“What are you doing here, Xolani?”

“What kind of a question is that, my love,” Xolani smiles.

“I’ll ask you again. What are you doing here, Xolani?”

“I came to see you, my love.”

“So I’m your love all of a sudden?”

“Come on, my love.”

“No, Xolani. You can’t call me your love but treat me the way you do!”

“Nothando, I’m sorry for the way I treated you. I was angry and I took it out on you. I don’t like it when you wear short clothes that reveal your thighs. You are my girlfriend so I want you to dress in a respectable way. I don’t want you to be catcalled by all the guys on the road. I’m thinking about you and your reputation, my love.”

“But does that make mean you have to chase me out like a dog?”

“No, it doesn’t. There is no excuse for what I did. I’m sorry.”

“Xolani, I’m tired of this breaking up and making up. You have to decide right now what it is you want from this relationship. You don’t respect me at all. You call me all sorts of names and worse you shout at me in front of other people. You belittle me. You make me feel worthless.”

“Most times I do that because you have done something to make me act that way.”

“Nothing I do gives you the right to curse at me. Nothing I have ever done means you should disrespect me.”

“Come on, Nothando. Don’t you want to get back together? What is it? Do you have another boyfriend now?” Irritation is heavy in Xolani’s voice. 

“How can I want to get back together with you when it is you who is in the wrong?”

“You are disrespecting me now and I won’t stand it. I come here asking for your forgiveness but you are talking non-stop!”

Nothando calms down. She can see that Xolani is starting to lose his temper.

“Fine, I forgive you,” she says.

“That’s more like it. That’s the Nothando I know. Pack your things. We going back to our place.”

Nothando packs her things into the black refuse plastic bag. She is walking out of the shack when Zama and Nompilo return. They laugh in obvious ridicule when they see her following Xolani. 

“Going back to your house?” Nompilo laughs uncontrollably.

Nothando clicks her tongue and walks out of the shack door.

It’s been a week since Xolani and Nothando got back together. All is going well. It is late at night, they are watching TV. Xolani comes back with a plate of food. Nothando hasn’t swallowed the first spoonful when she feels Xolani’s hands brushing her thighs. He kisses her neck. Nothando recoils.

“What’s your problem, Nothando?” Xolani asks angrily.

“I need water. Please pour me a glass,” Nothando lies.

Xolani goes out and quickly returns with a glass of water. Nothando takes a sip and places it on the floor. 

“How was your day, my love?” asks Nothando. She is trying to take Xolani out of his love-making mind set.

“It was just an ordinary day,” says Xolani. He tries to get on top of her. Nothando moves away.

“What is it now? Don’t you want to sleep with me? Do you have another boyfriend? Is that why you are giving me this attitude?”

“No, Xolani. Why are you rushing me for sex when I have just returned from work? We will get there but let’s talk first. We have to just talk sometimes and plan our future together. We have to work out a solution to all the arguments we are always having.”

“Liar! I know a liar when I see one. Do you think I’m stupid? I feed you! You were thin when I rescued you, but now you have all these beautiful curves. Yet you fail to do the one job you are supposed to do as my woman!”

“So I’m your woman now, Xolani?”

“Isn’t that what you are? I rescued you from a terrible life in your aunts’ shack. You’d be nothing without me. Even your own family doesn’t want you. They despise you. If it were up to them you’d have died with your mother. I helped you! No one else wanted you when I met you. And no one else would want to be in a relationship with a woman as poor as you!”

Xolani is shaking and hyperventilating with rage.

Tell us: Why do you think Xolani claims to have rescued Nothando?