CHAPTER 8 – Emotions Evoked
“If anything, don’t give up on your own blood,”
She had already seen it in my eyes when I was standing in a corner with my heart dripping, because I had already seen it coming, when in the street my concern was finding and exploring love, when in my shelter, it was the one thing that I struggled to understand. My uncle and aunt where the only parents I’ve known and relied on for all matters that needed solving, and matters that merely needed a hug, love and just being a parent.
“Kiwi!”, as I was told I resembled the black polish.
“Black mamba”, screams I heard from the other room.
“You are a liar just like your mother was”. The screams from the other room continues.
“You are the only one that eats in this house, I am tired, and I work for you when I should be working for my kids”.
“Every time when I come to the house, just the thought of you being in this house, I wish I could go back”.
No matters how many tears I shed, the screams would never cease, “I am counting days, you are going back home”
“I am glad your mother had died, I wouldn’t want her to witness the grieve you giving me”.
I had always found a corner that’s my sacred place. Every hurled insult, I would take it as it came. Bruised internally, my soul was slowly falling, searching for that light, a glimpse of faith that everything would ultimately go back into place. Ignored the bad, when all I was is pessimistic, yet the hurt didn’t meet me half way. I dived into the worst, when I devoured all negativity. I seemed to be an attraction of the worst, life didn’t seem like a very happy place to be. I sank below the water, and forced to breathe just so I can feel that excruciating pain and slowly smell the agony of death approaching. My horrendous past seem far better than my present. Blistered with prose beyond what the hand can inscribe. I tried never to shallow any of it but I couldn’t stop the mind from remembering. I chocked deep in my sleep – drenched my pillows with such fierce in my eyes, felt like an interloper, deserted, faced with acrimony. I swayed my mind into believing that it’s never easy to brush a child’s hair that isn’t yours. This is when my hole was dung, the first cut wasn’t deep enough. I had thoughts of absconding, but the road wasn’t going to take me far to a place I wanted to be. The time that most feared arose, run out of buoyancy, when I was sent back home. I wept until I couldn’t weep anymore. The challenge seemed greater than what I could handle, to be back where it had begun. It felt more of an aide memoir from God, just so I can stay focused because in a few days He carried me back. A human asked me if I had forgiven and forgotten, I looked at him and said, “I can never choose what to forget and what to remember, but I made forgiveness a choice. Before all this had happened I had already forgiven all troubled souls”. My mother use to say, you can never ever be free until you learn to forgive, I never understood that until I saw one of my friends that had angered me, and I was the one with rage, and anger, but he seemed to be waking up in the morning with a big grin, like nothing had happened. Forgiveness is for ourselves, to be set free from all the anger, the hurt, the bitterness bottled within us, but the one thing that I had always said, it doesn’t matter how bad anything may look in your family, if anything, don’t give up on your own blood or rather that of an extended family, beside all, family is family. I forgive because at the end of it all, I still had a life to live. At times the bitterness in your heart will tempt you to do things that you’d never do, the resentment, the temper – careful where it may lead you. I regret my moments of anger, in the depths of despair, when I couldn’t control what was within, the fact that it was still there to haunt me, I struggled to talk about what was eating me up, when it was told too many times, became old news, but the wound deepened each day and every moment when I take a glance at what was. The exterior was the opposite mirror of what was within, and nobody ever understood my emotions. Life seemed meaningless, “Mama” the only woman I wanted to make her proud of me. “I am sure wherever she is, she’s looking down and she’s proud of you” words I heard a lot, that I never wanted to hear from a soul. It never felt the same; my people would look at it as a blessing in disguise, that proclamation devastated my inner persona. Slacking bit by bit in touch with reality as thoughts threw me off the edge. I knew things would never be the same, losing the only person you have, that’s a big shift, and it takes a lot of processing to adjust to the situation. I took every hit as it came; I believed that life would get better in time, faced with a challenge to make my own life work, to build a life and be seen among-st others. When introductions are made to other members and you don’t get to be introduced as well, it builds in. Only If I could bring her back, as I sleep at night, words from a deep sleep that awakened me from a peaceful night,
“Open the goddamn door, this is my house” coming from a knock through the window in a room I was sleeping in,
“It’s a process, you’ll have to adjust” words from within. I never thought I’d ever get used to it, but eventually I did. My life became a bedroom domicile; I only wanted to be on my own and I never got to miss home when I was away, because there’s nothing interesting in my bedroom that I would ever have to miss except sleep. Comes a moment, you wish you had someone to talk to, the only person I had wish to have one last tete a tete, one more heart-to-heart, mother-to-son, a lost soul that ceased my mind from the rest, really irreplaceable. Black folks in my culture don’t believe in psychiatrists but to say the least, I healed on my own. Nobody ever wanted to deal with all that. I had become turmoil of all sorts of emotions yet again. When I woke up to explain the burden I had been carrying, I had to kneel down and ask for all the strength I can get. I wanted people to carry the same burden to feel it physically and emotionally, just how strenuous it was.
“Wake up”, silently whispered a voice from nowhere.
“Zack, Wake up”, but I was already up, dubious as I turned to see who was whispering, and yet there was nobody. Then it hit me, I have been sleeping, I have been sleeping a dream of the past, the past that had happened, but I have turned it into my reality. The reality that exist in my head, made me. My existence was based on it. The friends I have been too attached to that I have believed I have lost; I pushed them away, because my reality was for them to do exactly as my heart desired. I expected too much. I wanted from them what I never had. My reality was they were the replacements of my mother, my father, my half-brother and my sister. My reality was that they should love me and always be there when I needed them.
“Wake up, Zack” as the voice continued, I had one more look at what was left behind. The only moment I was able to say goodbye. So I was urged to wake up from my own nightmares. Don’t let the pain make decisions for you, don’t turn one bad day into a life time, once you’ve taken a step forward, a step backward still counts, and it’s time that you are wasting. Every second is just as every cent, it must be well spent. I was also reminded when my English Teacher had said never to rush into a commitment if the heart isn’t ready; don’t let commitment become a responsibility; let it feel just as love feels. I believed that at all times that family is very important, that family feuds are only meant to be temporary. Love that kid like it’s your own, it’s being human.
“You are going home today!” My uncle said.
Ventersdorp, Mogopa, was a place and a reminder of all cluttered devotion. The mountain in the south, reminded me of my childhood, how me and my mother we’d go to the bush for dried cow dung and woods used to make fire, running around as a kid, having wild raisins.
“Mama, I found cow dung”
“Put it in the white plastic bag” she said.
We would at times put them in separate designated areas for those that are dry and those that are almost dry. The love she had for me, how much I appreciated her, even though I couldn’t tell what that meant at the age of 8. I just knew that I did.
I repeatedly called her name, it was annoying for her, and I just laughed. I would continue calling her name until she didn’t answer anymore, but that never stopped me, I kept going until she eventually got tired of it.
I laughed some more, running around, I still get those blurry moments, when she asked me to go buy some sweets, the blue and red ones, called “fire balls”, although the blue one wasn’t as hot as the red one, and I deliberately bought the red ones. She had no idea, she started licking and she couldn’t take it anymore, she was so pissed at me, I remember laughing hard. Later that afternoon I begged her to go watch a soapie at my neighbors as we had no television at home.
From the far north, an old road referred to as “Big Street” brought even too many memories. “Lala kele, Lala Zack”, the past that really came to pass once again in my head. Blackberry fruit trees, the first fights, first kisses, its home. However I didn’t last long at home, even though it may have felt like my uncle kicked me out, I found a way to go back, because the path I was designed to travel wasn’t about to put me back to where my life began. However, looking at it with a consideration eye, so I call it. Perhaps I needed to go back to the roots, to look through the troubles I have passed through, the pain I once felt, A glance at the past, A quick look at my origins, so I can plug up enough courage not to give up, to keep walking. In that misty thoughts and how I realized how much have changed, I then got my feeling back, I felt more alive, that’s the irony part of it, and I was taken back to where I left off, to continue with the journey. I knew that it was far from the end, it was back to school.
“How do you breathe?”
As I asked one of my classmates, looking confused as I was continuously asking him and he had no idea what I had just ate, as he repeatedly said, however when he started talking about diaphragms and the intercostal muscles, and chest cavities, I was less interested. He did answer the question but that was not what I was looking for.
“How do you breathe?”
I then questioned myself over and over again. How does one breathe without the one that gave your life? Arguably Christians might attack me and say God did, that we know. But God gave me this path to walk on, and I am questioning myself, if the one that gave birth to you is no more, how do you then breathe, as each day passes, there’s just no meaning of anything. I am thinking to myself that I am never ever going to make it because it seemed impossible. She was all I had, the only one. You don’t have to add anything else or anyone; she was the only one my heart knew.
“How do you breathe?”
It’s hard to, feels like you no longer want to. Even mine’s borrowed how I ignored that fact. It didn’t matter; it felt like it was just too soon for her. I needed more time, but everything that I am, everything that I will be, I owe it to the one that gave me life, but then if they are not here with you. “How do you breathe?”