I would lay on my bed bored and not have anything to do. Then I had a thought that I never knew my mother. If only life could start from the beginning. At least if I had a mother she would be there for me and also get me things, such as a laptop or phone, that some of the other children at The Homestead have.

I went outside because I believed too much in nature and magical stuff. When I was young people told me that there is someone that is living in the moon. I thought it was true. Stars are something you make wishes on. Also if you do good, the energy comes back to you.

I sat outside, looked at the stars and moon and made a wish that one day I could be someone who would be successful and buy all the things I didn’t have when I was young. I then went to sleep. That night I slept but I had many nightmares. I was in a school, the school was old, and not used. There were broken windows. It was a sunny day. I was the only one who was in the school. I tried to go out but there was this wind that pushed me back and I couldn’t go out. Then I would become scared and feel that someone was following me. I went to hide under the desk.

One day I got tired of this dream. I took a knife and put it under my pillow. Then I didn’t dream. There are people who believe in good and bad fairies. The bad fairies can give you bad dreams every day. Those who believe in good fairies say that if you place something silver, shiny and sharp near you when you are sleeping it will stop bad dreams. But I was tired of the knife and I took it away.

One day I slept and I had the same dream again, it felt like someone was standing behind me. When I woke up I felt scared and cried and wondered whether someone had cursed me. I cried and thought I don’t deserve life. If I die it’s the best way to get away from the pain, I thought. I had R13 in my pillow case and I was going to buy rat poison.

At the door I thought twice and put the money back. I thought maybe I can fight this dream. But if I die, God will punish me. I went to sleep again. I dreamt I was in the Eastern Cape and everything was fine. When I woke up I thought I’d like to dream about my mother. And see her. To see how she looked as I never had a picture of her. I said her name every day, wishing to dream of her.

The days continued on and I got tired of God. God was someone who was just written by someone.

I used to go outside, look at the moon and wonder if it is true that there’s someone up there in the moon listening to every wish I make. I went inside again and Ashraf was playing music. Some days I would feel jealous because I didn’t have the things he did. I thought I was not a bad person, I shouldn’t be jealous.

Obed and I were in the room after we came back from horse riding. That was when I dreamed that I’d own a travelling agency. There was a picture of a person I knew, a photo that I always dreamed that one day, if I can own things and have my own property and car, with this person, I could make a family. I thought before I die I’d make sure that my kids got education so that they could own the business and have a future. It was a scrapbook that I used to paste pictures in and write paragraphs.

When I failed last year, Grade 9, I burned the book. I thought it doesn’t make sense to have a dream in the book when I’m failing school. When I tried to study Maths, I would get a pain in my head. I thought of two things: my mother and that I wanted to own things and be the child that she would want me to be. When I failed I felt disappointed in myself.

Every day when I thought of my mom sometimes I would be proud that she was my mother, sometimes angry that she died. Sometimes I thought growing up without a mother was like a pain that will never go away. Sometimes I thought of developing bad behaviour because no-one taught me respect and what is wrong. I didn’t know the difference between an adult and a child.

But I kept going to school, just because school was there. Just to get through the day.

***

Tell us: Do you ever feel lonely even though you’re surrounded by people?