Growing up

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Chapter Seven

I wake up feeling lighter, I look around. I am still in hospital and there are flowers and teddy bears all over the room. When I look on the side of my bed I see Mrs Mali and her husband holding a baby, Mrs Mali comes to me “hold her”. I take the tiny, wrapped up bundle. Oh my God, it’s so tiny! “It’s a baby girl, I don’t know how, but they made a mistake about the gender just like they didn’t see that you will go to labour before time,” says Milady. She tells me that I gave birth two days ago and she was worried sick about me. I looked so weak. I just smile as I honestly don’t have energy to speak and I can’t hold the baby. I give her back to her godmother.

I tell them that I am hungry. Mr Mali says: “I have that covered” and hands me my favoured home cooked meal. Mrs Mali is a great cook! I eat like I have not seen food in 30 days. A doctor comes in, does some check-ups and after 15 minutes he tells me that I am ready to go home I just have to sign some papers and then I’ll be discharged. I read before I sign. I am told to breastfeed my baby, I agree but deep down my heart I know I won’t do that. I change from hospital uniform to my clothes. We go to the car and Mr Mali drives while Mrs Mali holds the baby. I sit there irritated and frightened. I have never seen a baby this small.

“What’s her name?” I ask

“Vuyo, Vuyolwethu in full. Did you have any name in mind?” Milady asks.

“Nope.”

Mr Mali interrupts us. “I almost forgot I have something for you love.”I am not sure who he is talking to, he calls me and his wife ‘love’.

“Aviwe.” he says.

“Oh are you talking to me? What is it sir?”

He gives me an envelope. My results! I totally forgot about them! I open the envelope and unfold the paper inside. As expected and hoped, l am thrilled to see that I got 8 A*s, and a 78% in Xhosa. This subject was never my favourite. Nevertheless, my average is 94%. I got 100% in maths, L.O, Life Sciences and Physics!

“You are a champion we should go down to Cape Town to celebrate! Well done baby,” says Mrs Mali. Mr Mali says he has been getting calls from possible sponsors asking about me, but it’s my choice to where I want to go, what I want to study and who I want to work for when I finish my studies. He advises me to take medicine as there is a need of doctors in S.A. He tells me this will be my opportunity to go overseas and explore the world. I tell him I don’t want to be far from East London and I want to study Law. MiLady smiles and says that I have chosen well. “Lord have mercy! Two professional liars in the house, I will die!” says Mr Mali. We all laugh.

I tell the Mali’s I want to go to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University because it’s close to East London. I don’t want to go to UCT or overseas. I don’t want to be far from my family. I have finally found the meaning of family!

Well, I am not going to lie: I am kind of relieved to leave Vuyo, because, since the day she was born, I never had a good night’s sleep. She cries day and night, I thought motherhood was the happiest phase in a woman’s life but in my experience it’s the worst! But Mrs Mali stays up with me at night.. Vuyo’s nanny knocks off at 18:00 so after that, we look after the baby ourselves!

A day before rez opens Mr and Mrs Mali drives me to Port Elizabeth. We leave Vuyo with her nanny.

“You are fortunate Aviwe you know? God does work even though He works in the dark. If you look at where you were 3 years ago, would you have known that you’d be going to study law in one of the best universities in S.A? Would you have known that your life was going to turn out like this? You should be proud of yourself, you are a survivor! You have conquered every obstacle in your way. You are a proof that where we come from does not determine our destiny. I trust you will be the better person that you always have been. Don’t let the city change you. Take care of yourself and make us proud more that we already are,” says MiLady in tears.

“Thank you MiLady. I....I don’t know what to say but I promise I will do my best. I won’t disappoint you. I am who I am today because of you; you saved me. For that I will always be grateful, I don’t know how I would ever repay you for taking me in like your own child, for being such amazing parents to me, for advising me to keep the baby! For punishing Azola and for everything in between. What you did for me is beyond what words can explain. I have stayed with you for less than six months but I have learnt a lot from you. You taught me how to love, you filled the voice inside me, you made me believe in myself and dreams. You have no idea of what you mean to me and how grateful I am to have met you. If it wasn’t for you I would probably be dead by now. You are a blessing to me..“ I reply, also joining MiLady in crying.

“Ok Love ......the heart to heart session is over, get yourselves together, please,” says Mr Mali. He always has a way to spoil the fun. We all hug as they drop me off at Melodi Residence parking lot.

They help me take my suitcase to my room. We first go to the residence manager to pay for the room key and she tells us that everything has been paid off by my bursary. She is a very nice Indian lady. She smiles all the time which makes me wonder if her smile is genuine. We are given the key and shown where my room is. I stay in room E5 on the 1st floor. I am told I will have a roommate but since I have arrived first, I may pick my side. Well, that’s easy, I pick the right hand side because it’s behind the door. I don’t want people to see me when they open the door. Mrs Mali helps me to unpack. When we are finished, I walk them to the car. We say our goodbyes and then they drive away. I watch their car taking off. My heart bleeds and tears escape my eyes! I am all alone. I will build a new life. I am not sure if I am ready for this.

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