Sbusiso organises MaMkhize’s funeral while simultaneously organising a transfer to a high school in Diepkloof for Asemahle and Sambulo. He is lucky it is just a few weeks after the beginning of the school year.
Ntombi hasn’t uttered a single word to Sbusiso, Asemahle, or Sambulo since they arrived yesterday night. Sbusiso drops them off at the high school and the twins at the creche. He speeds to work.
He can finally breathe at his office. He calls Ntombi but she doesn’t pick up. He wants to make things right because he felt the tense atmosphere at home that morning. He is so worried that he is unaware he is speaking his problems out loud while he stares out the window.
“Whoever said married life is good was a liar. We are not happy. Or rather, I should say, I am not happy.”
Sbusiso doesn’t know that his brother Sthembiso is standing at the door, looking at him. Sthembiso is not close enough to hear what Sbusiso is saying.
“Sbu!” says Sthembiso.
Sbu is startled and drops the bottled water in his hand. “Damn, brother, you startled me.”
“What’s the matter, Sbu? I could see you were deep in thought.”
“It’s nothing, brother. Forget about it.”
He stands up to hug and shake hands with Sthembiso.
“How are you holding up?” says Sthembiso.
“I’m fine, considering everything. How are you, Sthe?”
“I’m good. It’s been a while since I saw you. I had to make sure I saw you on this work trip.”
“You can say that again. It’s been months, almost half a year.”
“I told you things would be different once you got married. I told you this married life needs people who are 40 years and above. I’ll still wait a little before I get married.”
“You are just saying that. It’s great to have someone taking care of you.”
“I hear you but I doubt Ntombi has it in her heart to take care of you. Anyway, how is she, and the kids? I’m sorry for not making it to MaMkhize’s funeral. I hope the little money I sent helped with something. Funerals are expensive these days.”
“It helped a lot, Sthe. You explained that you were busy with work. Things are not going well at home. Ntombi is cold to Asemahle and Sambulo.”
“You know, I was thinking it would be a good idea to send Asemahle and Sambulo to stay with Ma. They were used to staying with a grandmother so it won’t be that different. You could have gotten a school for them in town. A lot of children from our area go to Model C schools in town now. There is school transport and everything.”
“I hear you, but I want them to stay with me for a while. They are young adults now but I have never lived with them.”
“That’s good, Sbu. Let’s grab a bite to eat before I drive back to KZN,” says Sthe.
Ntombi is stretched out on the lounge sofa. She dials a number and takes a sip from the gin and tonic glass in her other hand. She is speaking before her friend Zama can even say hello.
“You know what, Zama? Sbusiso doesn’t respect me any more. You know what he did? Last week he told me his children from a previous relationship are coming to live with us now. You know very well that I have trouble taking care of the twins. How will I take care of two teenagers? He came back with them yesterday. He has found them a school here in Diepkloof!”
“You can say that again, Zama! It’s unfair!”
“No, Ntombi. I’m saying wow because I can’t believe what I’m hearing from you! What have those children done to you? You should be taking care of them, helping them grieve for their grandmother.”
“What, Zama? Whose side are you on?”
“I’m tired of telling you lies, Ntombi. If our friendship is to last it has to based on truth. Show some empathy to those kids. They are Sbusiso’s children, Sbusiso loves you very much. If you loved him you’d also love those children because you are married; what is his is yours and yours his.”
“You are getting on my nerves now, Zama. You will never get married because you think you know it all! Never call me again if you are going to speak this rubbish that’s coming out of your mouth! Or are you saying these things because you want Sbusiso for yourself?”
“Do you ever listen to yourself, Ntombi? I don’t want your man. All I’m saying is, find humanity in your heart because you will be sorry later in life when no one feels for you.”
“I said never call me again!” says Ntombi. She clicks her tongue, ends the call and sips her gin and tonic.
Tell us: What do you think will happen next?