Lindi was admitted in hospital her blood pressure was irregular that coupled with the pregnancy worried the doctors. Her parents Mr. Lunga and Mrs Lunga sat in the waiting room while her both her brothers stood in the corridor.
“I think it’s better for Lindi if we take care of the baby and she goes back to school,” her dad said.
“I don’t even remember what to do with a baby,” Mrs Lunga smiled.
“It will come back to us, we have managed to raise three healthy children two of them were twins,” he said confidently. "Whats a singleton."
His wife smiled and grasped his hand tightly.
“I also want her to be far away from the gossip,” he said thoughtfully.
“I wish she did not have to go through all this alone.”
“She still won’t mention the name of the boy that is responsible?” he asked.
His wife breathed deeply and rested her head on his shoulder.Lindi was sad, the more she pressed her the sadder the look in her eyes. Even her brothers were getting nowhere with her.
Temba shared a look with Bhekani.
“Has she thought of a name?” her father asked.
“She is so sure it’s a girl she wants to call her Maria,” her mother said.
“I think it’s a boy. Something about the way she looks reminds me of when you were pregnant with Bhekani,” he smiled.
"And this too shall pass," Mrs Lunga said to herself.
"Look upon her with grace, her mistakes have also hurt her. be gracious to her," Mr Lunga smiled at his wife.
"I am trying." she replied tearfully.
Four years of trying later....
"Lindi," Thulani's sharp voice echoed through the corridor.
"Its mommy," I corrected sharply. "I am your mommy."
He looked thoughtful and then decided he did not want that conversation. i smiled but I felt the hurt clamp around my heart still. My parents said he would soon get used to me again, I highly doubted it.
"Lindi, mbuya girl is calling you." he informed me while I kissed his cheek.
"Teacher said no kissing," he warned me.
"Mommy will always kiss you."
He made a face.
We raced to the kitchen running in the corridor, and down the stairs but I deliberately slowed to let him win. i watched his jubilation and the elation on his face.
"Yeah, you're a rotten potato," he laughed.
My mom was not amused. She gave me a look that throughout my life had made me shake. This time it just made me smile.
"Sometimes I dont know why I bother," she said shaking her head and throwing the tea towel at me. I took her place at the sink. She was done cooking dinner, I had to do the first round of dishes.
I suppose the 'just came home visa' expired. My brother Temba found me scrubbing the pans.
"She already put you to work, " he laughed.
I made a face at him, he was still in his work clothes, jacket and tie which meant I should not expect his help. Temba actually looked good i guess life as a banker suited him just fine.
Much to my surprise that jacket and tie came off. He put them carefully on the counter and got the tea cloth from my shoulder bumping me playfully and making me smile. My twin brother and very first friend.
"You're going to mess up your suit," I mumbled.
"That is what dry cleaning is for," he said. Experience oozed off the way he wiped the pans and packed them away. We both grew up doing dishes in this kitchen while we gosipped away and made plans on how we would one day leave here. Dreams.
"So," Temba said, his tone making me anxious. I waited to hear it, maybe he had finally started dating someone.
"I am going to ask you something and you have to be hundred percent honest," he said.
"No," I said firmly.
"It's important, I asked Beca to marry me," he said.
"I thought you two broke up," I asked confused and guilty, Beca and I had not spoken since I got back three days ago, well truth be told my phone was still off.
"We did, then she found out she is pregnant and I sort of ...you know."
"Hello, child out of wedlock, so no I dont know," I said sassily.
"Thulani Muyinda actually has a father," Temba hissed.
"Keep your voice down fornicator," I hissed back.
Yes, my brothers knew about Achi being Thulani's dad, and I was waiting for the right time to tell him.
"I want to tell the parents tonight," he said looking worried.
"About your marriage or your pregnant ex-girlfriend? My two cents....choose one battle."
"People have miscarriages all the time, do you think you want to marry her even if this is just a scare?"
he looked thoughtful, and had the grace to let the doubt heap on his shoulders before he looked at me and nodded. he really did want this.
"Then just tell them you got engaged, then later you can announce the pregnancy. Church wedding?" I asked.
"Civic centre and lunch," Temba said quickly.
I looked at him like we didn't share a womb. Did he know my mother? He was dreaming.
"Church wedding it is then, and you better start looking into venues bro, you are about to have the wedding of the year."
"Am serious Lindi," he said.
I laughed just as Bhek and dad came into the kitchen. Trailing behind was Zolani my brother's wife and mom, the two were deep in conversation. I just hoped mom had learned her boundaries now and had stopped pressuring them for a grandchild.
After dinner, we all sat in the living room and Temba made his announcement. Let me just say, my mother is undefeated. She started ululating and her joy was infectious. Temba sought me in the ululations, civic centre and lunch, he was dreaming.
I shook my head at him, hoping to discourage him from announcing his dream.
My brother, is a stubborn mule.
"We were thinking maybe Civic Centre and lunch maybe sometime next month," he said.
Bhekani immediately looked at me and then at mom who suddenly became silent.
"No," she said finally. "You will have a proper church wedding like your brother had, a grand reception and lots of happy memories," she looked up at the wedding pictures on the sitting room wall.
Temba swallowed his argument.
"Unless," mom began. "You've impregnated her."
Mom stood up and dad stood to calm her down.
"I am trying to do the right thing," Temba argued.
"Right thing?" mom repeated.
"Let's not loose focus on the conversation," dad stated.
"No let's not," mom said in a tone that I had never heard before. She sunk back into the sofa. I saw her shaking her foot and I knew that she was livid.
"I will speak to the uncles so we can visit Beca's family this weekend. We will accept full responsibility and ask for her hand in marriage. Then we can discuss your wedding plans." dad said.
"While we are here," mom pointed at me and then looked at dad.
"Darling," dad protested.
"Thulani's father," mom said and looked at me. I stilled in my seat and shut my eyes.
"Before that boy kills us all with his questions, do the right thing by him, please."
I didn't get an opportunity to respond, my mom stood up and left the living room. Dad followed shortly after her. How did this whole conversation turn to me?
Despite the years, mom always resented me for having Thulani the way I did, little did they know that I resented myself more than they could ever imagine.
I stood up too and went to the kitchen. after taking deep breaths, I decided to do the dinner dishes. Zolani came to help, she rubbed my back comfortingly and together we washed the dishes.
Later that night, I reached for my phone, unwrapping the new sim card dad had got me, I inserted it and powered it on. After half an hour of scrolling and texting people on Instagram finally I got Henry's number. Since it was late I sent him a text.
'Hi, this is Lindilani, I am asking for Achi's number or any information on how I can reach him.'
I sent the text. And my phone rang a few minutes later.
"Hi, sorry for the late hour," I said.
"Lindi," I could hear the surprise in his voice. "Uhm, Achi is uhmmmm, out on a mission," he said.
"Mission?" I asked.
"Yes, Peace corps under United Nations."
"When will he be back?" I asked.
"Next week I think," Henry replied.
"Okay please let me know when he is back," I said.
"I will," he promised.