(Mthembeni is sitting alone on the lavish chairs and tables of a deserted bar. He is carrying an empty bottle of beer and there are three more in front of him. The bartender approaches him.)
Mthembeni: (dejected) Can I have another one?
Bartender: Don’t you think you’ve had enough? Mthembeni what’s the deal with you my friend? Huh? You’ve been coming here so much lately you barely spend time with your wife. What’s bothering you? Talk to me.
(Mthembeni keeps quiet. The bartender stares at him for a while before deciding to walk away.)
Mthembeni: (depressed) She thinks it’s my fault.
(The bartender stops.)
Mthembeni: She thinks I have something to do with all of this. She thinks it’s my fault!
Bartender: What are you talking about?
Mthembeni: (disheartened) She blames me for all the miscarriages she’s had.
Mthembeni: Oh Christ! Please don’t tell me Anna had another miscarriage!
Mthembeni: I don’t see how this is my fault! And who the hell does she think she is? You know what she said she to me? She said she wished that she never married me!
Bartender: I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean that. Mthembeni you have to understand that Anna is going through a tough time right now. It’s not easy to lose a child before you even meet them. Especially when you’ve been looking forward to it.
Mthembeni: What about me? Was I not looking forward to meeting my child? I was looking forward to being a father!
Bartender: That is why you have to be there and support each other. You don’t spend enough time with your wife, Mthembeni! That is why she feels like everything is your fault. You act like you don’t care. And I don’t blame you, maybe this is how you mourn. But Mthembeni you’ve got to be strong and mourn with your wife. She needs it more than you do. She’s the one who carried the baby. She’s the one who fell pregnant and the one hurt the most. We men have so little to worry about. We don’t get pregnant. We don’t feel the pressure. Sure…we can be heartbroken too but truth be told, we have it easier than them. To them it’s really emotional. You wife thinks that you don’t care because she feels like she’s alone. Go home and be with your wife, Mthembeni! Show her she’s not alone in this. Go home my friend.
(The bar is closing. Mthembeni stands up and exits. The Bartender clears the table and follows.)
(Anna is sitting on the couch with a bible in front of her. Mthembeni enters.)
Anna: Would you say something.
Anna: Please! Say something. Just anything.
Mthembeni: I don’t know what to say.
Anna: (standing up and walking to him) God, Mthembeni! Why are you doing this to me? You’ve been avoiding me for a week. What have I done?
Anna: Then why? Honey I need you to say something. Please.
Mthembeni: Anna I don’t know what to say.
Anna: You don’t know what to say? Mthembeni you just lost the third child and you don’t know what to say?
Mthembeni: (raising his voice) Well, what do you want me to say Anna? I don’t know what to say! Jeez!
Anna: (with eyes wide open) Did you just yell at me?
Mthembeni: What am I supposed to do Anna?
Anna: You are supposed to care, Mthembeni!
Mthembeni: Oh okay, you think I don’t care?
Anna: Of course you don’t care, Mthembeni!
Mthembeni: Anna, I care!
Anna: Then act like you care! Stop going to that bar of yours! Mthembeni show some respect to your child! We haven’t even buried him yet but you’re busy with alcohol!
Mthembeni: Anna would you stop!
Anna: No, Mthembeni! I’m not gonna stop! I need to tell you this Mthembeni! Lungelo was your child too!
Mthembeni: Lungelo was never born Anna!
Anna: So what? That doesn’t mean he didn’t exist!
Mthembeni: Anna how can it exist if it was never born?
Anna: It? Mthembeni did you just refer to my child as “it”?
Mthembeni: Anna, Lungelo never existed!
Anna: Are you listening to yourself? Mthembeni he is our son! Even if he wasn’t born that doesn’t mean he never existed!
Mthembeni: What do you want from me Anna?
Anna: I want you to mourn for your son.
Mthembeni: Well, excuse me if I’m not a good mourner!
Anna: You are not mourning, Mthembeni! Instead you’re just avoiding it. We both have to mourn our son!
Mthembeni: Well it’s not my fault he’s dead!
Anna: What? And what is that supposed to mean?
Mthembeni: I don’t want to do this right now.
Anna: No, Mthembeni, let’s do it! Let’s talk! I can see you have a lot to say here buddy! What does that mean?
Mthembeni: You know exactly what it means.
Anna: You think it’s my fault, don’t you?
Mthembeni: Who else could be responsible? He was inside you the whole time!
(Anna is sobbing and choking on her own words.)
Mthembeni: Anna I’m sick and tired of this! I’m sick and tired of you yelling at me every single day! I’m sick and tired of your foolish accusations! I’m hurting too! But you don’t see me walking around accusing other people. It’s because I know that it’s nobody’s fault.
Anna: Get out!
Anna: (raising her voice) Get out!
Mthembeni: Are you kicking me out?
Anna: Get out, Mthembeni!
Mthembeni: Anna you can’t just…
Anna: (pushing him) get out! Get out! Get the hell out!
Mthembeni turns around and walks out the door.
Tell us: What do you think about the way Mthembeni has handled the situation?