She sat in her bedroom. On her right-hand side were pills, a razor and a glass of water. On her left hand was a bible, a book that both her parents told her to rely on and to read when nothing else made sense. She sat, tears in her eyes. She didn’t want to do this, but she had to. How could she not? She closed her eyes and said a short prayer.

“Damn it!” she shouted. She opened her eyes. “He doesn’t exist!” she cried. She looked at the photo her dad had hung up on the wall. It was their family portrait. “I miss you guys,” she sobbed. She looked at the bible again. What good was this book anyway? Whoever wrote it knew what he was doing. “God! Are you there?!” she shouted, laughing as she took the razor and cut her wrist. Blood oozed out slowly. She laughed, this felt good. To be in control for a change. “You can’t hear me, can you?” she asked again, laughing. “Everybody says you exist, but I don’t see nor feel this great loving God everyone speaks of!” she wept. Realising what she’d done, she ran and took out a band-aid from where her mother had kept them. She was the only one who ever used them. Her parents never did, her little brother, hardly. She carefully covered her wrist. “Take me too!” she shouted.

Silence filled the room. Oh, this was her new reality now. She had to accept it. She wasn’t always this lonely. She was once a happy child. A daddy’s girl, as everyone would put it. Who’s girl was she now? She wailed. The triple-storey house felt cold and empty, even with the lavish furniture in it. She stared at her wrist, pressed it. She felt a sharp pain. She laughed at the pain she felt. “Take me too!” she cried, again. “Why didn’t you take me?”

Silence, nothing but her voice echoed between the walls. She sobbed loudly. She couldn’t believe this was her life now. It was all her fault, if she hadn’t insisted on them going out to the movies then she wouldn’t be sitting here crying. It had been a week and three days. Her aunt had offered to stay with her, but she’d said she was OK. Now she wished she had taken the offer. It was so lonely and quiet.

She looked at the family portrait again. Her father had hung it up there a month back. He was singing “We Are Family” while putting it up. He looked so happy that day, he’d even danced with her.

Her father used to dance with her a lot, then her mom would pout and say jokingly, “One would swear Lihle was your wife, not me.” She’d snort, then slowly laugh. When she laughed the whole house would erupt into loud laughter.

“Jealous much?” her father would ask, with a huge smile on his face.

“Why, no! I would never be envious of you two,” her mother would smile, then slowly stand up to give her husband a kiss on the cheek.

They were a happy family.

“Enough with the mushy stuff!” Lihle would say, when they did a family hug. “Soon, I’ll be too old for all this.”

“You’ll never be too old to me. You’ll always be my little girl,” her father would say, then spin her around the room. They used to be happy.

“Why did you have to take all of them, except me?” she cried, again. “I’m scared,” she sobbed. The bottle of pills were right next to her. It was an easy escape. Anything was better than this hell she was in right now.

She woke up in the middle of the night. She checked the time: it was a quarter to two. It was so dark, she had a banging headache from all the crying. She slowly stood up, making her way downstairs. “OK, OK,” she said, as her stomach growled.

It had been two days since her last meal. She threw open the refrigerator. It was still full. She made a sandwich and coffee. She sat down and ran her hands through her soft black hair. She sighed, staring at the food. She lost her appetite. She pushed the plate away and it fell to the floor, making a loud smashing sound. She jumped. “Damn!” she shouted, then laughed.

Then she tried to pick up the pieces. She cut herself. She smiled as she saw the blood coming out and the pain tearing at her. Inflicting pain on herself felt good. “Is this why you didn’t take me?” she shouted, looking at her blood-stained hands. “Screw you! You don’t exist!” she laughed, standing up.

She walked to her parents’ bedroom. She stood staring at the bed. It was as they’d left it. It had been a week and three days since she had walked in there. Her mother’s laptop on the dressing table, her father’s blue jacket on the bed. Her parents always fought because her father always left his jacket on the bed.

“Zipho, I always tell you to hang this thing! Next time I find it, I’ll burn it!” her mother would always shout. Of course, she never did.

Slowly, Lihle picked up the jacket. She wore it. It felt warm. It felt good. It felt like her father was hugging her. She danced around, the jacket on her body, the way she used to with her father.

“Dance with me?” her father had said, the morning before her whole life changed.

“No! I’m mad at you! I want to go to the movies,” she pouted.

“Please, princess?” her dad had said, extending his hand to his daughter.

“Oh, stop being a brat! Your father and I work our butts off to provide you and your brother with a luxurious life. Be grateful,” her mom had intervened.

“I didn’t ask to be born with a silver spoon!” she had shouted, then ran to her room.

Her father had followed a few minutes later, apologised, then agreed to take them out.

“Dance with me then?” he’d said.

“When we come back. Just want to make sure you keep your promise,” she smiled, hugging him.

She got ready for school. She had no friends any more. Her friends were tired of begging her to step out of her depression. They were teenagers, they had their own lives. She walked around like a corpse. Finally, it was time to go home.

She got home. It was still raw. She missed her brother. He annoyed her, but she missed him. If he were here, he’d be making a mess around the house. Eating like a pig. “Gift,” she found herself whispering.

She’d had enough. She ran to her room. The pills, razor and bible were still where she had left them. The glass of water was also still untouched. She popped the pills into her mouth. All of her anti-depressants, not one, as instructed. She shoved them down with her hand, then washed them down with water. She started losing her breath. She felt dizzy and sleepy. She took the bible in her hands. “Please. If you exist. Please, welcome me in and reunite me with my family,” she said, right before she closed her eyes.

She dreamt of the night of the accident. They were happy, coming from the movies, singing their signature family song. Then out of nowhere, a truck swallowed the Range Rover her mother owned. They all died instantly, except her. She was the only one who got out unharmed. People said she was lucky. What was luck? Being alone in this world, sixteen and an orphan? People didn’t know what they were talking about! Everything went blank.


Nobody knows what’s on the other side.

Even Lihle didn’t know what awaited her on the other side. But she believed anything was better than being alone in this world. And honestly, I don’t blame her. Maybe death was the best option for her. Yes, I don’t blame her, for she was afraid.


Tell us: What do you think about this heartbreaking piece? Any advice?