One day in September 2010, before a cultural event at school, we were informed that a special guest who had written a book was coming to visit us. They left us speculating and clueless about who the author was. How cruel of them to let us know there was someone coming and to keep his name under wraps.
The next day, which was Thursday and the day before the event, we were shown the cover of the book. It displayed a picture of a woman who wiped her tears with bank notes on the board of school events at the entrance of the administration offices. It said: “Before the sun, we must run before the sunset”. That was supposed to be the clue. It got interesting because most pupils now realised that the author had written something big. I began thinking about where he might be from. Whether he was old, rich or a nerd?
School was out. I arrived home, dropped my bag, and changed. I heard whistling outside and knew that it was time to play. Nothing but the game happened. We had fun. It was soon late and my mommy called me back into the house. I ran inside, bathed and ate my supper. Afterwards I watched television, fell asleep on the sofa and then finally went off to my bed.
The morning came and I woke up and ran outside to my back wall to say hi to my neighbour. My neighbour, Harmless, was in his mid-twenties and sang Joy. He was never at home. I then went back inside my house to prepare for school. When I looked out the window I saw that Harmless was at the gate. I picked up my school bag and went outside. He waved at me and I waved back, he then signalled for me to come to the gate. He asked me to drive him to school, which I did, but I never asked him why he needed a lift. When we arrived Harmless went off with my principal. Suddenly the bell rang.
As the bell stopped five black German cars entered through the school gate. The teachers began to usher all the students into the hall for assembly. The cars had the same posters we had been shown the day before on them. We arrived at assembly and stood according to our class ranks. Our principal came forward towards the podium and stood in front of the teachers, guests and my beloved neighbour. He introduced the guests and then passed the microphone to Harmless. Harmless greeted us all and then sang Joy, which I sang along to from the middle to the end of the song.
Harmless acknowledged me as his inspiration and began to laugh at himself.
Fellow students gave me a round of applause – I was so flattered. Moments later, they gave him the book. It had his name on the cover and our game’s name (Round love). He introduced it and said it is the story of true happiness. He said that the women needed true happiness and they handed her only what she needed to survive.
He told us that love, much like our game, should rotate and grow with every struggle that is faced. His inspiration was that no matter how rocky the street is, with bare feet we walked. We felt pain but joy kept us going. Relating to the woman he said that the book cover came about because of his mother who gave up an over-demanding but well-paying job to take care of him. She helped him find his feet and see the bigger picture to be able to face his disability and to walk.
He was my inspiration too. I have someone nearby to look up to. He has proven that what we see is not actually what we will see. For the record he was not old.