By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa:
“Are you seriously breaking up with me?”
He seems genuinely shocked.
“Get out!” I scream.
I’m already crying, why won’t he just accept this and walk away?
“Speak to me bab…”
“It’s your hands!” I interrupt, “They are creepy, I’m scared of them. Please just… please leave.”
I’m shouting, my whole body is shaking including the voice. He looks at his hands in disbelief. There is nothing wrong with his hands; they are just skinny, long and rough. Many would love them but not me.
“You have serious issues Nozipho, it’s a pity I can’t help you with that.”
He walks out and I throw myself on the floor and let out a loud cry. I keep rocking back and forth with both my hands on my head. I’m trying really hard to block everything and just have a normal relationship, but I just can’t. Every guy I’ve broken up with says the same thing – I have issues. I’ve dated more than 10 guys and they all say I have issues, well so do they! Every person has demons living in their minds, trapped in their bodies. It all starts somewhere, with a tiny something that eats you up and never lets you go. I remember where it all started.
I was 6 years old, being the only child I had only my imaginary friends to play with. That alone was labelled crazy in my community, black people don’t have imaginary friends. I remember that night so well it feels like yesterday. It was on the 5th of January 20 years ago. I was sleeping alone in my room as usual. I saw a man coming inside, I couldn’t make out the face. I was still trying to get used to sleeping with the lights off. At first I thought my imagination was playing tricks on me but then I realized it was really happening – there was a man in my room. I couldn’t scream, I studied his movements and sounds hoping to get a clue of his identity. But then he touched me. I felt his hands on my tiny thighs, going up and down gently. Still I didn’t scream. What my memory won’t grant me is if he raped me or not, the only thing that’s clear is how he hands felt on my thighs.
In the morning I told my mother but she said I was dreaming, daddy said I should dumpy imaginary friends and make real ones as I was starting real school that year. Everyone was convinced I was hallucinating but I know what I felt; it was long, creepy fingers.
“Nozi! Ay you should stop doing this to yourself, what’s going on?” My roommate Lebo says helping me up from the floor.
I just had one of my ‘episodes’ as she calls them.
“Did you break up with Sipho?”
I do not respond. She hands me a glass of water as she says; “What was the problem this time, the hands?”
I take a sip of the water.
“But Nozi, you really need to stop doing this to yourself. Get professional help. You really can’t go on like this.”
“But I have you.”
Lebo has been my source of strength for 5 years now. We lived together at res and formed a friendship. She understands me and my demons, and I understand her and her demons. She is like my other half, I don’t know how I’d survive without her.
“Not for long”
I frown as I ask; “What do you mean?”
“Zweli and I are getting married.” She says with a huge smile.
I hear alarms ringing in my head, why is the world doing this to me? It took my parents, the childhood friends, and now Lebo. How will I live? I can’t be alone… I need to stop this madness. I need to take matters into my own hands and stop being the victim of life.
I quickly take the car keys on the table and dash out of the room.
“Nozi!” I hear Lebo’s scream as I drive off.
I cannot allow Zweli to take my friend away from me, who does he think he is? I’m driving like a maniac, it’s a good thing I know the way to Zweli’s place by heart. I’ve been there many times with Lebo. I’ve always suspected that he hated me but I never understood what. What could I have done that’s so bad?
My thoughts accompanied me and made the way to Zweli’s place short. I park next to his kitchen door and match in. I find him with another woman, holding hands. The alarms ring louder in my head. What a jerk! He proposed to my friend but goes on to cheat on her? The cheeck!
I draw a knife from the knife cabinet and throw it at the woman, it goes straight into the stomach. Damn I can score! It’s thanks to playing darts.
“Nozi, what’s wrong with you? Are you crazy?” Zweli is shouting as I take out the knife from the woman’s stomach.
I don’t respond, instead I push it straight into his stomach. I look at him for a while and then pull the knife out and push it back in, again, again, again….
I realize I’ve badly injured, or probably killed two people. I panic and take my phone from my jean pocket.
“Sipho,” I cry, “Sipho please help me. I killed them. Sipho…”
“Who did you kill? Nozi, where are you?”
“I’m coming, stay there.” He hangs up.
I sit next to the bodies crying. Rocking my body back and forth with both my hands over my head.
“Nozi?” Lebo calls out for me.
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