I walk in through the doors. I think Sandiswa’s on the third floor but I’ll just make sure. There’s a cute receptionist so I’ll ask her. Chicks love a guy they can’t have, and a loving, caring daddy is a solid turn-on. She’s got a pretty smile.

“Hi,” I greet her with my most charming smile. “Which way is the maternity ward?”

“Take the lift, third floor, and turn right. Visiting your wife?” she asks me with a glimpse of hope in her eyes. I look older than my age: an advantage.

“I’m not that lucky. Ex-girlfriend,” I lie. “She wants nothing to do with me, but I’ve come to see my son.” It’s easier to say this than ‘It’s complicated’. That’s what Sandiswa and I are, complicated. At that moment I realise that it’s the first time I’ve said ‘my son’ out loud. It’s a weird feeling that I can’t explain.

“She’ll come around. It’s the hormones. I’m sure you two will work it out.” This time she looks sincere so I decide to stop flirting. I thank her and walk to the lifts. I wonder if Sandi and I will make it. Since she got pregnant everything has changed. It’s not like I deserted her or denied the pregnancy. We’ve always been friends and I want it to stay that way.

She knows I want to be part of my baby’s life. Maybe I would’ve liked to wait a few years, but still. I didn’t ask for this, but it’s here now and I must deal with it. I’d never desert my child. I saw what being a single parent did to my mom. I don’t want to have my child grow up like I did. ‘My boy’ – wow! I’m responsible for a little person now.

I walk into the ward and look around. The other dads seem happy. I wonder if they’re ever scared about whether they can be good dads. I want to be the best for my boy. The smell of bleach invades my nostrils. I sneeze. “Bless you,” says a nurse passing with a baby, smiling at me.

“Babies have a way of changing you and making you see the world differently. Your priorities change. You’ll see, soon as you hold one in your arms for the first time you’ll feel it.” The words of my coach echo in my head as I make my way towards Sandiswa’s bed.



The painkillers are strong. I’m feeling sleepy. I’m a bit tired after feeding the baby. The voices around me are starting to sound far away. I give in and let the drowsiness take me over and I sink into sleep…

I’m sitting in class and we’re writing our final exams. Suddenly my pen stops working; it just runs out of ink. Luckily for me I have stacks of pens; one can never be too prepared. So I reach into my pencil case and pull out another one. This one works so I continue.

Then I can’t seem to remember an answer. We covered this in our revision; I remember seeing this question. I was the one to answer it in class. I close my eyes, trying to replay the memory. It’s not there.

This is frustrating. A ten-mark question and it’s just going to pass by like that? I take a deep breath and I calm myself. I will not let this happen. As I’m doing my rhythmic breathing, a baby starts to cry. I look around and there he is, Buhle, next to me in his pram.

I can’t believe it. When did he get here? Who brought him here? Mr Dyer looks at me with those burning eyes of his. They can bore down to a person’s soul and make you feel all the guilt of the world. I shrug and pick up the little thing. “What are you doing here?” I whisper to him as I kiss his forehead.

Mr Dyer gives me an approving look, but Buhle still won’t shut up. The other students don’t seem to be bothered at all by my baby’s shrill screams. I try to shush him: I rock him back and forth and I hum to him. Nothing works. I take out my breast, ready to stick it in his mouth so I can get back to my exam.

“Time’s up! Pens down please,” says Mr Dyer as he walks around collecting the papers. But I’m not done yet – I was tending to the baby. “I’m not done yet,” I tell him, and he looks at me and shrugs. He takes my paper and walks away.

Fuck! I wasn’t done yet…I wasn’t done yet…

I open my eyes. I see the nurse is by my side.

“You were having a bad dream,” she comforts me.

“Where’s my baby?” I ask her. She tells me he is sleeping, and that I must rest. I lie back and close my heavy eyes and drift into sleep again.


Tell us what you think: Can Sandiswa and Anele make it work for the sake of the baby? How will they do as teenage parents?