I swallowed thickly, my heart was pounding in my chest. I can do this, a small voice spoke to me as I looked at myself in the mirror.

What could go wrong? Except only my father would grimace at the idea of me dating but I can’t be single forever now can I? I wiped my clammy hands on the sides of my jean trying to buy some time before I could go down stairs and talk to my father.

I shouldn’t be this scared, my father is a sweetheart unless he hears me talking about boys and dating then he changes into a monster. Maybe I could bribe Menzi to be on my side and tell him to go speak with father on my behalf. I was surprised he hadn’t blabbed his mouth to our parents about my new relationship.

I liked Tisetso, and I wanted us to work out. I’m tired of being the one who stands out when I am going out on parties and arriving without any date or to my friends who are currently dating.

It was now or never.

I walked out of my room, determined to do this, I had promised Tisetso that I would talk to my parents about him wanting to take me out on a date. I took my time as I descended on the stairs, my legs grew tense with each step that I took that led me closer and closer to my father sitting in the lounge.

I turned my back on Menzi who had been eyeing me since I lowered the stairs. I turned to face my parents, my mother was on the small couch her feet on the couch with her, watching TV and my father was sitting on the longer couch reading his newspaper.

I cleared my throat, my father didn’t even lower his newspaper while my mother muted the television. I counted to three and took a deep breath.

“Uh, before you freak out remember that I am a pre adult.” My nails digged into my skin trying to settle my nerves “I’m going on a date this weekend.” Silence. The silence was deafening, it stretched into an uncomfortable moment as everything went still. I could hear the humming of a fridge just in the other side of the room, the tick of the moving clock and my heartbeat racing with each second that passed.

This was my first time asking my parents that I could go on a date, I figured that since my dear brother and father were determined to ruin my relationships that I would just ask.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

The clocked mocked our silence with each sound of that it made as it ticked away the seconds. My father slowly lowered the newspaper and his face came into view. I gulped down the lump that had formed on my throat, if looks could kill my father would have sliced me through with his eyes. They were as hard as steel, cold enough to freeze hell.

“Who is this wonderful guy?” My mother broke the silence and sliced through the tension with her warm voice.

“Tisetso.” I moved my eyes from my father’s gaze and turned to face my mother who offered me a warm smile.

“Oh isn’t this wonderful Melusi?” My mother said with a chipper voice. I heard the crackling of a newspaper being squashed in my father’s tight grip, pulling my attention back to my father who had not yet said a word in the past 3 minutes.

And when he finally decided to speak, my heart crashed at the bottom of my stomach “You are not going anywhere unless you bring that boy over here.” His voice was icy and cold as he lifted up the newspaper indicating that he was done talking about this.

I turned to look at my mother for support, waiting for her to back me up but she just shrugged her shoulders telling me without having to tell me that she was not getting involved in this and that I must handle it on my own after all I was a pre adult.

Menzi laughed, I slowly turned to face him and saw him looking at me biting into his apple. You would swear that he was older than me when in fact I was older than him by 10 months. But with his body built in such a big way, he made ladies turn their heads when he passed by, I mean what did they even see in him? My brother was nothing but an ass, who thrived by annoying the hell out of me.

Menzi should have been at my corner, he should be backing me up as his sister but he completely agreed with my father with everything that related to me not dating, if it were up to them I would die a virgin and single.

Menzi had successfully ruined every relationship that I ever had, no guy in school even wanted to come close to me. It was either they were afraid of Menzi or my father who was considered to be ruthless out there in the streets.

I don’t even know how this was considered to be fair, Menzi changed girls like how he changed his sneakers, but me having a boyfriend seemed like I had committed the worst crime there was in the world.

I groaned, turned around and left with Menzi’s laugh following me upstairs. I closed my bedroom door with a loud bang and threw myself on my bed. I was 17 soon to be 18 but I was treated like I was 8 years old.

I took a pillow and screamed on it, allowing it to swallow in my screams. I already knew that my father wouldn’t like Tisetso and that he would probably dump me the following day.

4 months, only 4 months was left for me to be finished with high school and leave this house with my father’s high walls. Only 4 months to go for me to have my freedom without my father’s protection and my brother’s ability to destroy my relationships, I can survive 4 months of this, I just have to endure it.

In 4 months I’ll be going to varsity and I made sure to choose one that was far away from this prison that I considered a home. I wanted a place where I could breathe and break my virginity on my 18th birthday and go out clubbing like a normal teenager without being treated like a literal kid and date every guy that I wanted without my father and my brother getting in the middle. I faced the ceiling and took a deep breath