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 5 – Memorable Amnesia

For The Previous Chapter of After Love, “Girls Need Love” – Click Here

I didn’t know what hurt me more, the fact that she carried all this pain or that she felt the need to hide it from me. I always knew she was a strong woman but hearing about how her uncle and cousins used to rape her, my heart sank.

A part of me wished she had not said anything, I could feel my hate and anger build for people I’d never met. How could family do that to their own? I could hear the pain in her voice, she spoke the words calmly but she wasn’t okay,

“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 said the words and knew what I had to do. I moved my hand from hers and ran out the room. I had to get everyone to leave. Loni was opening up to me and this music, the guests it had to stop. I wanted her to tell me everything and I needed her to feel safe.

I always knew Loni didn’t get along with her family but she never told me why. I respected her privacy because my own family dynamics weren’t something I was always proud to share. It was beyond me that a mother could protect her daughter’s rapist merely because they were blood.

Each group needed their own reason to leave. So I told Loni’s friends that she was tired and wanted to call it a night. They understood because Loni always arrived early for events, so she could leave early. I never asked myself why but maybe it was because she never felt safe enough to be out late. Tshepiso felt it was too early even for Loni but Jessica, tired of her advances at Kyle agreed it was time to leave.

Kyle pulled me to the side, he said he wanted to talk. He had on his naughtiest grin but as he was about to speak, Jessica gave him a look and his demeanour changed. “Dude”, he said, “You can’t clean this all up by yourselves. Don’t you need help?”.

“Yeah Kyle”, I responded, “I can’t do this… but… but Vuyo will help me. Yeah she’ll help me. So I won’t be alone”. I knew Vuyo hated cleaning up but if anyone would understand I need everyone to leave without asking questions it would be her.

He smiled and as he shook my hand goodbye, he slipped me a condom. Seems the only reason he wanted to offer help was so that Loni and I could consummate her moving in much sooner. If only he knew that sex was the last thing on my mind.

One by one the guests started to make their way out until it was only Vuyo and I left down stairs.

“Angelo, I don’t know what’s going on and I can tell you are nervous. You’ll explain when you are ready. I hope you haven’t killed someone’s daughter. Also you owe me big time”. She said her peace and helped me clean up. Once she was done doing the dishes she hugged me goodbye and left.

We were alone. Finally. I could go back and check on Loni.

As I made my way up the stairs, my phone started to ring. It was a number I didn’t have stored on my phone, so I assumed it was one of Loni’s friends, maybe they forgot something and needed to come back for it.

“Hello… Is this Angelo Blake?… My name is Dr Lynda Tsdira and I am Lonwabo’s psychologist… I was on the phone with her earlier and I believe she was having a panic attack… Would you kindl….”

I put the phone in my pocket and ran up the stairs. Loni was on the floor. I picked her up and carried her down the stairs. I lay her on the couch and tried to wake her.

“Loni, Lonwabo. Wake up”. I was panicking, I wasn’t sure if I held back or used all my strength but I was shaking her, hoping she’d wake up. “Lonwabo, wake up. Please wake up”.

“Angelo”, she responded, “I’m awake”.

“Are you sure? Some lady named Lynda called. She said you were having a panic attack”. I pulled her close to me. She was awake. She was fine. In this moment she was fine.

She told me about how it started at the age of 12. Her uncle used to rape her whenever her mother wasn’t around. He felt he could do whatever he wanted with her because they had no place to go. Her grandparents left the house in his name and her mother couldn’t afford to pay rent for the both of them, so they lived with him for free.

He treated her as his sole property until she turned 14. Then he taught his sons to rape her as well. It became their bonding ritual. Whenever they would visit they would take turns raping her. It continued until they got her pregnant and she told her mother. Her mother was infuriated but forced her to have an abortion and forced her brother out of the house. She threatened to report him to the family elders if he didn’t leave.

My emotions went on a rollercoaster. I hated them, I admired her courage and wished things could be different. She was still dealing with her past and here I was bringing more drama into her life.

“Loni, her family asked me to pay lobola”. She had been honest with me, I needed to start being open with her.

“Is that what you want?”, she asked.

I shook my head and kissed her forehead. “You’re what I want baby. I’m happy with you”.

She smiled a temporary smile and said, “I’m afraid you’ll pick her over me.”

“I told you that I wouldn’t do that to you. Ora won’t come between us”. I held her hand and pulled her closer.

“Ora’s not the problem”. She pulled away. “Since the rapes I’ve become paranoid, I’m depressed. So many people thought I was an ungrateful child or I was seeking attention because I was reserved but it’s the voices in my head. They made want to be alone. They told me nobody cares about me and no one would pick me. My own mother picked a house over getting justice for me and now they tell me she’s the problem and the fact that they want lobola just made them louder”.

“Loni, why didn’t you tell me? I told you if you wanted to talk, would could talk. You know how much communication means to me”.

She looked at me and rolled her eyes. “If communication meant a lot to you, you would have told me that her family wanted lobola or better yet that you met with her in the first place instead of involving Jessica and Kyle in your lie. You and your decisions feed my anxiety.

And you want us to talk? Talk about what Angelo? How she is giving you everything I wish I could? You think I don’t want a child?”. She looked down and shed a tear. Everything inside me wanted to hold her. Everything inside me wanted to tell her it’s going to be okay but everything inside me told me this is my fault and that I couldn’t expect her to trust in the one hurting her to comfort her.

“Lonwabo, I am sorry.”

She just looked at me. I could see she didn’t know what to do with those words, she still had her fears.

“Do you want space Loni? Do you want me to move to the guest room, just for tonight?”. I knew it was the wrong thing to ask and the timing was off but after what she’d told me and expressing how she feels, expecting us to share a bed and pretend like everything is fine would do more damage than good. I also didn’t want to force her to tell me how she felt about everything.

She shook her head. “The last thing I want is to be alone. I’ve done that for so long and felt like I need to hide from the world. I want you. I want you to have all of me and that won’t happen if we start things off that way.”

I knew she was right. Distancing one another wasn’t wise.

“I don’t want to marry her. I just want my daughter. I want to make up for the time I lost”.

“And where do I fit in?”, she asked.

“She’s our daughter. Loni, I gave up on having children and just like how you didn’t give birth to her, I didn’t know I fathered her.” Jokingly I said, “For the most part I see Namisa as a surrogate.”

She laughed, “A surrogate. Come on, your surrogate wants to marry you”.

“That’s between her and her family Loni. You and I are trying to build a family. We always thought it would just be us but now we have Ora too. Come on, sit next to me”, I tapped the couch inviting her over.

“Can we please have some rules?”, she asked firmly. “I don’t want her disrespecting me or her feeling like I’m disrespecting her. The sooner we set boundaries the better.”

I nodded. “Yes, we can do that”. I yawned. “I’m sleepy, can I sleep babe? We still have unpacking to do today and I want to rest”.

She smiled and nodded. She lay my head on her lap. Today was more than I bargained for but I learnt to appreciate Lonwabo in a whole different way. We still had a lot to work through but we were going to get through this together. It felt good being in a relationship where I had someone who would go through things with me and not someone who would put me through things.

I managed to sleep for about 15 minutes until I heard the doorbell ring. I sat up to find myself wrapped up in a blanket. I guess Lonwabo must have fetched a blanket for me. I sat up to see where she was. As I was about to call out for her, I heard a voice that sounded far too familiar at the door.

““Hi, my name is Namisa, is Angelo here?”.

It was Namisa, I couldn’t believe she was here. This was the last thing I needed. Loni had just confessed how she felt about Namisa and her arriving unannounced was not going to help at all.

I walked to the door, a walk that felt like a fast trod. “Namisa, what are you doing here?” , I asked.

“Hey. Sorry to come like this but I really need your help. Can you watch Ora for me for a few hours?”.

Her request left Loni and I speechless. How could someone who hid a child from me for two years just give her to me so willingly. I wanted to say no because this was the disrespect that Loni wanted to avoid this was also the first time I could spend quality time with my daughter. I was conflicted, do I please the one I love or get a chance to show my daughter I want to be a part of her life?

Memorable Amnesia – 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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