But my mom just shakes her head. She says, “No, nothing. I’m just being silly. You get on with your assignment, sweetheart.”
Mr Ndwapi wants us to plan a business, something entrepreneurial. Something new and exciting, providing either goods or services. Something that people will want to hand over money for.
Mr Ndwapi is very keen on entrepreneurship. “That’s the employment of the future, people,” he always says. “Don’t wait around for someone to give you a job. Get out there and make your own job!”
So I sit on my bed, struggling to think of some goods or services that I could provide. It’s difficult though. All I really want to think about is my little baby. Beyonce. I can almost see her here, lying beside me, wrapped in a pink blanket, sleeping peacefully while I work. I can almost smell her sweet baby smell.
In the end I give up on my assignment. It’s just too hard to think straight. But I still have another six days. No sweat.
I lie in the darkness, listening to my mom’s sewing machine purring. She makes clothing for extra cash, in her spare time.
And how will she react when I tell her I’m pregnant? Will she be angry and shout at me and tell me I am a foolish child?
Will she say, “Don’t think I’m going to support you as well as a grandchild. If you think you are so grown up, go and get yourself a job and support yourself.” Will she throw me out of the house? That happened to my friend Naledi.
Or perhaps Mama will weep. “How many times have I warned you? You should have listened. What about your schooling, Tumi? You were doing so well and now you will have to give up your dreams for university. Once you are a mother, you will have no time for school.”
The thought makes me want to cry too.
But no, I reckon Mama will be happy once she gets over the shock. I know it will be a shock at first. Of course. But later she will say, “A new baby is always a blessing. How wonderful. I have been longing for a grandchild. Yes, and Tumi, I will be by your side all the way, supporting you. I will take care of little Beyonce so you can continue with your schooling.”
Yes, I think that’s what Mama will say. Because my older sister Ludo has never had children. She is a researcher at the University and she is not interested in ever being a wife and mother. She makes my mom cry sometimes.
So yes, I think Mama will be happy about having a grandchild – and she will not care what the neighbours say. I go to sleep smiling. For some reason, I dream of when I was a little girl and my mom made me a beautiful outfit: a traditional Xhosa outfit in bright orange, with white and black trims.
And when I wake next morning, I know exactly what my business will be for Mr Ndwapi’s assignment. Yes! My business will make and sell traditional outfits for babies and little children. How cute will that be?
At breakfast I am telling my mom all about my idea. She smiles at me.
“Tumi, I am so happy about your studies. You make me so proud.”
But suddenly I feel sick. I look down at the scrambled egg my mom has cooked for me and my stomach heaves. I have to rush to the bathroom. I vomit until my stomach aches and I am left feeling weak and shaky.
“Tumi?” says my mom. I can hear the worry in her voice. “What is wrong? I hope you aren’t getting the flu.”
My mom goes into a panic whenever I am sick. It has been this way since I was little.
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Tell us what you think: How will Tumi’s mother react if Tumi says she is pregnant?