Celebrating East African Writing!

Two Sides of the Same Coin

By Nyakallo Lephoto

Thabiso’s story

A coin flipped and landed heads. So was a man made head of the family and so shall it remain until another coin flip, if ever. By virtue of being male that makes me head in my relationship. A claim that might be disputed by some since, due to retrenchment, I am financially dependant on my woman. I am forever embroiled in a battle to prove my worth; I thrive on being exceptional in all aspects of my relationship. I am working hard on being sensitive to her emotions, kind to her friends and constantly reaffirm her, often ending up in senseless arguments about minor issues. An implicit evidence of a power struggle.

She is, however, the only woman that has seen the true worth of my person and potential of my dreams. The only one to have supported the vision, like Nomzamo behind Rolihlahla.  One thing is clear on my mind; I will make it big through the logistics company I am building. Point to Point Logistics offers timely transportation of office furniture, private personal possessions and airport shuttle services. Our vision is to keep on the fast lane of delivery, as your life is. A dream that will, surely, be a reality sooner rather than later.

Out of my ever-depreciating severance package funds, I just stepped out of a jewellery store with a small box in my pocket. With it, my word to love, cherish and honour her as long as I exist. On my trip home, I rehearse the words:

“Will you take my lonely heart and provide it with the warmth of a family home?

Complement my character and be one with me.

Will you spend forever with me?

Through trials and tribulations, Joys and Jubilations.

Busisiwe Nhlapo, I love you!

Will you marry me?”


Busisiwe’s story

All evidence in nature, religion and tradition point to one thing, man is leader. He is provider and protector. Women desperately cling to the ideal of Mr. Right. A direct consequence of exposure to Cinderella and Barbie. I have my Mr. Right and he is less than perfect when viewed from the “prince charming” spectacles. He is, however, complete for me. Ambitious intelligent and in touch with reality. He is a great cook and terrific between the sheets. In my 28 years of existence I never even dreamt of squirting and multiple orgasms. With him, that has turned into reality.

Challenges are a constant of life. The motor industry has been the hardest hit by the economic downturn and Thabiso’s job was not spared. I am comforted by his positive mind frame regarding this matter. He does, of course, get grumpy and moody but it never lasts.

Strange, how we spend the rest of our lives looking for the right person only to find we are the “not so right” person for them. A friend once said, an Eagle flies in the direction where the storm is coming from, with the knowledge that there is no storm where a storm has been. Today I take the bull by its horns. We have been using protection religiously; therefore we have nothing to worry about. Today, I come clean. I need to stop feeling like I am living a lie. I owe it to myself, more so to him. When I get home I tell him. I am HIV positive….

To be continued….


His story continues….

A few blocks before home, I pop into a liquor store to purchase Red Sparkling wine. It is to be used as an accessory to the proposal and for celebration if I am successful or drown sorrows should she say No.


Her story continues….

The burden of all this is too heavy on my heart. I shiver with fear. I take the long way home.  I am tempted to not to tell. What if I lose him? I can’t stand the thought of him with another woman.

I am still not a 100% certain of how I acquired the disease. My first boyfriend and I had sexual intercourse on those without protection on those 2 occasions we, ever did. He has since passed on. He died from a car crash. The only other man I slept with, without the use of a condom, is the man I was engaged to married to, the father of my child. It was when I was pregnant that I found out of my status. The most earth shuttering news I have ever heard. To further aggravate matters, the revelation coincided with the suicide death of my cousin, Thokozile. The one person I confided in and the only one that would have known had she still been alive. All along she was silent about her pain in the hands of an abusive husband.

I walk into the house to be greeted by the smell of herbs and spices. Thabiso is dressed only in a red apron embroidered, “The Best Cook.” I stand wide eyed, jaw dropping and marvelling at this spectacle. He hands me a glass of sparkling red wine and says, “….it’s on tonight!” I am flooding downstairs.

His story continues….

I have kept the food simple yet tantalizing. Chicken strips soaked in lemon juice, fried in medium heat with olive oil, chilli, green pepper, garlic, tomatoes and parsley. To the parboiled rice, I added mixed veggies and thin slices of avocado. This should go down as an evening well spent, if all fails.

I lead her to the chair and start playing Il Divo while dishing. She giggles each time I turn my back on her. Now, I know what people say behind my back, “Nice ass!”

Her story continues….

I am not quite certain which view is the yummiest, that of the plate or him in that apron. For a second I forget my mission. I cannot afford to be derailed, lose focus yet can’t help but savour the moment. Food is so great I am tempted to lick the plate clean. As I am sipping wine I feel something solid caress my lips. I take a pen out of my handbag to investigate. A round, shiny object rears its beautiful head.

His story continues….

Everytime she raises her glass I get nervous. Just now she chokes on the ring I slipped in her glass. Our conversation ranges from how we met to our dream of living in a mansion by the mountain side with a view of the lake, down below. She takes the ring out smiles and looks at with the look that says, “what’s with the lame movie stunts, now?” I stay calm, go down on one knee and recite the words,

“Will you take my lonely heart and provide it with the warmth of a family home?

Complement my character and be one with me.

Will you spend forever with me?

Through trials and tribulations, Joys and Jubilations.

Busisiwe Nhlapo, I love you!

Will you marry me?”

To be continued….

Her story

As he poses the question, I am busy preparing a speech of my own.

“Thabiso Motaung, there is nothing that would make me happier than being your wife. I have not told you all about myself, though. It is my wish that you are as honest as you can be about the matter I am about to tell you. No matter what you decide, always know that you will forever have a special place in my heart”


“I am HIV positive, I found out in 2006, when I was pregnant with Khosi. I took Neviropene just before I gave birth and she was born HIV negative….”

His story concludes….

My skin gets itchy as she utters those words. I felt like the little hair on my head was about to fall off. I ran out of saliva, my mouth suddenly went dry. Vision so f Criselda Kananda’s CD she kept on the TV stand ran in my head. How could I have missed so obvious a clue?

I look at her in the eye and smile. Grudgingly I say, “My offer still stands.”

She jumps out of the chair and hugs me. Confused, the reality of it all hasn’t hit me. Me kiss. She leads me to the bedroom.

Her story concludes….

I need to be sure he means what he says. I quickly un dress him, stopping short of tearing all his clothes. He is barely reacting. We kiss frantically. The moment comes; he opens the drawer and says, “we are out of condoms!” Lights out, Robe di Kappa.

His story concludes….

“Baby, I am off to work!” she gives me a peck me on my cheek and leaves. I turn on talk radio. Politics as usual. I ponder on last night events. I attempt to answer challenging questions. The purpose of condom use, why do people feel safe with just a piece of latex between then and potential death? We use for a while, once things gets serious and we “trust” each other we forget about it. Then the relationship ends and we start all over again only to come the full circle.

Till death do us part, I will love her. I shall stand by her as she has stood by me. It is not latex that advices my thinking nor the existence of any disease. I have found my soul mate and U vow to be by her side, forever.

2 comments on “Two Sides of the Same Coin

  1. vyc
    September 13, 2011

    genius…this piece tugged at my heart

  2. kyt
    September 15, 2011

    Africa! what more can we say? nice read

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