Sat. Feb 17th, 2024

October 29th, 2019. 5:20PM 15

 

*

 

The following morning I am not sure I still want to go to the hospital, but I promised Olivia that I would see her and that is exactly what I am going to do.

 

I put pancakes, peanut butter porridge and fruits in a food carrier before starting off. Mulife hasn’t called me and at this point I don’t even know if I want to talk to him.

 

I drive to CFB Medical Centre listening to Kelly Michelle’s Can’t raise a man, for some unknown reason the song makes me feel like there is something I am doing wrong which has to be worked on.

 

 

I get there and prepare myself for Olipa’s wrath, I am pretty sure she is not going to go easy on me.

 

‘What do you want here?’ she asks immediately I walk in I notice Olivia is still sleeping.

‘Good morning Olipa.’ I manage to say hoping that it will calm her down She clicks her tongue and pulls me outside the room

‘I just came to check how Olivia is doing and also to bring her the breakfast I promised.’ I say handing her the basket but she looks at me from head to toe before spitting on her chitenge.

 

I sigh, I expected that. Even worse if I must add.

 

‘Now listen to me Thelma or whatever your name is, I don’t want you coming here to infect my child.’

 

For a second it is like I am not hearing her well.

 

‘Excuse me?’ I question, eyes almost popping out from their sockets

 

‘Oh shut up and stop pretending, I know you have HIV and God knows where you got it. I won’t allow you to come here and give my daughter your disease.’

 

I have vast knowledge when it comes to stigma, I know how to handle people who are ill mannered but this coming from Olipa has a certain impact I am not sure I can handle. I look at her tears stinging my eyes, I have promised myself never to cry in front of people but right now I am not sure I can hold on to that promise. I am in a terrible place and though I want to be wrong but a part of me knows that it could have only been Mulife who told her.

 

‘Cat caught your tongue?’ she asks with a smirk on her face

 

‘I just brought this for Olivia.’ I say feeling pain in my heart but I try not to show it blinking back the tears rapidly

 

‘My child will not eat anything from an HIV infected person lest she becomes infected as well.’

 

This is it, I hear everything that needs to be heard and I can’t stand being here any longer. So I turn on my foot to leave but I am met by Mulife’s sorry face.

 

‘Thelma.’ He begins but I just smile, the smile not reaching my eyes It takes everything in me to just smile at him without any other word. ‘Thelma please.’

But I don’t say anything instead walk past him.

 

By the time I get to the car the tears that were violently trying to fall finally escape my eyes, there is no greater betrayer than that from people you trust.

 

In just two days I have learnt that my best friend told her man about my illness and now Mulife who I had opened up to and was raw with at my breaking point also did the same.

 

I call my secretary and ask her to take any important messages for me also to clear my schedule for the day, I have not broken down in a while and this right here feels like a flood gate of emotions opening up.

 

After getting home, I change into comfortable clothes and get straight to bed. I feel my heart aching in all ways possible and even though I try not to cry the tears keep falling on their own. To say that I have been betrayed is an understatement; I have been crushed by the two people I trusted and now I don’t know how to get out of this predicament.

 

The ringing of my phone has me looking at it, it’s Mulife. I choose to ignore it until it stops thereafter I switch it off.

 

After thirty minutes I hear my door opening, it is obviously Lerato because she is the only one who has access to my house.

 

I can feel a presence standing before me but I pretend as if I don’t recognize her. ‘What is happening?’ she asks

I don’t bother to look at her ‘Thelma this is not you.’

I chuckle

 

‘Thelma talk to me.’ She begs so I sit upright and look at her

 

‘Oh my God Thelma what is wrong?’ she asks obviously seeing the place I am in

 

I want to laugh and cry at the same time, I mean she is one of the reasons I am in this place and here she is asking me that question.

 

‘What’s the worst kind of betrayal a friend could ever do another friend?’ I ask her ‘Most people would consider their friend dating their man.’

‘And yours?’ I ask

 

‘Sharing my deepest secrets, of course which I have struggled to tell anyone about then that friend telling another person without my consent.’

 

‘You are trash.’ I say with disgust ‘Thelma.’ She asks bewildered

‘Lerato I trusted you, you out of all people know how much I have struggled to keep my secrets. I was raw with you, I opened up my heart and told you things that I could never tell anyone. Then what did you do?’ I ask raising my voice

 

‘You went on and told Jayden everything about me!’ I yell

 

‘Thelma listen.’ She begins her tears falling now but they make me more angry

 

‘When I met you, you knew the type of person that I was. I was not one to just open up my heart to anyone but to you I freely did. I thought we would be friends, that we would have a good thing going but what did you do?’ I asked angrily

 

‘Thelma I swear I didn’t think Jayden would tell you.’ I laugh, a bitter sweet laugh.

‘You honestly believe Jayden told me?’ I ask her ‘Then who did?’

‘How about you ask your whore of man!’

 

I don’t see it coming until Lerato’s hand lands on my cheek ‘Lerato.’ I ask shock registered in my voice

‘Thelma I love you, with everything in me I do but you have no right calling my man a whore.’

 

‘So because of Jayden you slap me.’

 

‘I know he is many things, I know he is not your ideal kind of man but he is my man and not you or anyone is allowed to call him names.’

 

I chuckle

 

‘I see.’ I respond ‘Thelma.’

‘Don’t.’

 

 

‘You betray me, by telling your boyfriend about my life then you slap me because I am just saying the truth?’

 

‘Oh please, I know he is not perfect but maybe if you had a man of your ownyou wouldn’t stand in my presence and call Jayden awhore.’

 

I keep quiet at a loss of words.

 

‘Lerato, me not having a man doesn’t mean that I can’t get one. Hell I am not even ready for a relationship, but trust me even if I was to have one today it wouldn’t be anyone close to Jayden.’

 

‘I guess we are done here.’ She says picking up her handbag.’ ‘Don’t burn bridges.’

‘I will if they are going to light my way.’ She responds walking out.

 

Winnie

 

 

 

 

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