Can I just say that I absolutely hate Wednesdays. I have nothing against the day itself, just the fact that the group is always being held every Wednesday, and I can’t seem to get away from it. Katlego, our group counsellor, always starts with a prayer and then asks how everyone’s day was before she starts getting deeper into the stuff.

It always goes the same for Africa. She starts with a shy smile and rubs her hands together, looking anywhere but here in the circle that we have formed.
I am tired of having to hear the same stories over and over again. I don’t see the reason to be here because ever since I started this group, my feelings and views have not changed, not even a little bit. Anger still brews inside of me even though it has been a good three years.

“Thank you, Africa.” My brain snapped back into focus when Katlego thanked Africa for sharing her story that we had heard for the millionth time – apparently, talking about your feelings helps. Katlego’s eyes scanned around the room and landed on Linda. “Linda, you are next, how are you feeling?”
When Linda sat back down, Katlego’s eyes landed on me and she smiled. I let out a sigh, hoping that I didn’t get picked. I tried to stay hidden, but it didn’t seem like I had done such a great job. “Simbongile, you have been quiet this week. Are you okay?”

It’s crazy how she always knew that I was always quiet, but here she was, acting as if I was always talking. I shrugged, thinking that she would leave me alone if I didn’t open my mouth and speak.

“So you not okay?”

I pinched the bridge of my nose. I knew exactly what she was doing and it annoyed me even more. Probably when she looked on that wooden clipboard of hers she saw that today was the day I landed in prison. I had not forgotten; it didn’t matter how much I tried to forget.

“This is your safe space,” Katlego said, looking at me with those pitying eyes that she usually reserves for others. “Talking can help, and you will be free.”

I shook my head. “I don’t want to be free.” And that was the truth. I didn’t want any peace, or to be free. What I wanted was to make Junior suffer, make him pay for causing me so much pain and anger.

“Why is that?” Katlego pushed. I shrugged as I shut down again. I never wanted to talk about Junior or the pain that he had caused me or the betrayal of my sister and my own family for lying to me for so long.

“You have to talk. Keeping whatever you are feeling inside is not healthy.”

“And where will I start?” I folded my arms and let out a shaky breath, forming a fist to keep my fingers from trembling.

“At the beginning,” Katlego said softly as if not to spook me.

June 6th

“What do guys even like?” I looked up at Missy. I had bought Junior so many socks for our anniversary or his birthdays that I was now sure he was sick of getting them, even though he wouldn’t say. I knew he never liked to hurt my feelings.

“I don’t know,” Missy shrugged, flipping through a magazine. Today it was so quiet at the antique store that we decided to laze around and do our stuff before we got any customers. “Colognes?

I sighed, flipping through a men’s magazine. I thought that they would provide me with a clue of what to buy but they only left me more confused. In just that second Sine walked in with a plastic bag, which I knew was our takeaway, and he left as fast as quickly as he came.

Sine picked me up later at my house, and just like always, he did not say much other than greeting me and telling me that I looked beautiful.

I was met by dozens of flower petals and balloons when I walked in, taking my breath away. Junior had always gone above and beyond for our anniversaries making it hard for me to top it.

“You look breathtaking,” he said, placing his hand on my waist and pulling me towards him.

He took out a box and handed it to me. With shaky hands, I took it. I wouldn’t even be this excited if it weren’t for Missy, who said that Junior might propose today. When I opened the box and I saw a necklace I tried so hard to hide my disappointment and my pricked heart from Junior, but he saw it before I could hide my facial expression.

“I can return it if you don’t like it and buy you something else.”

I shook my head. “Don’t be silly.” This was a diamond necklace. Anyone would be excited to have such a necklace but I was disappointed – it was not a ring.

“I brought you something too.” I handed him the gift bag and he took it with a smile. “No socks this time?”

I laughed, shaking my head no.

Do you think Simbongile is right to be disappointed? Why/why not?