Cheating: I wrote this about 2 years back, for a friend’s sister’s writing assignment. I wonder if the teacher found out.

“Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve ….” she sighed as if to stop herself. She had been lost in thought again, in memory.

“I can’t go down that path again; I can’t allow those thoughts to take residence in my mind again.” Banzu thought to herself as she reached in her bag to pay the impatient looking waitress towering over her. She looked around in the canteen which was filled with mainly students from the University; what did she expect, it was a University canteen after all. Most of the faces were strangers to her. It had been a while since she had been in this place but not much had changed. The students were so full of dreams, full of hope and life. Life; the thing which she felt had been slowly drained out of her. She rubbed at her chest as if to massage a bruise but she knew that bruises of the heart could not be healed with physical touch.

Five months later and it still felt like it was just happening. Five months spent fighting to hold onto her sanity. She blinked back the tears that were threatening to fall, glistening at her lashes. Her family and friends had told her to be strong, but everything just brought back memories of her loss. The sound of babies crying, the delightful shriek of playing children in the neighbourhood all seemed to emphasise what she did not have. But the silence was the worst of them all because she was sure she heard voices; voices filled with if only. She rested both her palms across her abdomen as if feeling for something, searching for something she knew was supposed to be there. Sadness taking on the form of a sigh came from her mouth because she knew he was gone. Her baby was gone.

The first time she found out she was pregnant, like any other first time mother, she was a mixture of excited and scared. She loved Kwizzi and she knew he loved her too, but they had fallen on some hard times. She was not as sure of his love as she once was. She wondered how to break the news to him. Stories had been told and situations witnessed where the men in play totally denied all responsibility. She had considered dealing with it on her own without telling anyone. Banzu had spent countless panic filled, sleepless nights deliberating, wondering which of the roads before her was the right path. None seemed easy. Finally she had reached a decision. That night she had called Kwizzi and asked that they meet up. He could tell something was a miss from the moment he laid eyes on her. She was avoiding his eyes, looking at the ground and speaking in whispers. His heart raced as he prepared himself for what he considered the worst. He thought of all the plans they had made and couldn’t imagine that they would all end that day, that moment. He gathered all the courage he had and finally spoke up

“What is wrong Banzu, why did you want us to meet so suddenly?” She did not respond but kept shifting her weight from one foot to another.
“I don’t know how to say this” she whispered and he almost missed it
“Just get on with it,” he said fighting back tears, “there is no need to drag it on longer than we have to.” He turned his face away from her, fighting the urge to walk away and save her from saying it.
“I’m pregnant” she said tears glistening in her eyes. “I’m pregnant Kwiz and it’s yours”
“Oh…” He sighed. It had not even crossed his mind. He didn’t even think of the full implications of the statement. He was just beyond relieved that she wasn’t ending it; she wasn’t breaking up with him.

He had hugged her tightly and assured her everything was going to be fine. They had made plans together. He said he wanted to marry her and make an honest woman of her. He promised to stand with her to face everyone.

“We are together in this,” he had assured her
It had happened so suddenly. None of them had seen the car coming.
“Don’t tell her yet. She’s too weak.” A voice that sounded like her mother’s said. She had been unconscious for eight days, she was told.
“Excuse me madam,” the waitress said, “Your balance is here” She was startled and looked around at the canteen one last time before she stood up to leave. The canteen where they had spent most of their time, the canteen where they had met, now held the semblance of a tomb. It only made her ask questions. It just brought back too many memories.



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