Not complete. Not a proper woman.

Modi couldn’t get Omphile’s words out of her head.

What made things even worse was that suddenly it seemed like most of the young women around her were busy being proper women.

It was like an epidemic among her friends and workmates. She kept receiving invitations to baby showers, gender reveal parties, even a baby’s first birthday celebrations.

Violah’s baby shower was the worst. She was an old friend who had also moved to Tshwane from Rustenburg, so Reabiloe was organising it, and expected Modi and Omphile to help. That meant gathering baby-themed decorations for the venue.

They held it at a restaurant in a well-known Pretoria park on a Saturday afternoon. Modi hated every moment, listening to those women who were already mothers swapping childbirth stories – the agony and embarrassments, and then the relief, joy, pride, sense of achievement that were part of the wonder of birth.

And Violah sat there at the centre of it all, rubbing her right hand around and around her bulging stomach, circling it. Over and over.

That stomach seemed to be reproaching Modi, accusing her, naming her a failure, flawed.

At least, she comforted herself, it wasn’t something that would matter to Khotso – because they weren’t planning a future together.

It was as if Omphile could read her mind. Driving home in Reabiloe’s car, she leaned forward from the back seat, saying, “Events like today’s must make you feel so bad about yourself, Modi. But at least you don’t have to worry about how Khotso will be affected – if, like you say, you’re just fooling around with him.”

“Sies, Omphile, haven’t you sussed that there are things Modi doesn’t like talking about?” Reabiloe saved Modi from having to answer. “You’re so crass.”

“You’re just his wife, Reabiloe, not family, so you should stay out of these things. Anyway, how can you call me that? I’ll tell Jonase.” Omphile sniffed, like she was hurt, and about to cry, but turning her head, Modi could see that her eyes were dry, her expression malicious.

“How can I call you ‘crass’? I’m quoting Jonase,” Reabiloe said angrily.

Modi withdrew into herself as the quarrel continued. It was sweeter and more exciting to think about seeing Khotso later, than to listen.

That evening she and Khotso went to a club he liked, and Modi lost herself in the sensual thrill of being in his arms as they danced.

On the way home, he reminded her that a long weekend was coming up at the end of the following week.

“Let’s go to Mabalingwe. You know? Near Bela Bela. I’ve got a chalet there for the weekend. Timeshare.”

She shook her head, slightly awed. “I’ve never known anyone with a timeshare before.”

He laughed. “When the Excellence Centre was paid off, I did some boring, sensible things with my money, but I also wanted to invest in a few things that were just for pleasure.”

A weekend away together. Modi couldn’t wait.


Tell us what you think: Will Modi and Khotso take their relationship a step further during their weekend away?