Staying at home means often you are answerable to your parents. Ok I am wrong, always you answerable to them all the time. You know how amazing it is to grow up and when you go to an event or at Sunday lunch you can refuse beetroot
or cabbage which when you were a child you would never dare say no to especially if it was your mother that made it? Yup, no matter how much of a bad cook she was or how bad it tasted you have to eat what your mother made, that’s what growing up at home means. You don’t have freedom of a lot of things. You get that treatment all the way to matric then in university something changes. You can’t exactly bring boyfriends home but the leash is loosened somewhat? At university you have complete and total freedom of movement so long as you have the money to enjoy it. That’s the same feeling you always want to have but when you get home, full of secrets, new friends and new stories to tell you find yourself whispering on the phone like you are back in uniform. Sigh! There are moments where you want privacy and to fix things alone. Moments where you don’t want anyone else to be involved. Privacy is the one thing that you want at all times but in your mother’s house you can’t talk about your rights! You are not a white kid that can shout back, you do as you are told!
My sister shifted herself as she had stood up and went to close her window and curtain. She was setting up the mood for my murder.
“And then? I asked a question?”
My mother said arms folded across her chest. She had taken off her work clothes, yes with black people we have work clothes that hold everything in together, giving you that perfect look which turns heads and we have the home look which loosens up all that tightness and allows you to breathe when you get home. It’s nothing short of a miracle the pain so many women go through to look beautiful and elegant every day because men might not know this but to most women, heels are actually painful to wear the whole day but we do it! My mum without her power look was short but still beautiful. I had taken her looks and body shape. My sister the freak was a probably adopted because for some reason she looked exactly like my dad’s sister!
“Where you listening in to our conversation?”
My sister asked sitting down on her desk again? I can say what I want about my mother but she was not an eavesdropper. You know those mothers who skulk at your door to hear conversations between their kids then get you in trouble for it? Well she was not it! My mother was often not bothered about what happened in our lives. Her warning was always,
“O ska boa o emile”
Which basically means that ‘don’t come back home pregnant or with a child!’ That was her one rule on us dating or relationships. She was not a very hand on mother, not in your face but the things she did often made it seem like she was in our face!
“Bolela! It’s my house and I can listen to whatever I want. You continue being rude to me like this and we are going to have a problem! What’s this Dubai thing because you two have been fighting about it since I got home?”
I was getting busted here. We had been speaking louder than I thought. So much for all the best laid plans. Why do they always fall apart like this mara? I looked at my sister to answer because the ball was in her court. I had frozen already. I should have spoken first but I lost words.
“Ask your daughter!”
She said. Was she betraying me already? What happened to the agreement we had?
“Ask me what?”
I asked her and she could see I was pleading with my eyes. I did not know what else to say.
“Yes Palesa, you the older one! What’s going on? I want to know everything. This house simply does not communicate well with each other! All this tension and fighting is driving me crazy!”
She said but I got the impression that she was talking about way more than just Dubai.
“I want to go to a university in Dubai and she says UJ is better? How in the world can UJ be better than Dubai? She thinks I want to dumb like her and get a degree that won’t get me a job! I want to go study internationally not get a degree that’s not even in the top 1000 of the world! Imagine even if I by some miracle come out number one at my degree, I am starting off in life as number 1000. How is that ambitious? I am not her! Even going to UCT is a compromise!”
She said I was stumped! She had thought of that so fast and much as most of it was offensive to me I had no idea what she was on about. It’s funny to think of how South Africans complain that they want to be on the same level as the first world in service delivery, corruption levels, infrastructure etc. when like my sister said, you are starting out from number 1000! 20 years of democracy comparing yourself to America with 400 years of it! Yah neh, no wonder why we number 1000 if we think like that!
“Mum I can’t handle her. You must apply for her! She disputes everything and when she does that she insults me in the process! How is that cool? How is that fair? It’s your fault because I told you I did not want to and you forced me! Do you know how much it hurts to try doing something for someone and she tells me such hurtful things?”
I told my mother finding my voice. I was trying to match my sister for words to show that we had really been arguing.
“I don’t mean to hurt you but it’s the truth! Why should I want to be mediocre? Come on now!”
My sister chirped in.
“I could have done this myself but no, my mother was not interested though! She asked my sister to do it for me without asking me!”
My sister said obviously trying to annoy my mother. Something bigger than this had happened. My sister was fighting a war with my mother that’s the only reason she had backed down. It had nothing to do with the deal we had made and knowing my sister she will make sure the rules are kept.
“Not tonight please! Stop making noise I am going to bed!”
My mother said and walked away. My mother had recognized that the situation was only getting worse so I guess her bigger person role was to walk away. She had not even made an attempt to reprimand my sister meaning that my sister had something on her. What was it?
“What’s going between the two of you?”
I asked my little sister. She immediately had tears in her eyes.
“It’s nothing I can’t handle!”
My sister said. My sister crying was something that really troubled me.
“What did mom do?”
I asked her.
“She did enough but it’s got nothing do with you! It’s between me and her! Please don’t ask! I need to study now?”
She said turning around to look at her computer. She was trying to hide the fact that she was crying and I did not know how to console her. My sister needed me yet I walked out of that room without helping her. I could not go ask my mother because she would make it clear to me that it was none of my business as well.
I went to my room too. I had clothes here so it meant I would sleep at home. I had no test in the morning and since I was no longer applying for my sister I had extra money. I was going to tell my mother it was the money I used for transport. My phone had been charging in my room. I had three missed calls from Neo. Normally when I go somewhere I report back when I arrive to say I had arrived safely. It’s a rule we have between the two of us. I don’t really ever ask him where he is or if he is safe but he asks me always. I had to call him back it rang once and immediately he picked up,
“Why didn’t you call when you got home?”
That was the first thing he said, no hello, nothing!
I said coldly.
“You didn’t answer my question?”
He said focused on what he wanted.
“Dude relax, I was going home, to my mother! Where else do you think I could have gone? Come on now! You being paranoid?”
I said very frosty now and making him hear that tonight was not the night for any of his nonsense.
“Why are you being cold to me now? What have I done?”
He asked me sounding surprised at the way I had greeted him. I did not want him tonight. He was too soft and he would only make me feel guilty. I was in no position to talk to him I was just tired.
“You have done nothing. I am at home!”
I told him.
“Did you speak to your sister?”
He asked me.
“Yes I have and we cool now. Thanks for asking. I am actually getting ready to go lie down and hopefully sleep even though I know how early it is!”
I told him. I was giving that I don’t feel like talking tone but I don’t think he was getting it. There was an ambulance that parked outside probably two houses down. They had their siren on and then a cop car.
“Are you sure you at home?”
He asked me. I don’t think he believed me hey. Was he justified in his insecurities? I hate insecure men. Look, even if you are cheating and he has not caught you, in my eyes he has no reason why to be insecure! It just leads to fights!
“Are you serious right now?”
I asked him!
“Of course I am it’s just that there are never such noises at your house!”
I was annoyed and I hung up!
A minute later I heard my sister’s phone ring and her pick up saying,
“Hey brother in law!”
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading my letter.
I am a 17 year old girl and my boyfriend is the same age. All my friends are already sexually active and I would like to start too. I am not dumb at school and I don’t believe that having sex is the end of the world. It’s a physical act and I know people say it’s emotional and must be done in love but I am a realist. The problem is my boyfriend is scared. We do all the sex talking in the world but I am tired of it. When we fool around he will go as far as going down on me but will not go all the way. He says he is waiting for the right moment but I am tired of it! Is he waiting for Jesus to come back really? We have been doing this heavy petting for a year now and I am tired. I don’t want to cheat on him but I want to get laid. I have told him as much and now he thinks I am cheating because he said a girl can’t say that to a guy. Abuti Mike where is it written that if a girl is the one who wants sex then she is either cheating or mogwanti? I am so annoyed at him but I love him.
Please advise me on what to do?