The delirious and mad fondly say, “A dog is a dog”. I remember when those words echoed at the back of my mind – it sent my whole frame shuddering. I was humbly waiting for a casual dosage of ass-whopping from my dear mother. You see, an air of rebellion has forever hovered above my head, like a dark menacing cloud, since days yonder – consequently landing me in trouble, more so with my mother. I still vividly remember that oddly cold night in that matchbox of a house in the township of Tembisa. You see, my mother was very inventive in the ass-whopping department – but what she pulled out from her bag of inventory… sends me flying from my chair in laughter to this day.

Accustomed to the ragged nature of her weapon of choice, I just did not see the fancy Aigner belt ever gracing my skin with its presence. The wow factor of it all, being how she removed it off from my father’s torso – carefully spanning him around his waist in the comfort of his chair, without provoking any sign of anger in his eyes. This remains a mystery, as he seemed immovable from his previous position, and all the more lacklustre to the volatile situation at hand.

Eyes bulging and religiously pleading for help from the other-worldly, as that of a goat before its slaughter, I gave a calculated shriek and ran to the kitchen, the sink still full of dishes from the day before, the pots still slimy and reeking a stench that would have sent a senior citizen breathing heavily into an air tank… Finally, I gave in like a dog to its master, for I knew my transgressions and made peace with the situation.

Pain is a harsh mistress. As of today I embrace and comfortably wear the damn designer belt. My late mother presented it to me immediately after the passing of my father in my mid-teens. Of all the material possessions – whose service it has been, as pieces of time travelling to all the memories I heartily cherish – the belt strangely holds a heavier gravitational pull. Moreover so, because I wore it during my matric finals – where to my mother’s pride, I accumulated a few distinctions under my belt, pun excused!

As a memento, the belt symbolizes what I have both gained and lost in the last 20 odd years of my life, and the compassionate bond between a mother and a son. Although morally the beatings were wrong, in retrospect, I always draw the lesson of discipline and seeing tasks through completion, which I try to inculcate in my daily regimen. In addition, for that I will always hold the belt in high esteem, irrespective of the day it viciously bit me of course, and how bad in shape it has become – ever since stabbing holes around it to grow with my mass over the past few years.