Busi didn’t know how she’d got home. It was a blur. She just knew that she’d run away from the doctor’s surgery where Parks had abandoned her and nobody knew her, to somewhere safe where people cared about her. She had found her way home like those homing pigeons. However far away you let them go, they would always find their way back home to safety.
The next day she returned to the clinic. Sitting in the sister’s room she felt pain for what Parks had done, but she also felt stronger. It felt good keeping her word and coming back to see the sister. It made her feel in control again.
The sister was smiling at her. And when she reached across the desk and took her hand, all Busi’s held-in tears came pouring out. The sister handed her a tissue. “There, you let it all out,” she said. And when Busi had stopped crying and had taken a deep breath, the sister said, “Have you thought about it, Busi?”
“Yes,” she answered. “But I haven’t decided yet. It’s so hard.”
“You know, termination isn’t the only option. You could also have the baby adopted.”
Busi had thought about it all night. She had thought about school, about her baby not having a dad. She had thought about what her family would say, and her friends, and how she would feel if she had a termination. She had thought about being stuck at home with a baby while her friends went out. She had thought so much it had felt like her brain was bursting. And she had felt so many different emotions it was like her heart was splitting open.
“Well, whatever you decide, we must take good care of you,” said the sister, kindly. She gave her vitamins to take, then added, “The earlier you decide, the better. Come back in a few days when you’ve had some more time to think. But remember, the later you leave it the more difficult it will be to get a termination.”
“Thank you,” Busi said as she left. She was still in a daze. She just wanted to be alone. But when she got home her granny couldn’t wait to tell her the news.
“Your mother wants to raise the baby.”
“My mother, Gogo?”
“Yes! She wants to come down in December when you will be giving birth and she wants to take him with her, back to Johannesburg.”
“She’s sure it’s a boy,” said her granny. Busi was stunned. Her mother hadn’t raised her. Why should she want this baby?” She was angry. Her granny didn’t even know if she had decided to have the baby, and she was making decisions for her. “Gogo, what about what I want?” But it was like her granny hadn’t heard her.
“It’s a good idea, Busi,” she was saying. “Where will we find money to support a little baby? Babies are expensive! You have to buy nappies, you need money when they get sick – and they get sick. And we’re not giving your baby to a stranger.”
“Who says I am having the baby?” Busi shouted, and she ran through to her bed. She lay there, her hands over her stomach. Her mother wanted to take this baby away. She hadn’t even spoken to her about it. Did she mean so little to them? And Parks, he had just wanted to get rid of it. They had no right.
“I need to be alone,” Busi shouted. It felt good, this small thing of saying what she needed.
But they wouldn’t leave her alone. No sooner had she laid down on her bed than her phone rang. It was Parks. Perhaps he had phoned to say he was sorry for not coming with her to the doctor. Perhaps he had changed his mind. And she felt so alone. So she answered it. But all he said was, “So did you do it? Is it finished? I’ve been trying to call you.”
“How could you leave me there alone?” She drew on all the courage she had.
“Did you want me to stay with you? I had things to do …”
And then, when she was silent, his tone changed. “Baby, I need you. It doesn’t matter … I just need to talk. We’ll get through this. I’ll call you later. I need to see you.”
She switched the phone off. “We’ll get through this,” he had said. She was so confused and tired, she just needed to sleep. Tomorrow was another day. Tomorrow she would decide what to do.
In the dark another call came. Not from her friends, not from Parks. An unknown number shone on the screen. And when she said hello, a woman greeted her. Her voice sounded cold and far away. It wasn’t her mother, whom she had hoped would call her. This was a stranger.
“Who is this?” Busi asked. “You must have the wrong number.”
“Is this Busi?” the woman asked.
“Yes,” Busi said, uncertainly.
“Then I have the right number. What I want to know is what you want from my husband?”
“There must be some mistake,” said Busi. There was silence. Busi’s heart started pounding.
“No mistake,” the woman said. “I am married to Parks. Do you understand? I am his wife.”
Busi’s mouth went dry.
“That’s right,” the woman went on, when Busi didn’t speak. “You have seen me. I was the woman in the black car at the Formula One. I watched you and my husband go in and come out. I know everything. My husband told me … You see, he’s not good at hiding things.”
The woman in the black car – it was the woman she had seen in her dreams.
“You’re not the only girl Parks has had,” the woman said. Busi felt a pain in her stomach like someone had stabbed her with a knife. “But you’re the first to get pregnant. And we can’t have that. Uyayazi? I won’t have Parks’s bastard child running around. I won’t have it, do you hear? So do as Parks says – get rid of it. And leave him alone. Do you understand?”
But before she could reply the phone went dead.
He was married. And he hadn’t told her.