Mathabo and Peter were at their favourite spot, next to the river, holding hands. Mathabo’s head was resting on his shoulders, tears streaming down her cheeks.
It had been two months since they slept together without a condom. The lecture that her mother, the principal and Mr Lebone gave her had opened her eyes. She worked hard and never skipped her pill.
Two weeks after the unprotected sex, she had felt sick: vomiting and dizzy. And, to her surprise, she hadn’t crossed the red sea since. She knew those were the signs of pregnancy and was terrified.
At first, she told herself it was just her body adjusting to her new prevention method, as the nurse had told her. But then she started panicking when the same thing happened the next month. By now, she was so convinced she decided to invite Peter to their spot and tell him.
“Babe, I know you don’t mind having a baby right now. But think about my mother? She will be devastated. She really thinks that a baby will destroy my future … just like I did to her. I can’t bear to see her crying again. Not after what she went through with my father. No way,” Mathabo said, tears shining in her eyes as memories flashed in her brain.
Those days after her dad left, she could barely recognise her own mother, who was like a zombie. She lost weight like a sick dog, and also nearly lost her mind. She stayed indoors, impatient to speak with anyone, not even her favourite neighbour, Mmalethabo. She was buried in a dark hole of loneliness and depression.
Every time Mathabo tried to speak to her, her mother would snap. She didn’t care about anything – not even about her daughter’s education.
And that had affected Mathabo’s studies, because she felt like she had lost both parents. It drove her closer and closer to Peter; she believed he was the only person alive who really cared about her. No wonder she had felt like her world was crashing when she heard that he was seeing Kedibone.
But back when she failed Grade 10, and said it was pointless to pass because now they couldn’t afford tertiary, her mother had seen what her depression was doing. Plus, Ms Boshielo, the school social worker, had come to see her about Mathabo. The situation was serious.
Her mother had then seriously looked for a job, promising Mathabo that she would do anything to ensure that she had money to go to university, if she passed. Motherly love brought life and hope back; she wanted to see her daughter succeeding in the life she had dreamt of.
“No man is going to destroy my child’s future,” she had sworn back then to Mathabo, and so she rose like a wilting flower after the summer rains.
“Sshh! Stop thinking like that, my baby. Maybe it’s just stomach cramps. Who knows?” Peter now comforted her, stroking her back. “But I think you should do something about it. Just to be sure, you know. Why don’t you buy a pregnancy test kit?”
“What! What will the people say when they see a young girl like me buying a pregnancy test kit? That’s embarrassing. No way. I can’t do it. I’m too shy,” Mathabo sniffed, shaking her head.
“Okay, sweetheart. I understand. This is our problem, right? Both of us. So, let me go and buy it for you. We will go to my room at the tavern and test. What do you think?” Peter said, stroking her hair, and smiling.
Mathabo nodded, silent as Peter kissed her lips gently.
Tell us: Do you think Peter is a good guy, even though he cheated on Mathabo? Why or why not?