Vetfaan’s thoughts galvanise his inert body to life. His hands let go of the steering wheel and his legs propel him around the vehicle, to kneel next to the nauseous Fanny.
“Are you all right?”
She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, her eyes red and teary.
“I’m feeling on top of the world, you idiot! Look at me! I’m the epitome of sparkling, vivacious health. Not a bloody thing wrong with me. I just love vomiting, that’s all!” The smouldering fury in her eyes suddenly softens as she sees the impact of her outburst.”…Oh….I’m sorry. Really. Don’t known what came over me…”
Vetfaan sits down on the soft sand to inspect the woman he loves. Now, with the tussled hair and the wry smile of apology, she is more beautiful than ever. When he opens his mouth to say something – anything – she holds up a hand.
“No, don’t say anything, Fanie.” She’s back in control again – it’s the old Fanny speaking with the soft voice and the demure eyes again. “ I’m….late. You know? That evening in Japan…”
Vetfaan gapes at her, fighting for breath. “You sure?”
“No, Fanie. I’m not sure of anything!” The eyes are blazing again. “It could have been the hundreds of men I’ve met in the meantime. Maybe Oudoom, even. You know me: Fanny-the-good-time-girl. I have no morals – I sleep with everybody. Don’t ask stupid questions, dammit!”
Vetfaan gets up and walks off into the veld. Wow! What the hell is happening? Where did this temper come from? The mood swing from angry to soft? Is this what pregancy is all about? If it is, then it’s a wonder that there the human race survived so far! He stops to stare at two eagles, soaring high above.
They mate for life, too… The thought strikes him with considerable force. If Fanny is pregnant… He walks back to her to sit down again.
“I’m so sorry,” he says softly.
“Not more than me, you oaf! Look what I’’ve done! One night. One single night. One moment of ecstacy. And you know how I’m going to pay for this? A lifetime of misery, that’s what. If I carry this child to full term, I’m going to face the consequences for years and years to come.” She starts sobbing and when Vetfaan puts an arm around her shoulders, she brushes it away. “You’ve done enough damage, Fanie. Don’t make it worse.”
“Okay. You’re upset. Even me, the stupid oaf, can see that. Me, the perpetrator of the ultimate crime, understand that this is all my fault. Despite my incredible lack of intelligence, I realise my part of this horrible situation.” He’s angry now, and his voice is edged with hurt. “But now you listen to me: if you’re pregnant, we’re in this together…”
“Of course you are! You, the magnifcent manly sperm donor, is going to be the mother of a cripple…”
“Oh shut up! Don’t be like that! Stop it. You’re making the most beautiful thing that ever happened to you into a tragedy. It’s great news! Come on, cheer up.” He suddenly realises what she said. “…What do you mean – a cripple?”
She sighs as she leans against his broad chest. “I’m sorry, Fanie. Really. I don’t know how to handle these mood swings – they get me down. Catches me unawares. We must talk. Maybe on the farm? And…I want to have an avocado pear. I don’t suppose…?”
Vetfaan rocks back, laughing at the idea that one can find an avocado in the Kalahari. “We can go back to Sammie’s. to see if he’s got some? Or I can drive to Upington – we’ll certainly get some at the Spar.”
“Oh you big, hulky bear!” She reaches up to plant a kiss on his cheek. “I know you will. I’ll settle for an egg and bully beef sandwich. You can do that, can’t you?”
“Haemophilia? The bleeding thing?” Vetfaan watches as she wipes the plate with the last crust of the toast. “They treat that these days, don’t they?”
“It’s better than before, that’s for sure. Stiil, those boys get bleeding into their joints, causing deformity and loss of function. They can’t play rugby, Fanie.”
“Then he’ll play the violin…carefully. Listen, I know this is such a big thing for both of us, but hey, whetever happens, we’ll handle it. We’ll talk to Gertruida. She’ll know all the medical facts. Other than that, it’s up to genetics – and God’s grace. One thing is certain: if you – or I – try to handle this alone, we’ll never make it. But…if we face this together, at least we retain the one thing that’s almost as important: us. I don’t want to lose that. Please Fanny? Can’t we…?
He doesn’t get to finish the sentence. She kisses him with such passion that he blushes.
When at last he gets his breath back, he manages to ask: “What was that about?”
“I’m going to be a mommy, Fanie. You’re going to be a daddy. Don’t you think it’s great?”
“Indeed I do. I’m not quite sure whether I’ll live that long, that’s all. There’s a real possibility that you’ll decapitate me before that, especially if you go on the way you are right now.”
She buries her head under his chin, avoiding his eyes. How can she tell him about Henry Hartford? That night after she talked to the sponsors and Gertruida’s DVD was flashed on the screen, she really believed he loved her. She remembers her thought at the time: He of few words, but a heart of gold…
They had dinner afterwards.He ordered champagne. Then…then…the evening didn’t end there. It was a mere two days after her return from Yokohama. And now…now she’s pregnant. What if Henry was subfertile, and not infertile? He had admitted – quite some time ago when their parents were planning the wedding – that the chances of him fathering a child were extremely slim. What, exactly, does that mean? That it isn’t impossible that she might be carrying his child? And she now can’t be sure, how can she? There’s no way of knowing now, not with Henry dead and buried.
“Ag, come on, Fanny. It’s our child, my love. We’ll make it work, you’ll see. Hush now. Shhhh…”
She tries to speak, but the words just won’t come. How I wish, she thinks, that things weren’t so complicated…
If one day you should ever disappear
Always remember these words
If one day we had to say goodbye
And our love should fade away and die
In my heart you will remain here
And I’II sing a hymn to love