I fell in love again. I am amongst those who have convinced themselves to fall in love until their heart is crushed, crushed, and crushed over and over again. And, if possible, I convinced myself to fall in love until my heart turned to powder. No matter how many times I experience heartbreak, I will let love free when my emotions tell me so. For I know love was never meant to be a source of pain, but happiness and appreciation amongst the individuals involved.

Tania was her name. My lover’s name. Her beauty was indescribable. My heart melted when I glanced at her brown eyes, which made my knees tremble. She was a pure reincarnation of Cinderella herself. Her beauty, poise, and grace only existed in literature. So adorable was she that hating or hurting her could’ve been a punishable crime.

It was four months since our relationship had started. And Tania, my Tania, was nothing if not a lovely angel who gave me her love wholeheartedly. However, sometimes while we were together, she would be so distant and emotional that I thought something tragic must have happened to her. It was impossible for her to hide the dislike she had for her father for always controlling every aspect of her life. But I thought of her father’s nature as pardonable. He was doing what most fathers would do and that’s to be concerned about their daughters. Fathers, present fathers, are very protective of their daughters.

Then one day I saw something that left a huge scar in my heart. I was taking an introspective walk by Muizenberg beach when I saw Tania, my Tania, getting out of an old man’s car. The man was old, haggard, and big-bellied. His trousers, held by suspenders, covered his belly. He was also wearing a blue t-shirt and shining, black shoes. He and Tania, my Tania, giggled affectionately before kissing. My head started spinning as I froze watching from a distance. She almost fainted from shock when she saw me.

Heartbroken, I fled the scene of Tania, mine no more, and her sugar daddy, or blesser, as is the popular word nowadays. When I arrived at home all I longed for was sleep, but of course, I couldn’t. I kept thinking about Tania, mine no more. For how long had she known that old man? Did she love him or what? I was swimming in pain and couldn’t think rationally. Tania, mine no more, sent me a lot of text messages, but I ignored them all. Instead I blocked her on all social media platforms and deleted all her messages without having read them. She kept trying to reach me through her friends. I then felt it wise to delete all my social media accounts. I blocked her number after being tired of hearing my phone ring continuously. I had lost count of her missed calls. But she wouldn’t give up.

The next day I saw her standing by the gate with tears in her eyes.

“We must talk,” she said to me.

“What about, Tania?” I asked, absent-mindedly.

“It’s not what you think it is.”

“I know exactly what I saw Tania. I saw it all and I want nothing to do with you.”

I had had enough and I walked slowly back to the house. But Tania, mine no more, shouted at me before she dashed away furiously.

“You men are all the same! You’ll never see me again, Madida!”

She was right. I was prepared to never see her again. Not after she had been cheating on me with an old man, anyway. But something about the sound of her voice roused my pity. I quickly dismissed it nonetheless. How can I empathise with someone who has wronged me? How can the victim feel sorry for the culprit? Tania, mine no more, had wronged me and I wanted nothing to do with her.

I ventured to take a nap once more. My broken heart seemed to shatter everything by which I was surrounded.

That very same day I decided to take another walk. Who knows? Maybe I’d discover another secret as I did with Tania’s, mine no more. But as I walked I saw a crowd by her home. They all had faces displaying sorrow, as if they’d just experienced some gruesome tragedy. Most of them were community members I knew. They were all silently mumbling with a tormented tone. Felicia, who was Tania’s best friend, rushed to me.

“Madida, you must be very happy now,” Felicia said to me.

“What must I be happy about, Felicia?” I asked of my heartbreaker’s best friend.

“Mxm…I wonder what Tania saw in you.”

I was not offended. I had become accustomed to such offence. The friends of all the girls I had dated never liked me. And Felicia was one of those.

“What is there not to see in me, Felicia?” I asked rather carelessly.

“It puzzled me why Tania would choose you out of all the hundreds of vibrant and entertaining suitors coming her way all the time. You’re the boring and innocent, serious kind. Tania said your room is full of books, old and new. And what is even funnier is that on the wall there are creepy portraits of famous people, mostly writers, bearded men and peculiar women. She said the only person she recognised amongst them was Shakespeare. She said your room could easily be turned into a library, if it’s not one already,” Felicia spoke all this with humour. She wanted to laugh at her own narrative, but for some reason could not. I didn’t care about what she was saying.

“Felicia, why are these people gathered at Tania’s home?”

For the first time she looked me in the face. Her eyes were red and tears had dried on her cheeks.

“Tania has committed suicide and I suspect you’re responsible for her death. Immediately after she came back from your place she went straight to her room and overdosed on some random pills.”

I was angry. I was hurt. I felt betrayed. How could she? Why did Tania think such selfishness was a solution?

“It’s not my fault that your friend was sleeping with an old man, Felicia!” I said angrily.

Tania looked at me with disbelief. She came closer and embraced me. I was confused.

“And so she has not told you? Her father asked her to sleep with the man so that he could give him money. He threatened to kill her if she didn’t. And he threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone about it.”

“You all knew this but did nothing to help her, Felicia?”

“Her father is dangerous. He could have killed us both if he ever found out,” Felicia said.

Suddenly a police siren was heard. The police parked at Tania’s home. From afar I could see the old man, who Tania had been sleeping with, in the back of the police van. The police arrested Tania’s father and the old man. Felicia and I watched in sorrow as the police slowly went away.

Oh Tania, my Tania, I have failed you!


Tell us: What lessons can you learn from this story?