Finding my voice
“How can I help you?” I finally located my voice and asked. “Uhm, please come in, Sir” Litha gracefully offered. I didn’t think of inviting him in, maybe that is because I wasn’t sure whether I wanted him to come inside or to just stand there. “Thank you” he walked in and came to sit next to Litha. The whole time, we were staring at each other straight in the eye. “Uhm, are you going to be fine or should I stay?” Litha asked, with his voice bringing me back to reality. “I will be fine, thank you Litha” I looked at him. He got up and silently walked out. “You are so beautiful” I saw tears threatening his eyes. “I spent almost 25 years of my life, imagining what you looked like. I spent all those years, creating images of you in my head, and you exceed all my expectations” a tear escaped his eye. I sat there, trying to register his every word, and trying to study his facial expressions. So he was sure that he was really my father. He knew about me, and he thought about me all these years. That was a relief to me, but being his daughter didn’t make it better too. He was still a heartless rapist who victimized two of his daughters when they were young. Him being my father didn’t make me any happy, because I was sitting in front of a man who took my sisters’ innocence.
The only reason I wanted to see him, was to find out whether he was my real father or not- and I got my answer. If he knew about me, then that meant I was his child. I didn’t need him in my life, and I certainly wasn’t going to risk my relationship with my siblings because of a man who was bathed in immorality way before my existence. “I know things were not supposed to be like this. I know I was supposed to be there for you your entire childhood, but-” I felt something burning inside me, like my insides were painfully turning. “What are you doing here? What do you want from me?” I cut him short. “I am here to apologize, Siyaxolisa.I came here to tell you that I am so sorry for all the pain that I have caused you and all the misery that I put you through” he replied. “You are apologizing to the wrong person. I don’t even know you, and to me, you don’t exist. Try and apologize to your daughter whom you victimized and ruined her life, or you can visit your late daughter’s grave and tell her that you are sorry. I don’t know, you can even go and apologize to your wife whom you put through so much pain. Or your son who grew up without any father figure because his father was busy killing his daughters” I got up. “If you’ll excuse me” I pointed at the door. “Siyaxolisa, please hear me out..” he looked at me as I was standing before him. “There is nothing to hear out. Please leave” I pointed at the door. “Siyaxolisa, I am only here because I want to apologize. I have put you through a lot, and you didn’t deserve any of the things I put you through” he insisted. “Look, you don’t even know me. The only pain you put me through is by hurting my family. Now, please excuse me because I have a lot of work to do” I told him.
He got up too. “I will apologize to everyone, but I felt I should apologize to you first, because your pain matters to me too” he said. I didn’t care what mattered to him and what didn’t. I only wanted him out of my place.”I hope you will one day find it in your heart to forgive me. I really don’t know what got into me. I still have sleepless nights when I think about my daughters’ tears due to the pain I caused them” he told me. I didn’t want to hear that. I didn’t want him to tell me anything. “Please leave” I could feel that I was at an edge of breaking down too, as he was drowning in a pool of his own tears.I didn’t care how he felt or how sorry he was, I just wanted him out of my space. “I will leave. But before I go, I want you to know that I love you. I am really sorry for everything that I put you guys through. I am struggling to find peace because of all the misery that I put you guys through.May you please find it in your heart to forgive me” he stared at me straight in the eye like he was searching for my soul. I looked away, because I didn’t want to find myself connecting souls with that man.”Please leave” I pointed at the door.He silently walked out, closing the door behind him.
I threw myself back on my chair and covered my face with both hands.”What does this man want from me?” I pulled the shakiest of voices. I felt like I had just gotten into close contact with the devil himself. My whole body was shaking. How did he know I was his child? Was he even sure, or was he just planning on raping me too? My head was spinning with different questions and worries. “Siya, are you okay? You look like you have just seen a ghost” Litha asked, walking up to me. I snapped out of my trail of thoughts and looked at him. “I.. Uh..” I swallowed, but my throat was dry and I felt dehydrated. “I… Oh my goodness!” I wiped my forehead with the back of my hand. “What?” he came to stand in front of me. “I have just seen my father” I looked at him straight in the eye. “Oh, that man is your father?” he looked at the door. “Yeah. He.. He’s my father. That’s what he told me” I looked down. “Do you believe him?” he asked. Did I believe him? How was I supposed to believe anything that man uttered with his mouth? I didn’t know what to even believe anymore. I was surrounded by liars. “I don’t know. He says he has been thinking about me ever since he got arrested. Why would he think about me if I wasn’t his child? Would he even know about me if I wasn’t his child?” I looked back at him, with eyes that carried confusion. “Maybe he really is your father. What else did he say?” he asked, gently placing his hand on my shoulder. “He said he is sorry for everything that he put me through” I briefly replied. “…But I still don’t understand why he is apologizing to me. I told him to apologize to the people he hurt, because he didn’t even know me” I continued. “What did he say when you told him that?” he asked again. I narrated the whole story, and he was listening attentively. “I think you did the right thing by chasing him away. He can’t use you as the weakest link to your family” he said, gently massaging my shoulders. I closed my eyes as the hot flushes showered down my spine. “Mmhhmm” I moaned, letting my shoulders loose so he could massage me properly. “I feel like he was just trying to take advantage of me. Why else would he come to me first? He could have done his research to find out where he can get his other kids, like he did with me” I gently mumbled. Litha’s hands were so gentle I could literally feel parts of my body I never knew existed, loosening up. “Would you like me to chase him away when he visits again?” he gently asked. “Yes, please. I don’t want him anywhere near my shop. He can go to hell, for all I care” I opened my eyes. He continued massaging me and easing all the tension with his gentle hands.
He didn’t say anything, but I trusted that he heard me, and that he was going to do as I commanded. I trusted that he was going to keep him away from me, even though he didn’t verbally confirm it. That is the thing with trust- it is earned. You have to go out of your way to show someone that they can rely on you. Litha didn’t need to verbally assure me, but I knew he was going to deliver. I don’t know, maybe getting to know him better made me open up to him a little more than I imagined I would. Throughout the day, he helped me choose a suitable place to stay. We discussed all the advantages and disadvantages of each and every place he suggested. That went on until we found a place we both agreed was a good place. It was central, and I loved the view I was going wake up to. I have been to the block before, with Cindy and I saw how beautiful the enterior was. Litha called and arranged a viewing, before I could fully agree that I was taking the place. “When are you planning to tell your siblings?” he asked. “I am not planning to tell them anything. I don’t want them up in my business” I replied, fully focusing on my computer screen. He remained silent. With that load of burden I was carrying, I made a vow to myself that I will find my healing, my own way.I was so happy that I was one step closer to having my own space, and live life the way I wanted.I knew Litha didn’t agree with me not telling my siblings about the life change that was about to take place, but he had to respect my decision and try to understand where I was coming from. That’s the only thing I needed from him, and everyone else.
My day went well, except for the very strong urge to smoke. I couldn’t help myself, I was craving for it so badly- and not being able to prepare it myself made the situation worse. Yes, I was even considering buying it for myself, because I didn’t want to talk to Cindy about anything personal, especially because he made fun of my addiction- so I didn’t want to give him that satisfaction.I knew I wasn’t going to sleep a wink if I didn’t have any- and I had to make a plan and get hold of it. A lot was going on in my life, and I was struggling to deal with everything. We knocked off, and we locked up. “Uhm, Litha?” I softly called out. “Yes?” he looked at me. “Uhm, remember when we talked about addictions and stuff?” I uncomfortably asked. “Yeah, I remember” we got to the car and he drove off. “Well, I am kinda addicted to something too” I looked at the road ahead, feeling his eyes piercing through my skin. He didn’t say anything, which meant I had to continue and tell him what I wanted to tell him. I didn’t know how to, but all I knew was how I badly wanted to escape the feeling. “Uhm.. So, when I visited Tamkhulu a while back, he gave me a bag full of … uhm, full of weed” my tone lowered. “I forgot to take it off my car when I got home, and Cindy saw it in my car. He then suggested that we try it out..” I paused to catch my breath. “I didn’t want to try it out at first, but he insisted that it was going to be a once-off thing. We tried it out and I honestly enjoyed the feeling that it brought me. I felt at ease, like life was just beautiful” I continued explaining. Litha still remained silent. “We didn’t smoke it once, we smoked it repeatedly until it became a habit that we would smoke every night before going to bed. I felt guilty about it and I was scared that I might end up mentally disturbed, but Cindy thought I was just being dramatic. He doesn’t believe me when I tell him that I am getting addicted, so I decided to keep my distance from it, in order for him to hear the sound of my voice” I looked down. “..But now I need it. I have been thinking about it, and I have been missing the calm feeling that it brought me” I fiddled with my fingers.Still, he remained silent. I knew he was probably disappointed in me and thought I was a bad girl who deserved everything that came her way. The silence in the car was too loud that I could hear it from the pit of my soul.
“So, are you telling me all of this because you want me to help you get hold of it, or are you telling me because you want me to help you fight the addiction?” he asked. Litha was just something else. The way his thoughts were designed always blew me away. He got me thinking deeper about my situation and what I wanted to achieve out of it. “Well, I honestly wanted you to help me get hold of it, but now that you ask that type of question, I am having second thoughts” I explained. “I mean, I have been trying so hard to stay away from this thing, and I even got into a fight with Cindy because of it. Now, look at me, I am giving in. I am throwing the towel and I am joining the statistics” I continued.”So what exactly is it that you want to achieve, now that you have gotten to realize that there is another way of dealing with this?” he asked. Without any second thought, I told him that I wanted to fight harder. I didn’t know where I was going to get the strength, but I had faith that Litha was not going to leave me in the middle of that situation. I knew he was going to be there- I counted on that. Again, he didn’t have to verbally confirm his support- I just knew he was going to be there for me. “So tell me, what is it that you love doing?” he took a glance at me, and then looked at the road ahead. What did I love the most? Well.. I rolled my eyes, in deep thoughts. “Well, I love reading” I looked at him. “Reading? What do you read?” he asked again. I smiled as I was quickly trying to mentally construct my response. “I love reading novels, fiction” I replied. “Oh? Why fiction?” he asked again. It was starting to feel like an interview, a very fun interview. “I enjoy using my power of imagination. Reading fiction allows me to imagine everything that the writer is talking about. It is a great excercise for the mind” I winked, even though I knew he wasn’t going to see that. He giggled. “And do you write?” he looked at me. “No, not really…” I got disturbed by seeing that we were going a different direction. “Where are we going?” I frowned, looking at him. “Oh, since you want to fight this addiction, I am here to help you fight it in style” he proudly replied, but I still didn’t understand what he was talking about. “We are going to go back to the Hangout Spot, and you’re going to pick a book of your choice” he smiled at me, flashing his beautiful teeth at me. “Since you love reading, what I love doing is a little different from yours. I love going to the beach, and letting the sea breeze hit hard against my skin. I feel refreshed after that” he explained further. “So, we are going to take the book of your choice and we will drive to the beach, then you will read for me” he looked at me again, as we got to the Hangout Spot.”Come, let’s get in” he parked the car and we stepped out. He unlocked and we got inside, locking ourselves up inside. We went to my favourite shelf and checked the book I felt like reading. I wanted to read something cute, totally trying to ignore the romantic novels. I couldn’t think of any book to take, that would suit the moment.”Okay, how about we add a little bit of excitement and let you choose the book?” I suggested. He laughed. “So you’re acting smart on me now?” he gently rubbed my shoulder.”Wouldn’t it be fair though?” I laughed too. “Okay, let’s take this one” he picked a book titled “The Vow” up. He showed it to me, with a huge smile on his face. I laughed. “Why are you taking this one?” I smiled back at him. “The title is catchy, so I am assuming it is a beautiful love story” he pulled a cute smile.I nodded, signaling that I was totally okay with his choice. “Okay great. So when am I buying it? Now or can I just pay for it in the morning?” he asked. “Let’s do it in the morning” I quickly replied. I was shocked at the fact that he was actually going to buy the book. We locked up and went back to the car. “I want your honest response on this one, why did you choose this book?” I asked again, as we walked up to the car. “Well, I love beautiful love stories, so I figured this story would be one of those” he replied.
“And if it’s not?” I giggled. “Well, I would declare myself as the most terrible judge of books” he laughed as we drove off. “You know that books are not judged by their covers right?” I laughed too. “I didn’t judge just the cover though, i judged the title as well” we both laughed about it. I couldn’t believe I was about to read the most cheesiest love story ever, to someone who was expecting a beautiful love story. We got to the beach and he parked his car at the most beautiful view of the ocean. The waves were playing and the way the sun was setting over the horizon was just too beautiful to witness. We both stepped out of the car and went to stand infront of the car. “Okay, so how are we going to do this?” he looked around, in deep thoughts and I stood there, watching his wandering eyes. “Okay, let me park that way and face that direction so we can open the boot and sit while you read” he suggested and I nodded because I wasn’t even thinking of a solution. He did as he suggested and we sat comfortably in the open boot. He handed me the book, with a huge smile on his face. I gently grabbed it and looked at him in the eye. “Should I look at you or should I close my eyes while I listen to you?” he asked. “What kind of a question is that?” I laughed. I ended up telling him to keep his eyes open while I read, because I was scared he would fall asleep while I read. “Just so you know, we won’t read the whole book tonight” i looked at him. “Yes, I know that. We will continue again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day- until we finish it” he replied, looking at the dancing waves. “Okay then, fine by me” I giggled as I turned the first page.
The story was about a couple that met over the phone, while the lady was working in a sports management company and the man was a basketball player. They met and fell in love over the phone, and their love got stronger after they met. I read for about an hour, and I told him I was done for the day. “Okay, thanks. I am looking forward to the continuation” he humbly said, as I closed the book. “Uhm, we will continue on Monday” i announced. He silently looked at me. “We are visiting Tamkhulu this weekend, so I won’t be around” I explained. “Oh, yeah. I remember. No, it’s okay. We can continue on Monday” he said. “Uhm, Litha?” I called out, as I looked at the evidently excited waves. “Mmhm?” he responded. “About what we spoke about earlier, uhm…” he placed his finger on my lips. “Shhhh” he cut me short. “The process has begun. Please trust the process and not question it” he said. “What do you mean?” I looked at him. “There you are, questioning the process already” he laughed. “I’m sorry, but I want to know” I laughed too. “Okay, I don’t want to tell you how we are going to do this, because I don’t want you to keep checking results and I certainly don’t want you to question everything” he explained. “I promise you, I will do everything in my power to ensure that you are free from this” he assured me. Honestly speaking, I was grateful to the universe for sending me someone like Litha. He was the only thing that made sense to me and he was more than committed to seeing me happy. Yes, I knew that he was getting paid to keep me protected, but nobody was paying him to keep me happy. Nobody was paying him to help me through my life’s trials and tribulations. He was doing all of that because he wanted to, and I will forever be grateful to him for that. What stood out about his support was that he was not enforcing his own fears, doubts and knowledge on me. He was allowing me to be my absolute self and to think of things the only way I knew how, so he could know exactly what he was dealing with. Litha became my sense of light in the dark tunnel that I found myself in…
Written by: Cinga Dyala
Photo credit: Koena