UMatt uyindoda eqotho emthandayo, uNaomi uyakuthanda lokho. Ngaphambili kokuba ahlangane noMatt, wayengazi ukuthi indoda ingaba njalo – kodwa kuMatt wabona imfudumalo, ubuhle, impatho, kanye nothando lwangempela.

Baqala ukubonana ehhovisi likaMatt – uNaomi efuna usizo lokululekwa ngemali ayeyithole iyifa ayelishiyelwe ugogo wakhe. UNaomi wezwa ngaphakathi, eqala ukumbona uMatt, ukuthi ungumaqondana wakhe, uhleze emtshela lokhu uMatt. Ngempela uNaomi wakwazi lokhu – kukhona into engachazeki ayibona kuMatt eyenza inhliziyo yakhe izinze futhi ifudumale. UNaomi wabona ukuthi uthole okumfanele okuhle, ikakhulukazi emuva kweminyaka emithathu ethandana nomculi oyi-narcissist owayemhlukumeza umphefumulo wagcina engasazithembi, engazithandi …

Akazange asho lutho, futhi akenzanga lutho ngemizwa ayizwa ngoMatt. UMatt owafona kuqala, emuva kwamasonto ambalwa. Baphuma baya kwi-date, baxoxa isikhathi eside, kwashaya izinzulu zobusuku. Bobabili babona ukuthi izinhliziyo zabo zithole umaqondana komunye. Emuva kwezinyanga eziyisithupha zawushaya, bashada.

“Naomi Stevens!” Amazwi e-receptionist akhipha uNaomi ezinkumbulweni.

“Yebo,” kuphendula uNaomi. Uyamamatheka uma ebona ukuthi isandla sakhe usibeke esiswini njengoba ecabanga ngoMatt.

“Usungangena manje, Mrs Stevens. Udokotela ukulindele,” kusho i-receptionist.

I-ultrasound gel iyabanda esiswini sakhe. Udokotela wakhe unempatho nenduduzo. UNaomi ubuka i-screen se-ultrasound, injabulo ichichima emehlweni nasenhliziyweni. Uyacaca umuntu omncane kwi-screen, nehliziyo ebhakuzayo. Amehlo kaNaomi ayakhazimula.

“Konke kubukeka kuhamba kahle,” kusho udokotela. “Futhi intombazane ende ngethambo!”

UNaomi ubuka isithombe esikwi-screen isikhashana: ukumamatheka kugcwele ebusweni. UMatt uzofa injabulo, kucabanga uNaomi.

Uma efonela uMatt, uyakuzwa ukukhathazeka ezwini lakhe.

“Umntwana uphila kahle?” kubuza uMatt.

“Yebo, babe, udokotela uthi ayikho nencane inkinga. Ukhula ngendlela efanele.”

UMatt uqhuma ngenjabulo. Kwi-surround sound, uNaomi ukuzwa ngokucacile ukumemeza kukaMatt kwenjabulo kugcwala ngaphakathi emotweni ayishayelayo uNaomi ewuhlobo lwe-SUV.

UMatt usaqhubeka nokujabula futhi uyahefuzela ngesikhathi efonela umngani wakhe woqobo, uDr Menzi Vezi.

“Intombazane, Menzi! Intombazane! Okwamanje konke kuhamba kahle, konke kuhamba ngendlela!”

“Uyabona, ngakutshela ukuthi ayikho into ekufanele ukhathazeke ngayo, Matt. UNaomi useminyakeni ekahle yokuzala. Ngaze ngakujabulela, my brother!” kusho uMenzi. “Kufanele sibhiyoze! Kusasa ngizofika ngizobuka i-rugby. Ngizophatha inyama nobhiya. Sizokwenza esikujwayele!”

Ubuso bukaMatt buyakhazimula ebuka uNaomi bedla isidlo sasebusuku.

“Kwenzenjani, babe?” kubuza uNaomi.

“Wena,” uMatt ukhomba ubuso baNaomi. “Naye,” ukhomba isisu, “Ningenze ngaphelela. Ngeke ngikwazi ukuchaza injabulo ongilethele yona empilweni yami.”

“Ukumamatheka engikubona ebusweni bakho buchaza yonke into, babe. Siziqalela umndeni wethu. Nami angikaze ngikuzwe ukujabula okunjena.”

Kukhala umakhalekhukhwini kaMatt ngesikhathi ewasha izitsha. Unina ofonayo, uEvelyn.

“Uyazi, Ma, bengithi ngizokufonel-” kusho uMatt.

“Matty, uhlezi phansi?” uEvelyn umngena emlonyeni, akhwehlele kabuhlungu.

“Ma, usubuyelile ekubhemeni ugwayi futhi? I-emphysema ngeke ibe ngcono uma ungayeki ukubhema. UMenzi wakutshela ukuthi uyeke futh-”

“Matty, hlala phansi, ulalele,” kusho uEvelyn ehefuzela.

“Yini, Ma?” kusho uMatt.

“Ubaba wakho,” kusho uEvelyn.

“Ma, uyazi ukuthi angifuni lutho olungihlanganisa nalowo muntu.”

“Matty, ngiyazi. Bengifuna ukukutshela ukuthi ushonile.”

“Kubuhlungu, Ma. Ngiyazwelana nawe, Ma, ngiyazi ukuthi wake wamthanda kudala.”

“Yebo, yebo, Matty. Kodwa lokho sengakudlulisa enhliziyweni,” kusho uEvelyn.

“Ngingeza kusasa ngikusize ngamalungiselelo omngcwabo.”

“Konke lokho kulungisiwe.”

“Kuhle lokho,” kusho uMatt, emangele. “Unesiqiniseko sokuthi ukahle?”

“Ngikahle, Matty. Bengifuna ukukutshela ukuthi ukushiyele ipulazi lakhe.”

“Ini!? Ngizolenzani ipulazi mina?”

“Angazi nami, Matty. Bengifuna ukukwazisa lokho nje, mfana wami. Nami ngikuzwa manje.”

***

Sitshele umbono wakho: Yini eyenza umuntu afanelwe ukuthola – ukuthola uthando noma ukuthola umnotho? Ngabe kukhona abantu abafanelwe ukuthola ngaphezulu kwabanye?