My father came home from work to find me seated with Thabo. I could see from his smile that he was proud.

“Thabo ndoda yamadoda?” he singled Thabo out in his greeting.

“Man among men.” I murmured what he’d just said about Thabo.

“What was that, Thando?”

“Nothing, Baba.”

“Has your wife-to-be made you something to drink, Mkhwenyana?”

I could see my father was on form. He was probably still drunk off lobola money from the weekend. He looked at me when he asked his precious future-son-in-law if I had made him tea.

“He has hands,” I murmured. This time Dad heard me.

“Hayibo, Thando!” he lowered his voice. “Who is this to you?” he asked, with his eyes popping out.

“Husband,” I answered. “Ngiyaxolisa, Baba,” I apologised.

I rose to make tea. I sobbed in silence. Just like my mother told me she had. I’d thought that stress killed her. Silence did.


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