“I saw you in my rear-view mirror as I drove away,” Khotso explained as Modi looked up in shock. “Saw you collapse. Thank God I was driving slowly.”
Modi couldn’t stop herself from crying. Tears streamed down her face as Khotso crouched down beside her.
“Yes, I love you,” she sobbed, past all pretence. “But we can never be together, Khotso.”
“Why the hell not? If we love each other – please Modi, we can work it out together, whatever it is.” Khotso’s plea was urgent as he gathered her into his arms.
“No! I can’t – I can never give you children,” she wept, her shoulders shuddering. “And I know you want a family and all the regular things.”
She felt his jolt of shock. “Modi?”
“I told you I got sick when I was fifteen? It was cancer,” Modi explained between gasps and sobs. “A malignant ovarian tumour. I had to have a total hysterectomy, everything out, and after that I still needed chemo. They saved my life, but … I have no womb, I don’t ovulate – and a man wants children with the woman he loves.”
“Yes, but Modi …” Through her tears, Modi saw Khotso shake his head. “I’m not going to pretend it’s not a shock. And, yes, I feel sad. But it will be our loss to grieve together. And when the time comes, we can look at fostering or adoption – and that will be our struggle to share too, going through all that red tape we hear about.”
“But what about your bloodline?” Now Modi was whispering. “I had this boyfriend before, Neo. He kept talking about that, the family line, even though his brothers had children. He said a man must have children: two, maybe more, to build the nation.”
“What crap, when there are already children out there in need of families. What a fool!” His arms tightened around her as he lifted her to her feet. “Modi, when I think … you might have died, I might never have known you! A world without you in it … Thank God you’re healthy now. You are, aren’t you?”
“I’ve been clear at every one of my check-ups,” she said. “Just, I have to have this, like hormone therapy, because of my … missing bits.”
“The bits that would have killed you,” Khotso said fiercely. “Is it insensitive of me to say good riddance?”
Modi was still crying, but now she also laughed shakily.
“I’m also happy I’m alive, just sad I’m not whole.”
“Please don’t say that. You’re more than your body – you’re you, and the things that make you so amazing aren’t physical things … Come on, we’ll do this together, Modi. We’ll make our own special sort of family someday. Won’t we?”
She heard his passionate commitment, and saw the strength and seriousness of his love burning in his eyes.
“I’m so lucky to love a man like you,” she said slowly, realising how she had wronged him by assuming he would have the same attitude as Neo.
“I believe I’m the lucky one,” Khotso said, smiling at last.
Then, not caring about a few pedestrians who had stopped to stare, he bent his head as Modi tipped back hers, and their lips met in complete love and trust.
Tell us what you think: Adoption isn’t everyone’s choice, but can it work for a couple like Modi and Khotso, or should they rather remain childless?