I always looked at these girls passing, making their way to school and chuckling. I forgot how life can be so simple, yet immensely complex. Amongst them was her. I was deeply gathered by her gaze, long curly hair, beautiful forget-me-not blue eyes. She was the definition of perfect and so neat in her school tunic. Innocence written not only on her face, but in her walk too… she reminded me of someone… I could feel from her long gaze and body language that she felt something for me, maybe she felt sorry… It might’ve been fear.

People like her never look twice at people like me. When the whole neighbourhood was afraid to breathe the air you are breathing because of how ruffled and stout you look, well I never made it easy either; in fact, I never cared to talk to anyone. My business was mine, and as for theirs, I did not care at all. I knew where she lived, simply because she lived in the main street, and even then Port Alfred was a small town.

My day begins at the end of dawn, finding a new place to sleep, food to eat, protecting myself from the streets that never loved me, yet are a home and shelter to me. One day I was making my way to my new-found shelter for the night. I took a glance at her house and I saw her. I saw her confusion. I saw how those tears rolled out over her smooth cheeks. What was happening?

“No! I did not tell a soul!” but before she could finish those words, a fist came rushing at such a speed that the thud rang in my heart.

“You are lying, and you make me angry!” said a voice with so much wrath. I got closer and I jumped through the fence.

“Please father, I’m sorry,” she pleaded with all she had, and her tears could not even save her. He held her down with a knife on the icy cold tiles in the kitchen. My heart beat rose. Call a neighbour? Call the police? No, it will be too late! I found myself flying through the locked door. I broke it.

Disinclination could have done more harm. His face was cold, lips strained with fury, she was lying there half bare and surprised by who she just saw breaking into her house. I did understand. He flew at me with the knife and we struggled with it. I got hold of it and my anger gave me so much strength that I drove it into his chest.

Blood rushed and she was petrified. “What did I just do? I killed him!” and she was crying, she could not stop…

“Let’s get you to safely,” I cried, still in shock, still looking at me. We were on our way out when I felt it, it made me dizzy, it made me half fall. She screamed and strained to hold me, but all I could say was “Run… get away from this place!” the knife with which I had stabbed him had reverted back to me, into my chest. I could feel it dissect my heart. I turned and he looked at me with eyes filled with victory and a snarl I could not even bear to interpret. We both fell, he closed his eyes and in my fall I witnessed her larger-than-life footsteps running and screaming. It was done, and so was I.

She will never know me; she will never see me. Homeless, without a shelter, without revenue, without anyone who saw anything in me… But I saw her; I saw past her smile, I saw past her disguise. I saw her, she reminded me of someone. She reminded me of myself. She reminded me of all the reasons I ran away, all the reasons I gave up… I could not let her run, she had so much to live for. Amandla was my name, and I too, had a father that forced me to run away from home.