It was a Sunday morning. I was standing in front of the mirror fixing my hair just before I went to church. I stood still for a few minutes, only the thoughts in my mind moving. I stood there thinking of how bright my future was and how hard I would work towards it.

I was shaken by a hand that I felt creeping up to my shoulder. It was my cousin and she was reminding me that we were late. I took all my possessions and we left. The mood in church influenced me even more to become successful as I planned. When I had the chance, I looked around at the different people seated. Some faces I knew, some I didn’t.

Today I focused a lot on a face I thought I knew. I was fascinated by his dress sense, his posture, his confidence and by him generally. There was something about the man I was looking at. I knew him, of course, but not on a social level. I was amazed at his profound success at his age. I did not know how old he was, but I knew that he was young. He was Lyven Bronne, the son of Apostle Bronne.

He did not know me but I respected him greatly and thought highly of him. He was also the Youth leader and he showed a great example to us. He was the perfect person. He had never done anything wrong and I admired that. Again, I did not know him on a social level but I was proud to say I knew such a person.

The following day was a normal school day for me. I was changing classes when I set eyes on a Grade 12 learner who was pregnant. I was never a person who judged other people. As long as I breathed with lungs that were not created by me, I could not criticise other people. In my head, I was just grateful that she kept her baby and also silently wondered who did that to her.

She had always been a quiet person and my heart dropped a little when I noticed the stretched-out uniform on her. People mocked her and I saw that she was trying to keep her head high. I applauded her valour. On my way home after the school day, I was thinking my life was not so perfect. I was a victim of bullying and I still managed to wear the mask.

On that Friday after Youth, I got a message from Lyven. He told me that I was too quiet at Youth and that he would love to see me blossom. I was flattered and that was it. I did not entertain him because I was not sure what to expect and so I kept my distance. In no time he openly asked to meet up with me. I thought nothing wrong of it and so I agreed and that was when things changed.

He took an interest in my life and I could see that it was more than church business. He complimented me and used the right words to lure me into his trap and I fell for it. I asked him to take me home and he agreed, but instead we drove to where he resided. I tried to keep calm and not panic but I was fighting a losing battle. We went inside his home and I witnessed a different side of him.

Three weeks from that moment, I found out that I was pregnant and I told him. All of a sudden, he did not know me or anything about me. Discombobulated as I was, I had no idea what to do. I could tell people, but they would only see what I saw in him in the beginning. I later found out that I was not the only one suffering from his acts and that the Grade 12 learner I spared judgement for was a victim too, but no one believed her either.

I thought Lyven was a man of dignity and morals by looking at his outside. Little did I know he was nothing like that. His appearance was his cover and I was the reader. I judged a book by its cover and got the shock of my life. Now I know to never judge a book by its cover.