I’m at the stadium. It’s packed. I look around. Hundreds of students are wearing our colours. That’s the best thing about home ground advantage: the support. My time is finally here. I’ve worked so hard to get to the point and I’ve sacrificed a lot. I hear my name being chanted from the stands:
“Ace! Ace! Ace!”
This feels awesome. The coach is yelling something; it’s hard to tell what he’s saying in this noise. The referee is ready now and we’re all running to our positions.
The ball is coming at me. I’m wide open. I catch it. The boys of West Lake are closing in. I need to get out. I scram; I was always a great sprinter. That’s why I’m playing for UWC: I play wing – light, strong and damned fast.
I duck past the first guy; he thought I was going to the left. Two more in front of me; they’re so toast. I’ll leave them choking on my dust.
Then things slow down. I’m running in slow motion…
That’s when I hear a baby crying. I look around. It sounds so close. Then I look down. I’m holding it. The ball has become a baby and it’s crying.
How on earth…? What the fuck is this? The baby’s is screaming loudly now; it looks terrified. Suddenly I need to protect this baby. I can’t let this child get squashed by these goons. I turn and run in the opposite direction.
The coach is yelling at me. Everybody on the stands is on their feet booing me. My team mates are furious, the coach is swearing. I’m almost out, we gonna make it baby. I run and run… and then I trip. The baby flies off, out of my hands. I can’t bear to watch it plummet to its death on the rugby field.
I need to get up. I can still catch the baby if I get up quickly. I can’t move! I can’t get up. I can’t save the baby.
I wake up from the nightmare covered in sweat.
I get up and try to shake it out of my head. Then I see the girl sleeping next to me. She’s lying face down. Some of her red hair half-covers her face. She’s pretty, with a small nose and big, pink lips. She’s got a tattoo on the back of her neck, Chinese writing. I wonder what it means. I wonder if we talked about it last night. I barely remember the evening’s events.
I know I met her at the party last night. Her face looks familiar but I don’t remember her name. I reach over and get my phone from the bedside table. Twelve missed calls and three messages. Two are from my mom and my best friend. I read them messages and they both say one thing:
Congratulations you’re a daddy!
But the third one says something different.
I hate you
I get up and go take a shower.
My baby is crying. I know the painkillers they gave me will wear off soon. I need to feed him now – they showed me how to get the baby to drink. It was hard at first. The doctor is talking to my mother. I think I’m fine – we’re fine – and we’ll be released soon.
I tell Mama that I am thirsty and she goes to get some juice. I had to get her out of here; she’s driving me crazy.
I can’t wait for visiting hour to be over, to be alone again. The baby’s so small. He feels light in my arms. I worry that if I hold him too tight he’ll break.
My phone beeps on the bedside table. I reach for it. It’s a BBM from Anele:
I’m on my way
On his way where, for what? I throw the phone on the bed. I don’t want him here. I wanted him last night when his baby was born. Where was he, when he had promised? He can go to hell for all I care. I hear Mama’s voice down the corridor so I mustn’t cry. It will start the baby crying again.
Anele is not doing this to me again.
Tell us what you think: Would you be angry if you were Sandiswa? Why?