She didn’t know whose it was, she insisted. Glanced at her father, thought of Spiro.
Her father got up, stumbled out, embraced the blackness of the night.
She wrung her hands and said she didn’t know whose it was. Didn’t know how it could’ve happened.
Mama began to cry.
She didn’t move, stared at the plastic flowers in the broken cup on a small table in the middle of the cement floor, thinking how fresh they looked.
When Mama was done crying, she said, “You are going to ekhaya straight.”
Her head snapped back sharply, as though she had been slapped.
“No more schooling for you. You are going to reap your whoring.”
She stared at Mama. Thought of her father, thought of Spiro. “What about Father?”
“I said, if I’m going to reap my whoring, then so is Father.
I’m going to tell everyone. Let me stay, and let me go to school, or else I’m going to tell everyone.”
The slap was for real this time – pah! It sent her tumbling to the floor.
“You think I don’t know? You think I don’t know about that stupid boy of yours from the shops? You think I don’t know?”
And she was crying again, Mama. And now they were cry- ing together.
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is a Zimbabwe-born writer. Her stories have won the Yvonne Vera Award and been shortlisted for the Zimbabwe Achievers Literature Award. She has been a participant in both the Caine Prize and Farafina Trust Writing Workshops.
She holds a BCom in Economics and Finance from the University of Witwatersrand. She has been awarded a Maytag Fellowship to pursue an MFA Creative Writing at the University of Iowa.
She won the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for the best literary work in English in 2014 for Shadows.