Fic­tion

Thabo is con­vinced his fi­ancée has cheated on him and he’s ready to leave her on their wed­ding day

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LOOK here, Lindiwe! I’m not leav­ing this room with­out the whole truth. Tell me, who is the fa­ther of this child?” That was Thabo – a young man from KwaZulu-Natal. He was smart and hand­some, and a lov­ing fa­ther to Nkanyezi. His fi­ancée was sob­bing as he con­fronted her about their son.

“Thabo, how could you ac­cuse me of such a thing? I thought you knew me bet­ter than that.”

“Me too, but right now I’m not sure. So tell me the truth, Lindiwe!”

Lindiwe’s friend, Pam, came to the res­cue to calm Thabo down.

“Haibo, Thabo! Come on, Nkanyezi is your son. Can’t you see the shape of his head is like yours, not to men­tion his nose? And look at those feet, this one is def­i­nitely Thabo junior.”

“Thabo junior, my foot!” Thabo shrieked.

“Yes, ex­actly, your foot,” Pam said.

Thabo had had enough. “I’m leav­ing. When I get back, you must give me the name of the man who fa­thered this child, other­wise our wed­ding is off!”

“What? You can’t do that! Our wed­ding day is to­mor­row,” Lindiwe begged.

But her fum­ing fi­ancé had al­ready got into his car and was driv­ing off leav­ing her with a headache and a heartache. Pam was not fin­ished with her friend. “So why didn’t you tell me?” she de­manded. “For 14 years we’ve been friends and you’ve hid­den such a se­cret from me. I’m the only per­son you turn to when things are sweet and when things are sour, so tell me – who is the real fa­ther? You know I won’t tell Thabo or any­one else.”

“Haw, mn­gani! You know who the fa­ther is. You said it your­self. His foot – re­mem­ber?” Lindiwe sighed. “Re­ally? It’s Thabo?” “Of course. Who else could it be?” “Okay, if you say so. I’ll see you to­mor­row at your wed­ding – if there still is one,” Pam said on her way out. “And by the way, you need to take a close look at Nkanyezi’s feet be­cause they don’t even vaguely re­sem­ble Thabo’s.”

THABO usu­ally played jazz when he was driv­ing his car, but now he was driv­ing in silent fury. His thun­der­ing heart­beat was the only rhythm he could hear. He pulled over at a café and or­dered a very strong cup of cof­fee with no su­gar. The bit­ter taste re­sem­bled the feel­ing in his heart at that mo­ment. Each sip re­minded him of how he’d been raising an il­le­git­i­mate son for three years, how he’d been liv­ing a lie with­out pick­ing up any signs of his fi­ancée’s treach­ery. How could he have al­lowed her to fool him – so much so that he was ready to put a ring on her finger?

“I’m not mar­ry­ing that woman,” he mut­tered. “I swear on my fa­ther’s legacy, I will not marry her!”

He hit the ta­ble, hard, three times with his fist, and then got up to leave when he re­alised that ev­ery­one was star­ing at him. He needed to talk to some­one who would un­der­stand him. He had to find his older sis­ter, Mamsy.

“She did what?” Mamsy shrieked when Thabo told her his story. “I told you from the first day I laid eyes on that girl that she was bad weather – thun­der. And light­ning strik­ing. That’s her, my brother. Stop the wed­ding, right now. You are young and very good look­ing, just like me. Get away from that thun­der­storm – there are many rays of sun­shine that would love to be with you.”

“I hear you, Mamsy, but the wed­ding is to­mor­row,” Thabo re­minded her. “How am I go­ing to tell all the peo­ple we’ve in­vited that the wed­ding is off?”

“Don’t worry, Thabo. Get a good sleep tonight and just don’t turn up at the church to­mor­row,” the loud­mouthed Mamsy ad­vised. “That’ll teach Lindiwe a les­son to never mess with the Khu­ma­los.”

LINDIWE, feel­ing mis­er­able, waited for her hus­band-to-be to come back home. By 7pm he’d still not re­turned, so she called his phone, which went to voice­mail. She left him a mes­sage. “Thabo, please don’t do this to me, come back home. We need to talk about this. Please come home.”

She even­tu­ally fell asleep on the couch that night, hop­ing she’d hear Thabo re­turn­ing in the mid­dle of the night. When her alarm rang at 5am, Lindiwe im­me­di­ately checked the bed­room. She found Nkanyezi sleep­ing all by him­self on the bed, with his lit­tle thumb stuck be­tween his tiny lips.

Be­fore she could de­cide what to do next, there was a knock on the door.

“Sur­prise!” her brides­maids shrieked as they pushed through the door into the house.

“Haibo! A bride must not look this stressed on her wed­ding day. Lindi, you will ruin the pic­tures girl! Come, let’s get you ready. Where is your dress?”

They sang wed­ding songs as they did Lindiwe’s hair and make- up. She looked like a princess in her white dress with her beau­ti­ful bou­quet of white flow­ers in her hands. But her ap­pear­ance on the out­side didn’t match her feel­ings in­side – her spirit was sink­ing lower and lower as her des­per­ate calls kept go­ing through to Thabo’s voice­mail.

Then the cars ar­rived, dec­o­rated like birth­day cakes. The hoot­ing, the singing, the joy. Peo­ple had turned out in num­bers to ac­com­pany the bride to church.

But would the groom be there? Only Mamsy knew the an­swer to that. Hour’s ear­lier, she’d knocked on Thabo’s bed­room door.

“Wake up, lit­tle brother. Maybe I should ul­u­late – to­day is your wed­ding day af­ter all.” “Don’t you dare. I’m not go­ing.” “Oh yes you are,” Mamsy in­sisted. “I’ve changed my mind. You need to go to the church and rub the dirt into the face of this thun­der- girl in front of ev­ery­one. That re­venge will be sweeter than not show­ing up, don’t you think? Now get ready, quickly”

THE priest was ready at the al­tar, with the grooms­men dressed to per­fec­tion pos­ing next to the man of the mo­ment, Thabo. Lindiwe had never been so happy to see him. “I knew you wouldn’t let me down, my love,” she whis­pered to her man as she reached his side.

Si­lence de­scended on the church and Lindiwe made her vows. Then it was Thabo’s turn.

“Ex­cuse me ev­ery­one, be­fore I can con­tinue with my vows I be­lieve that my wife-to-be has some­thing to tell me and all of you. Now, Lindiwe, tell us who Nkanyezi’s fa­ther is.”

The whole church erupted. “Si­lence! This is a holy place,” the priest bel­lowed, try­ing to re­store or­der.

“It’s you, Thabo, of course it’s you,” Lindiwe pleaded.

“Liar! Stop ly­ing to us all,” an an­gry Mamsy shouted. “Tell her, my brother, tell her what you saw.”

Lindiwe was con­fused and looked at Thabo for an ex­pla­na­tion.

“Yes, I saw you, Lindiwe. I saw you show­ing Nkanyezi a pic­ture and you said, ‘ You will see your fa­ther soon. You will see him for the first time, my child.’ This is how I know I’m raising an­other man’s child and that you were plan­ning to in­tro­duce Nkanyezi to his real fa­ther af­ter you’d mar­ried me. I want to know who that man is, right now.”

Just then, a tall, dark and hand­some man walked into the church and made his way to the al­tar.

“Who is he?” wed­ding guests mut­tered. “This must be the fa­ther.”

But Thabo recog­nised him im­me­di­ately. “Dr Mnisi? Our doc­tor? You’ve got to be kid­ding me, Lindiwe!”

“Thabo, I’m sorry to barge in on your wed­ding like this but your fi­ancée asked me to do an ur­gent DNA. I apol­o­gise for go­ing ahead with­out your con­sent, but your phone was off and Lindiwe made me un­der­stand how im­por­tant it was. This is the re­sult – I as­sure you that you’re the first per­son to see it.”

Thabo opened the en­ve­lope and read the re­sult – he was in­deed Nkanyezi’s fa­ther. But how? It didn’t make any sense. What fa­ther was she talk­ing about? And what was that pic­ture?

“Thabo, I had just been given a scan of our new baby,” Lindiwe started to ex­plain. “That was the pic­ture, and this will be the child who will see his fa­ther for the first time – in about seven months.” “Preg­nant?” Thabo was stunned. Over­come by the emo­tional scene, the guests wept as Thabo com­pleted his vows and the cou­ple fell into each other’s arms.

Only one per­son failed to be charmed by the beau­ti­ful scene that played out be­fore them – Mamsy, who stole away from the church like a dark cloud be­fore the storm. Clearly, she was no match for thun­der-girl Lindiwe.

‘I told you from the first day I laid eyes on that girl that she was bad weather – thun­der’

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