“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is an honour to accept this award this evening. I am quite surprised myself (a lie) and I have barely prepared much to say (another lie). I thank God, my family, editor and readers for making this piece of work good enough for the public to consume. On my own, this would have never come out this way….”

This is how it all began…

I had won a Book of the Year Award! I had held myself from screaming during the phone call that I kept nodding as if the person on the other end could see. When they asked if I was still there, it was then that I realised I was too stoked, so, I kept saying “Thank you! Yes ma’m, thank you.” When the call ended, I ran to my balcony and I screamed and danced joyfully! I wanted to drive home and to my friend’s place to enjoy and celebrate this moment with them but I was too overjoyed to drive.

“What if it’s a prank? A lie? A wrong number?” Doubt asked. I had no idea how he always knew when to exactly sneak in and ruin things!

“But that’s my book title!” I answered.

“Well, they could’ve made a mistake! If I were you, I’d wait for confirmation.” Doubt persisted on chasing away Joy, who had started to fill me with warmth.

I knew Doubt could be right; I had been too excited before and things had fallen apart and I had embarrassed myself. Doubt had a good memory and made sure to pull out dates, events and exact locations of such embarrassing things.

The email did come in. I read it again and again trying to find the prank, the lie and the possible mistake. I wanted to be sure Doubt didn’t have to record another event in his books.

“The award evening event will be confirmed at a later stage and we would like you to provide us with the following details to arrange itinerary for you. Congratulations once again Ms. Dlamini, we look forward to welcoming you to our City and working with you.”

“It is legit!” Joy jumped up and down. She could never hold herself together.

“Check the email address” Doubt shouted.

“That’s valid too!” Truth confirmed.

“Doubt, I think we can be sure that Joy has to stay and you have to leave the house now!” I demanded.

Doubt was quite a cunning fella, he left and yet I knew, I had not heard the last of him.

“Can we dance now?” Joy asked.

“Of course!” I switched on my multimedia player and threw a “Thank you God!” before my favourite jam songs began. I dashed to the kitchen in socks and pyjamas to make myself a mimosa. It was a late morning and I had been woken up by the good news call following a late night of internet searching and a little bit of writing.

I twirled and stomped and beat air drums to Black Motion’s “I rise”, while calling my family and friends telling them the good news. It was a fiesta of joyful screams, “Thank-yous” and “I can’t believe it”. Which was partly a lie, I could believe it, the book was a classic piece of literature; I just didn’t expect it. Most artists are acknowledged long after they’ve left this world.

Not long after, my lack of sleep and mimosas sent me back to bed. I slept through the many phone calls and texts. When I finally woke up it was late in the evening and I thought it must have been the following night.

“Congratulations!” “I’m so proud of you” were the most common messages, even from the “friends” and family who had never even bought my book. Most promised to buy and asked where it is sold. I knew it was all a passing wave of wanting to be associated with a winner. I already had absorbed winner’s attitude – pride.

“What do we do now?” I asked.

“Nothing in particular! Just enjoy my stay!” Joy answered as she dangled her feet on the toilet seat while I showered.

“I think we should do something, maybe like go out on a solo dinner date!” I said.

“Or we can think of something to wear!”

“Yess!!! I have been waiting for this moment!” Impulsive Buyer excitedly joined the conversation.

“Please not today!” I refused to dwell on clothes when I hadn’t even received my traveling details. I wanted Joy to stick around, make me feel proud and let Faith weep a little (she was a crier of note).

But that wasn’t the end. Doubt and Worry were waiting for me in bed and so I got ready for a celebratory dinner with my boyfriend. One would think after such an eventful day of overwhelming Joy, I’d have the best sleep in history that night.

“What about the speech? What will you say?” Doubt asked just as I tucked myself back in bed, letting my stomach feast on the steak and good wine I’d had at dinner.

“You’re not good with public speaking!” Worry added.

“Oh yes! She is not! Remember when…”  Doubt started scrolling through his long history of embarrassing moments he had warned me about.

“I will prepare the speech!” I said.

“What if you’re late for your flight? Event?” You’re always late!” Anxiety could no longer be silent.

“Buy two dresses, in case one gets torn!” Impulsive Buyer shouted while hidden behind the bulky beardy Doubt.

They were all correct. I needed to have all these things in order.

“Ok! Ok!” I’ll get on it now.

“It doesn’t have to be now though! You’re not going anywhere tomorrow!” Joy sternly said.

She was right too but I wanted the award day to be perfect. I wanted to be on time, dressed well and mostly deliver a speech that’s heartfelt.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is an honour to accept this award this evening. I am quite surprised myself- ok I am lying, I knew about it a week ago and I have barely prepared much to say (another lie, I actually have been preparing since the day I heard. I thank God, my family, publishing houses that rejected it. I hope you’re drowning in regret right now!” I began my speech. I froze when I realised I was dressed in pyjamas and I had been an hour late for my speech.

“I warned you!” Doubt boasted.

Crying, I ran out the event hall into the night sky that blew me away into a cold sea, where the lighthouse alarm went off.

It was my alarm. I was having a nightmare and Doubt had made sure I didn’t have the best sleep in the world. Needless to say, when the day came, I was dressed in a stunning dress, I was on time and my speech got a standing ovation.

Joy winked at me.