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Change of heart

  • 6

Dennis scratches his head and puts on his cap. He leaves without telling MaSkhakhane where he is going. MaSkhakhane has gotten used to not asking Dennis where he is going. She knows her husband is a man of bad deeds and doesn’t want to know the details.

Sphelele is at the gate of his girlfriend’s house. They have been together two years with Nolwandle. They are standing under the shade of a mango tree.

“Sphelele how far are you with your plans to study next year? Do you still want to study Law?” asks Nolwandle. “I want you to get away from this place. I want both of us to get degrees so we can get jobs and leave this place for good. There is too much crime here and I worry if you don’t study or work you will also end up falling into crime.”

“I still have those plans. I applied and was accepted by the University of Johannesburg. The problem is I don’t know how to tell Baba. He wants me to always be by his side. He always wants me to be with him when he does his work.”

“And what work is that?”

“It’s not what you think. I don’t participate in his criminal activities.”

“Forgive me for saying this, Sphelele, but I don’t trust your father. There’s just something about him, he has a negative vibe. He looks like he is a hardened criminal. And I’ve heard rumours that he is bad news. I’m scared his bad ways will rub off on you.”

“That won’t happen, Nolwandle. Nothing will rub off on me. I know what I want in life, so I won’t do anything wrong.”

“Alright, Sphelele. I know you won’t do anything wrong. But I was just saying so you know where I stand.”

“Just drop this, Nolwandle,” says Sphelele angrily.

“Fine, but I don’t know what has got you so angry,” says Nolwandle.

“What makes me angry is that every time I’m with you we talk about Baba.”

“I’m sorry, Sphelele.”

“You should be sorry. I didn’t choose for them to be my parents. But because the woman who carried me for nine months decided to dump me in a rubbish bin and Ma and Baba took me in and gave me a home I have to do what Baba says. I owe them my life.”

“What? You are not the same blood? I didn’t know that. Why didn’t-”

“Yes, Nolwandle, I’m the baby they found in the trash. I don’t know my real parents, so just stop judging Baba every time I’m with you.”

“I’m so sorry, Sphelele. I didn’t know.”

“Of course you wouldn’t know, Nolwandle, because everything is about you. You are not considerate to my feelings. It’s all about you.”

“Wait a minute, Sphelele! Now you are just wrong. You know very well that I support and help you whenever I can.”

Sphelele looks into Nolwandle’s eyes. “You know what, Nolwandle?”

“What?”

“I have to go. It’s getting late.” Sphelele takes off.

“Sphelele!” Nolwandle shouts. She keeps shouting but Sphelele ignores her.

© Nolwazi Gumede 2023-01-23

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