Siblings For Sale – Short Story
By: Mpho Tlale
The moon provided them with enough light to see into each other’s eyes. Just sitting there and watching the waves from the Atlantic Ocean was enough for Dineo.The lighthouse proved to offer a peace of mind. They had wished to relax by the beach shores to enjoy the view at a close range but the tide was high and it was chilly. Dineo noticed the difference between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. The Atlantic was more violent and cold. It was no wonder the coastal area between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay was littered with shipwrecks. Those were the results of the hostility of the Atlantic.
She had been to Kenya’s coastal town Mombasa the year before on a work trip. The Indian Ocean is more serene with clear blue waters, white sand on the beach areas and ladies parading their figures in colourful bikinis from morning until evening. She had exhausted both the day and night life within the week she was there.
The holiday getaway at Namibia’s Swakopmund was just what she needed. She wanted an action packed holiday with some adrenaline rush hence Swakop.It is a small town yet with so many activities to choose from, such as sand boarding, quad biking and skydiving.
A confused soul to some extent, Dineo had never felt that content in a long time. Since the passing of her favourite cousin Kedisaletse in the first week of January that year, she had it difficult adjusting to life without her best friend. Aged 25, Kedisaletse had died from a car accident on her way back home from work. That evening she had to work late to complete a presentation that she never got to deliver.
Leaning her head on Masego’s broad shoulders, Dineo felt comfortable and appreciated. Masego had been there for her, in her time of need. No man had ever gone an extra mile for her the way Masego did.
The sound of the waves had sent her to sleep. Masego on the other hand could not sleep. His eyes kept on swaying from side to side with the beam from the lighthouse.
“Sweetheart please wake up. You are bound to catch a cold. The temperature is getting a bit hectic”, Masego said giving Dineo a slight shake on her left shoulder.
“When do you plan on coming back? The kids and I are missing you real bad “, said the voice on the other end of the line.
“Don’t worry honey I will be back before you know it. I had an unexpected emergency that I had to sort out. You know how these business trips are, there is always a lot of uncertainty “, replied Masego in an almost whisper.
He did not want to wake Dineo up. He couldn’t bear to look at the pain in her Chinese like small eyes whenever he talked to his wife when they were together. Although she never passed a comment, her pain was relayed through her eyes.
Masego was a man apart. He loved Dineo, but not enough to leave his wife for her. She was still young and adventurous. On the other hand, he was settled .He felt he had reached the pinnacle of his life journey.
Their affair had been ongoing for a few months. Eight months to be precise. Dineo was secretly hoping that Masego would leave his wife for her. He had told her several times that he did not want his two kids to grow fatherless.
“I grew up without a father and I don’t want to do the same to my kids. Just so you know, my three younger siblings and I have different fathers. Their father would always shower them with presents leaving the one that wasn’t his out. Eventually he left and I had to take care of my mother and them.I am not bitter though, just a better man. I used that to my advantage and it turned me to be the man that I am. A man who would do anything for his kids and the smiles on their faces .That includes staying with their mother despite what may come. Just to keep them happy and see those smiles “. Masego said that with a plain face.
Dineo listened to him and did not comment. How could she comment on such a loaded statement? She knew the joys of a father’s love and didn’t want to see herself being the sole reason that his kids did not have a father. Her friends envied her relationship with her father. They got along so well. Often she would get remarks from one of her good friends Keneilwe.
‘You are so lucky to have a father like Motshwari.I wish I had that in my life. You and Wame have this type of relationship with your fathers that I envy.” Keneilwe said with a calm face. She told Dineo of how her parents fought when her father was alive. She heard of how the physical fights would end up with Keneilwe’s mother going to the clinic after heavy beatings from a man whose whereabouts remained unknown until he came home. He had later died from AIDS related illnesses because of his many affairs.
Dineo knew the story too well. She had heard it countless times. Surprisingly at her age, she had never seen her parents argue nor raise a hand at each other. She too wished to have that kind of relationship at some point in time. She needed a bit of stability to add to her personality.
“Why can’t I fall pregnant? Am I such a sinner that God can’t grant me the chance to be a mother?” Dineo asked herself as she shed a tear in the silence of her living room. She had turned the lights off to get in touch with her inner self.
“I don’t want to trap Masego but I wish to have his baby. He reminds me of my father in so many ways. Not only with the way he squints his eyes but flecks of his personality almost resemble those off rre yoo o ntsetseng, my father.”
For days Dineo wondered but could not get an answer. She knew what she wanted was downright wrong but pursued it nevertheless. They had gone for an HIV test combined with a general test for STD’s and both their results turned negative. Dineo was a health freak and always wanted to be sure what she was getting herself into. Masego alike was as cautious.
She had lied to Masego about taking contraceptive pills .She had stopped those. They made her gain weight and nauseous when she took them. Besides she wanted to have his baby after all.
After a month of trying with no results, a ray of hope hit Dineo.The pregnancy tested positive.
“Ooh my word my prayers have been answered. Who would have thought it have been sooner”, Dineo danced up and down in the bathroom. She looked outside the window with half her head out. She wanted to feel the sun’s radiant rays on her skin on such a joyous day. Her gynaecologist had advised she do the test in the morning. It was the best time as the urine had a higher amount of human chorionic gonadotropin.
He had said to her and she remembered it vividly . “There may be a lot of reasons why you are not getting pregnant. Please try to reduce your stress levels and when you do test, do it in the morning when you take your first leak. The urine then contains a high level of HCG which is a very crucial chemical used to determine pregnancy “.
Walking down those stairs she tried to keep back the tears that were about to make an appearance. If only they could wait for her to reach the car at least .She did not want people who had no business knowing her sorrows see her in tears. Everything was a blur.
“I am sorry to tell you this but it was a false alarm. It does happen once in a while for the kit to give positive results. Give yourself a break and try at a later stage”, the gynae said to Dineo.
Throughout all her emotional roller coaster, Dineo kept it a secret from Masego.He need not know what she wanted to do, lest he broke things off with her.
At her age, Dineo had a combined soul. To some degree the soul had a bit of age to it for a 26 year old. Possibly because of her middle name Othata.Her grandmother had given her the name to continue the legacy. Dineo and Othata had strong bond that continued even after her grandmother passed away almost over five years ago in 2008.
A few days before her uncle’s passing she had a mysterious dream that would later explain itself with death.
“How was the funeral?”Dineo asked her big sister Malebogo. Before Malebogo could respond Dineo realised that Malebogo’s black dress was a see through. Through the dress she saw that Malebogo was having her period and the pad had turned upside down at the front to reveal some blood.
“Time to wake up. The time is six o’clock. Time to …”
Still caught up in her sleep Dineo reached for her phone’s alarm clock.
“Damn you alarm! Cant you just let me enjoy my sleep” .She let out a loud sigh of displeasure as the alarm had interrupted her dream.
Deep down she was happy that it rang when it did. That alarm had saved her the agony of a continued nightmare. She woke up feeling different. Her spirit haunted her for about a week before it happened.
She couldn’t put a finger on it despite the fact that her heart refused to jump with joy. All she could feel was a dark hair raising sensation that resulted in a constant headache. The universe was sending her signs that she could not interpret. The conclusion came two days later when she tried her hand at drinking coffee at the office. A random act she just did. She was not the type to drink coffee or tea. Dineo’s hand jerked, leading to the cup breaking into strange small pieces. Unknown to her, her mother was also experiencing the same fate as her. However hers was more brutal than Dineo’s and it left her with dark bruises on her legs. The sight was very gory for someone who just fell by herself.
When the news was broke to her, she wasn’t surprised. It had been a long time coming. Her uncle’s passing that Wednesday lifted that heavy cloud that was hovering over Dineo’s soul.
She felt dizzy most of the time and just overlooked it.“Its probably my body adjusting after the stress it has been through with the nightmares and all “, she thought as she was busy mixing the dough in the big blue metal bowl. The people who were coming for the evening prayers had to eat. Nobody was willing to do the task.
Streams of sweat kept flowing down her face .She wiped the sweat off with the back of her hand but eventually she had to stop as she couldn’t breathe. In a dizzy spell she nearly fainted but managed to balance herself with the table.
“Are you ok Dineo?” asked a random concerned female voice.
“Ee mma ke siame. I just think the heat is too strong for me to handle .I am also tired from lack of sleep. Engineering is not an easy profession .The working hours push me to sleep late and wake up early “, said Dineo.She had turned to see that Mma Kabelo, her father’s aunt was the one asking.
The following day, Dineo thought she saw a face that she knew very well but dismissed it since she was busy. She would later get her confirmation that indeed the face that she saw was Masego’s.He had come for the daily evening prayers before Dineo’s uncle was laid to rest over the weekend.
Her father would later call her to greet Masego.He introduced her with her grandmother’s name Othata.It is tradition that when a child inherits a name, she is given the same amount of respect that the older name holder would get.
“What are you doing here?” Dineo asked Masego when they finally got a moment to chat away from the elders.
“I am here to mourn my uncle’s passing ”, replied Masego.
‘How is it that my uncle is your uncle? Asked an obviously curious Dineo.
As she was about to get an answer from Masego, her nosey aunt Rose came over and whispered to her.
“I see you have met your brother already”, she said with a grin
Still confused Dineo asked for clarity. What she got was an answer that they had not braced themselves for.
This time Rose said it loud for Masego to hear as well.
‘Masego is your brother. He is your father’s first born. If you don’t believe me, just look at him and you will see he is a carbon copy of your father. He was born in the same year as your older sister Malebogo, but he is five months older”.
Dineo felt hot and cold at a go. That is all she could remember when waking up at Batho Betsho Private Hospital. She was not even sure how Masego took the news.It was not long after she woke up that the doctor came in with what he termed good news. Oblivious to what had happened the doctor proceeded.
“I am sorry about the stress that you encountered to get you here but I have good news for you. Now if you would allow me to share them with you.”
“You may proceed doctor”, said an emotionally drained Dineo.
‘You are pregnant, with twins”.
With those words, the beeper went off from the heart monitoring machine that Dineo was connected to. She felt her stomach churn with a burning sensation before she threw up.
How could she have slept with her brother all this while and never know it. She remembered an episode of her favourite South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) 1 program Intersexions.When the program started the voice over would always say “Our lives intersect in mysterious ways. Bound together by the secrets we keep. Open to the harm that secret brings”.