After Love – Chapter 7 – The Trouble With Faith

For The Previous Chapter of After Love, “What Should Have Been” – Click Here

It’s been three years since I was last here.

Everything looks the same. The sand, the sun. I remember the day we laid Oarabile to rest. I was amazed to see so many people there to celebrate a life that was short lived. He could hardly form sentences yet everyone had so much to say about him and what he meant to them. It felt so fake.

The condolences and smiles, many didn’t want us together as a couple and losing Oarabile was the cement they were happy never dried.

Even though Namisa and I had dated for years, this was the first time our families were really in the same place. We never paid damages for him, scheduling the negotiations was always a problem and so that was the first time our uncle’s met.

He went from being our beacon of hope to someone we mention in memories. His death took everything from me. Her family and mine parted ways, my friends and family distanced themselves from me. Kyle, Tsebo and Nhlanhla didn’t know what to say to me. Then again who was I to judge, I hardly had much to say. I spent most of the day comforting Namisa and doing small talk on her behalf. Now here I was on my own, staring at your tombstone, trying to find words and wondering if you even understood the role I was meant to play in your life.

“Hey OB… It’s me… Your dad. We used to play together. It saddens me to think you are nothing more than a box in the ground, a body that has probably decayed. I don’t know if you heard but you have a little sister now.”

They say the dead should not communicate with the living but I took the whistle of the wind as a sign that he was listening. Maybe he was and maybe I was just that desperate for him to exist somewhere other than my mind. In her healing she gave away all the things we bought Oarabile, so I didn’t have anything to remember him by other than his baby pictures.

I was left with his baby pictures and a deep dislike for Winnie the Pooh. I used to love the cartoon but seeing Winnie on his tombstone made the sight of the teddy bear unbearable.

I was also the one left with all the questions. ‘How did he die?’, ‘Was he ill?’, ‘How is Namisa taking it’, ‘When will you be ready to have another child?’. Namisa got time off school, time off from the world. She had three weeks to rest, and just shut off everything. Her communication was limited to myself and her immediate family. I on the other hand was thrown into the world.

I still had to attend lectures, be social, I had to still be happy for everyone. My mother was falling apart, my cousins were hurt and I had to be there for them all. I had to keep their world together and pretend mine wasn’t falling breaking apart. A man is strong, so the death of my son shouldn’t not have phased me. After all a woman has a natural clock and a man can have a child anytime. A lot of people felt I should have leaned on Namisa but whenever I tried to open up to her, she would burst into tears because I would just bring the pain back for her, so I would put my emotions on hold so that I could comfort her. In the end I realized that their ‘lean on her’ was just their way of saying I should be there for her because this is harder for women than it is for men because they are more connected to he child.

Putting Namisa first, the questions and being forced back into society with no support; I don’t know how I made it through and managed to retain some part of my sanity.

Namisa and society aside, it wasn’t that the questions weren’t valid, it was just that I didn’t have answers myself. She couldn’t tell me what happened. She said something about being at a family friend’s place, that he was fine when she last checked on him and that when she checked again he wasn’t breathing. Some people said maybe her ‘cousin’ rolled over and suffocated him, others suggested he was poisoned and others said it was just God’s will. With all the confusion, an autopsy seemed insensitive. I asked Namisa for one and she asked if I blamed her or her cousin for what happened, that I suspected them of foul play. She brought Oratilwe to me because she didn’t want to leave her with anyone who wasn’t immediate family, I guess a part of her blamed her cousin too.

No one taught me how to parent. They all expected me to just understand. My mother, Namisa’s parents, none of them shared their experience or raising a child or what they learnt. They just felt I should know, maybe because I was once a child. They forgot that they were once children and when I needed guidance, I needed more than “you are a father now”.

Adults think that is enough, in that statement I should understand all my responsibilities and making the right decisions should come naturally. No one said I would be affected more than just financially, more than just my time management would need to change. No one said he would own all of my being or that having a child meant gaining the risk that losing them could crush your soul beyond repair. Everything became about them even things that are not related. No one said you could find yourself at a gravesite talking to yourself.

“I blame God for taking you. Not every couple who wants to, can conceive. He is in control. He lets rapists and murders get to old age but you were a soul without sin and you left us before your first birthday.” I spoke but no wind this time. I wasn’t sure if you disagreed with my sentiments or our heavenly Father silenced your lips.

I think the worst part of it all was that I was the one left without faith. They say God doesn’t choose favourites but Namisa healed faster than I did and she said it was because of Him. Three years later and I am still stuck in the mind of a man who refuses to accept that the first person he ever buried was his son.

“I blame GOD”. I cried. “I blame you. I am mad at her for not seeing I was in pain, I am mad at my family for demanding that I be okay but I am mad at you most. I was a good son to you but you took mine from me. I blame you for letting me love him, I blame you for letting him breathe and I blame you for taking him from me without giving me a chance to say goodbye.”

Some would call it blasphemy, I wonder if it makes me a sinner for questioning His choices or more of a believer because like any son, I can admit I feel betrayed by my Father?

My Father took everything from me. My friends didn’t know what to say or how to relate. I was the first to have a child, I was the first to lose a child. They were still processing the former, how would they now comfort me through the latter?

My relationship with my mother suffered. I remember the look on her face when I told her Namisa was pregnant. She was angry, she said things she could never take back and things I am yet to forgive. She had all that anger over something that didn’t last that long.

“I know she misses you too.”, I said with a smile on my face. “She hasn’t asked to see Ora, she wants to wait until she is sure Ora is mine. She doesn’t want another grandchild taken away from her.” I hoped knowing that he couldn’t be replaced would make him smile, that the fact that my mother and I still missed him would give him some sort of comfort and maybe he would forgive us for never visiting.

“I passed by the way. Your father is almost CA. I work at this great accounting firm in the Vaal. I wrote my last exam and I am waiting for my results. I believe I made it. I only saw you on weekends, so I have no choice but to have made it right.

I told you I was mad at God, I am mad at my family and my friends but Oarabile, I am also mad at you. You took away the love of my life. I am sure she told you that we don’t talk much anymore. We didn’t until she told me about your sister. She was in the hospital and she needed blood and… I’m sure she told you all about it. She told me she visits you every chance she gets.”

Namisa was always stronger than me. She hid Oratilwe from me but maybe it’s because I wasn’t as strong as she needed me to be. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I ran to another for comfort and gave them more than I was allowed to give. Vuyo had been my best friend for so long that it made sense to talk to her. We shared everything. She was comfortable enough to tell me when she was on her period and needed me to get her pads and she was the first I told when I found out Namisa was pregnant. I don’t know who took advantage of whom, was it I who was mourning my son or her who had just fought with her partner. We both needed comfort, we just found it in the wrong way. We agreed never to speak about it and the next time we spoke, she and her ex-boyfriend were pregnant and expecting their first child. I was hurt that she hid that she was pregnant from me and I couldn’t think up any reason I told myself that she was still giving me time to recover from losing Oarabile. Maybe she was just protecting Oratilwe from having a weak father in her life. A father who still held on, a father who couldn’t forgive his creator.

I stood there in silence for a few minutes. The sun was setting and I still had so much to say but words would not leave my lips and my heart was just as silent. Being there felt like both an accomplishment and a moment of disappointment. This was the first time I was here but it took me so long to get here. I knew I couldn’t stand there forever and wallow in my thoughts, I still had to drive to Vuyo’s place. She and I hadn’t really spoken since the night Loni moved in and she said she was worried about me, so I said I would pay her a visit before I went home after seeing Oarabile. She didn’t really give me much of a choice. She said she knew I would be a wreck after going to the cemetery and so I promised I would see her before driving home.

God gives and God takes. Losing him taught me that God does things and doesn’t give reasons, I learnt to feel God is unfair and chooses tests for His children based on how well He thinks they will cope. Despite the anger and my feelings, in all this, my biggest struggle was with myself because I still held on to Him. I stopped praying, I stopped spreading His word and going to church was a thing of the past but I knew He was still there, just watching me suffer. Whether He was rooting for me to recover or not, I just knew He was watching with the son He took from me next to him.

God broke me, took all I have and even though I didn’t believe in His love anymore, I still believed in him. I suppose that is the trouble with faith. Some take misfortune as a sign of God’s non-existence but I took it as a sign that He doesn’t love me.

The Trouble With Faith – PDF

Jade Novelist ©️ 2018

After Love – Chapter 6 – What Should Have Been

For The Previous Chapter of After Love, “Memorable Amnesia” – Click Here

She looked at me. I looked at her. We looked at each other and the noise began. I was out of faces to make and she was just beginning to make her presence known.

“Loni. Loni”, I called to her hoping she hadn’t run away. “Where’s the milk? Are you done?”.

She rushed in, “Angelo. Give me a second. The video is still buffering. I told you to get faster WiFi… Do I put sugar in the milk?”.

My mother wasn’t answering, none of our friends had children and Loni’s Mother was the last person we would call. This was more challenging than I thought.

With Oarabile, Namisa and I had a system. She would breastfeed him or prepare the bottles in advance, I just had to warm them in the microwave.

“No, don’t put milk…. No, I mean sugar… I used to taste OB’s milk, there was never any sugar. Don’t make it too hot.” I picked up Ora, “She won’t stop crying. Let me try my mother again, while I walk around with her”.

I wanted to spend time with Oratilwe and looked forward to the day I would introduce her to Loni but this was not how I expected it to happen. This must have been difficult for her, being stuck with two strangers for the weekend.

Namisa got a call from her office that she had to travel to Cape Town for the week, her family were still in Durban and she didn’t trust any of her friends to watch Oratilwe but after what happened to Oarabile, I couldn’t blame her. I also wouldn’t trust anyone who wasn’t family with my child.

I appreciate her trusting me and bringing our daughter here but this was so mistimed. Loni had just opened up to me and I wanted to show her that Namisa would not cause any conflict for us. Unannounced visits from an ex definitely lead to conflict.

At least she brought a baby bag with all of Oratilwe’s things and gave us a break down of her favourite blanket, which teddy she slept with, which toy she bathed with and what she was allergic to but she didn’t tell us what to do between now and bedtime.

I walked her to the guest room and back. Up the stairs, down the stairs and out to the patio but Oratilwe would not stop crying.

Loni finished making milk and that didn’t help. She continued crying.

“Angelo. Did you check her nappy?”, Loni asked.

“No. Namisa dropped her off like an hour ago. She must have a clean nappy.”, I responded.

“Your mom just texted. She said we should check her nappy”, she took Oratilwe from my hands, lay her down and began undressing her.

“Ummm… Loni… Do you need to do that?”, I asked.

“Yes. How will we know if her nappy needs changing or not?”, she responded.

“Checking her nappy, I agree but do you have to take off her beanie, jacket and everything. You could have just lifted up her dress”. I looked at her and she looked at Oratilwe and then we both started laughing.

We were both thrown in the deep end here.

Other than her students, she hardly engaged with children and my experience of parenting involved a child who was always ready for playtime. I was studying and we had the support of both of parents when it came to Oarabile. He lived with Namisa’s parents and I was staying at the university residence. I saw him on weekends or holidays but I never had to do much. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to be more involved but they said Namisa and I still had to be children and so they took care of his expenses, doctors’ visits and made sure he never lacked. Namisa’s involvement was limited to playing and feeding.

Looking back, I guess we should have insisted we do more but then again it was her father who made the rules despite objection from my mother and his wife but now he was no more, that meant Namisa had been doing more for Oratilwe by herself. For the past two years she was probably parenting on her own.

“Her nappy is wet.”, Loni said almost relieved.

“Okay. I will go get one of the nappies from her bag.” I started to make my way to the living room and heard Loni screaming behind me.

“Don’t worry about YouTube this time. Your mom sent instructions. I think it was a joke but I’m grateful anyway”, she giggled.

I went and got the nappies, read the instructions while Loni changed her nappy and then dressed her up again.

Finally the crying stopped and the house was quiet. At first it was good to have peace and quiet but the silence quickly became cause for alarm. Growing up I was always told about the ‘Terrible Twos’ but Oratilwe was quiet, almost mute. Loni said maybe it’s because she wasn’t used to us, that’s why she wasn’t talking to us or saying anything.

We carried her to the living room and sat her down. I tried surfing through DSTV to find something but all the shows we found seemed to be mature content in cartoon format and so we settled on Captain Underpants on Netflix. Oratilwe continued with her silence but now she was watching television, occasionally pulling a face to show that cartoon had her attention.

“Do you think she knows who I am yet?”, she asked.

“What do you mean?”, I responded.

“That I’m the reason her parents aren’t together. That I’m the home wrecker?”, she said.

I shook my head. “You’re not a home wrecker… Her mother and I separated before she was born and I have no plans of getting back with her”.

She gave me a look, “Her mother still has a thing for you. I saw the way she looked at you… Look, I’m not asking if you still have feelings for her. I don’t think I’m ready to hear that. If you say yes I will be hurt, if you say no and I don’t believe you, I will be stuck with the paranoia. Please just be sure this is what you want.”

She stood up and fixed her blouse, “Why don’t you try putting on music or something and I will go start preparing for lunch”.

I went to pick up the remote to change the program and Oratilwe was staring at me. I wasn’t sure if she was threatening me or trying to signal she knew what she wanted to watch. If ever I needed an ice breaker, it had to be now.

I was about to put the remote down when my phone started ringing. I went to pick it up but I saw Oratilwe was kicking her feet. She must have liked my ringtone. I rejected the call and connected my phone to the speaker, turned up the volume and started playing the song Banomoya by Prince Kaybee. It was Saturday and the office could wait.

The song got her feet moving but I knew it wasn’t enough. If acting like a fool was what I needed to connect with my daughter, then a fool I is what I was going to be. I started with the move I first mastered growing up, the robot.

From the robot I moved on to the dougie and worked my way through every house dance move I knew. Oratilwe must have not been impressed because she got up and started showing off moves of her own. Quickly our stare off turned into a dance off and eventually became a dance party.

Loni heard the music and came in to check on what was going on and then the three of us started a dance battle. The day carried on with us trying different things. Dancing, playing PlayStation and watching movies.

Her shyness slowly faded away and quickly she reminded me of her older brother. Her smile and the way she laughed. I could tell Loni was having a good time and just like I was thinking about Oarabile, she was probably thinking of her child but we had to be strong and be in the moment.

It was finally bed time and I was tasked with giving her a bath while Loni prepared the blow up mattress in the bedroom. We agreed that she couldn’t sleep in the guest room on her own but we also weren’t both ready to share a bed with her.

I dried her up and put on a nappy, put on her pyjamas and lay next to her and Loni.

“Do you want a bed time story princess?”, I asked.

Both ladies nodded their heads. Loni seemed happy to see me in a new element, either that or she was just happy that for once she wasn’t the one telling a children’s story.

“This is a story that was co-written by two authors. Sapphire and Jane Novelist, or Jake or… Umm… It was Jay something… You make me so nervous…”, I found myself stuttering over my words and Loni was laughing.

“Anyway… Once upon a time, there was a young king who fell in love with a queen of a neighbouring kingdom. The king and queen eventually got married and their bond resulted in their two kingdoms being united and forming one kingdom under their rule as king and queen.

On the third month after the union of the kingdoms, the king and queen given a gift by a fairy. It was something they never thought they could ever have.”, I looked to Loni and kissed her on the forehead. She held my hand and then held Oratilwe’s.

“The gift was a baby girl, who would become the princess of the kingdom and she would bring joy to the two kingdoms. This princess had all sort of magical powers. She had the voice of an angel, the dance moves of a goddess and the site of her smile brought happiness to those around her”.

Oratilwe yawned. She was finally getting sleepy. Loni nodded her head signalling that I should continue the story.

“You see this princess was very special and very loved but also very needed to cure the hearts of many, so the king and queen could not keep her to themselves because there was another kingdom that needed her. So the kingdoms agreed that they would raise the princess together and love her equally putting her happiness first”.

She yawned once again and closed her eyes.

“Hey”, I whispered. “You stay with her and make sure she stays asleep. I will go make sure all the doors are locked and come back”.

I got up and made my way downstairs. The memory of her falling asleep in my arms heavily engraved in my mind. She was beautiful, my wingless angel on earth.

Seeing her smile made it clear to me that I would do anything to keep her smiling. I wanted to give her all of me but in order for me to love her properly and give her more of me, there was something I had to do.

I still held on to a brother I wasn’t sure she even knew. I knew he wasn’t coming back but the pain was still there and in order for me to love her completely, I had to go see my son, I had to say the things I’ve been holding back and face the demons I’ve been running away from all these years.

What Should Have Been – PDF

Jade Novelist ©️ 2018

After Love – The In Between – Promises & Key Rings

I walked out of the bathroom with the towel wrapped around my body. For a moment I felt silly, the towel did well at hiding my body but not my shame. I could see Angelo was confused and I knew this wasn’t the right way to bring this up, but was there ever a right way or even a right time?

He looked at me with hurt in his eyes. I wasn’t sure if he felt rejected or unwanted but it wasn’t his fault. We were living together and would share a room, I knew eventually he would want sex but somewhere in my mind I hoped he would wait.

“Before you ask, it’s not you. I find you attractive”, I whispered gently as I moved to sit next to him. “I know it’s not the right way to tell you or the right time but I’m done making excuses in relationships. I had my excuses lined up. Today I would say it’s not possible cause our friends are around or I’m too tired. Tomorrow I was going to lie about my period or something and on and on. I’m tired”.

He was lost. He had this thing he would do when he couldn’t understand something, he would look down and play with his fingers. Normally playing with his hands were fine but now he was scratching his scratching his palm and I knew a half explanation wouldn’t be enough.

“I told you that I couldn’t have kids, I didn’t tell you why.”, she paused. “My uncle… He used to rape me. He raped me. He then taught my cousins… His kids how to please a woman with me as their training doll. He got me pregnant but my mother didn’t want everyone to know her brother and his sons were rapists or that her daughter was now used goods, so she took me for a backdoor abortion. Something went wrong and I lost my womb. Other than the rapes, I have never had sex. I don’t know how to”.

Two days ago he first told me he loves me and today I am telling him my biggest secret. Through his eyes I could see that his soul was leaving his body, there was a spark in them when he was happy but with each word I saw the light fade and all that was left was a brown void begging me to stop, begging me to say it was a lie.

I wondered if he was as afraid as I was. In his mind he probably thought I lied about who I was and that he could never love someone so broken. I on the other hand struggled to let myself be loved but here I am moving in with a man with more demons surrounding him than the devil. Maybe that’s why I fell for him, we were broken in different ways but our brokenness was what we shared.

I felt my throat dry up and my conscience tell me that I shared too much but I wanted a future with this man and laying with him, even if just to please him would be another form of rape. So I needed him to know everything, to understand everything and hopefully he would be patient until I was ready.

“It started off small. He would offer me sweets in exchange for a kiss on the lips. Letting him touch my breast meant he would help me with my chores, so I had more time to spend with my friends. When I sat on his lap, it meant I could watch whatever television show I wanted and letting him give me a bath or help me change into my pjs meant a little extra tuck shop money”.

“I’ll be right back”. I felt his hand move from mine as he spoke. His body followed and before I knew it, he was out the door and rushing down the stairs.

I put my clothes back on and walked to the hallway. I stood at the edge. I struggled to hear what was going on with the music playing but I heard him say to Kyle, ‘I can’t do this’. I knew it, this was too much for him. I walked back to the room and started to pack my things. How could I expect him to love damaged goods?

I walked back to the room and started to pack my things. The least I could do was make it easy for him when he kicked me out. My friends were still here so they would help me carry my things and I could ask Tshepiso to let me stay at her place. I could feel my heart racing and I knew I had to call her, a panic attack was coming and I had to call Lynda.

“Hello Lynda”, I called her, “Lynda, he said he can’t do this”.

I felt my chest tighten and grasping for air felt like too much work. As the room spun around I struggled to hear her pleas for me to calm down. “I told him. I told him. I told him and now… now… He doesn’t want me.”

He doesn’t want me. I should have just let him have his way with me. I have laid and let men who feel nothing for me satisfy themselves with me, so why couldn’t I just quiet my fears and let him love me in that way? If anyone deserves to have me, it’s him.

The room just kept on spinning. I felt my eyes heavy. I felt my soul heavy. I felt the music fade into the background. If this was death calling, then I was ready.

“Loni, Lonwabo. Wake up”. He was shaking me violently. “Lonwabo, wake up. Please wake up”.

“Angelo”, I responded, “I’m awake”.

“Are you sure? Some lady named Lynda called. She said you were having a panic attack”. He asked with a worried look in his eyes.

He was worried about me. I guess that meant some part of him still felt something for me. Lynda must have called him when I passed out. I looked around and we weren’t in the bedroom.

“Angelo, what are we doing here?  What happened to the music? Where did everyone go? How did we get to the living room?”, I asked confused.

“Oh them”, he responded, “I asked them to leave. I felt we needed to be alone to talk and I didn’t think you’d be comfortable talking in the bedroom. So I got rid of them, so we could talk here. I want you to tell me how you feel, tell me everything. Only if you are ready to.”

He was still here.

He was still here.

I couldn’t believe he was still here. He was still here and he wanted to know more. Whether this was love or pity, I didn’t care, I was just happy someone other than my therapist cared to listen. Someone else was willing to believe me.

“Hmmm… You know I don’t wear make-up right and I tell you that it is because I prefer being natural but the truth is I don’t wear make-up or dress up because I don’t want to look like something someone would want to rape. I don’t want to look attractive but even this, downplaying myself doesn’t feel enough because men find other reasons to justify their actions. So I am scared. I am worried because of something that started over a decade ago”.

He put his hand around me and pulled me closer, placing my head on his chest. As he played with my hair I felt safe, it felt like he was telling me to carry on and that he wasn’t afraid to take all of me.

“It started off small. He would offer me sweets in exchange for a kiss on the lips. Letting him touch my breast meant he would help me with my chores, so I had more time to spend with my friends. When I sat on his lap, it meant I could watch whatever television show I wanted and letting him give me a bath or help me change into my pjs meant a little extra tuck shop money.

The first time he did it, I remember blood. There was blood everywhere but I wasn’t there long enough to memorize the sight. He just picked me up off the ground, kicked sand over it and took me to the park.”

Angelo’s hands around me felt so comforting. I couldn’t see his face but I felt his tear on mine. He was hurting too. I was hurting him. My past was something I carried and only shared with Lynda during our therapy sessions. This was different, I was speaking to someone who wouldn’t detach themselves from the pain and hopefully help me carry the load.

“Do you want a break?”, I asked. “We can stop. I know it’s a lot.”

“N… No”, his voice was breaking. “I’m right here. Keep going if you are comfortable.”

I knew hearing all of this was hard for him and I wasn’t sure if he was just trying to be nice but it felt good to know he was there for me.

“My uncle was always a bad man. A lazy drunk and loud most of the time. He blamed everything on his parents, saying they favoured my mother over him and that’s why his life turned out the way it did.

For most of my childhood he stayed away from me but when I turned 12, I was at the wrong place, at the wrong time. I came home one day while he was fighting with some girl. I think she didn’t want to have sex with him because he was drunk. So he saw me and saw a replacement. At first it was just comments about how I’m the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, then comments about how lucky the man I marry will be to have a woman with a body like mine. The list went on and on until one day he added actions to his words and the touching began.

It was just him at first. I was his property until I turned 14. His sons were celebrating their birthday at our place and my mother was out of town. They were bored and unhappy, so he thought up a fun activity for them to do and teach them how to be men.”

Angelo’s hands tightened around me, it moved from a hold to a grip. He had a sense of what I was going to say. I wanted to stop, maybe I should have but where would I find the courage to open up to him again? I just hoped he would not look at me differently after I everything was said.

“I remember asking myself if I should fight back but how far would I get. He had overpowered me enough times for me to know I had no chance. He took me to his room and forced me to undress. When I refused because his sons were watching, he slapped me and told them that a woman should never talk back to a man. Not only was I about to be violated, but I was also being used to teach misogyny.

He ripped my clothes off me and told me to lay down. I knew what was coming and normally I took it because it was always our little secret, a dirty secret but something I wanted buried. I still remember his sweat, from the moment he started until he finished.

His older son wasn’t having it. He said he saw something on TV and he wanted it that way, that he wanted me to bend over. The look of pride on my uncle’s face sickened me. He was celebrating that his son knew exactly how he wanted to defile me. He was 15 and should have known better but his father was a monster, so I guess the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree.”

I guess that’s where I learnt ‘family’ is just a word people use. If they loved or saw me as their blood, they would have stopped their father or walked away and said they weren’t interested. Instead they took turns using my body. Pleased at earning their father’s approval and becoming men. I spent days praying Angelo was different. I forgot how to pray until Angelo gave me a new reason to pray. Right now in my heart I was praying he would still want me tomorrow and the day after, that I’d still be enough despite all I had to say.

“A few months after I turned 16, he and his sons got me pregnant. I thought my mother would hate me, that she’d think I was busy running around sleeping with men but when I told her the truth she believed me. I used to find comfort in that, the fact that she believed me but all her belief did was fuel her desire to keep their sin within the family and not allow him tarnish the family name any further.

When she told me I had to get an abortion something inside me said I should pack my bags and run but I was a child. I was 16. My focus was finishing and getting out of school. Something went wrong and I lost my womb.”

I sat up and put my hand on my stomach. Had I known that I was going to lose my womb, I would have kept quiet until it was too late for my mother to tell me to abort. Having his bastard child would have been better than never being able to feel the joy of giving birth.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself. God was punishing me. Not only could I not have children but the one I love just found out he had a child with the love of his life.

We spoke until sun came up. We spoke about how my cousins and I never saw my uncle again after the abortion and how even though I never saw him in person, I saw him in the new habit he taught his sons. We spoke about how becoming a teacher was my way of trying to protect other kids from getting hurt like I was or how I would be ready if any of them said they need help. We spoke about Namisa, Ora and how I felt about the situation. I said a few hurtful things and he said some things. We carried on until he fell asleep.

I went upstairs to get a blanket for him and as I was about to lay next to him I heard a knock on the door.

I went to open and there was a lady standing there, staring at her watch. She was clearly in a hurry. I was surprised as we didn’t have any guests planned for today but her greeting really caught me off guard. “Hi, my name is Namisa, is Angelo here?”.

Promises & Key Rings – PDF

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