It was dark and the city was like a ghost, with a cold breeze and one street light shining far away in the distance. I jumped up from my bed after hearing my alarm clock going off, I headed to the bath room to begin yet another day. Same routine every day, wash my face, brush my teeth and hair and get in with a wet wash cloth on those down low areas. Its 06:15am and today is a big day for me but something doesn’t feel right for some odd reason, but I brush it off. I carry on with the daily chores; feeding the dogs, cleaning the yard then I head back inside to finish off packing in my toiletries, that’s when I hear a hoot outside, it must be uncle Dave, who lives up the road, he drives a big red family car that helps a lot of people in my area. He’s everyone’s local daddy. Today is a big day as I mentioned, so I grab my bag and keys head out my door and jump in the car.
“Morning Uncle Dave,” I greet and he happily greets back. I throw my bag on the back seat of the car. “And where are you off to so early in the morning?” He asks. I shout, “today is a big day uncle Dave I’m going to visit someone very special,” while my head hangs out of the window feeling the morning wind blow through my hair, “And who exactly is this someone my child and where do they stay?” Uncle Dave asks again. He is a everyones nosey daddy. “A good friend of mine, he lives in a place where pain does not exist….stop, stop, stop!!!” I shout as we almost miss the bus stop where I will be taking a bus to my final destination. I say thank you to Uncle Dave, he smiles and Vrrrrrrrrrrr he drives off leaving behind all the dust. I close my eyes and block my face with my red scarf, eyes shut tight so that I don’t get blinded by the dirt.
The big white and blue bus arrives while I’m dusting the dirt off my clothing and its empty, but I jump in anyway and greet the driver as I make my way to the best seat, right next to the window, this is where you see everything. It takes me back to when I was a little girl and I’d always sit by the window when daddy and I went to far away places like when we go visit granny and grandpa on the farm in Mpumalanga, Khalanyoni village. Today I see the heavy morning traffic and busy city life, I mean not that its any different on other days, but there’s always something new to see, like that boy and man who have on the same colour shirt, and that lady with a big hole in her skirt, behind her a dog drinks water from the dirty gutters… I wish I could take him home with me.
The bus finally reaches my final destination and I hop off, this time I don’t hide my face away from the dirt because there is none here, just green grass, beautiful flowers growing and a blue sky. Its a tad bit misty down ahead almost looks like I’m in that creepy movie I watched with my brother the one time called The Mist, but fear is the least of my worries right now because today is a big day. I go down the stairway holding onto my red bag and trying to keep my balance, some of the stairs are broken but what I love most about this place is the fact that it’s so clean and peaceful, There’s no litter anywhere and the air even smells fresh, it’s quite nippy so I grab my hoody from my bag and throw it on. I finally reach the last step and in front of me is a beautiful view. I take a moment and appreciate mother nature’s beauty before heading to a gigantic rock I see close to the crystal clear water that runs down all the way to the waterfall. I inhale and exhale before I carry on walking far out into the distance, where I came across a peculiar looking object, it’s some sort of house like structure so I obviously head over and try to get a better view.
Ahhhh! I scream as I’m falling down a hole that took me to some funny looking place. It is quiet, dead quiet and now I’m fearing for what might jump out at me or if I fall into another trap. There in the distant a flickering light appears, “Hello!” I shout ahead trying to see if someone is around, “Is anyone out there?” I scream, but all I hear is my echoing voice. I’m so afraid to move that I stand in one place for almost 15 minutes just waiting and waiting, hoping that someone could help. My troubling thought of when I was younger comes back to me.
I remember the dark room that they kept us in, with one candle that was placed in the middle of the room young and old girls locked up and when the time came for the monsters to eat they would unlock the room and blind us with a torch light, I felt his hands picking me up and dragging me out the room. His hands were 4 times bigger than mine and so rough that I swore it left scratches on my arms. “It’s ok,” he’d whisper to me. When I looked up in fear I saw his face in the darkness and it was Uncle Dave. “They have other girls we must go back and help them,” I said but I was so weak that from there on everything went blank. I was 12 at the time and had been held hostage for almost 2 weeks. It’s been 11 years since it happened, and still when I close my eyes I remember the dark room and what they did to those poor girls. How they forced themselves on innocent girls.
“Dimpho, wake up! Dimpho tsoga thle.” I open my eyes slow to make sure that I wasn’t back in hell, “Its ok it was just a dream,” said my mama. It was dark and the city was like a ghost, with a cold breeze and one street light shining far away in the distance. We all have an untold story. Whether it haunts you or lingers through your thoughts everyday remember that healing takes time, find your little altar, your get away places whether it be in your mind whether its a specific place you go and find peace, allow your self to heal and that’s why today is a big day for me, because I woke up and chose to be happy despite what the past holds.
Photo: Hazel Fasaha Tobo