Finding my voice
“Tick-Tock, Dear Time.. I grew up being told that you are the greatest healer of all wounds.. I grew up believing that with every Tick, you ease the pain and with every Tock, you blow winds of relief over broken hearts. Tick-Tock, dear time.. Please heal me..”
I scribbled on my diary, trying to let some pain out- but I tore the paper and threw it by the door.
“Dear Heart, I know you were designed to pump blood, but look at you now.. Look at you, pumping pain and misery. I am sorry you had to go through all of this, I am sorry you are dying a slow painful death..”
I tore the paper and threw it away, next to the first one I threw by the door. Phew! I sighed, covering my face with both hands. I felt a huge lump in my throat, but I didn’t want to cry. I knew that the minute I open my soul up for crying, all hell would break loose. The conversation I had with Litha when he was driving me to Cindy’s place made me realize that healing starts from within. The healing process is a personal journey that one needs to commit to, with or without the support of others. He advised me to have a little journal, where I would record all my emotions. He reckoned that it would be my first real step to healing. With the chaos that was going on in my life, fighting with everyone in my life- maybe a journal was really what I needed in order to hang on to my sanity. The first attempt was a bit messy though, because I didn’t know how to open up to the paper anymore. I used to do that when I was a little girl, but it was nothing deep- I used to write brief reviews of the books I used to read. I couldn’t bring myself up to pour my broken soul into the paper. Maybe I was scared that the sharp pieces of my soul would rip my beautiful paper apart. See, that is the problem with us, when we decide to record our emotions- we always want to sound fancy and cute. Sometimes we even miss the whole point of the exercise and start sounding like the world’s best poets. As I sat there, beating myself up for not being able to continue with both writing attempts, I realized that I wasn’t being myself in the first place. I was no poet, and my healing process was not going to sound like Shakespear’s poetry. I needed to find my tone, and locate my pain from the core of my entire existence.I had to accept that didn’t need fancy English or beautifully written sentences in order to heal, but I needed to remain true to myself.
Cindy was not home, and I didn’t know where he was. I knew he was trying to close all the doors to his soul that he opened and move on with his life, and I also knew that he was probably out there, up to no good. As much as I felt sorry for him, I still didn’t want to share space with him. I don’t know, maybe insensitivity towards others is also a cry for help. The way he was so insensitive about my addiction to the herb made me remember how insensitive I was towards my siblings too. Because of that, I was not mad at him anymore- but I just wanted to stay as far away from his space as possible. It was a good idea for the both of us, because we were both dealing with heavy loads on our shoulders, and we needed time and space to heal. My own addiction of the herb kept me up all night. I needed to smoke so badly, but I didn’t know where Cindy kept it, and I didn’t even know how to prepare it. I was doomed, and I didn’t want to call him. If Cindy wanted to communicate with me, he would have told me that he was going out and that I wasn’t going to find him home.I tossed and turned the whole night, trying to fall asleep, with no luck.
As I was slowly dozing off, I heard some noise of loud conversations, laughter and music. I fiddled under my pillow and looked for my phone to check the time. It was 3am. I couldn’t believe Cindy would bring a party scene to his place, knowing very well that I had an early morning, the following day. I got out of bed and wore my slippers. I didn’t have the energy to face Cindy, because I knew he was totally drunk- but I had to try and stop him from making too much noise. “Cindy, wake up man! Wake up!” there were two guys, waking Cindy up as he passed out on the couch. One of them looked Coloured and the other one was Black. “Excuse me?” I called out, to grab their attention. They both stood still and turned to look at me. “What is going on here?” I asked, looking at the both of them. “And who are you?” the Coloured guy asked, looking at me from head to toe. I didn’t like his eyes, but I decided to stand firm and not look scared. “I am Cindy’s friend. So what’s going on here?” I folded my arms. Those two gentlemen were drunk too, but they were not totally out of it. “Stop asking us questions and join the party!” he Black guy suggested, walking up to me. I didn’t feel safe, but I didn’t want to panic just yet. “Are you game?” he got to stand in front of me and stared at me straight in the eye. “What are you talking about?” I took a few steps backwards. I just didn’t understand why Cindy would bring starngers home, and pass out- putting my life in danger like that. I remembered how sis Gugu narrated her rape experience, and how it tore her spirit apart. I also remembered how Cindy shared his own experience and how it killed him from an early age. There was no way that God was going to allow something like that to happen to me, not while I was dealing with turck-loads of challenges. “You don’t know what I’m talking about?” he laughed so hard. “Cindy was totally right about you!” the Coloured guy joined in the laughter. So Cindy told those men about me, and they saw what he already told them about me.I was so hurt, and I didn’t want to hear what Cindy said about me. I was protecting my heart from another heart break.
“Guys, as you can see that Cindy has passed out, I am going to have to ask you to leave” I announced. I didn’t know what to expect of that situation, but I was ready for whatever that was going to happen. I didn’t trust that those men would just walk out and never look back, so I prepared my mind, heart and body for anything that was going to happen to me. “You’re asking us to leave? Come on, baby girl. We just got here” the Colored guy said, looking at me. “Well, as you can see that Cindy is asleep. I don’t think you should stick around any longer” I replied. “Are you sure you don’t want to have some fun with us? We will make it worth your while” the Black guy pulled a flirty face and I was so disgusted. “Guys, I mean it. Please leave” I calmly pointed at the door.”Come on man, you know you want to play a little. Don’t be uptight” the Black guy came closer to me again. My heart started pounding hard, but I remained calm. I could feel my breathing pattern changing a bit, but I tried my level best to look and sound calm. If there is one thing I know about perpetrators, it’s how they are so attracted to fear. I didn’t want to give them room to even think of doing anything crazy. “Come any closer and you will regret it” I warned, seeing that he was getting too close. They looked at each other and laughed. “What are you going to do? Huh? Are you going to call the cops on us?” the Colored guy asked. I said a little prayer inside, begging God to spare me that pain. I didn’t see myself surviving rape, and I pleaded with God not to allow that to happen to me. I stood there silently, looking at the both of them and thinking of what I was going to do, should they try anything crazy. My big idea was screaming. I was prepared to scream so loud that everyone in the block wakes up. There was no way I was going to let two drunk men have a party with my body.
“You are just lucky that we don’t really swing your direction” the Colored guy said, licking both his lips. I didn’t really get what he meant, especially because he was licking his lips. Still, I stood there and didn’t say anything. “Tell Cindy he owes us” the Black guy winked at me as they walked out. It was only then that I understood what that Colored guy meant when he said they didn’t swing my direction- they were gay, and they were only attracted to men.I ran to lock up as soon as they walked out. Cindy was snoring on the couch. I was so mad at him for being so careless, ad I decided to leave him there and go back to bed. I got to my room and locked myself. My whole body was shaking, as my mind was consumed by the million ‘what if’s’ that were birthed by everything those men said to me. I couldn’t bring myself to accept what happened and get straight into bed. My mind was racing with endless questions and worries. I never slept a wink, because fear instantly became my best friend. I was scared they might come back. I was scared they might think of taking advantage of the situation, or even get some men who actually swing my direction.
The following morning, my alarm went off at 6am. I got out of bed and prepared for work. I was glad the week was slowly wrapping itself up, because I was going to visit Tamkhulu and get a peace of mind. My phone rang, as I was getting dressed. It was Litha, telling me he was on his way. I was so happy because I didn’t want to stay any minute longer in that place. I decided not to pack and take all my belongings before talking to him about it, so I left my stuff there when Litha arrived. Cindy was still fast asleep, on the couch. I walked out and locked him inside. “Hi” I greeted Litha as I got to the car. “Good morning, how did you sleep?” he drove off. “I didn’t” I rolled my eyes. “What do you mean?” he took a glance at me, and then looked at the road ahead. “I tried to write, but that didn’t work out” as I uttered those words, I could almost imagine him, thinking of me as the biggest stupid he had ever came across. “Why? What happened?” he calmly asked. “Well, words just didn’t come out and I decided not to force matters” i explained. “Give it time. You will see, it will get better as the days go by” he replied. His positivity shocked me, but I didn’t say anything. “It was your first attempt, give yourself some time to adapt to the new way of doing things” he explained further. “Yeah, I will give it time. Thanks” i smiled at him as he was busy driving. “Another thing that almost ruined things for me what what happened in the early hours of the mornig” my smile faded away as I narrated the whole story to him. “What? Didn’t they hurt you?” he asked. “No, they didn’t hurt me. They were going to hurt me only if they were not gay” i replied. “So if they were not gay, or if they were bisexual, they were going to hurt you. Damn. Your friend is really irresponsible” he replied.
He tried assuring me that I was safe around him, offering to help me look for a place to tay, online. He was committed to doing anything that was going to help ease my pain. We agreed that he was going to search for places online, while I worked. It was a fair deal, at least I wasn’t entirely alone afterall. We got to work at 7am, and Nozi was already there. Litha and I went in, greeting the hard-at-work Nozi. “How are things at home?” I asked as Litha walked away. “Things are better, sisi. I went to visit my father after work yesterday, and he is doing better” she smiled. “That’s good to hear. Let’s just pray that he fully recovers from this. May yor whole family recover and heal from this” I smiled back at her. “Thank you sisi, that means a lot to me” she replied. “Uhm, sisi?” she called out as I walked away. “How are you holding up? You had a very hectic week” she softly asked. I wanted to tell her how I was just existing, with no sense of happiness and no trace of hope for a better tomorrow.I wanted to tell her how I didn’t know how to even open up to a mere paper, but I just smiled at her and told her I was coping just fine. She believed me, because I had my head held high, with no sign of weakness. I was very good at hiding pain. When I got to my office, Litha was standing outside. “Why didn’t you come and get the key?” I looked at him. “No, it’s okay. I didn’t want to disturb you guys” he carelessly replied.”I’m sorry for keeping you waiting, Nozi was just checking up on me too” i opened up for us. “Did you open up to her?” he asked as we walked in. He knew the answer to that, but he just wanted me to say it out. “Well, I didn’t tell her much. I just told her that I am coping” I replied. “Why didn’t you tell her how you are really feeling?” he asked as I walked over to my desk. “Well, I don’t know hey. I have just been very careful of opening up to everyone who is availing themselves. I have a very bad track record of relationships that failed in my life, and I am scared of just opening up to anyone” i threw myself on my chair. “So you think your relationships got ruined because you opened up?” he asked again. I didn’t like where the conversation was going, but I remained calm. “No, not exactly. I am just scared of opening up to people because I am scared i might lose them in the long run and still end up alone” I explained.
Later, we prayed and opened for business. I was fully focused on my work, and Litha was busy checking out available places for rentals online. Someone knocked on my door. “Come in” I responded, with my eyes still fixed on my computer. My door slowly swung open, but I still had my eyes fixed on my computer. Someone greeted, standing by the door. I looked up and I was confronted by a man who looked exactly like bhut’Sizwe- a splitting image of him. My heart skipped uncomfortably as my eyes were glued to that man. Could that be my father? I asked myself that very painful question, sitting there and staring at the man blankly. He stood there, staring at me straight in the eye like he was searching for my soul. My world froze…
Written by: Cinga Dyala
Photo credit: Koena1130