“I don’t get it,” he says. “We’ve been dating for nearly six years. It’s time to get married now.” He’s still standing, giving him an edge over her she doesn’t like.
“I told you from the first date I didn’t want to get married. I think you know I say few things I don’t mean.”
He paces some more and runs his hands through his short afro. She watches him and thinks about how she will never understand such an emotional man. She’s not a fan of such emotion. She tries to keep hers to herself and thinks it would be better if everyone did the same.
“I know you, I know you more than you know yourself. I want to be with you, take care of you,” the man repeats.
Goitsemang nearly laughs at that. He knows her like the trucker’s wife knew her husband – about as much as a person could, which was very little. She normally tries not to think about things she doesn’t like, things that are upsetting. Maybe it’s wrong. Psychologists rant against letting things pile up inside. They warn emotions will come out – one way or another. But so far Goitsemang has found that to be untrue. Nevertheless, she opens a little window into her mind, into the dark recesses rarely visited, and takes a peek.
She’s there again, a girl, only turned sixteen the week before. She was a beautiful girl, just as she’d grown to be a beautiful woman. Already at sixteen, men coveted her. She was giddy with their attention. Too much attention had got her in the mess she was in though. Looking back, Goitsemang sees the moment when that girl takes control of her life. A single moment when she says – I will not be pushed about by circumstances. If there would be pushing, she would be the pusher. A decision that set the course of her life.
A baby. A tiny girl. Light-skinned and noisy from the minute she was Light-skinned and noisy from the minute she was born. The world sent out a lot of messages about women and babies; a lot of propaganda from Goitsemang’s seat. That night she did not hear any of it. All she heard was her own survival call and she answered it. Wrapping up the baby, she set it next to the railway crossing, a place where a car’s lights would surely find it, and went home. Home to her life she had only just started living. A life of secrets, just like everyone else, she would have hers too. Secrets that needed a lid put upon them, a lid that needed constant vigilance to keep in firm place.
She pours herself another drink and lets the man talk. He has a nice voice and the drone of it comforts her in a way. She can see he needs to get everything off of his chest. She wonders if her secret would shut him up. If it would have him packing up his words and making a clean exit. He sees himself as a modern man, an educated man. A metrosexual, with liberal tendencies. But she knew that when pushed into a corner, when he was denied what he wanted, his public face melted and his secret-self stepped up, if only a small corner of it. She likes him, maybe even loves him as she has said – as much as she can – but people are people.