Bongiwe has a mental conversation with the ceiling letting it know of her troubles as though it’ll answer. Mamncane storms into the room and she looks as if she is about to murder someone. It has always been a peeve for her that a girl sleeps past eight am in the morning. The routine is strict; you wake up preferably at five, wash your face brush your teeth and make your bed, clean your room, sweep the yard, and tidy up the house. The chores include sweeping the floors and scrubbing them, and applying potpourri scented polish. Then wash the dishes, clean the toilet, cook breakfast and make Mamncane her first cup of tea for the day. All that equals a typical morning.

Mamncane chucks a piece of paper on her lap aiming a dangerous glare. Oddly enough she does not yell at her for not following morning protocol. She picks up the piece of paper and is horrified to see the contents. Progress report, it reads. Her heart rate spikes up from zero to a million in a millisecond. Utter mortification.

“Uthi uyafunda kanti uyagijima!” (You say you’re studying while you’re fooling around!) She chants murder. Her words penetrates Bongiwe’s heart and she starts bawling her eyes out.

“Mamncane-,” Bongiwe cries.

“Do you know what I had to go through to get you into that school?” she hisses.

“I’m so sorry” Bongiwe sobs.

“Do you know what it meant for all of us for you to be there? You had only had one thing to do- you get in and you make sure you stay in. Did you not think of that at all?”

“Where did you think you were mntanami? Did you think that this was some joy ride you randomly got on and that had nothing to do with your future at all?” Mamcane rants.

She spews wisdom. Bongiwe sits in paralysis of her aunt’s words.

Lethabo leans against the door. He had been woken up by the screams from the other room. Lethabo is so confused and a little frightened by all the shouting. Mamncane huddles Lethabo out of the room, but not before shooting a deadly look towards Bongiwe.

Overwhelmed with disappointment in herself, Bongiwe storms out of the house. Walking further away from her home, Bongiwe feels disgust and disappointment. She’s overwhelmed with shame and anxiety. Bongiwe is reminded of her dreams which is now simply that, dreams. She wasted her time and all the opportunities she had is gone.

By the time she realises where she is, she finds herself standing outside the cemetery housing her late mother. There’s that warmth in the air she felt when she first got to the big city. The breeze cradles her face allowing her tears to cascade down her cheeks. A simple realisation that would open the door to salvation dawns on her. She kneels next to the grave and recites a prayer that never fails to make her forget about the cruel ways of life. With her eyes closed and hands clasped together she chants:

Mother Earth, I come to you with many burdens.
I’ve made some mistakes and now I face the consequences.
I seek direction with every step of life I take
I humbly ask you to guide me through trials and tribulations
I ask for strength to always acknowledge my grassroots and courage to never lead a crooked path.
May our souls connect until we enter the third realm and may that bond sustain generations after us.
Amen.

***

Tell us: After such a disappointing journey, who would you run to for solace?