Wet Dreams – Malefu Mahloane

At the first glimpse of her full thighs and breasts that stood like pears on a tree, he thought he would be stupid not to find that attractive. She was descending the hill with a water pot on her head, her eyes glowing like stars in the night. The figure she carried made many girls envious. Old women felt jealous on behalf of their daughters, some wished for their sons to marry her, but Mpumi was too proud to listen to them pouring their hearts out to her. However on that day, she came across a young man named Josh and their encounter would change their lives forever.

“I have been waiting for you since the day of my birth,” Josh said, making advances towards the young lady and offering to help her with her water pot. “I hope you are not trying to soften me up with your words because that’s just stupid,” she said with a serious face. This made Josh feel insulted, but he was not ready to let this thrilling moment pass him by so he kept his calm. They walked together without saying any words to each other for some time. Mpumi was humming a song and easily peaking at Josh from the corner of her eye. “What do you want from me? Do you also want to sleep with me? Well mister, if that is the case I am sorry I cannot help you. I am not one of your home girls who open their legs out of marriage!” It seemed like she was expecting him to make a defence, but Josh kept quiet for he already knew in his heart that he loved this young lady and had no bad intensions, but intercourse with her would be a heavenly gift, he thought. “Are you asking me to marry you?” he asked in giggles. Mpumi however, received this as arrogance. Nonetheless, she suddenly felt a strike of attraction towards the young man.

It had been a long walk and the two decided to rest under an apple tree, where they kept on debating about gender roles and social expectations. The mood was now less tense and Mpumi was laughing at Josh’s incoherent jokes. Seeing as she had lightened up and was more comfortable around him, he reached for her knee and drew closer to her – kissed her on the forehead and gently pulled her by the waist. Like a man, he removed the towel she had around her, and pulled up her skirt, then pulled down her khaki panty hoses, and then her panties. Like a man, still, Josh was so in love, he remained on his knees, folded back into baby pose, spread her legs and leaked the envelope before he sent the mail. All this time, Mpumi seemed to be in oblivion; vulnerable and wanting.

Watching Josh take off his clothes, Mpumi noticed that the young man did not have his things ‘cleaned up’. Damn! How could he get her so hooked, only to put her down like that. She quickly shut her legs, stood up and started to gather her things, with embarrassment. “You are not circumcised? How old are you?” she snapped at the boy. “We cannot go there when you’re not ‘cleaned up’. The whole thing was a big mistake. Do me a favour, don’t tell anyone about this.” Mpumi said, strutting about. “But, I love you.” Josh implored with the confusion of an innocent child. He was not aware of the importance of a circumcised penis. And also, he didn’t think that a girl such as Mpumi is cognizant of the appearance of a circumcised penis. After all she said, she was not a girl who would open her legs out of marriage, which was of course contradictory with what they had just did. But then again, he thought it was love from her side. So what the hell does she know about a circumcised penis?

Mpumi grabbed her water pot and left Josh there under the tree, feeling helpless and like a failure. Even so, she would never forget how he did that thing with his tongue and nose. She was set for winter! It was also in how he looked at her and told her that she was a beautiful woman. His kisses were like having ice cream on a winter day. For an uncircumcised man, Josh was a 10 of a man. His broad shoulders and that dumb tattoo he had on his left shoulder (you could tell that he did it himself), oh well!

The winter holidays passed and Mpumi left the small village without seeing Josh. The poor boy was heart wrecked and miserable. He thought of different ways of getting Mpumi to love him back and not just for the sex. He believed that even though he was a village boy and Mpumi a small town girl, they were meant for each other. So, he started asking his friends about circumcision. Older boys convinced him that, doing it at the mountain, would make him the love of girls. “You see, when you go to the mountain, you return back tougher in all areas of your life. Girls will marvel at you because you will be a man among men.”

Josh also wanted to be a man. He wanted Mpumi to marvel at him the next time he pulled down his pants in front of her. He would even make it a point that the message got to her in the small town in which she stayed. Now all that was left, was for him to discuss it with his mother, the only parent he had.

“You do not need any symbolic circumcision or training to become a man”, his mother said, assuring him that he was clean enough as he was. Despite his mother’s assurance, Josh had come to understand that, circumcision would not only allow him the pleasure of resting his man thing in the vines of the girl he loved, but it would also grant him an identity as a man of his house. He would now be recognized as a man. He so dared that he would go to the mountain, come back and declare his status as a man in this society. His mother did not understand now, but she would someday have to accept. The more his friends convinced him, the better he believed and by believing this became part of him, and part of his dreams until it was the only thing he could dream of.

Early one morning, Josh and his friends sneaked out of the small village and headed yonder the mountains – chasing manhood. Up the mountain they climbed; they continued running and by midday, the boys were at the top of the mountain. Down below they could see the dry land and started to descend. They reached the field and in the distance they could see the peek of the little hut that stored their manhood. More courage was building up now, and they started imagining all the good things that would follow after their term at initiation school.

Very often, you would hear stories of   how a boy or a few were found dead in the fields with their body parts disassembled after they had ran away to the mountain school. Popular knowledge had it that the Old Men who managed these initiation schools, used the young men’s body parts for medicinal purposes. Some say the body parts can be used as charm, which is sold to businessmen to keep businesses thriving. In traditional African communities, going to initiation used to be a way of transforming young men from boyhood and teaching them what to expect in manhood. The boys were taught how to treat women; how to behave around elders and peers, the kinds of conversations they should have and those they should refrain from in different contexts. So, it was good for a community to send a few young boys around ages of 11-15 to initiation school. It was not a profit making scheme and very seldom would hear of a boy dying while he was at the mountain, let alone being forcefully abducted without the knowledge of the parents. But things have changed. Josh knew about this state of affairs, but he wanted Mpumi to be proud of him and wanted the community to recognize him as a man.

By sundown, Josh and his friends were near the gates of the little hut that housed their manhood. Getting closer and closer, they arrived at the gates and the first thing that caught their attention was a loud cry of another young man who was getting whipped by an Old Man. The Old Man was shouting, “By the time I am done with you, you will be more than a man”. During this observation, Josh regretted his choice and wondered if this was what he wanted. He thought of escaping, but that would never get him the praise that he wanted. Mpumi would never take him seriously.

The other young man who was being whipped, wept no more. He died in the hands of the Old Man. As tragic as it was, you would expect somebody to have run away but no, this was how it was and how it would remain. A   message would be send to the deceased’s family, reporting that their son was weak and therefore did not survive.

Having all these thoughts of escaping and going back home to his mother, he decided that he would sneak out late in   the night when everyone was asleep. Little did he know that the grass, the sand and wood had eyes. Nonetheless, he would escape. At midnight when he thought everyone was deep in sleep, he ran off. He was out of the field and at the valley by dawn. The road was much heavier, exacting and boring. During this time, back at the school, a few older boys were sent out to search for this intruder. The first place they would start was at his home. The old boys did not even bother looking for him in the field or the mountain. They took the shortest route to the village, as a result, they got to   Josh’s home before he did.

On their arrival the old boys found the his mother in the house. Without an explanation, they beat her up until she was no more. A few of them stayed at the house while the others took the corpse to the outskirts of the village. By the time Josh arrived at his house, he was welcome by the remaining old boys. “You are a saboteur of our tradition. You have disrespected the Old Man, but he is willing to forgive you. However, there are two conditions, you either come back with us to the mountain or do us a small favor which you will know about just now.” The Boy did not ask about his mother, thinking that she was not there when they arrived and secretly glad that she was not there because he would not want her to know about this.

Josh decided he would do whatever it is that was requested of him by the older boys, as long as he did not have to go back to the school. Mpumi would have to excuse him. The old boys took him with to the field where the others waited. There, they pointed him to a body that was covered in plastic and instructed the him to penetrate it. “If you go inside this woman we will know that you are man enough and will let you go in peace and, promise to never bother you.” Without even thinking about it, he undressed and pushed himself inside the woman. When they told him to stop, they uncovered the body and he saw Mpumi’s face.

Kneeling there in shame, Josh wept helplessly. He cried out so loud screaming, “Mama! Mama!” At that moment, his mother stormed in and shouted, “What is it my child?!” he woke up on a wet pillow and realized that the pillow wasn’t the only thing that was wet. This was all a dream, and it was evident that he was obsessed with Ms. Mpumi, his Life Orientation teacher.

Photo: Botswele Mogotlane

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