“Twelve months had past, and I was getting out of prison. I was not feeling happy or glad because I had learned to adapt to prison lifestyle. As I walk out of the gate, it feels like a second chance in life. The sad thing was that I did not know what I was going to do with my life. Then the prison warden opened the gate and closed it behind me and said…
“You are still young. You could become anything you want to be in life. Make use of your experiences, or feel free to come back here and be someone’s wife.” I knew he was telling me the truth. My experiences inside has left me with nothing but hatred and not caring for my future” I say to Andile.
“Who came to pick you up?” he asked.
“You will not believe this if I told you” I say.
“Do not tell me you walked all the way from Tokai to Gugulethu” he says.
“Exactly! No one was there to pick me up. I tried hiking, but who was going to give a hike to an ex-convict,” I say.
“You must have walked something like a half a day to get home” he says.
“I guess that walk was worth it. Every time I saw a black man in a nice car, I would picture myself at his age one day. Also, every time I saw a beggar at the robots, I would wish not to be one” I say.
“So what happened when you finally arrived at your aunt’s house” he asked.
“Wow, everyone was in shock, they could not believe it was really me. When I greeted my cousins, I could see the fear in their eyes. It was probably the scar I had running down my left eye. I did not bother asking why anyone did not come pick me up, as I could see they were not expecting me. I wondered if I should ask my aunt about the letter I received in prison.
“Aunty, I received a letter in Pollsmoor from a man saying he is my father,” I said.
“Oh,” she said.
“Can you take me to him?” I asked her.
“Sive, I do not know your father. If I had known him I would have taken you long time ago to him, after all the trouble you caused for me,” she said.
“But in the letter he says you finally found him and told him about me” I said. She tells me she knows nothing about my father, and just as she is telling me, I hear a laugh in the kitchen from my cousins. I ask myself “Could it be this was all a joke?” I walked towards the kitchen and ask them if it was them who sent me that letter. They deny it with a little smile. I became furious and stormed my way out of the door” I say.
“Where did you go?” he asks.
“I did not know where to go and just walked around in the neighbourhood. Just as I was walking, I saw a familiar face.
“Hey Eric!” I called.
“Hola Sive,” he replied.
“It has been a long time my brother,” I said.
“True it’s been a really long time,” he said.
“What have you been up to this past year?” I asked.
“Trying to survive, my brother. Ever since Vuyo died, the brothers in Phillippi have lost respect for one another and are being controlled by drugs. Anyway, how was juvenile treating you?” he asked.
“Hell on earth, my brother. I do not even want to talk about it. Anyway, I am kind of looking for a place to stay until I can stand on my own two feet. My welcome back at my aunt’s was not what I was expecting, and if I go back I am afraid of what I might do to my cousins,” I said.
“No problem my brother, but in order for us to survive we must work by night and sleep by day,” he said.
“For me to work by night, I need that drug called TIK-TEK to keep me awake. Then we can work throughout the whole night,” I said.
“Well that is going to be my welcome back present to you. There is only one thing I require from you, and that is for you to leave your heart behind and bring your courage when we go to work,” he said.
“No problem Eric, ever since I entered and left juvenile, my heart has turned from red to black.” I said.
‘Let’s go get some of your clothes and go get hyper active after that,” he said. When I got to my aunt’s house I did not even talk to her. I was still furious after what her children did to me, giving me false hope about my father. All I could think of was this new journey I was starting with Eric. I had my doubts about him, but I did not know where else to go. We took some of my clothes and went to his shack. When we got there, it was nothing compared to a gentleman’s room, it was a pigstye. We sat down and smoked some TIK-TEK and planed where we were gonna go that night,” I say to Andile.