Donald was a young man who finished matric and was really struggling to find a career or a passion to pursue. Donald stayed with his family. He lived with his mother, Dorah, Lebo, his older sister and Dineo his twin sister. He also lived with his cousin Dimpho. Donald lost his father at a very young age while he was still in primary school.

One morning, Donald got out of bed and made his way to the kitchen. Everyone else was already awake. Dorah looked at him with an intimidating look and asked him, “Hey you Donald. What are you hoping to achieve in life waking up at this time?”

Donald replied, “But mom it’s the weekend; why would I wake up early?”

Lebo said with a low voice, “As if there is something you are waking up for during the week.”

Everyone laughed.

Donald suddenly lost his appetite and didn’t want to make breakfast so he angrily went back to his room. He jumped into his bed and started thinking about his useless life with no career. His family always did a good job of mocking him about his useless life and career. His day was already ruined. Donald couldn’t even keep in touch with his friends because he felt like they were well ahead of him and talking to them would make him feel even more useless.

His mother always compared him to his cousin Dimpho and also his friends who were working and at universities. Donald tried to fall asleep again but he couldn’t stop overthinking everything.

It seemed like he was hit hard this time because he was even crying. He could see that he really disappointed his mother with the way his life turned out. He really wished that his mother could give him more time to find himself but she was not patient enough with him. Donald was a very quiet guy and he wasn’t open to anyone at all. He kept everything to himself; he liked bottling everything up.

It was Monday afternoon when Donald was in the kitchen while his family was in the dining room having all sorts of conversations. He was able to hear everything they were saying and they had no idea that he was in the kitchen.

Dimpho asked, “Where is Donald?”

Dineo replied, “Probably in his room sleeping.”

Lebo also added, “I don’t really understand Donald truly speaking. All he does is close himself in his room. He doesn’t go out at all, he never talks openly to anyone. He’s just living like a zombie.”

Dineo replied to Lebo, “Like seriously how can you compare our brother to a zombie?”

Donald was in the kitchen listening to everything.

Lebo continued, “Yes he is living like a zombie. What is he hoping to get out life living like this? Mom you really need to speak to your child. He is too much now, just imagine waking up just to eat and then you go back to sleep.”

Dorah replied to Lebo, “I did speak to him, telling him that his friends are out there achieving a lot of things while he’s in here doing nothing and being useless. Even his cousin Dimpho is about to graduate.”

They heard Donald’s footsteps as he was making his way to the room from the kitchen.

“Do you think he heard us?” Dorah asked.

Lebo replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Donald went to his room and started crying. He realised how much of a disappointment he was to his family. He wished that God could just show him the way to take regarding his career. Donald wanted to do something that would make him happy, but it was just hard to figure out. Everything in him turned dark. He eventually accepted that he was useless and a burden to his family.

It was Tuesday morning and the sun shone brightly. Everyone was in the kitchen except Donald. Dineo was about to go to town with Dimpho to help her buy graduation clothes — she was graduating the next day. Everyone was happy for her. Dorah was working nightshift and it was Lebo’s off day from work.

They were preparing a very big breakfast since they were in a happy mood because of graduation. Everyone sat down and Dineo stood up to go and call Donald. Dorah smiled at Dimpho and said, “Your parents are really looking down on you with so much pride in heaven.”

Dineo screamed in Donald’s room. Everyone ran to Donald’s room. Donald was lying there lifeless. Lebo who was a nurse went to him started checking his pulse and she looked back at everyone and burst into tears. Everyone was crying, especially Dorah who struggled to breathe. Dimpho picked up a note on top of the drawer and started reading it aloud.

Dear family
All I needed was a bit of time to find myself. I was not proud of waking up with nothing to do neither did I look forward to it. I also wanted a perfect life like those people you always compared me to. I’m sorry for taking my life but it seemed like the best option. The pressure of life and you all was too much for me to handle. Maybe if you gave me enough support and motivation things could have turned out differently. I’m sorry for being useless and a burden to all of you.
Take care of yourselves

Dineo looked at her mom and Lebo with so much sadness and disappointment.

“All my brother needed was your support and love, but all you did was make him feel useless any chance you got. All you did was compare him to his successful friends. I have never heard you encouraging him,” Dineo said and went away crying.


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