The thing ends up in the headmaster’s office. I feel alone. Afraid. Afraid.

I hear the headmaster’s voice. I don’t know what he is saying. The devastating storm raging inside me drowns out all words.

They know.

This thought hurts.

“I’m sorry, ndoda yamadoda [old man],” says Tshepo when he finds me in the rest room. “It doesn’t matter to me. I’m still your mpintshi [pal].” I try to smile and say thank you through the pain.

At home I stand still for a moment in the dark passage. I listen to the sounds of the empty house.

I try to find an answer.

Why am I still here? Why am I alive? How am I going to tell my father and mother? Why did this have to happen to me?

I don’t find the answers I’m looking for. I feel numb. My whole body feels dead, like my swollen top lip.


That’s one way out.

In my cupboard is a belt. It will easily fit around my neck.

QUESTION: Being rejected hurts more than anything in the world. Do you have any words for Nathi?