Finding my voice
“I was still enjoying your reading, why did you have to stop?” he whined like a naughty 5 year old and I laughed.”There is always a next time” I playfully pulled his cheek and he laughed so hard.We sat there for a while, discussing the book and how he felt about it so far. He was pretty happy about it and the direction it was taking. He felt it was doing exactly what he was expecting it to do, on his emotions. “So why do you love the beach so much?” I asked. “Eish, we should have gotten some snacks for this. It would make more sense” he looked at me. “I’m sorry” he pulled a cute smile and I blushed. “It’s okay” I replied. “Well, I love the feeling it brings me. I love the calm factor that it provides” he explained. I could feel the calm factor too, and I knew for a fact that I definitely was going to come back. “It really does provide a chilling factor to the soul” I closed my eyes and enjoyed the kisses offered by the breeze. My phone rang, interrupting a very important minute for me. I fiddled into my pocket and took it out. It was sis Zama, calling. “Hello?” I picked up. “Hey sis, where are you? Aren’t you coming home?” she asked. “I am coming home and I am going to sleep over” I happily replied. I felt a little light weighted and I knew sleeping over at Cindy’s place might force me out of my zone. I wanted to protect the little happiness that I was feeling. “Really? That’s beautiful. See you when you get here” she happily replied.
“I didn’t know you were going to sleep over at home tonight” Litha said, looking at the dancing waves again.”Well, it wasn’t planned” I giggled excitedly. “Being here has made me feel a little happier than I was earlier, and I don’t want to go to Cindy’s place because I might lose this little happiness that I have here. A lot is going on there and I am scared that I might find myself in the middle of something I don’t even know” I explained. “Makes sense. It’s a good thing that coming here changed your mood” he looked at me. Being there didn’t change my mood, what changed my mood is spending time with him, in his favorite spot while doing what I love doing the most. That is what changed my mood, but I didn’t want to tell him that, in case it sends out a different message to him. I mean, he was a man afterall, and men tend to get a little egocentric when we tell them personally how their company makes us feel. I don’t know, maybe I was just a little too paranoid. “Thanks a lot for bringing me here. I feel a little refreshed and I also appreciate the fact that I got a little time to read again. I haven’t read anything in a very long time and that makes me feel so guilty” I smiled. “You have been very busy, and your world has been turned upside down. It only makes sense that you will lose some of the things that you loved to do. As long as you haven’t lost yourself, you should consider yourself lucky” he replied. We spoke for a while, reflecting on my journey and how far I still had to travel. He was telling me how the road ahead was not going to be easy for me, especially with the herb. “The mind is the most powerful tool that we embody. It is very wild and if not controlled, it can get too toxic for the owner as well. Now, you need to learn to be in control of your mind. Be in control of your thoughts and your mental state” he said, and I nodded. I didn’t know how he was always making sense about everything, but I truly appreciated his intelligence. After a while, I suggested that we drive home, because I was starting to feel cold and I didn’t want my siblings to go to bed before I got there, because I wanted to tell them about their father. Litha agreed and we drove off.
On our way home, we were still talking about the book and Litha was trying to predict how the story would turn out, and I was just laughing at his wild imaginations. I knew the whole book, but I didn’t want to ruin his excitement about it by sharing everything. I wanted to read it for him, in order for him to know more about it- that was the initial deal anyway. My phone rang, as we were about to get home. I fiddled in my pocket and took it out. My heart nearly stopped beating when I saw who was calling- it was Sivuyile. My breathing pattern changed, and my heart was pumping harder and louder. I cleared my throat, to collect my calmness, and picked up. “Siyaxolisa, how are you?” he asked, with the lowest of tones. “I’m okay thanks, and you?” I responded. “I am fine” he replied too. Silence. “Uhm, I just wanted to inform you that I have been discharged, and I would like to see you. If that’s possible” he said. I couldn’t read his voice, whether he was angry at me for what I did or he was sorry for what he did. “Why do you want to see me?” I asked. “We need to talk, Siya. I know we are not really on good terms and I know it is all my fault. I want to talk to you about this, in person” he replied. So he wasn’t mad at me for what I did,that was a relief. I didn’t need any more drama in my life. “Okay, I don’t know when I will have the chance to meet with you though” I calmly replied. “What do you mean?” he asked. “I am leaving for the rurals, later tomorrow and I will be back on Monday morning” I explained. “Can we meet tomorrow then? I will come to the Hangout Spot” He asked again. Eish. “I am going to have a very hectic day tomorrow, so I don’t think I will have the chance to talk to you” I tried avoiding him. “Siya please. I can come during your lunch hour. Please” he literally begged. “Okay fine, you can come during lunch” I sighed. “Thank you, I will see you tomorrow” he said as we hung up. I couldn’t even bring myself up to ask how he was doing. I wasn’t interested. Maybe his girlfriend was taking care of him, feeding him soup and everything. “That was my ex” I announced, as Litha safely parked behind bhut’Sizwe’s car. My siblings and I were all so clumsy and we would leave our cars all over the yard. Mama used to hate that and force people to use the garage. “Oh okay” he briefly replied. I then remembered that I had never really involved him in my love life like that. The only thing we have discussed in depth was my relatonship with my siblings and Cindy, I haven’t gotten to discuss my relationship with Siv.”I will tell you all about Siv, in the morning. My siblings are going to demand my attention when I get into this house” I explained, knowing very well that talking about Sivuyile needed more time than just a few minutes of a summary. We got into house, and only sis Zama was in the living room. “Hey, you’re home” she announced as Litha and I walked in.”Hey sis, I’m home” I cheerfully announced. She jumped off her seat and came to give me a hug. We shared the warmest of hugs, and she gave me a quick perk on the lips. I felt the warmth of my home, after such a very long time. Litha excused himself because my sister and I were glued to each other. “Gugu is preparing something to eat” she announced, with eyes filled with love and happiness. I nodded, as I sat on the couch. “Where is bhuti?” I asked, looking around the room. “He said he was going to take Sharon to one of those pregnancy preperation classes. He said he also had to attend those classes, in order for the both of them to handle the pregnancy” she explained. Knowing that couple, what I just heard wasn’t at all weird. I silently nodded, signaling that I heard and understood her explanation. “I can only imagine how dramatic they are about their pregnancy” I laughed. “You should see how they always fight about gym times and diets. Being around them can be really challenging sometimes” she laughed too. We spoke about general stuff for a while, and sis Zama was trying to keep me up to speed with everything that was happening around the house.
“How is Athi?” I asked. “Athi is.. Well, Athi has built a world for himself in his room” she replied. “He still locks himself up?” I asked. “Yes, he doesn’t talk to anyone” she replied. “How is bhut’Sizwe handling it? I thought he was going to invite him to his work place and try and talk to him” I asked again. “Athi is shutting him out. I think he doesn’t want to have a relationship with anyone here” her voice sounded like he was defeated. I was so hurt to hear her say that to me. I asked to also help out in reaching out to Athi, and they told me I was not the right person to talk to him. Now that things were not going well with bhut’Sizwe and Athi, they though he was shutting everyone out. Nobody was even thinking of the offer I brought to the table, that I could also try and talk to Athi and see how it goes. They concluded that nobody else was going to get through to him, and that broke my heart into tiny little pieces. I remembered that I was happy when I got there, and I chose to go there because I was trying to protect my happiness. When I was starting to feel sad and sorry for myself, I remembered that my happiness was up to me, and Iget to choose to give it away or protect it. Running away was not always going to be the solution, so I had to learn to choose my happiness in the midst of a bad situation.I chose to let it slide, and find my own way of reaching out to Athi. They clearly didn’t know what was best for the child and it was not going to be my job to teach them. I silently nodded. “Anyway, Tamkhulu called me earlier, reminding me that we promised to pay him a visit this weekend” she moved right on, like Athi’s matter was not that important. I swallowed. “Oh, yeah. I was telling Litha about it earlier. I haven’t forgotten” I smiled at her. “That’s great. When do you think we should leave? Gugu thinks we should leave on Saturday morning, and I was suggesting that we leave tomorrow after work” she asked. I honestly wished she hadn’t told me their thoughts, so that I could give my honest opinion without feeling like I was taking sides. “Well, I think we should leave tomorrow so we can have more time with Tamkhulu” I doubtfully replied. “Exactly, we need to spend time with the old man” she excitedly replied. She asked about the family business, and she seemed quite disappointed at the pace that I was moving with, but she didn’t spell it out. After about 40 minutes of my arrival, sis Gugu walked into the room. “Dinner is ready” she announced. “Oh hey there, I didn’t know you were here already” she looked at me. “I’m here. I got here about 40 ago” I uncomfortably replied. “Oh okay. I will quickly go and dish up for you” she said, as she placed the two plates she was carrying. “Okay, thank you sis” I replied. A huge part of me wanted to ask her to sit down so I could dish up for myself, but I was scared she might get it the wrong way. With her, I felt like I was walking on thin ice.
She quickly disappeared into the kitchen again. Sis Zama and I went to the dining room and waited for her there. After a short while, she came to join us. Halfway into our dinner, while we were having those beautiful sisterhood moments, I changed the subject. “Uhm, guys.. I had a visitor today” I announced. They both looked at me. “Our father came to see me today” I looked down. The silence in the room was so loud that it echoed in the deepest ends of my soul. “He said he wanted to apologize for the pain that he has caused me. He said he has been thinking about me,for the past 25 years” I added. “I told him to leave my shop, and never come back. I told him to apologize to the people that he directly hurt, because he doesn’t even know me” I continued.”What did he say?” sis Zama asked. “He said he hopes that i will one day find it in my heart to forgive him” at this point, I was struggling to hold my tears back.”Don’t cry sis, that bastard doesn’t deserve anything from us, not even a drop of a tear” sis Zama said. “I can’t believe that man. After everything that he did to us, now he is going to just creep in and apologize to someone he has never even met before, while there are people whose wounds are still bleeding from the pain that he caused them” sis Gugu spoke from a place of pain. I could feel that her words were wrapped in multiple layers of pain and misery. “That man is dead to me. I am glad though that he came and confirmed that he really is my father. Now I can safely close that chapter of my life and move on from anything that has to do with him” I assured them. I wanted them to know that I was on their side and that I was not going to betray them and take that man’s side. I couldn’t even bring myelf up to even begin to think of that man as my father. He wasn’t my father. In fact, I didn’t have a father.
Later, I went to do the dishes while my sisters were selecting a movie to watch.I was not big on movies, I didn’t really care which movie they would watch. I had planned to head straight to bed after doing the dishes. “Hey sis” Sharon greeted as she bounced into the kitchen. “Hey there” I turned to look at her, with a huge smile on my face. “How are you? I haven’t seen you in a very long time” she came to stand next to me. “I’m fine, thank you. How are you? I heard you are already attending classes” I giggled happily.”Yeah,I figured we should prepare for it on time. I don’t want us to panic at last minute” she excitedly replied. “How are thing so far?” I asked, since she was clearly in no hurry. “Well, it is a bit challenging. The pregnancy itself has been very challenging. I am still learning to keep my emotions in check. I sometimes find myself crying for no reason” she explained. I laughed. “Crying for no reason?” I looked at her. “Yeah..” she looked at me. “Sometimes I find myself crying for the most simplest things” she excitedly explained. She sounded really happy to be pregnant, and I stood there, wondering how or when would I ever find that feeling exciting. I honestly didn’t feel like bringing any child into this world. The world is not as friendly as we wish it could be, and chidren often grow up broken and hurt by the environments that we bring them to. I didn’t see myself bringing a soul into this messed up society.
When I was done, I said goodnight to her and went to bed. My room felt like a strange place, I couldn’t feel traces of my soul anywhere there. It was cold and impersonal to me, as if I was some sort of a stranger. I walked in and placed my bag on the bed. I decided to take a quick ‘welcome home’ shower to get into the ‘home vibe’. When I was done, I got into bed and fell asleep almost immediately. My alarm went off at 6am, as per usual. I got up and prapred for the da y. I was happy to be waking up in my bed. I almost forgot how warm my bed was. I was planning on having a beautiful productive day, even though I knew that I was still going to meet Sivuyile. I sighed at the thought of even meeting with that man. Standing in front of my mirror looking at my image, I felt like praying and inviting God to carry me through the day. I felt like asking God to lead me as I was about to walk out that door and face the World. Ever since that day, I never looked back. Prayer became my most trusted weapon. .
Written by: Cinga Dyala
Photo credit: Koena1130