Some bad news forces Ndeshi to take a long, hard look at her life, and she doesn’t like what she sees
SOME people believe in karma – if you do bad things to others, bad things will happen to you. Ndeshi was one of those people. She’d done some things in her life she wasn’t proud of, things that had hurt other people. She was a lecturer and on her bad days would yell and scream at her students. She didn’t get along with her colleagues either. She didn’t have many friends and stayed in a small, quiet suburb of the town.
She even had problems with her husband who tried to avoid taking her out for supper or going to watch movies or shows just in case she behaved badly in public.
Recently the unpopular Ndeshi hadn’t been feeling well and she decided to go and see her doctor. He ran some tests and a few days later gave her a call.
“Your results are ready. When can you come in?” he asked.
“Do I have to come in? Can’t you give them to me over the phone?” “No, I’m afraid I need to see you.” Ndeshi knew that meant bad news. Why else would she need to come in?
The first thing she did was call Duma, her only friend.
“What’s happened?” Duma asked as soon as she heard Ndeshi’s shaky voice. “My results came back and I’m very ill.” “Did the doctor confirm it?” “Not exactly. He said the results are ready and I must go and see him. But we both know that can only mean one thing – I’m sick.
“I haven’t even told my husband yet. I guess I deserve this, for being so difficult,” she sobbed as Duma tried her best to comfort her miserable friend.
ACCORDING to people who knew her, Ndeshi was a happy child until she turned 13.
This was when her father divorced her mother and left home. She’d been close to
him and his departure hurt her deeply.
She was an only child and she became even more isolated and lonely after he moved away. Hurt turned to bitterness and she blamed everyone for her parents’ separation. She only had two friends, Duma and Thando, who stood by her unconditionally. But even that relationship became complicated.
Thando met Lungile in high school and they fell head over heels in love. But after school Ndeshi and Lungile ended up at the same university, and Lungile made an effort to help his girlfriend’s friend.
The more time Ndeshi spent with Lungile, the more she realised how special his relationship with Thando was. But instead of being happy for her friend, she became jealous.
She had no one to love her and take care of her, and she decided to embark on a plan to separate the happy couple and claim Lungile for herself.
She made up all sorts of stories about her friend and produced pictures of her with an unknown man. Lungile fell for Ndeshi’s lies, and into her arms.
“Why? I don’t understand. Why did you do it?” a devastated Thando demanded.
“Survival, my dear. My parents divorced when I was 13. My mother is an alcoholic and has never been a mother to me, and my dad left me all alone. But you don’t see me sobbing about it. I know how to get what I want.”
“You can’t punish everyone because of what happened to your parents,” Thando responded. “Maybe it’s time you realised you’re sick in the head and need help. I actually feel sorry for you.”
Ndeshi ignored Thando’s words and after graduating she made sure she married the man she’d stolen from her friend.
Lungile only realised the massive mistake he’d made after the wedding, once Ndeshi’s true nature was revealed. A few months later he asked his wife a divorce.
“I don’t love you and I know you don’t love me – you just want someone by your side,” he told her. “It’s not right.”
“And what will you do after divorcing me? Run to your precious Thando?” Ndeshi replied.
“Yes, she’s the only woman I’ve ever loved.”
“Then why did you believe the lies I fed you? You messed up, Lungile, and the wise thing to do is stick with me because Thando is never taking you back. She loved you, she was obsessed with you, and there was no way she would have ever cheated on you. The man in that photo was her cousin!
“But I’m not giving you a divorce and if you go ahead, I’ll kill myself. I won’t let you and Thando be happy when I’m alone.”
Lungile thought she was bluffing and moved out the next day. A few hours later he received a phone call from the hospital – she’d tried to overdose with pills. If the housekeeper hadn’t been there, she’d have died.
And so Lungile accepted his fate and stayed with Ndeshi.
NOW Thando’s words had come back to haunt her – she really was sick in the head. She woke up with a heavy heart the day she was due to go to the doctor and politely asked Lungile if he’d come with her.
“The reason for those headaches is you have a tumour on the right side of your brain,” the doctor began his diagnosis. “If we operate your chance of survival is only 5%.”
“How long do I have?” she asked.
“It could be a day, a month or maybe even a year. We can put you on medication in the meantime.”
Back home, Lungile took Ndeshi’s hands in his.
“We’ll deal with this together,” he assured her. “I won’t leave your side.”
“No, there’s no time. You of all people know I’m no saint. I’ve done some very bad things in my life, including separating you and Thando, and now I’m going to make things right.”
Lungile was stunned – he was happy to be released from a loveless marriage but he also felt sorry for Ndeshi. “What will you do?” “I’m going to resign and I think I’ll go to Zanzibar. I’ve always wanted to go there. I can cash in my pension.”
BUT first things first. Ndeshi called Thando and confessed her sins. Then she resigned with immediate effect and admitted to another crime. “I failed one of my statistics students, Sindi Mazibuko, as I had a personal grudge against her,” she told the university chancellor.
“She should have graduated last year but had to repeat the module. Please make sure she’s awarded her degree.”
She visited her elderly neighbour, Mrs Moyo, and admitted that her beloved cat hadn’t run away – she’d accidently run it over so there was no point in the heartbroken old lady looking for it anymore.
Ndeshi also visited her mother and apologised for blaming her for the divorce and feeling ashamed of their poverty.
In the weeks it took Ndeshi to organise her life, begging pardon for her many misdeeds and preparing for her trip, Thando and Lungile reconciled. Although they were sympathetic, they’d wasted too much time apart already. To her surprise, Ndeshi was genuinely pleased to see them back together.
Just days before she was due to leave for her island paradise the doctor called her again and asked her to come back to the hospital. He looked pale but relieved somehow.
“The day you came for your scan we had another lady in for tests just before you. It turns out the results were mixed up.”
“What are you trying to tell me doctor?” Ndeshi asked calmly.
“It’s she who is sick, not you. In fact, you’re perfectly healthy. I cannot apologise enough for putting you through this hell and I understand if you want to discuss this further with the hospital’s management.” She couldn’t help laughing. “Yes, it’s been hell, but it’s also made me a better person. Lucky for you – the old me would have sued the pants off you.”
Ndeshi left the hospital with a new bounce in her step.
“What shall I do now?” she pondered. “Well, a little holiday won’t do me any harm . . .”
‘I’m no saint. I’ve done some very bad things in my life’