Juicy Gossip P3

By Drum Digital
05 October 2013

Illustration: Caine Swanson Sihle glanced at her wristwatch, which was of such inferior quality that Mary and I could only wonder how she could boast to all and sundry that it was a Valentine's Day present from her dearest husband. Just because something came in a cushioned little box didn't necessarily mean it's genuine. Anybody with a decent level of schooling had to know that. But as Sihle had dropped out of school early, we couldn't really expect her to know

any better. ??About time I went home,'' she said. ??Must start preparing supper.'' We'd reviewed the news for the day, and with our husbands about to arrive home at any moment, we went off to see to our domestic lives. Supper in my house was always a quiet affair. Little Mona was fed and put to bed well before her fatherand I sat down for our evening meal. Peter and I had only just settled down to eat at our small four-place dining table when there was a light, hesitant knock on the door.

Being closest to the door, I rose to answer it with a frown, deeply annoyed at having my supper interrupted. The last

person I expected to find standing on the doorstep, her slim body shivering in the chilly winter wind, was the very same

nursing student we'd been gossiping about earlier that afternoon.

??What are you doing out in such terrible weather?'' I stopped myself just in time from blurting out ??in your condition''.

I ushered her into my home, taking in her dishevelled appearance for the update I'd give Sihle and Mary in the morning. ??My father threw me out,'' she mumbled as I shut out the cold.

Her eviction had been anything but gentle. Her jersey, which seemed by all appearances new, was missing

several buttons and hung on her slumped shoulders at an angle that gave the impression of having been

tugged at forcefully. And was that a footprint on her uniform?

With so much to absorb, I only just remembered to look shocked.

??What?!'' And though I had little doubt as to the reason, I asked all the same, ??Why?''

She stared at the tiles as she answered, her voice barely audible, ??The disgrace . . . I'm pregnant. He said he wouldn't keep a prostitute under his roof.''

??Shame,'' I sympathised. I'd shelter her, I resolved. Clearly, that was the reason she'd come knocking at my door. But it would be for the night only. I didn't want that disagreeable father of hers sermonising at my gate about meddling in his family matters. Besides, it wouldn't do to have every pregnant girl in the area thinking my home was a halfway house. One night would be long enough for me to wheedle out of her the answers the others and I craved.

Then she lifted her head for the first time and spoke across the dinner table, addressing Peter, whom I'd forgotten about in my excitement. ??He told me to go to my baby's father.''

Her beseeching expression and his guilt-ridden face unravelled the mystery that Mary, Sihle and I had been unable to solve that afternoon.

It suddenly made sense why, of all the doorsteps in the neighbourhood, she had turned up on mine.

As the realisation of my husband's cheating dawned on me, I placed my cold hand over my hammering

heart. What were people going to say?

The end.

-by Mirirai Moyo

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