As she stands looking through the window she has thoughts of pain, tears fall on her dark skin. Her name is Thandi Ggcobo. She is 15 and lives in Kwalanga Township in the Cape Flats. Thandi has dreams of one day becoming a vet. She thinks of success in her life. But as they say, “Life has its own difficulties.”
“Ezabadala azingenwa,” her grandmother used to tell her, meaning parents problems aren’t supposed to involve children. But here she is listening again to her parents fighting, attacking each other with their voices. She tries to ignore it, but she can’t stop herself from listening to them in the next room.
“You’re such a baby, you call yourself a man but you can’t even take care of your family!” Thandi’s mother, Ntombi shouts at her husband.
“Come on darling, don’t be silly. You of all people should know I am faithful,” replies Thandi’s father, Moses.
Thandi is crying, it is dark outside the window now. Her father comes into the room. His voice is rich and deep. “Thandi come here,” he says. Thandi tries to stop her tears. She doesn’t want to get involved because she knows she will be caught in the middle. But she can’t listen and do nothing.
“Baba,” she tries to avoid his eyes.
“I want to tell you something important, my angel.”
“Tell her and believe me, you will regret it,” her mom says in a threatening voice. Thandi is confused. “What is it?” she asks.
“My angel, I am sorry I have to tell you this, but your mother is leaving the house.”
Before Moses can go on, Thandi stops him. “Yini Baba, ikinga manje?” she asks.
“Ngumamakho dodakazi. She is having an affair with my best friend, or should I say, someone who I thought was my friend. Andile umele ahambe dodokhazi,” Moses says angrily.
Thandi is stunned. Her hands are trembling. Her mother and another man? It couldn’t be real. “Vele somtshele,Thandi. I did have an affair with Andile, because he gives me love. Not like your father. He has money and I love him. Mina ngifuna indoda enemali,” says her mother proudly.
“Ma, are you really telling the truth?” cries Thandi angrily.
“I am. And I am not your mother. Stop calling me that. Your mother abandoned you when you were six months old and left you with us. Uyangizwa, ngikutshele Moses you will regret it,” says Ntombi. Thandi just turns to see her father’s face and she starts crying again.
“Baba,” she cries.
“I am afraid, my angel, she is telling the truth. But that doesn’t change my love for you. You are my daughter and it will never change.”
“Baba, who are my real parents then?” asks Thandi.
“They were my friends Mam’ Zimasa and Bob’Zimasa, ngane yam angazi babeleka phi,” says Moses.
“Yini ungandi tshelanga baba,” Thandi says.
“I am sorry my angel, I didn’t know how to break this to you.” says Moses.
Thandi just needs space to think. She runs from the house, grabbing the red jacket her father bought her on her way out. In the street she just walks, she doesn’t know where. She is thinking about what she has heard. What can she believe? What is true? Her love for Billy, she thinks. That’s the only thing I know is true – the only thing that isn’t a lie. She thinks about her boyfriend. She can see his sweet face in her mind. They met at school. They both sang in the choir. Thandi sang soprano and Billy sang tenor. They started flirting with one another and Thandi felt attracted to him. Billy was in Grade 11 and Thandi was Grade 10. He was polite and always kind. She could not stop her feelings for him but she could not face him, so she sent him a message via MXIT:
Billy I knw I have knwn u for a while. But I feel much love 4 u and I adore your kindness and I fear to tell u ths bt I love u.
Billy was frozen with fear and didn’t know what to write back, because he had felt the same way. So he wrote:
I love u 2.
Thandi was filled with joy as she knew she had a lot of love to give him and a lot of space to share with him in her heart. Thandi’s feet are taking her somewhere that Billy and her used to meet. As it gets dark her father is looking everywhere for her. He even calls the police to help find her. Billy has also heard that she is missing and tries calling her, but all he can hear is:
“Thandi’s phone here. I am not available right now, but I will make sure I catch you later. Mwaah”.
He goes to her best friend KK, and asks if she has seen Thandi, but she has no clue. Then he remembers that there is a place they call Lover’s Park and that they used to sit there for hours. They would sit under the tree and share things that they had on their minds.
When Billy gets to the Park he finds Thandi there, sitting on the grass near the tree. Billy thinks that when the time is right he will marry Thandi under that tree. Thandi seems to love that place. She thinks it is beautiful and wonderful. She loves to listen to the birds singing. “Ssshhh quiet, sit and listen to the birds,” she would say to Billy and then Billy would listen carefully just to see a smile on her face.
“Thandi, Thandi ingaba nguwe lapho,” says Billy relieved. Thandi just looks at him and then looks back at the river in front of them. He doesn’t see then that she is holding a knife in her hand, against her chest. Billy puts his arm around her. “Thandi, I’ve been looking for you everywhere. Your parent’s are worried. What’s going on sithandwa? Yini ekukhathazayo Pumpkin?” That’s what he calls her when she is sad, it makes her smile. “I’ll take you home,” he says.
“I don’t have a home,’’ Thandi says quietly, “My parents have lied to me for many years. The only home I have is in heaven.’’ And then Billy sees the knife as she raises it higher above her heart.
“No, no, Thandi you can’t do that to yourself. What about me? Uzongishiya nabani mina?” asks Billy worried.
“You’re young enough to find yourself another girlfriend,” says Thandi, not sure whether she is doing the right thing. Billy looks down and says, “My heart only deserves you. You’re my best friend, my soul mate. If you kill yourself, take me with you.”
Thandi looks sad and looks at Billy. She knows it will be hard saying goodbye. She stands up, holds his hands, and kisses him deeply. Then she takes a deep breath to let go and says, “My love for you will never change. I will look down on you from heaven and I will be your angel. I promise to be there for you every night and every day.”
“Thandi, don’t do this,” shouts Billy and tries to pull the knife out of her hands. But Thandi won’t let go. Accidently the knife strikes Billy’s blue t-shirt. As Thandi takes her hands off the knife she is shocked and scared and her hands are covered in blood. It feels like there is blood everywhere. “Billy, Billy, are you alright?” says Thandi in a trembling voice.
“I love you,” says Billy.
Those are his last words.
Thandi takes the knife and holds it directly to her heart. “If you die, I die” she says. She pushes the knife straight into her heart.
KK’s phone lights up. It is a message that Thandi sent her thirty minutes earlier. The message says:
My friend, if Billy comes to you asking 4 me. Tell him to find me in lover’s park and I’m sori 4 wat I’m going to do. I love u and tell Billy I love him 2. Bye my friend.
KK runs to Billy’s house but there is no one there. She goes to Thandi’s house looking for her father. Then she takes her phone out of her jeans and gives it to Moses. He reads it and quickly they call the police. They race to the park to find Billy and Thandi holding hands. Both of them are dead. KK is crying, she is very hurt. But she feels that at least they will be happy in heaven. Then, as she runs over to the bodies, she hears their voices. “We will be fine and we love you.” KK looks to the sky and sees the shadows of them up in the blue, smiling.
“Rest in peace my children,” Moses says with an aching heart.
FunDza is working to develop young South African writers and provide them with a platform to publish their work.