“Sandile, there’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about.”
“What is it, baby?”
I’m not sure why I feel so nervous about raising the subject that’s been on my mind. I suppose it’s just that I’m so much younger than him. He’s been out in the world, working and making something of himself for a few years now, while I’m just at the start of things.
We’re sitting in his BMW outside my house, and I need to grab this chance while we’re alone. Once we go inside, my parents and young brothers will, sort of, claim him. That’s how much they look up to him.
So I come out with it. “It’s this … your uncles will be calling soon–”
“Simply a formality.”
“I know, and I’m already wearing this.”
I hold up my left hand, turning it this way and that, letting my engagement ring catch the light coming from the house. I’m not sure a diamond is really me, but Sandile insisted. I’m relieved I remembered to put it back on before he picked me up at Hands Ngobese’s Golden Gloves Boxing Gym. To say he was pissed off with me the one time I forgot would be the understatement of the month! I suppose it was understandable.
“I can’t wait for us to be married,” he says, trying to pull me back into his arms, because of course we were kissing madly until I decided to get this difficult subject settled.
“That’s why we need to talk about an ante-nuptial contract,” I say.
“What?” The way Sandile jerks back, you’d think I’d slapped him. “Who’s been putting such ideas into your head, Zami? Those giggling friends of yours?”
“As if!” I laugh. “Those girls think you and I are a real life fairy-tale. Something so practical would never enter their heads. No, there was this discussion on the radio.”
“I’ve told you I don’t like you listening to talk radio. There are plenty of good music stations.”
“This is serious, Sandile.” I don’t want to get into the radio debate again. “The thing is, if we marry in community of property, without any contract, then … we share our assets, but we’d also share our debt. If one of us died owing money and we had a joint account …well, the bank can take everything.”
“No-one is going to die.”
“Life happens … meaning death can happen too. We need to be realistic.”
“Don’t you trust me to provide for you, baby?” Sandile has this thing he does when he wants to win me over to his way of thinking, pushing out his lips and making his voice all soft and sweet, like melting chocolate. “I have a well-paid job, and big plans for the future. We won’t be living here in Numbi forever.”
“I just thought …” Damn. That persuasive voice is getting to me. “What’s yours is yours, and what’s mine is mine – that seems like sense to me. But the radio people said pre-marriage agreements can be, like, tailored, so that big things like a house can be owned together. Then one partner doesn’t lose their home if the other dies.”
“You keep talking about dying, but really those ante-nuptial contracts are for people who expect to get divorced somewhere along the line. You’ve hurt me, Zami. Isn’t our relationship supposed to be forever?”
Tell us: Is Zami taking the romance out of their relationship by talking about a contract? Is Sandile right to feel hurt?