After Love – Chapter 8 — Sibling Rivalry

For The Previous Chapter of After Love, “The Trouble With Faith” – Click Here

I could see the tension rise with every second. Lonwabo sat in her corner and Namisa in hers. They muttered a few words with long pauses in between but I couldn’t clearly make it out.


For a long time I wondered how it would be when they finally had a chance to sit and talk and today it was happening.


Staring at the monitor did nothing but build anxiety, everyone was waiting to see if they would attack each other or just give up on the small talk and sit in silence.


Malume Ntando apologized several times, saying he doesn’t understand how it happened but his top priority was making sure that his niece and my girlfriend were okay. I could tell it was awkward for him to refer to Lonwabo as my girlfriend, the idea of me being with someone other than Namisa still hasn’t settled in for many of our relatives. They always believed she and I were soul mates.


“Hello Mr Blake, we are working on getting the sound fixed in the meantime.”, he said with his head bowed.


“You can call me Angelo, are they going to be fine?”. I asked.


“Yes Sir. As long as no one is claustrophobic, they will be perfectly fine. Would you like tea or coffee?… I can get one of the maids to get it for you”.


Tea or coffee? I needed something stronger than that. My girlfriend and mother to my child were trapped in an elevator and he wanted to give me a coffee.


I shook my head, “No thanks Zweli. I will be fine. Just get the sound fixed while we wait for the maintenance manager.”


How could a simple vacation turn into such a disaster? Lonwabo and I wanted to take a break from our lives and go away for a bit and now here we were, I in the control room and she stuck in an elevator with Namisa.


I thought bringing her to the hotel would be great because I knew we would get special treatment and she would be pampered. Everything had gone so well and she was on her way to the lobby for check-out when she bumped into Namisa.


At first I thought maybe God was against me but it turns out that Namisa hired out one of the conference rooms to a friend as a wedding gift, so she was here for the reception and was making sure the decor was sorted and that the newlyweds room was prepared and ready.


The hotel was initially named Jabu’s House but after Oarabile was born, Bab’Jabulani wanted to rename it but we could never settle on a name. We thought of using Oarabile’s middle name, Thamsanqa but we felt it was a bit cliche.


Bab’Jabulani was a business man, he had a neck for it. I think it’s why I decided to become an accountant, I wanted to be as amazing as he was. He was a mentor and a father to me, and in death he showed how much he took me as his son.


When he died, I was surprised to be called in for the hearing of his will. I was shocked as to how many assets he had but also how much he cared for my mother and I. He knew my mother loved charity work and so he left a sum of money for her to donate to a charity of her choice. For me he left a sum of money, a few assets and a letter.


“Angelo, my son.


If you are reading this, then it means I am no more.


I am sorry that I am no longer there to offer guidance but I hope that I died at old age and you and Namisa are now husband and wife.


Thank you for taking care of my daughter. Both of you would come to me and complain about the other, so I know she can be a handful but seeing how you were with her through it all, it shows that you genuinely loved her.


You had your flaws too but I often overlooked them because you were the son I never had and like any man with their son, you tend to focus on the positives.


Thus I am positive you are going to be okay. That you will take care of the family in my absence. That you will raise Oarabile to be a great man like his grandfather and that you will carry on and make us proud.


In the case that I passed before you have finished school, then I encourage that you go back as my soul would be at ease knowing you became a man with an education.


The decision to put you in this will was not mine alone but rather that of mine and my wife, Nomthandazo and as such, the decision to leave these assets to you was not mine alone…”


The letter carried on for 3 pages and I often read it when exams got difficult for me. It contained a breakdown of all his assets with instructions of how they need to be handled, how he chose me as the inheritor of the estate because he believed Namisa and I would maintain it together as husband and wife but also because he believed I have a good head on my shoulder.


Before we broke up Namisa used to joke and say he only gave me the assets because I was studying accounting and he knew she would blow all the money on traveling. I never let Namisa or my mother read the letter in full, I felt it was personal and only meant for me but also it was clear it was written before Oarabile passed away, so I felt like there was someone else who also refused to accept he was gone.


Our break-up felt rushed and sudden but we managed to find time to discuss the assets. Our friends suggested that we strip the businesses and sell the company assets because we were inexperienced and had a lot on our plates for us to run the businesses but the thought of closing down and leaving so many unemployed did not sit well with us.


Namisa didn’t want to go against her father’s wishes, so we decided to leave the estate the way it was, the assets stayed in my name and I would take over all the businesses three years after I obtained my accounting degree but in the meantime she would get 80% of the returns and the remaining 20% would be mine but she would have to donate it to one of the charities my mother was partnered with.


The agreement was enforced with all assets except the hotel franchise. The hotels were given to Oarabile, in the letter Jabulani stipulated that if well maintained they would not only be able to help pay for OB’s education but also give him something to start his life off with after university.


He left us the shares to the hotel, on the condition that we transfer them to OB on his 18th birthday but seeing as he had passed away, we decided to keep the shares and all the money from the hotels would be put back into the business so that Jabu’s House would continue to grow. We would however keep the benefits such as using the facilities and hotel for personal events whenever we wanted.


Namisa and I became silent partners of some sort. As long as she received her dividends on time, there was never any cause to argue or communicate with one another. We were sure to select skilled individuals to be in charge of the day to day running of the businesses and I would do random checks of the finances and entities to ensure that things were going well. I was told sometimes she would do the same just to remind everyone that she hadn’t completely neglected her father’s property.


Everyone we hired was hired on the merit of their skills except Malume Ntando, being Namisa’s uncle and Bab’Jabulani’s brother, it made more sense to have someone who was family involved in the hotel business.


“Do you still love him?”.


Hearing the words broke my concentration and brought me back to the situation. Someone had managed to get the sound working. I looked to monitors and Lonwabo was looking at Namisa waiting for her to respond.


A part of me wanted to text Namisa or Lonwabo and tell them that we got the sound working now and we could hear them but a bigger part of me was more interested in the conversation, so I quickly told everyone to clear the room and asked Malume Ntando to get the elevator sorted.


“It’s okay. I won’t hold it against you. I just want to know the truth…. Do you still love him?”, Lonwabo asked again.


Namisa looked at her and then down at her phone, almost as if she was hoping that someone would open the elevator door when she looked up.


“He is my son’s… I mean my daugh… Hmmm… Why do you want to know? He is with you, so what does it matter now?”, Namisa asked.


“We’ve been stuck here for almost two hours. Earlier on when I asked you if he was a good man, the way you spoke of him, it felt like more than simple admiration.”, Lonwabo responded.


“I don’t think I ever stopped and I don’t think I ever will but I’m not sure if that’s what you are really asking me right?”.


They looked at one another, Namisa waiting to see Lonwabo’s reaction and Lonwabo wondering if Namisa knew what bearing those words meant for her future with me.


In the control room, Malume Ntando was looking at me, wondering if I would say anything or react.


“You want to know if I am still in love with him and the answer is yes, I’m still in love with him. I thought I was over him but when we crossed eyes, my heart pushed restart and I was back to being the woman who wanted him to love me”, Namisa said and paused. She then reached into her bag and pulled out a slab of chocolate and offered Lonwabo a piece. “Here, I normally have snacks on me all the time, Ora loves them, especially chocolate… Don’t worry, I won’t tell him how I feel though. It wouldn’t be fair”.


“Fair?”, Lonwabo asked.


“We are talking woman to woman right?… I want him back but it must be his choice. Telling him I’m in love with him and having Ora will make it hard for him. I don’t want to get him back because I’m his baby mama, I want to be chosen.” She said and looked away.


I could see Lonwabo was not pleased by the response, it was written all over her face.


“No offense but you sound a bit arrogant”, she said.


Namisa giggled, “I suppose it would sound that way but you’ve known him what, a few months… I’ve known him over 15 years. I know how to make him fall in love with me again. Do you know his favourite meal? Do you know what song he listens to when he is stressed? Do you know where he goes to when he needs to clear his thoughts?”.


Lonwabo opened her mouth to speak but all she uttered was silence. I felt bad for her, Namisa might have been out of line but it was all true. There was so much about me that she did not know and it would take time to learn.


“You must be special though. He has been single all this while and you managed to catch his attention, he even moved in with you. Whenever I brought it up, he would say that he wanted to wait for marriage.” Namisa said with a grin then asked, “How did you do it?”.


“As you said, you’ve known him for years. So you know he is a gentleman. I used to live with a friend from university but her boyfriend used to make advances towards me. Eventually he moved in with her and he would have his friends visit. Long story short, I don’t like unwanted attention from men and I don’t want to live alone. It’s not safe in this country. Women are being kidnapped and killed, so if I had to go home and have a man make advances or try touch me, I would rather have it be someone I’m in a relationship with, so when Angelo offered, I agreed.”


Lonwabo never invited me to her place, I always thought it was because she was trying to be the lady that she is and avoid sex but its clear now that it was because she wasn’t comfortable there.

She and I had gotten closer and more open since she told me about the rape and abortion. Her bond with Ora was also growing, on weekends when she’d visit, Lonwabo would let me work and watch her by herself. Seeing the ladies in the elevator talking gave me hope that maybe we could all make this work.


“He is a gentleman, he is a good man.”, Namisa said with a smile on her face.


“What do good men deserve? Don’t they deserve to have their daughters in their lives?”, Lonwabo asked.


“No offence but you don’t know me well enough to question my decision.”, Namisa reacted with clear annoyance in her tone. “Why I kept him out of her life is non…”


“Wait”, Lonwabo interrupted. “That is between the two of you. What matters to me is right now. You want him and he is with me. If he picks you, you play happy family but if he picks me, what happens? Do you take her away from him?”.


Namisa looked at her and I could see she was upset that Lonwabo even insinuated such a thing but quickly her expression changed and her face looked more relaxed. The Namisa I knew would have moved to her corner and sat in silence but in that elevator she surprised me and showed me she had grown.


“Hmmm… He is her father. We have our history and we lost our son but he and Ora are close, so I would never want him to lose another child. No matter what happens, my daughter will have her father in her life and you too”.


“What? Me?”.


“Yes you too Lonwabo. For the past two months you’ve been spending time with her. I think you love her too don’t you? I won’t take her from your life too.”


As Namisa spoke, I could see Lonwabo fight back the urge to smile. She was really happy to hear those words and so was I. She had grown to love Oratilwe in the past two months, planning play dates, buying her outfits and even


“Would you like to come with us next week? I’m not sure if Angelo invited you but we are going crèche hunting for Ora, the one she’s currently going to keeps increasing prices but all they do is make her draw pictures and make her share her lunch with the other kids. Having you there would be great, especially with you being a teacher”.


Namisa suggested that we go together and look for a crèche. It was her way of trying to make me feel more involved in Oratilwe’s life and to try and co-parent together. I say Namisa but I think I have therapy to thank for it.


Lonwabo suggested that Namisa and I should go for therapy to help us parent better. She was afraid our unresolved past would cause unnecessary conflict. I was sceptical at first because I thought it would do nothing but bring up old wounds but as the weeks went by, our communication improved. We agreed on visitation schedules, play dates, boundaries and now we were going to pick a crèche together.


Namisa was always very possessive and never one to share, it was rather strange that she invited Lonwabo to join us. I wonder if she was really trying to include her in Ora’s life or did she have another motive for asking Lonwabo to tag along. A few months ago our lives were normal and now it is like we are on an episode of Sister Wives.


Sibling Rivalry – PDF

Jade Novelist ©️ 2018

You are an heir to a throne,

housing two bloodlines and countless aspirations.


For your future I wish you your own sins to learn from.


I wish that you know a broken heart but your journey ends with the joy of love.


I wish you a finer upbringing and the strength to do better than I did.


But most of all I wish you the courage to live for yourself from the moment you learn to formulate your own thoughts, so at 27 you have your own wishes for your heir.



Jade Novelist ©️ 2018

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