She looked out the window and memories of her childhood came rushing back. Oh, what great memories they were, but she found herself frowning instead. The reason for this is how life eventually turned out. Her name was Sindiswa Ngcobo, born and bred in Sabie, Mpumalanga and twenty years of age.

Sindiswa was raised like an only child. She wasn’t the first or the last-born child in her family. But she was her mother’s favourite daughter. In the family were her parents: Phakamile and Thandeka, and four of her siblings. Sindiswa’s childhood was one of the most envied; in fact, even her lifestyle.

She lived in a beautiful eight room home that consisted of four bedrooms, an Italian style kitchen, a gorgeous lounge and dining room, a German designed bathroom. Sindi’s father worked at a coal mine in the nearby surrounding and her mother was a housewife. Even so, the family was a happy one.

As a child she went to the local multi-racial school and was a good performer at school. She didn’t have that many friends; some children hated her, others envied her. Sindi was really popular. Some boys at school would have done anything to be with her, but they were wasting their time, as she preferred the ‘older’ boys. Sindi did well in covering her wrong doings whilst in primary, but the problem started in high school.

She told lies she couldn’t recall, did so much ‘studying’ but didn’t do well at school. She came home late from visiting ‘friends’ and the list of lies were just long and terrible. She even got into a few verbal fights with the teachers and got suspended when she was caught smoking at school.

Other women had blamed Thandeka for being too soft on Sindi. They said that she shouldn’t have spoiled her like that. Some said children who get everything done for them always turned out badly. Of all that talk, Sindi knew it was her fault… she had no excuses.

She got so troublesome that her mother just lost all hope and didn’t know what to do. Thandeka had been to several pastors with Sindiswa, had tried counselling as her friends had suggested, even tried to talk to her daughter to hear what was it that she needed; but all of that was in vain.

Thandeka was really confused. “What is it that Sindi lacks or needs? I buy her good quality clothing; once in a while take her to boutiques. I make sure she has lunch and money at school in case she wants a snack. I’ve taught her to drive. What am I missing?” she often cried to Noxolo, her best friend.

“Can’t she be grateful for the things she does have? We make sure she goes to bed on a full stomach. When she is sick we take her to the best doctors. Her school fees are always up to date but she still goes out of her way to cause trouble. Why Noxi?”

Noxolo’s reply had often been that it was adolescence, that every child went through that stage. Noxi was really worried about her friend’s daughter. She sometimes thought it was because of the death scare that Sindi had caused a few yours earlier: Sindi was playing on the road with some friends and had an accident which caused her to be in a coma for a whole week. That’s when Thandeka started fussing over Sindi.

Thandeka sat many a night alone, digging deep into her mind, trying to figure out what was it that could have led Sindi into being the worst child ever. While she sat alone, missing her ‘angelic’ daughter, Sindi was elsewhere dancing with whoever bought her alcohol after she would run out of money at the club.

Now, it was five years later, and Sindi sat at that window thinking about what could have been. She watched the passing cars and felt sad. I could have had one, she thought, if she hadn’t done all she did to the people that loved her most.

A cry from inside the room took her mind away from those thoughts. She turned her head and saw that her baby boy had woken up. She picked him up and took him with her to the kitchen to make a bottle and feed him. When she returned to the room, she let him play for a while then put him back into his cot. She looked at him while he fell asleep; she smiled then quickly that smiled vanished as she sat down next to his cot.

Sindi realised that she had had it all and had thrown it all away. She had made her mother do crazy things; caused her to have a heart attack and made her a laughing stock in their community. She hadn’t even finished her education but already this was her second child. She was disappointed in how her life had turned out. But she had no one to blame but herself.