How we don’t talk, how we grow apart, how we love each other at bay, how we would rather get chocked to death by all we wish to say than to say it. We know our relationships are sinking but we prefer joking about our skewed stretch marks and how we must really start dating soon, pink dresses and lack of data. We do not even know how to carry each other when we are sad, we don’t even want to see each other when we are sad, we can’t joke about cellulite and our home remedies for our easily breakable nails. When we are sick, we don’t even remember each other’s home addresses. We are afraid of dealing with each other, when sick, we watch each other dying slowly, showering each other with cheap flowers, confirming that we see that we are turning to graves but still, we never talk. We have swapped our shoulders with our thumbs, liking each other’s posts on Facebook, that’s how we keep in touch.
Waking up early to sit in hospital benches is frustrating! The first time I took myself to hospital, I was 15 years old. I thought they would ask where my guardian was but I guess being fat and looking older helps sometimes. Anyway, I arrived at the hospital around 5am, registration started after 8am and I only got to see a doctor after 1pm. Exhausted and almost forgetting what I was there for, with people coughing and some with dripping noises, getting lost between wards and which I was directed to go to after registration. I felt like I was going to leave the hospital having adopted all kinds of sicknesses. Fortunately I didn’t and now at 21 years and in varsity, I don’t have to wake up at ungodly hours to visit the campus clinic.
This February I decided to face my one and biggest fear, admitting that I needed professional psychological help. Before that, I had been in circles dancing with bandages, cover this, cover that, Panado now, Disprin later, one drink now, three bottles before bed. I always tried to drink myself out of pain, stuff my stomach with biscuits, purge, feel guilty, do sit ups, drink, eat, purge, drink, eat, purge, always in circles! I hated how I was weak and couldn’t control myself. What is wrong with you Cheli, you are deep in your grave and you dug it yourself! I would scold myself daily and purge straight after that. Some days I would push almost my whole hand in my mouth, wanting to purge some more, hoping to purge out the never satisfied beast in me. This beast was wild, playing with my breath on its palms, it had me wherever it wanted to have me. At a whole loaf of bread and face down deep in the toilet, anytime! I don’t want anyone to know that I am sick, I don’t want anyone knowing I am being beaten daily by an eating disorder. I still don’t even like saying the name of my eating disorder aloud, I don’t even trust the air but six months talking to the psychologist, I am still afraid of seeing a dietician. Scales, scales never loved me!
Anyway, though I’m still in circles, my eating disorder is not the point here. The point is friendship, this week on my visit to the psychologist, I arrived 15 minutes early. Sitting outside the psychologist’s room, I got a chance to respond to some texts, I also texted my friends Nandi to let her know that we can meet at campus square in an hours’ time. By then I knew I would be done with my session and walk for 15 minutes to Campus Square in Auckland Park. After waiting for 10 minutes, I saw the door open and I got up, approached the door and to my utmost surprise coming out of the psychologists’ room was Nandi! My friend that I had just texted, Nandi!
My tongue immediately stuck on the roof of my completely dry with shock mouth. We locked eyes for a few seconds as if we were spirits in another world and now meeting on earth, the don’t-I-know-you kind of stare. But Nandi and I knew each other, for years, we have done the silliest of things and shared all our juicy fantasies about our crushes, we know each other but not this part of our lives. Seeing a psychologist means trouble, I know because I am seeing one. I couldn’t concentrate on my session, thinking that Nandi is seeing a psychologist and I don’t know about it and she doesn’t know that I am also seeing a psychologist. How could we both be secretly reaching out for help? I began thinking, what is the use of friendship if we are all about giggles and never about, is there something hurting you?
I couldn’t think straight during the session and also walking to Campus Square. I was wondering if Nandi would still show up, would we address seeing each other at a place we never thought we’d bump into each other and are we going to talk about how we don’t talk and how we are really not aware of each other’s pain. My head was buzzing! I didn’t even notice that I was walking on the Rea Vaya lane until a taxi driver hooted violently at me, I jumped off the lane onto the car lane and gosh, my heart was racing hard! I crossed two more robots still in disbelief that the taxi driver is hooting and threatening to drive over me as he is on the right lane. Nxa! I was so pissed off and I got to Campus Square and Nandi was waiting at the entrance, I couldn’t hold it, annoyed, I told her what just happened and immediately we started talking about how awful taxi drivers are and how funny I must have looked shocked and running on the Rea Vaya lane, hahaha and more giggles and thigh slapping, foot stomping loosing ourselves in laughter, as usual.
We got in at Pick n Pay clothing, laughed at some shoes, went to Legit and complained about the expense of bags, got to Woolworths, got wine and junk filled it in our baskets then discussed how all we were carrying would be cheaper at Pick n Pay and then we went there and got cheaper wine and junk. When we were done with our wine and junk shopping, we walked up the back bending hill to Brixton to our separate communes, on the way we talked about how tired we were and how we must wake up early on Saturday so we could do our hair before we go and chill in Braamfontein.
None of us mentioned what happened earlier but I’m sure we both wanted to say something. I don’t know why we don’t talk. What are we afraid of or am I expecting too much from Nandi or talking is for therapy sessions only?
Either way, I wonder about Nandi, is she secretive or maybe I am not the one she wants to open up to or maybe does she wonder about me too but since we don’t talk, we will keep wondering about each other, being sick in secret and fading away, getting swallowed by our giggles
Photo: Hazel Fasaha Tobo