the toilet and quickly bag nine of the kits into a plastic bag and throw them into the bin beside the toilet. I quickly wash my hands and pick up the last stick off the sink.
For James I think.
I take a deep breath and open the door. There he stands across me leaning against the wall with his head lowered. On the floor beside him are two full bottles of water. He waited for me all this time with more water to spare. Some men truly deserve the best. Then why am I not happy that I am pregnant. I should be celebrating right now. Elated about this moment. Defining life creation moment.
But I am cold.
I feel as if I have been handed a body change sentence. Maybe it’s shock and I will be fine after tonight. When I fully accept my predicament. He looks up at me and I see his brown eyes. I should be happy with him right, he is the perfect husband through and through. Gosh. I notice he looks anxious, his brown eyes tell me so. Forever young is the phrase that comes to mind when I see James. His youthful look, topped up with a lack of a beard it just makes him look twenty-five to his thirty-two years of life. His stress free approach to life definitely worked in his favour. It is hard to imagine James angry or sad. He is the happiest person I know. That’s what makes him an amazing husband I guess. I walk up to him and he stands up straight, his full height being taller than me by a few inches.
“So…. What’s the verdict. Break my heart now. Really fast if it is not what I think it is.” He says
He smiles at me. So at ease with everything he does. How do I lie to him? Even if I do not want this baby, I cannot make this face sad. He does not deserve that, least of all from me.
Here goes nothing. I show him the stick in my hand, the dark coloured positive sign so vivid. I see him look at it and his eyes widen and he looks at me. Questioning me.
“Are we okay? Are we pregnant?” He asks.
I nod my head quickly. He smiles then, it’s the brightest smile. He claps once and pulls me into his arms. He is happy. I know he is happy. I get to make his day tonight. Probably the best day of his life besides our wedding and the day he met me.
“I love you.” He says aloud.
“Hmm.” I respond.
This is sad.
He pulls me away looking at me in wonder, wondering how we made this life exist; and he leans in to kiss me.
This is the saddest day of my life.
Having to find out I am carrying the child of the man I am married to.
Maybe this God’s way of saying choose your path now before it’s too late. Maybe this is it. The crossroads of my life. To be a mother and wife or to find myself and where I truly belong.
God why? My lips are numb against his. He is forcing it. I’m not interested. He pulls me in for a hug and I let him. I can’t stop myself from thinking about a way out of this mess. It’s been on my mind since the first test result.. I wish.. I wish… James’s lips on my neck jolts me back to reality.
I swear an abortion is the only way out.
My temper is out to play tonight.
I have missed my best friend’s birthday all for this!!! Nonsense.
It’s minutes to midnight and I can’t seem to get a grip on the fact that I’m alone. Truly alone. I’m the woman sitting at the bar, while people around me dance and make toasts to the future or whatever things people toast to anyway. I shouldn’t be here but here I am anyway. All my plans gone to hell, Mutale decided that today would be the day to tell me the truth, via phone while I waited for him to come meet me for dinner. He decided to finally come out clean.
“I’m engaged.” He said.
The words made my head spin the minute he said them. I held the glass in my hand so tight I thought I would break it. For second I thought he was joking, playing with me so to speak. And I was waiting for him to say I’m kidding babe, can’t believe you took it seriously.
“And I didn’t want to lose you.” He continued.
He didn’t want to lose me? Yet he wanted to use me till the very last minute. The very last second so that he could break my heart on this day as I waited for him. How did I not notice he was not with me? How did I not see he was dating another? Loving another. He said he wanted to marry me. He said this coming year would be our year. That he would get his people to meet my people and we would be happy forever. He lied to me? He was honest. I knew him that well.
“I’m sorry Yolanda.” He had whispered.
“How long?” I had asked.
That was all I had wanted to know. How long he had been with her. The other woman in his life. The one who took my spot.
“Four years. I’ve been with her for four years. I didn’t know how to tell you. She’s a family friend. My family thought she would be perfect. So we started dating. We were going through a rough patch when I met you. And you just got me, you understood me and loved me. I thought I could be free finally. But then she came back. We got to talking again and we started seeing each other again. I didn’t tell you. We had already talked about getting married and to me it seemed like the perfect idea to get it over and done with. I wanted to tell you babe. I did.”
“But you didn’t. For over a year you lied to me. Gosh Mutale. Why? A year?”
“Where are you?”
I heard him sigh. It was enough. He was with her. The one he would be marrying. While I was waiting for him, he was celebrating with her.
“You proposed to her? Today?” I asked.
His silence was everything. I felt so foolish. I should have seen the signs. I ignored them. I didn’t see a thing or I chose not to see a thing. I chose to believe this was the man God had given me. I had prayed for him hadn’t I? I prayed for a man. No matter what he had or didn’t have I would be grateful. Even an unemployed ungrateful idiot like Mutale. I was grateful. I changed my ways for him. I changed for nothing.
“I swear to God if you ever call me again I’ll kill you.” I told him.
I cut the call. I didn’t want to hear more. All I wanted was a drink and a drink I got. I cancelled the dinner. I ordered for something strong enough to make me forget. For every sip I took, I prayed a memory would disappear. I couldn’t believe I had been so stupid. I couldn’t believe I Yolanda had gotten played. I couldn’t finish the drink, I was the only person in a restaurant siting at a table alone. No date. Nothing. I’m sure the others looked at me wondering why I was alone. Judged. I wanted to scream it out to the world that I was alone because my supposed boyfriend had proposed to another woman.
I decided to leave the restaurant and go to a bar. Aphrodite was the nearest so Aphrodite would do. I walked out of the restaurant in shame. I felt as if the world laughed at my foolishness. I was certain of it. I walked to Aphrodite with a bottle of savanna in my hand, deep in thought wondering what I was going to do next. Mutale and I had a beautiful life together. We had plans for the future. We had plans for everything. We did everything together.
What happened next? Everything would be cancelled obviously. He used me for now just so that he could have forever with her. I thought of getting into my car and driving over to his house to confront him. To tell the woman he wanted to marry that he loved me too. That we would share him. And then I imagined him telling her I was a stalker ex girl who threatened him for years. Then they would look at me with pity. I didn’t want that. I would look more foolish than I already did. So no. I decided not to see him. I would drink it out of my system. That was the best plan.
Aphrodite was packed, body to body kind of packed. I should have been disgusted but I wasn’t. The bouncers tried to stop me from walking in because of my savanna and I showed them who was boss by gulping all the liquid and leaving the bottle in their care. I wasn’t in the mood. I needed more alcohol. I found an empty seat at the bar, lucky me and I ordered for tequila, if I wanted to forget I would forget in style.
Yes they tasted good. I loved it. A glass of vodka was next.
Did I not meet him in a club? I was dancing with my girls when he came up behind me and started dancing with me. Grinding his body into my back. And I allowed it. Up until the song ended and I walked away. Mutale followed me insisting he wanted to know me. He wanted to know who I was was what he said. He offered to buy my girls and I drinks if it meant me giving him a chance. His smile made me tell him all. It was the kind of smile that got to you, that made one want to smile with him. And I told him. He asked more questions and I answered those too. He wanted my number and I gave it to him freely. He had my attention.
We left the club together, he drove me home and told me everything about himself. He was interesting and fun. He was a gentleman too. He never asked for anything. But I wanted everything. And I gave him everything right in his car that same night. And afterwards he left with a promise that he would call me the next day. And he did. He called me every day after that. And the next thing we started dating. He was amazing, he put my exes and all those other fools I knew to shame with his loving and caring nature. He was there for me. He made me happy, my friends saw it. Everyone noticed it. I was happy with Mutale. And now he was gone. To another. I need to stop living in dream land.
I turn and look behind, looking at the ladies in their skimpy wear, little dresses that do nothing to hide their thongs dancing for their men. Gosh how embarrassing I think. All for a drink. Is alcohol that expensive? I shake my head as I watch one lady dance for her man, she moves down for him, probably showing him the floor is nothing to her. Her man smiles watching her ass shaking for him. He just sits there taking a sip of whatever is in his glass. That dance move she just pulled will get her drinks for the night. She touches the floor and stands up but before she bends in his face, his smile widens, I shake my head, she probably just showed him her underwear if she has any on. He reaches out and touches her waist pulling her towards him and she willingly lets him. She lands on his laps laughing with him happily.
Definitely getting laid tonight.
No doubt about it. I look away and face the bar, the bar man’s eyes are on me. I smile at him and he smiles back. He places three shots of tequila in front of me, I look at him and he shrugs. Maybe I should leave. I don’t do bar men. Free alcohol comes at a price. He walks away to serve another customer and I look at the shots in front of me. What if they are drugged? Shit. What if they are not and the bar man is being friendly. Oh well. I pick up one of the shots and take it fast. The liquid burns the back of my throat. It’s a welcome burn and I wince. I reach for the other shot and quickly take it, then the last one. I close my eyes feeling the liquid go down my throat. Amazing. This will hit me soon. Well getting drunk is my motto. I open my eyes and find the barman smiling at me. He gets the empty shot glasses and then places a fresh glass of vodka and lemonade in front of me, next to my other glass. Is he trying to get me drunk?
He simply can’t talk to me without trying to get me drunk. I shake my head and push the glass away. This is too much. He pushes the glass back in my direction. If he insists. I carry the glass, place it to my lips and drink the liquid. I don’t take a break, I gulp it all down. I bang the empty glass on the table and I watch as the bar man opens another for me. I mouth a thank you to him, he smirks and walks away. I get my clutch and take out my phone. I notice ten missed calls, shake my head; I know who they are from. I open my WhatsApp and messages start to flood in. Mutale. I click on his name.
Baby I’m sorry.
Pick up the phone.
Where are you? I’ll come see you.
Yoli I know you’re hurt but come on. Pick up
Yoli I know I lied but I loved you. I really did. I care about you. I always will. I hurt you. But I’m still here. Baby.
Yoli tell me where you are. Are you still at the restaurant? Are you home? Yolanda
This man has some nerve. How dare he! I hit the block button and put my phone back in my handbag. I still can’t believe he proposed to someone else. What the hell? I can’t believe I was the other woman. For over a year! What happened to the sixth sense? Gone to hell that is. I can’t believe this. This is the worst day ever. I take the glass and gulp a quarter of it. What do I do next? Pack his shit when I get home. Even better I’ll burn it all. Yes. Burn him out of my life. He will get new things from his fiancé. I smile to myself. That’s the plan. Is this what heartbreak feels like? Like your heart won’t function again but somehow it still keeps beating. I hate it. I hate him. Mutale knew he wanted to do this. Why didn’t he leave me months ago? He knew it would come to this. Why now? Mutale deserves to rot wherever he is. He deserves all the pain in the world. I will not cry over him.
Minutes to midnight and I’m alone. All alone. A glass of amber liquid hits the table next to me. I look at the hand holding the glass, long fingers, Mutale had long fingers too, but he had a bad habit of eating his nails. This man’s nails are perfect, no signs of bite marks on them, just normal square short nails. I look further up noticing the watch on his hand, looks expensive; men and watches. They never go for the classics anymore. It’s about who wears the watch that can tell time to the millisecond. The cuff on his white shirt is right after the expensive watch. Who the hell wears white in a bar? With the number of women wearing makeup on seeking hugs, white shirts turn brown. I look away back to my almost empty glass, I should go home.
Beats being here alone.
I gulp the remaining liquid and place the empty glass on the bar counter. The bar man must have more eyes on his human head because he comes from nowhere and places another glass in front of me. What the hell is going on? I shake my head and the bar man signals his head towards the man standing next to me. I turn to face the stranger with the white shirt and our eyes meet. Brown eyes. I get a sense of Deja Vu. His eyes remind me of someone. Very dark brown eyes. He smiles at me, not a creepy I think you’re beautiful smile, it’s a genuine smile that reaches his eyes. I am not surprised he has dimples that come with the smile. Plain, he looks like a plain looking man to me. In this type of lighting that’s all I notice on him. So not like Mutale who literally makes me forget other men exist in this world. This man is the opposite. Quite disappointing. I take a deep breath and lean in closer to him, he is so tall that he has to bend closer to me to hear me.
“You can keep your drink.” I tell him
“You deny this one when you’ve had all the others I’ve sent over?”
My eyes widen and I smile. So it was him and not the bartender. How embarrassing. I thought the bartender liked me. Oh my. What if the bartender is married and here I was smiling at the man. But then again who cares. I just got dumped so nothing in this world can beat that feeling. I look at the stranger and smile.
“I am grateful for the drinks. I am not a prostitute. I can pay you for all the drinks you got me.” I tell him.
He laughs then. I watch his face light up. He is amused by my response.
“I swear I never thought you were a prostitute. Never crossed my mind.” He responds.
“Well do you always buy drinks for random women out there?”
“Ouch. That actually sounds bad. And no. I saw you and thought you needed a drink. Drinks. Don’t worry I want nothing from you.”
“Ahh amazing eye sight you’ve got there. Either way thank you.”
I look away from his brown eyes and look at the refilled glass of my poison. What the heck. It’s not like I will miss anything, after all if I leave now, I am just going to a home filled with Mutale’s things. I hate him. Doing this to me tonight of all nights. I might as well drink more, here is to more crazy moments. We sit next to each other, none of us saying a word, I steal glances at him as I take my drink. He seems content with sitting next to a woman who won’t talk to him, with a bottle of Castle Lite in his hand. He takes his drink slow, as if he has all the time in the world, maybe he does with that expensive watch. I stare at him, as if storing his image to memory. Not many Zambian men would buy drinks for a random woman and simply let her be.
He is definitely a weird man.
I take my last gulp of the drink. I need to go home. Now. I need to think and maybe cry over a lost man. I slowly put my feet on the ground and get off the chair, holding onto the bar. Shit. I am high. I smile to myself and shake my head. I need a cab. That’s what I get for leaving my car at home. All about depending on men to drive me home. Now there is no one to do it. Stranger watches me from the corner of his eye, he is clearly amused by what he sees. I shrug and see him smile. Okay maybe he is a seven after the drinks I think or an eight including tequila shots. I need to go but I do not take a step. Instead I hold onto the bar, looking at Mr Stranger looking at me. He truly does have the brownest eyes I’ve ever seen.
“Well it’s almost that time. Countdown starts soon. It’s twenty-three fifty eight. I hope you are ready to countdown tonight.” The DJ says aloud.
It’s almost time. I should have been with Mutale right now. I should be holding a glass of wine in my hand, laughing with him about our future. We would be out, my legs on his laps in his car, his hands carressing their way upwards. And yet I am not. I am here in Aphrodite looking at a stranger with brown eyes.
I hate you Mutale.
I hope you suffer for this.
I will get you for this.
Why today of all days.
Men are trash
I am so done with all of them. No more.
I choose to be content. That’s my motto. My only resolution.
This should be a lesson. Never trust a Zambian man. Why do I even feel bad anyway. I can move on from this. Mutale will be a number on my list.
Mr Stranger is looking at me. I swear he has the darkest eyes I have ever seen.
What the heck. Who cares what I do now? I grab his shirt and pull the man towards me.
“Happy New Year!!!”
His lips meet mine as everyone else screams around us. Here is to moving on. To a new year.
Here is to my Happy Birthday alone.