The night is cool and so quiet. The trees stand black against the clear, blue-glowing sky. She hears a rooster crow somewhere in the city. I can easily give OT what he wants, she thinks. They could have a life together. She’s tired of keeping up the vigilance. Secrets require that. Could she tell him? The thought of telling someone usually makes her scared, but tonight in this cool moonscape, the thought gives her comfort. The idea of letting this single person see her completely, tonight it seems like such a relief. But night is like that. It’s open to mistakes. It allows a person to be flawed, even in the most terrible of ways. Days do not. And there was always another sunrise, always another day.
She eases herself down to the grass. It’s wet with dew. She lays back on its itchy coldness and looks up at the moon. She wonders if somewhere her daughter might be doing the same. Did the moon bring her an unidentified sadness? One she knows is always there but can never be understood? Goitsemang hopes not. She hopes that her daughter will let the forgiving night ameliorate any bitterness she feels for the girl who’d given birth to her, even if only for one night.
Goitsemang is tired in a way no sleep will ever relieve her. She wants to be cut free.
The wet has gone through her nightgown and now she shivers in the cold moonlight. I should get up, she thinks. I should climb back into my bed with the man who loves me. She thinks about how she might get in next to him and kiss his neck and bite his ear until he wakes up.
And then she will say, “I’ll agree to marry you as long as you listen to this first.”
Then she will tell him.
She’ll tell him how she’d hid the pregnancy. How the pains started and she remained quiet so her father, who so loved her, would not hear and find that she had disappointed him. How she’d crept out into the bush to give birth so no one would hear. How she’d abandoned her daughter at the railway crossing like an empty drink tin or a sweet wrapper.
Would he be forgiving like the night, or would he be the judging daylight?
She lies where she is and lets the cold take her completely. She lies still and waits for the dawn.