Grace discovered spots of blood on her underwear.
Ntobeko was with Lucas, his friend from the pizza delivery place, and a mate of Lucas’s, Mvelisi. Mvelisi used to be on the police force, Ntobeko had discovered, so Ntobeko had asked Lucas if they could all go out for a beer.
They’d found a place call Tboz, a trendy tavern with good, well priced food and a buzzy, up-beat feel.
They sat on the outdoor chairs, close to where lamb was being braai’d on a spit.
Lanterns dangled in the air above them.
“So what do you do at the moment?” queried Mvelisi.
“He’s a delivery-boy,” said Lucas with a laugh.
But Ntobeko was not ashamed. “I deliver pizza, yes, but I’m my own man. I ride a scooter.”
“Not even a motor-bike, this one!” jeered Lucas.
Ntobeko did not appreciate his snide tone.
“At least I wasn’t suspended for a month for drunk-driving,” he shot back at Lucas, who had a fondness for liquor and had been in trouble with the manager of the place on numerous occasions.
This shut Lucas right up, and Ntobeko was glad.
“So, Lucas here tells me you’re thinking about joining the police,” said Mvelisi.
“That’s right. I reckon I got what it takes.”
“So do most people,” replied Mvelisi, who’d been through the training programme. “You’re a bit old.”
“But I’m fit,” objected Ntobeko. “The other day, I apprehended a robber at the taxi-rank. The two police constables were too slow. I took him down though.”
He remembered the clever way he’d run over the bonnets of the parked cars, cutting the robber off. He’d been proud of his thinking, in the situation. He knew he could do this. He knew.
“You did now, did you?” said Lucas with a slightly joking tone.
“What, you’re saying you don’t believe me?” said Ntobeko hotly.
“All we’re saying is, I’ve heard a million stories from some teenage tough guys, saying yeah, they’re the man, they should work in the police force. Know what I’m saying?”
“Hayi suka, wena,” said Ntobeko, brushing away this insult with a hand. “That’s not me.”
“Ok, ok,” said Mvelisi, holding up his hands in defence. “You got a matric?”
“Yup,” said Ntobeko.
“Ok, you’ll need that. You also need a valid driver’s license.”
“Got that too,” said Ntobeko.
“Also, you need to have no criminal record.”
Ntobeko paused. Then he smiled. “No problem,” he said.
“You sure, bro?” asked Lucas.
“You calling me a liar?”
Ntobeko knew that his record wasn’t clean. Far from it. But he saw that as an old Ntobeko, one he’d departed from.
“Ntobeko, let’s be honest here,” said Lucas. “I know you messed up a guy, bad. I heard you used a knife. And I know you’ve been in trouble with the cops before.”
“But no arrests.”
“Still,” said Lucas. “You need to think about your rep, bro. I’ve heard you referred to as a thief, a liar, and a thug. What police force is going to take you on? Be realistic, man.”
Ntobeko’s pride was wounded. His temper flared. He rolled his fists into tight balls of pressure. He wanted to hit him.
But he didn’t. He didn’t act that way any more, he remembered.
Instead, he got up.
“You don’t know the first thing about me, punks.”
This he said with a growl, and stalked off.
As he left the joint, he vowed to prove them wrong.
Grace tapped her foot impatiently as she sat in the doctor’s waiting room.
She watched the clock.
It was 3.55. Her appointment was for 3.30.
She was still waiting.
The waiting room was busy.
Two pregnant women sat in the room also, both wearing a similar worried expression.
Grace looked at the clock again.
She willed it to move, and her turn to come.
Eventually, her doctor, Dr. Davis, came out of his office swiftly.
“I’m so sorry to keep you waiting, Grace,” he said, offering his hand, which she took.
They went into his office and he shut the door.
“How are you?” he asked.
“Nervous,” said Grace, then explained briefly the discovery of the blood spots on her underwear.
Dr. Davis jotted down notes. “I see,” he said.
“I’d like for us to do a scan.”
“Good,” said Grace. “When?”
“As soon as possible. I’ll just ring my assistant and see if we can go through at once.”
After a few minutes on the phone, Dr Davis said: “We can go through, Grace. Are you ready to see your baby?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” said Grace, exhaling.
She got up and followed Dr. David down the neon-lit corridor toward the scan room.
It was a dimly lit lounge, very quiet, with a couch.
She was instructed by a young Indian woman, to lie on the couch and lift her jersey.
She did as instructed.
Dr Davis was at a computer set up on a table by the couch, on which were two large monitors.
The young nurse applied a cool gel to Grace’s stomach.
She massaged it in gently.
Her touch was very gentle.
“This gel improves contact with the probe and the skin,” said the nurse.
“This,” said Dr. Davis, coming over with a contraption that looked like a cross between a phone and a light.
He held it against her stomach. It was warm.
He then handed over to the nurse, who moved the object slowly over Grace’s belly.
Dr. Davis then went over to the table of equipment.
He was watching the image on his computer, that of the baby.
“Grace, can you turn so that you’re on your side?”
“Is there something wrong?” she asked anxiously.
“Not really, although it is a slight concern.”
‘What is it?” she asked, her voice rising in anxiety.
The doctor turned the monitor toward her so that she could see what was on it.
It was like an Xray, only fuzzier, and it was in black and white.
She leaned in closer, and she saw...
What does the ultrasound reveal about Grace’s baby?!