When I got home, I got out the car and was sobbing audibly. I’m surprised the neighbours didn’t come out to see what was going on. I walked in the house and DH was standing waiting for me. He took me through to the bedroom, so that the domestic worker couldn’t hear me. And I sobbed and sobbed. He didn’t really know what to say, so he tried to fix it. “Look on the bright side, don’t focus so much on the things that make you unhappy”. There are times when no matter how divine your DH is, you need a female shoulder to sob on.
And just then, our domestic worker, Pinkie (she looked a little bit white at birth so her grandmother gave her that name and it stuck), called out to say goodbye. I went out to say sorry I was such a mess, and she gave me a huge hug. More tears. I could see she looked confused, so I blurted out, “I’m so tired and I have a headache… and … and … we can’t have any children”. She didn’t have to say anything, she just hugged me and hugged me.
I have to just give you some background on Pinkie. I am not worthy of this woman. She has a truly terrible life. Her child lives with her mother in the Eastern Cape, which is about 24 hours drive from where we live. She sees this child once a year. She works for us once a week, cleaning our disgusting mess and ironing our clothes, and the rest of the week she works in the kitchen of a restaurant. She frequently works 7 day weeks. Nobody else in her family has a job, she supports them all. Her husband, her child in the Eastern Cape, her mother and father. She probably earns about 1/10th of what I earn. But here’s the thing that makes Pinkie my inspiration. You cannot wipe the smile off that woman’s face. She is the most cheerful and happy person I know. While she cleans she sings away, as if she had just won the lottery. I once saw her a bit downhearted, just after she got married, when suddenly she had to dress totally differently (long skirts and tops, and always has to have her head covered, regardless of the sweltering heat). It is traditional for women in her culture. And I got the feeling that he wasn’t treating her so kindly, one day we got an sms (which I could instantly tell was from him) saying she had to stay home and clean her own house. But a few weeks into the marriage, and her happy demeanour was back.
So here I was, sobbing on the shoulder of this woman whose life is ten times shitter than mine, and feeling like a spoilt white brat. And then, she said the words that floored me. “I’ve also being trying to fall pregnant for a year. It’s OK, we must have faith.” Of course, she’s been cleaning out all the bathroom bins with the millions of HPT’s over the past 2 years. Of course she knew.
And we just carried on hugging, I told her how in awe of her I was, and how much she means to us in our home, and she told me how much we have done for her. And we agreed to make a plan to get pregnant at the same time, so she could come and be our nanny and bring her baby along too. God sent me an angel in that woman.
And once again, it’s amazing how Africa has it’s ways of humbling you. Cutting you right down and snapping you out of your self pity.
DH stood by and watched all this with big round eyes. I wish I could have read his mind…