Sbusiso’s brother, Sthe, enters the room after Sbusiso has dropped the call. Sthe is hurt to find Sbusiso silently shaking with anger.
“Sbu, my brother, what is happening? I’ve never heard you this upset,” says Sthe.
“Do you mean you could hear me speaking all the way from outside?” Sbusiso asks, shyly.
“Yes, all of us got worried when we heard you shouting. That’s why I thought it’d be a good idea if I was the one who brought you your food. Talk to me, brother. What is going on?”
“I have failed as a man, Sthe. I have failed to stand up for myself when the woman I have loved wholeheartedly treated me like trash. Ntombi has abused me emotionally and sometimes physically for a long time now. I have failed myself and my own children by letting her get away with treating me like this. I am so ashamed of being a coward.”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself, Sbu. You know how hard it is for a man to admit to being abused. It’s as if we are admitting we are weak. Most times we keep it deep inside because we don’t have anyone to speak to.”
“You can say that again. And we hide this because we want our families to look at our partners in a good light, to make it seem as if we have made good decisions.”
“That’s true. But don’t blame yourself in all of this because you treat Ntombi very well, you show her love.”
“But enough is enough. This illness has helped me see her true colours. As soon as I’m back on my feet I want a divorce. I have been in touch with a lawyer.”
“I hear you brother. She doesn’t care.”
“Sthe, I have set up everything with my lawyer. I want my money to take care of my children because I know Ntombi doesn’t care about them. I want to make sure they get the best education so they can have a chance in this cruel world.”
“You will make sure of that yourself, Sbu. Don’t speak like you won’t be around to do all of this. The pills are working. You are gaining strength every day.”
Sbusiso smiles. “Thank you, brother. You have always been the one who sees the light in bad situations.”
“Eat and take your pills, Sbu. I’m happy you have made this decision.”
It is midnight in Joburg. Ntombi parks in front of her friend’s house. She knocks, holding a bottle of wine.
“Lebo, open the door!”
“Why so sour, Ntombi? What’s the matter?” says Lebo, after opening the door.
“It’s Sbu. What else?” Ntombi follows Lebo to the lounge.
“What did he do now?”
“He is so controlling. He wants to know where I am all the time,” says Ntombi.
“You need to leave him because you have Sipho. What are you waiting for?”
“I’m waiting for his disability insurance to pay out first. I can’t just leave now because Sipho doesn’t make that much money being a taxi driver.”
“How much money is this insurance?”
“It’s a lot, my friend. We will be swimming in cash once it pays out!”
Ntombi pops the cork off the champagne bottle and pours into two glasses.
Tell us: What do you think will happen next?