Vus’umuzi returns with Bab’ Mkhize, Thato’s father, who owns an old white sedan. Bab’ Mkhize opens the back door of the car and Vus’umuzi carries his son and then his wife, lowering them onto the back seat.
Bab’ Mkhize does not ask any questions, he just shakes his head. Vus’umuzi does not get into the car but he assures them that he will follow behind. “I have to lock the house,” says Vus’umuzi, with both of his hands on his head. He tells Sphiwe to go with them to the clinic.
At Amaoti Clinic, after the nurses have given Zandile and Zethembe a check up and given them rehydration drinks, they tell Sphiwe that he should take them to the Inanda welfare office.
At the welfare office, Bab’ Mkhize parks the car and says, “I’ll wait here. You go on.”
Inside, there are phones ringing everywhere and nurses pace up and down. It looks like a clinic. Although 15 years old, Zethembe looks far younger.
A social worker sits Zethembe down to talk. “I am Londiwe Mazibuko,” she begins.
“I’m Zandile, this is my son Zethembe.” Zandile squeezes her son’s hand. “We’re here because my son…he’s been kept in total isolation for four weeks,” explains Zandile. “He has been so stressed he stopped eating and talking. His father…Vusi was trying…to cure him, of being gay.” She starts to cry.
“Mm,” utters Londiwe, sympathising with Zandile, “and where is the father now?”
“I don’t know…he said he would follow us,” says Zandile, crying. Sphiwe brushes her shoulder. Zethembe has managed to keep his face and eyes to the ground.
“And you are?” asks Londiwe, turning to Sphiwe.
“Oh, I’m Sphiwe. I’m just helping…I’m a no one.” Sphiwe’s hand starts to shake.
“Please tell her the truth. Tell her how you know my husband,” says Zandile, failing to hold her tears.
“I,” starts Sphiwe, clearing his throat, “I had an affair with Vusi, but now that I know who he truly is, I want nothing to do with him!”
Londiwe takes a deep sigh and looks at the nurses.
“My concern is for the child…”
“So, what can we do?” asks Sphiwe.
“I will schedule appointments and regular counselling visits to immediately start the process of healing for Zethembe,” says Londiwe. “He will need all your support and acceptance.”
Zandile nods, while tears flow down her cheeks. “You hear that, Zethembe? We are going to be alright.”
Bab’ Mkhize is kind enough to drive them back home. Thato’s father drops them off at the gate. Sphiwe leads Zandile and Zethembe back to the house. The gate is unlocked, and they are surprised to find that the door is unlocked too.
Zethembe was given pills to help him sleep, and as soon as he gets into the house, he takes two and falls asleep.
“Are you going to go to the police to search for him?” asks Sphiwe later, after they have settled.
Zandile lowers her back on the sofa. Zandile shakes her head. “But I don’t want him near my son ever again.”
“What if he comes back?” asks Sphiwe, “Are you going to let him?”
“I don’t think he will. He’s packed all his stuff, right? So, I don’t think we’ll be seeing him any time soon.”
Zandile stands up, resting her hand on his shoulder. She looks at Sphiwe as if she is about to say something, but changes her mind. “Lock the door behind you when you leave, I need to rest,” she tells him, and then turns and goes to Zethembe’s room.
She sits on Zethembe’s bed and strokes his head. “Now you can fly, my boy,’ she whispers.
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