Finding my voice
“Cindy, these drugs are not going to solve your problems. You are just making things worse” I tried convincing him, but he shook his head. “I can’t. I am really trying to forget about this and move on with my life, but I can’t. These thoughts kept haunting me the whole day. I kept seeing images of him, forcing himself on me. I can still hear his voice telling me that I am weak. I can’t do this” he tightly closed his eyes. “I also feel an extreme craving of the herb, but I am trying so hard not to let it get to me. I know this will hurt far more than this, as the journey proceeds, but I am ready to put any step forward towards my recovery” I continued rubbing his back. “I am sorry that I haven’t been there for you…” I couldn’t believe he was apologizing for not offering support, while he was also going through a lot. “It’s okay my friend. It is time for me to be there for you. So please, talk to me about anything you feel like talking about” his hand located mine as I was rubbing his shoulder. He touched my hand and stopped it from rubbing his shoulder.
“Thank you much, my friend. I truly appreciate the support” he sniffed. “But you can’t stop me from getting something to keep me happy. I don’t want insomnia to hold me hostage” he sat up, still covering his body with the blanket. “Have you at least eaten anything?” I asked. “I am not hungry. Food is the last thing on my mind right now” he sniffed again. “But you have to eat something, Cindy” I insisted. “I am not hungry” he looked away. “Lusindiso, you have to…” he cut me short, “don’t call me that” he looked at me. I stopped mid-sentence and pressed my lips tightly together. “Now that the wound is open, that name takes me back there. It is a painful reminder of who I almost became” he explained. “I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to take you there” I apologized. “It’s fine, I understand. Uhm, I have already spoken to Vincent. He will bring me a little something” he smiled uncomfortably. I knew I wanted him to be honest about his use of substances, even though I also wanted him to know how I was against them without him feeling like I was judging him. “Siyaxolisa, you are also on the same boat as me. I don’t get why you are trying to look strong. I mean, who are you trying to fool? You can just join me and we can live a happy and peaceful life of no past worries” I couldn’t believe that he was actually convincing me to use drugs. “No, thanks. I am going to try and do it alone, until I need external help” I declined. I didn’t want to find myself drowning in drug addiction.
“Your loss then” he got up and wore his slippers. “Where are you going?” I looked at him. “I want to quickly freshen up before Vincent arrives. I don’t want to look as miserable as I feel right now” he replied, walking to his en-suit bathroom to take a quick shower while I waited on his bed. It was already really late but I was trying to kill time before going to bed. I didn’t want to battle with thoughts of how the herb would help me fall asleep easily. When he was done, he walked back into his room, with a towel wrapped around his body. “How do you feel after taking that shower?” I looked at him. “I feel refreshed, it’s like I went for a swim or something” he replied. “I can imagine. Showers have a secret reviving spirit” I laughed. “Today I missed a very important meeting, because I couldn’t get out of bed” he announced, as he got dressed in a clean pair of pyjamas. “Who is that client?” I asked. “Andile Jacobs” he looked at me. “Andile Jacobs, the Fashion Designer?” I excitedly asked. He silently nodded. “Oh, that guy is so hot. He has always been hot, since the varsity days” I almost imagined how handsome that man was in his own garments. “Tell me about it, and I heard he is as straight as they come. He doesn’t swing this direction and I am really disappointed, but that doesn’t stop me from drooling over his looks” I laughed.
“So my friend, do you think being gay comes naturally to you or you might be living a wrong life due to your life experiences, since you said you didn’t experience the kind of childhood that you were supposed to live?” I asked. He stopped laughing and looked at me. He was getting dressed in his gown, on top of the pair of pyjamas he was wearing. “Honestly, I am too scared of thinking of that. I have been avoiding that thought, ever since I brought this thing up. I don’t know how to even begin to think about that” he sat on his bed. “But it’s a very important question that you have to ask yourself and answer truthfully” I responded. “I know. I just don’t think I am ready to face that yet. Thinking about that man is still making me sick. I am trying to run away from him by getting a fix before I sleep” he looked at me, with eyes that gave me a view to a broken soul. “You were right, you and I are on the same boat, but I refuse to get on the same boat to self-destruction with you. I don’t want to die of an addiction before dying of depression itself” I told him.
Cindy remained silent for a while. “You know, I have taken a decision” he got up and signaled that we should walk out. “I am not going to torture myself like this anymore. I tried this healing things and it didn’t work out for me” he explained as we walked out. “What? You just tried it for a day and you are already giving up?” I asked. “A day is like a lifetime, my friend. You can’t tell me that I wouldn’t be feeling the difference by now” he rolled his eyes. As much as he was trying to hide behind his ‘character’ but I could see that he was really not doing well. “Cindy, you need to heal. As I am saying, we will be doing this together” he shook his head. I took a sigh of despair. “My friend, relax. I will be fine. I have been living my life this way for as long as I can remember. I will be fine” he grabbed both my shoulders with both his hands, looking at me straight in the eye. “I will be fine. I know how to be happy. I know how to move on with life” he added. “But until when? When are you ever going to sit down and face yourself?” I asked. “I don’t have to face myself. I am living, and that is a great sign that life really does go on” he let go of me.
Someone knocked on the door as I was standing by the kitchen area in his open plan beautiful flat. “Coming!” he yelled as he walked up to the door. “You don’t even ask who it is” Vincent complained as he walked in. “I knew it was you, I was expecting you” Cindy locked the door behind him. “But it’s a cruel world out there, you guys have to keep safe all the time” he looked at me from across the room. I looked away and softly cleared my throat. “Vincent please. Why does it suddenly feels like my father has arrived now?” his voice lowered and sadness covered his face. “My friend..” I walked up to him and held his hand, to show him I was there to borrow him strength. “Is everything okay?” Vincent asked, looking so confused. “Yeah, everything is fine” Cindy smiled again and gently removed his hand from mine. “Did you bring the stuff?” he walked up to the couch and sat down. “Yeah, I brought it, but I also was thinking we could get something to eat for later” he suggested. “What do you have in mind?” I asked, looking at him from across the room too. “I don’t know. Pizza?” he shrugged his shoulders. “Pizza seems fine, we can get pizza” Cindy agreed. “Let’s order pizza then” he went to sit next to Cindy, grabbing Cindy’s legs and putting them on his lap. “Siya, are you also going to have some…?” he sniffed and touched his nose. “Oh, no” I shook my head. “Oh? I thought you were joining the party” he raised both his eyebrows and licked his lower lip. I quickly looked away, with absolutely no intention of entertaining him. “Don’t tempt her. She is still trying to recover from smoking for about three nights in a row. She is now saying that she thinks she is addicted. Imagine. Who gets addicted to the holy herb?!” Cindy sarcastically laughed after that heart-ripping statement. I felt a lump forming in my throat, as I kept swallowing words. They both laughed so hard. I felt so stupid standing there, looking at the both of them having a field day about my most sensitive issue of dependence.
“I am heading to bed. I need an early night” I announced, looking at Cindy. “Already?” he stopped laughing and looked at me. “Yeah, I’m tired” I replied. Honestly, I just wanted to get the hell out of there. “Okay goodnight my friend. Sleep tight” he turned to face Vincent and they continued like I wasn’t even in the room. I couldn’t wait to get to my room and cry my heart out. I couldn’t believe Cindy said that in front of his man. I couldn’t believe he made fun of my problem, and expected me to laugh along. I got to my room and banged the door behind me. I paced up and down, trying to make sense of what he just said. I couldn’t believe my ears. No man, that could never be my Cindy. I sat on my bed and covered my face with both words. He made me look like a stupid teenager who didn’t know what she was talking about. I went to take a shower and got dressed into my pyjamas, and got into bed. If that pillow could talk, it would spill the depth of vulnerability. I remembered that I used to be a praying woman. I remembered that I used to have someone to talk to, about all my problems. I knelt down and closed my eyes. I wanted to talk to Him and tell Him everything, but words failed me. I felt like my heart was weighed down by so many issued. Tears rolled down as I opened my soul to let it do the talking.
The following morning, I woke up at 6am and prepared for work. As I was getting dressed, I received an SMS from the old friend of mine, Sisanda, who was going to assist me with the legal proceedings of the business. She was reminding me about our meeting at 10am. I replied, thanking her for the reminder and promising to make it on time. I was the one going to her office. I called Litha, to check on his whereabouts. “Siya?” he picked up. “Hi Litha, where are you? I am running a little late” I said. “You left with the car last night. I am also waiting for you” he replied. “Oh..” I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry about that. I’ve just been all over the place” I apologized. “It’s okay. I will be waiting for you” he hung up, leaving me feeling so stupid. I packed everything I needed for the day and left for work. I was trying to avoid coming into contact with Cindy, because I didn’t have the energy. I was still so hurt from his words. As I drove home, I was replaying Cindy’s words in my head. I felt so offended. I understood that he was going through a lot, but he didn’t have the right to belittle my own problems in front of his man- a man I never even spoke to about my problem. I’m sure Vincent still thinks of me as that dramatic victim of depression who does extreme things. As hurt as I was, but I didn’t know whether moving back home would be such a good idea. Yes, Cindy and I were going through a rough patch, but moving back home was not an option. Sis Gugu and I were also not really in good terms so I didn’t want to have her on my face all the time. Maybe it was time for me to get my own space. Who knows? Maybe the time for me to be my own person had arrived. I was just not ready to tell my siblings yet, so I was going to let them continue believing that I was still staying with Cindy.
“I can’t believe that you thought I left with the car” Litha laughed as he drove off. “I was so sure that I was dropped off there” I laughed too. “I’ve just been dealing with a lot, lately. I am so exhausted” I tilted my head both to the right and to the left, with my eyes closed. “Want to talk about it?” he asked. “No, not really” I opened my eyes and looked at him. “Okay” he nodded. “It’s just a lot and I wouldn’t want to put you through the trauma of listening to all my problems” I added, but he still didn’t say anything beyond “okay”. I knew he wasn’t taking it well, but he had to understand. We got to work, and the day started. It was a very beautiful morning and things seemed to be running smoothly. Litha and I rushed for my meeting with Sisanda. She was already expecting me, and the meeting ran smoothly. We got into a new business relationship and we were both looking forward to it. She advised me to think carefully about registering the company with my siblings, because they were clearly not going to value it and it would collapse in the long run. She advised me to let people be hands-on because they want to, not because I asked them to. She was going to start working on the project and keep in touch with me, and her excitement made me look forward to seeing her in action.
When I got back to the office, I was told that there was an old man there, looking for me. “An old man? What kind of an old man?” I asked sis Mandisa, as she walked next to me on our way to my office, followed by Litha. “He is a tall, dark and huge man” she replied. “Did he tell you who he was?” I asked again. “No, but he left his number for you to call him” she replied, as we got to my office and I unlocked the door. “He left a number, with no name?” we walked in. “I keep saying that your visitors are always weird” she laughed. “Tell me about it” I took the piece of paper that she handed to me. “Thank you” I went over to my phone and dialed the number. “Let me leave you to it then” sis Mandisa walked out. The phone was ringing, but there was no reply. I tried twice, but there was no reply, so I decided to put the piece of paper away and start working. During lunch, Litha and I enjoyed our different meals, and engaged on a beautiful conversation.
“You know, I’ve been thinking…” I said, and he looked at me. “Ever since you told me about self-love, I have been doing a lot of self-introspection” I explained, and he smiled. “And what have you discovered?” he asked. “Well, my suspicions are being confirmed, I would say” I vaguely replied. I wanted to talk to him openly and hear what he had to say about what I was going through, but I was scared of opening up to a person who saw me as an employer. I was scared they might see me as weak and start disrespecting me. “What suspicions?” he asked again. “You know what? Never mind” I giggled nervously. “Come on, you can talk to me” he pulled the softest of voices. “So, how’s your fruit salad?” I cracked a smile, trying to hold tears from even attempting to fall. “Oh, my fruit salad is delicious. I am enjoying it, thanks” he replied. I couldn’t bring myself up to open up to him, no matter how much I wanted to. He drove the conversation to a more general vibe, and that eased the tension in the room.
My office phone rang, as we were indulging deep into the conversation, laughing and tapping our feet on the floor. I didn’t know Litha was that crazy. With his calm and collected aura, I wasn’t expecting him to have any sense of humor. I got up and went to pick the phone up. “Excuse me..” I said, as I walked up to my desk, still laughing. “Welcome to the Hangout Spot. Siyaxolisa Nqini speaking, how can I help you?” I picked up. “How are you?” the man had a very deep and thick voice. “I’m okay thanks, and you?” I replied. “I am fine. I came to pay you a visit earlier, but I was told that you went out to a meeting” he explained. “Uuh, I got your contact number and tried calling you, but you didn’t pick up” I explained. “I just saw your missed calls. I was taking a nap, and my phone was far from me” he explained too. “Mmmhm” I waited for him to state his case.
“Siyaxolisa, I know you are not expecting to hear from me. I am so sorry for just showing up at your workplace, I know I should have made means to get your contact details before coming over…” my heart skipped painfully as he spoke. I had never heard that voice before, but my spirit was just not in the right place. “Who am I talking to?” I cut him short. “You are talking to your father” he replied. The next thing I knew, my face was hitting hard against the floor. I fainted…
Written by: Cinga Dyala
Photo credit: Koena1130