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Forty-three

#TDW 




NOMTHAWELANGA. 


Khethelo's well-being took a huge toll during the havoc. He would occasionally bleed or faint. The hospital was not an option since everything was a mess and hospitals were overcrowded. The services were poor Khethelo needed a quick one since he was gravely sick. 

I resorted to Gwala the healer that helped him initially. I was forced to move out and stay in Gwala's house. He had many houses that were designated for his clients or rather patients. Ever since our arrival Khethelo's health had improved. 

I suspect he was going to be troubled health-wise because of the way he was conceived. He wasn't naturally convinced it included witchcraft. 


I had Khethelo on my back while I washed tons of dishes outside. Don't you dare tell me he was too young! I know that already but he was on my back either way. 


"Nkosazana can I lend a hand?" 

Sbusiso said already rinsing the few dishes I had already washed. That's been the case since he arrived. 


"I'm sure you have your duties"  


"Yes and you will also help me"  

Great! Everything came with a price even at the healer's premises. 


"No I won't" I said with a straight face. 


"Yes you won't. I'd never let a beautiful girl like you do the garden" I smiled at that statement. He always gave me compliments. 


"a man is not supposed to wash dishes you know?" I said. 


He just cracked with laughter "who came with that rule Langa?" 

He was the only one who referred to me as Langa. I was always called Nomtha. Langa was boyish I admit. But I liked it from him. 


"I don't know" I shrugged it was how I was raised. It was always the question I had asked myself but I never dared to question Makhanya. 


"I'd do anything for you. I can even wash your undergarments" 

It was my turn to burst into laughter. " hehe!" 


"I'm dead serious Langa" Khethelo decided to wake up and cry his lungs out. 

"Take care if I will continue with the dishes" I looked at him reluctantly but swallowed my protests. I went to fix his bottle and came to sit next to Sbusiso while feeding my boy. 


"Why do you feed him a bottle?" 

Because I was his borrowed mother… Sighs. 


"It is more convenient" I said hoping no further questions would be asked. 


"Where is his father?" 

Damn it Sbusiso stop prying! 


"It's a long story" my eyes teared up. 


"Langa I'm sorry. I didn't mean to open up old wounds. 


" No it's okay. It's just that I might lose him"

What if Muzi came and claimed him?


"He will get better" - Sbusiso. 

I once told him I was here because Khethelo was not feeling okay. 


"Yeah so why are you here? You don't look sick?" 


"I made terrible decisions in the past for money and everything is coming back to haunt me" I regretted asking him that question because his mood suddenly changed he looked pained and troubled. I preferred the jovial Sbusiso who always made me laugh he always made me forget about problems. 


No one needed to tell me about the bad decisions about riches my mind automatically went to Muzi. He had too much blood in his hands because of money and ended up losing everything. 


"I lost everything even myself. I don't know who I am anymore. I feel like an animated vessel and nothing more other than that. I feel inhumane. I considered psychologists but they were never going to help me reverse the decisions I made and their consequences." he continued. 


"Are you getting better though? Now that you are here?" I asked. 


"It's been days since I last had nightmares and illusions. I'm feeling better physically but my conscience is eating me every second" 


"one step at a time everyone will be already. We all made bad decisions in the past. No one is perfect." 


"If I tell you about my past. You won't like it. You will hate even the earth I walked on" 


I don't have it in me to hate anybody. Not even Muzi. 


"I would never hate you Sbusiso. Please don't cry

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you're hurting me." 

Oops! 

The last part wasn't supposed to come out. 

To be quite frank I didn't want him to cry. 


"I'm sorry I didn't mean to hurt you. I don't want to see you hurt" once again everything was about me. But I saw him wiping his tears and getting back to the dishes. 

Khethelo was sleeping again I went to put him on the bed —the sponge I meant. It was better than a Reed-mat. 


"KaMakhanya" Gwala's voice startled me a bit. 


"baba" I said with a slight bow. 


"Ngilandele" (follow me) 

I followed him to his hut and sat on the Reed mat. 


"uKhethelo useluleme sesifikile iskhathi sokuthi ubuyele ekhaya" (Khethelo is well the time has come for you to go back home) 

That was music to my ears! The stay here wasn't that bad but the chores. Cooking for thirty-something people was no child's play. Some of them were too lazy to do the chores some were too sick to even lift a finger. For the sake of peace I always made sure it was clean thanks to the few people who knew how to clean up including Sbusiso. 


"Ngiyajabula ukuzwa lokho" (I'm happy to hear that) 


"Khethelo's father needs cleansing and without that the boy will suffer for his father's sins. We need to find him and cleanse him. That's what the ancestors needed for them to fully accept him after they turned their backs on him for years."


How the hell was I supposed to find Muzi!

What if he died when the dead claimed the lives of the living? 


" Is he alive?" I asked. 


"Yes. If he isn't well wherever he is Khethelo won't be well too" 

Mothering Khethelo wasn't as easy as feeding bathing and taking care of him. 

I was required to look for an old man for a damn cleansing to protect Khethelo. 


"Okay" what else could I have said? 


"Ungakhathazeki ndodakazi. Akekho kude kunzeka azifikele kuwena mathupha" (worry not my girl. He is not far he could find his way to you) 


"Baba" (father) 


"I have made a friend. Can I visit him?" 

I held my breath not prepared for the response. 

Gwala just smiled shaking his head. "you are still someone's wife" 

I know! 

"You can visit him my child. He needs you" He continued grinning like a fool. 


Does he need me? 


"Thank you" 

When I went back to Sbusiso he was done with the dishes. "You are such a sweetheart!" I said happily. He rolled his eyes. 


"I know Langalami" 

I gasped at my newly found name. 


"Langa-lakho?" I said amused. 


"yes you are my sun. You bring warmth and bright light to my life. The first day I laid my eyes on you my heart became exposed to your sunlight. You are the light at the end of my tunnel" 

That's a ton to my cocoa-shaded skin I would have been red with blush. My eyes wandered around the ground. 


'You are still a married woman 


"Thank you Sbusiso but I have to go. Thank you for the dishes." I said running off to my rondavel. I had a lot of packing to do. My son and I were going home!

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