Amy could hear the repeated cries of her sick mother, the verbal abuses hurled at her and the sound of breaking glass… The abuse was too much, extreme! It happened all the time. Home was hell and Amy hated being at home.
Being the dutiful daughter that she was, she could not leave her mother like her sister, Julia, who had left home to live with her aunt, in Johannesburg. Amy saw her mother, Irene, sitting in the corner whimpering and shaking like an animal in fear. She had bruises all over her body, her punctured lips oozing with blood. She had a subdued look in her beautiful grey eyes.
She was so beautiful and so intelligent and yet, she suffered at the hands of this demon man. “Why does mom endure this torture? Why does she tolerate her vindictive stepfather? After all, she had left my father because he could not give up alcohol and was never at home.
Life was difficult; Irene was disowned by her family; she had done the unthinkable deed of leaving her husband whom her father had chosen for her. Money was always an issue and sometimes there was no food in the house. Irene made some money as a fruit and vegetable vendor at the roadside in Industrial Park to make ends meet.
Amy was determined that she will never allow herself to suffer the way her mother did.
She was going to complete her matric and get a part time job to finance her studies.
“But, how?” thought Amy. “Someday, somehow, I will succeed,” decided Amy.
Every day, after school Amy would go to the library to study and diligently complete her homework and assignments. Everybody knew Amy; she was a regular patron and was very fond of the staff who admired her and always encouraged her to excel at school. They would go out of their way to locate resources for her. Indeed, Amy did well for the trials. She was selected the previous year as a candidate for a bursary based on academic merit.
But, she was very worried about her final results. “Will I still meet the criteria, will I get an A aggregate?” pondered Amy.
After the trial examinations, Amy continued with her tuition and her daily visits to the library. She would often assist with the library holiday programmes. Amy enjoyed doing face painting, arts and crafts and judging the competitions and fancy dress parades. The storytelling sessions were her favourite pass time. Telling wonderful stories made her forget her troubles as she immersed herself in the adventures and faraway places. Amy was in sync with the characters in the stories. She portrayed their tales, their conflicts and their resolutions magically and effortlessly as if it were her life’s journey.
The library programmes offered her temporary reprieve from life’s challenges. The holidays were over and it was back to school. Amy was both excited and anxious about commencing with the last term of school. It was crunch time for revision and preparation for the final examination.
Amy dreamed of the next chapter of her life.
I will have to keep up the grades like last year to qualify for the bursary. I really hope I can secure the bursary that the University offered me last year, prayed Amy. I will have to obtain the bursary, as mom cannot afford to pay for my studies, she thought.
Amy pulled out her diary from the bedside drawer and turned to a new page dated 30 September 2003 and she wrote:
I WILL ACE MY EXAMS, I WILL GET THE BURSARY, I WILL STUDY AND I WILL MAKE A SUCCESS OF MY LIFE! MOM IS MY QUEEN AND DESERVES TO BE TREATED LIKE A QUEEN. SHE WILL NEVER HAVE TO WORK AGAIN! SOMEDAY, SOMEHOW IT WILL HAPPEN!
Amy yawned, feeling the strain of a long and hard day. “Time to get some sleep, lots of work ahead,” she sighed. Amy was drifting into a peaceful sleep when she became aware of raised voices, the arguments got louder and louder.
Steve was such a devil. Why doesn’t he just leave mom in peace? Why doesn’t he just disappear! She swore. She jumped out of bed, feeling very tense and entered her mom’s room to intervene. Just then Steve struck Irene with an iron bar on her head.
Amy was horrified!
“You despicable demon! Just leave my mom alone!” she yelled, trembling in fear. Amy tried to push her stepfather away from her mom but her effort was in vain. Steve overpowered her and a second blow struck Irene’s head. Blood gushed out profusely. Amy was petrified at the ghastly sight of mom, wounded and helpless…
Within minutes the police arrived.
Aunty May, the neighbour had hear the commotion and called the police. Steve ran off through the side door on hearing the police. Amy informed the police about the incident but, her mom refused to lay a charge against Steve.
“He will be jailed then when he is released the situation will be aggravated,” cried Irene.
The police could not do much but, except take down a statement, advise her not to tolerate any further abuse and go for counselling. The paramedics arrived at the scene. They quickly stabilised Irene, gave her a tetanus injection stitched the gash on her head and left.
That night Amy wished Steve would just disappear; she felt as if she could have killed him. But her mom loved him and she knew Irene would never leave Steve.
The final examination was approaching Amy tried her best to focus on her studies but the thoughts of her parents’ fights, their abject poverty and hardships would come flashing back to her. Amy tried to exorcise these thoughts but, the tears streamed down her cheeks involuntarily.
“I must study, I have to focus,” resolved Amy.
Her days were busy; she studied at the library until Mrs Kunene, the angelic librarian, reminded her that it was time to close up.
After helping her mom with the chores she would continue with her studies late into the night. The question papers were fair but, also challenging. Amy did the best that she could and hoped and prayed that it will all work out in the end. All her friends and the staff at the library encouraged and supported her.
Whilst she was studying the staff would give her snacks and food parcels that were left over from the functions in the library hall. They wished her the very best in life and Amy felt very blessed to have such caring people in her life. They were her guardian angels watching over her and supporting at a very crucial time.
Finally her exams were over.
Amy, once again, took refuge in the library where she found solace, immersing herself in the holiday programmes. Mrs Kunene was always delighted to have Amy and appreciated her assistance.
“Results will be out next week, my dear,” she said smiling as if she already knew the results.
“Oh, please don’t remind me Mrs Kunene, I’m so scared,” said Amy.
“Don’t be scared, my dear, just keep the faith; I know you will do exceptionally well,” said Mrs Kunene encouragingly.
The following Tuesday was a momentous day. Mrs Kunene invited Amy to a library programme. Amy arrived early at the library, anxious to see her results. She was shocked when Mrs Kunene and the staff gently tugged her to the hall without saying a word. The hall was beautifully decorated, colourful lights festooned the ceiling and drapes. The tables were laid out with an assortment of food.
Amy read the huge sign.
Congratulations! Amy you’ve done it!
Amy could not believe it, she had to see it for herself.
Mrs Kunene quickly showed her the newspaper and what a relief, Amy obtained seven distinctions. Mrs Kunene then called Irene to the hall and Mrs Kunene her staff presented Amy with a beautiful bouquet, a hand bag and a pair of gold earrings.
Amy was overjoyed, she could not believe that the function was in held in her honour. It was the most memorable day of her life!
Amy was awarded her bursary and pursued her law degree and excelled. She went on to serve her articles at a high profile law firm. Irene was so proud of Amy. Amy gave Irene hope and renewed her faith in life.
Amy went on to open up her own law firm and became very successful. One month after Steve’s passing, Amy drove her mother to Ballito to visit a friend. Amy drove through a quiet meandering road and stopped at a massive white house.
“Wow! Amy, this house is beautiful, it’s breath taking! Fit for queen!” exclaimed Irene.
“Yes, mom, YOU are my Queen.”
“Thank you for being my mom, I love you forever! This house is yours, my Queen!” said Amy as she handed her mom the keys to the house.