Thandi looked out the door into the windswept, sandy yard. Pinky had already shut the door into her house. She didn’t ever cross the yard to visit Nomsa and Thandi in their shack in her back yard. Thandi was grateful for that in a way. Between Avile, Themba, and Nomsa, Thandi had hardly any time to herself. Pinky had switched the lights on in her house, and was starting to run the taps in the kitchen. Thandi pulled out a pot and walked out to the tap in the yard.
She was so tired. Why did she have to do all the chores?
Back in the house she tried to stir the mieliepap and read at the same time. She tilted the book to the light with one hand and stirred with the other. She had a test the next day. It was important that she do well. But she knew that any minute now Avile was going to wake up and need to be changed and fed.
“Thank God you’re back,” said Thandi, just as Avile started to cry and Nomsa walked in the door.
“Pick him up will you,” said Nomsa, kicking off her shoes and slumping into a chair. “I need a minute to catch my breath. What a terrible day I’ve had. Work was so hard and tiring.”
Thandi picked up the baby and glared at Nomsa. What about her? Hadn’t her day been as tough as Nomsa’s, even tougher. And here her sister was relaxing in a chair. “I’ll hold him for a minute,” she said, “But I’m not changing his nappy, okay? When I got him from Pinky this afternoon she hadn’t changed his nappy either. Oh shit! He stinks!” Thandi held Avile out away from her body.
Nomsa stood up slowly. “Great! Thanks a lot Thandi!” She took Avile roughly and he started crying. “Now look what you’ve done!”
“Me?” said Thandi. She couldn’t look at Nomsa. She would explode. She felt like the porridge bubbling and steaming about to burn. “I’ve done nothing but help you from day one with Avile.”
The pap was burnt, the smell was filling the air. “Shit, shit, shit!!” she said, switching off the gas plate. “I hate this. I hate all of this! Why did you have to go and have a baby anyway?”
Nomsa had changed the smelly nappy and was now stirring up Formula for a bottle. She was cuddling Avile, and cooing to him, while kissing his tear damp cheeks.
The truth was, thought Thandi, she knew the answer to that one. Everyone did. Nomsa had been an A student, like she was. She had never really, probably, even wanted the sex bit. Themba would have forced her. Thandi was sure of that. Thandi snorted to herself at the thought. He’d charmed her sister with take-away food.
“For God’s sake Nomsa,” she said suddenly, turning back to Nomsa, “when you going to end it with that useless bastard anyway?”
“Don’t say that. He’s Avile’s dad.”
“He’s a no good… a…” She couldn’t find a word bad enough to describe Themba.
“He’s not! He still buys things for Avile.”
“Since when? Not since he lost his job and his take-away motorbike!”
“He loves me.”
Thandi shut up then. How could she tell Nomsa about the creepy way that Themba looked at her? About the times he had put his hand on her leg trying to push her skirt up while she was changing Avile. No, she couldn’t tell her now, not when Nomsa was close to tears and so tired. But she would have to tell her soon.
What do you think Nomsa would do if Thandi told her about Themba?