He had such tiny feet and tiny hands. Oh, he was just a bundle of joy. I loved everything about him. I loved watching him and holding him close. It made me forget everything else. The day my son was born coincided with the day college opened. I breastfed my child for only three days and then I had to go to college.

It was my last semester and I was writing my final exams. My parents could not afford to rent me a place near the college and to pay for a child-minder. So I left my son in the care of my mother. She took a three-month leave from work to take care of her grandson. I left with a heavy heart. So I stopped nursing the baby and introduced him to milk formula.

 

He wasn’t a difficult baby. It was like he understood the world and I found solace in his sighs, when he stretched and all the things that babies do. I tried to get home every weekend to see my baby. Getting the formula was a bit of a challenge. Inflation was at its peak in the country and there were food shortages.

.

For the first month I roamed every shop in different locations and so did my friends. Until Judith introduced my mother to a cross-border trader who began to buy the formula from South Africa. It was quite a strain. James did call asking after my health and seeking to see the child. I laughed. I laughed really hard. I told him to tell his people to get in touch with my family. Only then could we take it up. I owed him nothing. He didn’t take any action. So I let it be.

 

He then called a week after I had gone to school and was actually surprised that I had left TC. But I told him he had no say as to what I did if he wanted to play a part he just had to make things right. He knew how.

.

.My mother went to the hospital and sought advice from the dietician and nutritionist on alternatives. She was taught how to prepare milk- we got a regular supply from a nearby farm. She was also advised to buy a blender to blend fruits for the baby…and was advised on how often Clint could take the juice.

 

We all tried to make it work with what we had. He was quite a chubby baby. At first, it was difficult being without him but I also knew that finishing college was just equally important. so I soldiered on and made it home every two weeks

 

Charles. Yes, Charles. He called so many times, sent so many texts. He was so relentless. I knew I was going to have to deal with him. So I called him one weekend when I was home and asked if we could meet.

‘am glad you finally agreed to see me. You are looking good. How are you and how is the baby?’

‘thank you. I am well and so is the baby. Amazingly adorable and growing.’ I smiled. Whenever I spoke about him I had so much pride such that my eyes lit up. This was me -a mother. It was a subject that really had me going.

‘you don’t look so bad yourself. How is business?’

‘all is well. I was just worried about you. You wouldn’t take my calls or reply to my texts?’

‘so sorry about that. I just had too much on my plate.’

‘but then you didn’t have to go through it alone. I thought we were past that. I had said I want to be there for you in every way. Why are you shutting me out?’

‘james came back’

‘james! And?’

‘and I wanted to hear him out?’

‘you still love him?’

‘I thought we could work it out.’

‘I don’t know what to say. I mean how really did you think I would feel? Why couldn’t you open up? Just let me know what was happening? Didn’t I, or don’t I deserve that at least?’

‘now that you are saying it , I guess I had blinkers in my eyes. I am really sorry. I did you wrong. I am so embarrassed, really I am.’

‘ I thought by now you would have come to know the sort of person that I am. I would have wanted you to trust me.’

‘i was not being rational. I see that now and do forgive me.’

‘ do you need space because I am not sure of anything anymore?’

‘ I need a friend.’

‘I can be that friend if you need me to be.’

‘thank you’

‘ but I want things to be clear between us, I want us to have transparency in every step of the way.’

‘ I would want that very much.’

I wanted someone to hold my hand. In as much as I had my family and friends, I needed that male companionship – though I didn’t want to rush into anything. I wanted to be sure…

Click here to see a list of all the chapters of the diary of a single mother

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