That night Linda and her baby stayed at Jemima Solotsi’s house. Her husband was nowhere to be seen. Jemima said he had moved in with the other woman.
The following morning, after Jemima had bought a pram at a place called Baby Go Round, Linda and Jemima had breakfast at a restaurant in the Blue Route Mall.
The baby slept peacefully in the pram between them as Linda told her the sad story of her life and why she had felt she could not carry on any longer.
“Please understand and do not judge me. I did not want to kill my child, but I was scared he would suffer just like I did. I had no way out.”
“There is always a way out, my child,” said Jemima, forgetting how hopeless she had felt about escaping her unhappy, abusive marriage. “So it was fate that brought us together. I am so glad I met you. What are you going to do now? Do you go to school?”
Linda shook her head.
“I can help you, Linda. How old are you?”
“I just turned eighteen.”
“It would be my pleasure to give this beautiful boy the love I’ve been saving for the child I never had.”
As she said this, Jemima started to cry. Linda looked at her for a while and could see that she was really hurting.
“I can give you the child permanently. We can do it legally,” said Linda. “I think my child would have a better future with you than with me. A good home for my child would be the best gift for me. Right now there is no way that I, or my aunty, can provide for him.”
“You would do that?”
“I have nothing. I have no one. I have been a burden to my aunt for five years and then I made this mistake of falling pregnant.”
“No Linda, please don’t say that. No child, despite the circumstances it is born under, is a mistake. Every child is a gift and has a purpose.”
There was silence again.
“This child, Linda, has saved my life. He has shown me my foolishness and selfishness. Linda, if you want to go to school and on to university, I will pay for your education. And I am going to give you and your aunt a place to stay.”
“Yes Linda, I have a small, two-bedroomed brick house that I was renting out while I was living with my husband. You can live there rent-free. At least it’s in a safer area.”
“You would do that? I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to thank you. Oh God, is this happening for real?” said Linda, overwhelmed with joy. Tears streamed down her face as she jumped up and hugged Jemima tightly. “But where will you stay?” she asked Jemima, looking at her in disbelief. This was too good to be true.
“I resigned from my work. I think I need to get away for a few months while my divorce goes through. I’ve decided to travel to England, where my sister lives, and to work in a school there. In the mean time I will pay a child minder to look after your baby boy while you go to school. After six months I’ll come back and we can start the legal paperwork for adoption.”
“By then I should hopefully have my matric,” Linda said excitedly.
“Yes! Remember, you will have my support throughout. Hopefully by the time he is a year old all the legal documents will be done. Then I will buy a new house nearby. And I would like you to see him often and to always be a part of his life.”
“Thank you, Jemima! That would make me so happy!”
“This boy here saved my life. I owe him my life.
“He saved mine too.”
Both women hovered above the pram of the sleeping baby, who was not aware of the great things that had just happened, or that he was the centre of it all.
“Now let’s go find your Aunt Rosy. I heard that all the fire victims are temporarily staying at the community hall,” said Jemima.
Linda looked at her searchingly and smiled. “You are the mother I have been missing all these years,” she said with a lump in her throat.
Tell us: Do you think it is a good idea for Mrs Solotsi to adopt Linda’s baby?