Every day until this moment, I have cursed the day that God took away the only good man in the world – my father.
Only this morning my mother noticed my mood swings and the weight that I have gained. But still, it’s not like she has had time for me: if she isn’t working late then she’s out with Mseti, her new boyfriend.
I can’t understand what she sees in him – he’s just disgusting and scares the hell out of me. His mouth is full of gold teeth and he’s forever chewing gum. You can smell him from far off – like he baths in cologne and cigarettes.
He does nothing but laze around my father’s house while my mom is at work. He smokes, throwing his butts on the floor for me to pick up. And, then when I’m bent over he grabs at my bum. Then in the evening he takes my mom drinking.
I hate it when my mom has to work late – it’s like torture.
My mom working late meant me and Mseti were alone together. It all started when my mom went for a training course in Durban for a week. She said that I couldn’t stay over at Zinhle’s house while she was away. So, with my stepfather there, the house became a tavern. Mseti’s friends came over, they drank, ate and messed up the house all day and night. I became a maid in my own home. I dreaded coming home from school – I had to do my homework in the outside bathroom. At night, the noise was so loud I could hardly hear myself think.
The day before my mom was due to come home not too many of Mseti’s friends came over – there were just a few drinking beer and watching soccer. I thought, thank goodness I can get a good night’s sleep for once.
I was half asleep when I suddenly felt cold rough hands under my nightgown. The man kept coming on me – he was too heavy for me to push off. He smelt of cigarettes and beer. I kicked and I screamed and I bit him. At that moment Mseti walked in. Even though I hated him, seeing him there was a relief. But, he didn’t seem surprised or angry with the man. Instead he walked across to me and started throttling me, saying: “My friend paid good money for this!”
He then hit me so hard that I didn’t know what happened next. When I woke up in the morning, my panties had been ripped off, there was blood on my private parts and I was in pain.
Mseti walked in. He had a disgusting smile on his face and he told me to wash up and go to school. He said that if I told anyone about what had happened, I would join my ancestors and he would kill my mother and take over my precious father’s house.
When my mother returned, they went out as usual. I hated her for this, hated her more than Mseti. But she was not around enough to even notice.
What happened that dreadful night became a regular thing – whenever my mom was working late. Only thereafter it was Mseti himself who took me.
He would give me the ‘I will kill you’ look every time I tried to reach out to my mom.
One day Zinhle and I were arguing about my moods. I snapped at her and shouted: “At least your mom has time for you. You don’t have to put up with your mother’s boyfriend pushing himself, forcing himself on you!”
Zinhle stood there, shocked and horrified.
Oh my god, what I have I done? I’ve told someone and Mseti would now kill me, I thought to myself.
I couldn’t bear the look on Zinhle’s face. I ran home as fast as I could. The next morning, I was early for school – I needed to find Zinhle, to tell her that it was all just a bad joke.
But, I was called to the principal’s office only to find Zinhle, her mother, the principal and a police officer there. They kept asking me questions – some of which I couldn’t answer. Zinhle’s mom made me sit on her lap. She told me it would all be OK. She was so loving, it reminded me of my mom before Mseti. I eventually burst into tears and told them everything. The police officer then escorted me home, so that the police could find Mseti.
Three months after Mseti was arrested I found myself sixteen years old and with a huge and growing belly. I was four months pregnant with a baby. I did not know whether it belonged to Mseti or to his stinking friend.
But I had made peace with my mom. She regreted not being there for me and for bringing that man into our home. I had hated her for everything and wished that my dad was still alive. I so wished that my mom had listened to me for just a minute.
Some months later I gave birth to a baby girl. She lives with my grandma during the week and with my mom and I on weekends – because my mom must work and I must go to school.
At first I had hated the little thing for ruining my life, for robbing me of my own childhood. But, I’ve slowly learnt to love my baby and make peace with myself the world.
But we haven’t heard a word about that disgusting man since he was thrown out of here… and I hope that it stays that way.