I should be happy for my friend but I honestly could not find the joy. I had so much money on me but could not even find joy
in that. I was unemployed and even with that money on me unless I got a new job ASAP that money was only going to go down! White people told us in 1994 that education will be the only way we can successfully run the economy. Politicians told education will free our minds and set us free. I was educated at the highest levels if I can say so myself but I looked around and asked myself what I had I achieved really. I still worked for a white man, underpaid for my skill and very much a second class citizen to someone like Nicole who because of her skin colour was in my job by now I am sure. The number of people in South Africa with no degrees who are employed are actually more than the number of people with degrees employed. The only difference is the job stability and pay but the reality is once you work you have so many manufactured problems because of the class you are now in. To someone else r4mil was a lot of money but in reality in JHB that can buy you a house, not even a mansion then it’s done! It’s something I always tell people, jealousy is the one emotion you are judged for yet often you absolutely have no control over. You don’t wake up wanting to be jealous of another person because it means that you have failed yourself as a person. Our pride does not allow us to show jealousy because people judge you harshly for having it as though you pushed for it.
“What’s wrong did you just receive some bad news?”
Miriam asked me concerned as she put her things down. My face betrayed me as I could not even hide the disappointment in myself.
“Nothing my dear! Sorry I just got turned there for a moment!”
I lied and put on a smile on my face. Miriam and I had been friends forever and she knew me too well to take that for an answer.
“Chomi I know a fake smile when I see it, what’s on your mind?”
She asked me.
“Ok yeah you do. I just feel bad. I could have gotten you killed this morning and give up on this. I don’t know how I would have lived with myself if something had happened to you!”
I lied to her. How was I supposed to tell my friend that considering how much effort some of us put in school she did not deserve this! Sigh, today I really felt like a shit human being!
“Ah chomi I am a big girl and think about it would have been an amazing story to tell some day when someone asks what happened to us!”
She said and I totally did not get her randomness. Miriam was never outwardly ambitious. You know how some people want a big degree, car, job, house etc. Well Miriam was not one of those people. She was that whatever happens happens kind of person and she did not even hide it.
“So how do you manage such a big house, I can’t even keep my apartment clean and it’s so tiny!”
I said trying to turn my mood around for her.
“I don’t, Bongani hired a lady who comes every two days. I am not allowed to make decisions here just to accept what he chooses to do for me!”
She explained. That was new! Miriam was a fiercely independent person could marriage have changed her that much?
“I don’t understand, surely in the house you are the boss since you always home?”
I asked her.
“Always home? Never! Bongani insisted that I get an education hence the help. I am supposed to be studying all day according to him!”
She told me and she sounded really annoyed at this.
“Why don’t you sound happy about it then?”
I asked her curiously.
“I have never been that good in school and I spent 22 years of my life failing at it so what makes him think I will get better now! It’s like he wants to prove for himself how dumb I am so he can dump me!”
She said and we both laughed because that was funny. Miriam was not dumb; nope that was not her problem! Miriam was like most modern kids today she was distracted! I know this for a fact because I used to study with her back in the day. We would work on things together on the insistence of our mothers but she would always find a distraction. Think of today’s kids and see how there are so many distractions in their lives Miriam was no different. Her initial pet peeve was Mig33 back in the day and that to me was where Miriam fully discovered her whore phase. By 13 Miriam was already sexting strangers and her argument was always that it was harmless fun. That harmless fun became active curiosity as she started meeting some of these people in person and so on. Before long she was sleeping with people and that’s by the time of 15. Her mum used to beat her all the time until one day she gave up for fear of cleaning her child because one thing for sure it never stopped Miriam from finding a way to be with a boy. This how she ended up sleeping with teachers. Think about it, no matter how much trouble you are in you still have to go school right? That was Miriam. Here she was looking all beautiful, pregnant, a wife and in a mansion whilst the rest of slaved our arses off to the point of almost insanity and still struggling for bills.
“Don’t sell yourself short, you should be good at something no what am I saying you are good at something! You have amazing people skills you know that right?”
I tried to reassure her!
“People skills? What am I going to do with people skills? Work in a shop?”
She said annoyed again and sarcastically but laughed soon after. I did not laugh because I was actually serious. Miriam was that one person that could convince someone to buy water whilst they are sitting next to a tap.
“I am serious Miriam.”
Her phone vibrated as a message came in. She read it and slightly panicked,
“Shit! I have to go to Roodeport! I told Bongani I was going to buy hair and last week and I still have not. I can’t say I have not again otherwise I will sleep outside!”
She said in what obviously a joke but this being Woman’s Month such jokes have gotten many people in trouble on Twitter.
“Can I go with you? I could do with new hair as well and besides I really don’t want to go home. I am reluctant! After what happened today ah the less time I spend there the better!”
I told her. She came over to me and gave me a big a hug,
“You are the bestest friend a person can ever wish for and yeah I said bestest don’t judge me!”
She told me squeezing me tight. I felt so guilty at this moment because here she was saying nice things to me and I was being this jealous bitch! Strong word bitch but it’s what I was.
“Thank you! You are the bestest friend too but us standing here is not going to help us in anyway. We need to go and go now so we can avoid traffic!”
I told her. She went upstairs, yup upstairs, from the semi detached houses we grew up in Soweto to mansions with upstairs I really wanted to applaud for her. I was not being sarcastic as this was remarkable. Both our houses combined were probably the size of the three garages and the kitchen of this house I thought to myself and laughed alone.
“My life is a mess!”
I told myself. When she came she suggested we change cars just to avoid being followed and I am certain she meant by that old woman in the red car. We laughed at that.
“Ok cool. It’s not too far from here! I have the location on my phone!”
She told me as we drove out. It was next to Clearwater Mall Opposite Volvo. Jhb traffic has its good days and today was one of them. It took us about thirty minutes to get there. It was a house in a neighbourhood which had been converted into a de facto hair salon and I am sure other businesses as there were probably 20 cars in the driving lot. There was a Nigerian security guard as well on the small gate meant for customers.
“Yes ladies what can I do for you?”
He asked us.
“We are here to buy hair?”
Miriam said to him. He opened the gate for us and we walked in. I am not lying about this because I witnessed it with my own eyes; there was a line that left the house.
“Is this the lady to buy hair?”
I asked the lady at the back of it.
“Yes it is but don’t worry the line is actually moving pretty fast!”
She said to us cheerfully.
“Pretty fast? There is a line how can it be fast?”
I asked her jokingly. Miriam struck a conversation with the woman and they started talking about hair and hair prices. I went to instagram to find the shops instagram page as it was on the wall. Hair is bloody expensive! It was extensive. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the front. Miriam bought a full lace Peruvian 22 inch wig for r3800 and I being more modest on conscious about my money bought a Kim K wig for r2700. When we left the line was still there.
“Dude wasn’t that crazy?”
Miriam asked me I think as amazed as I was. The cars outside were mostly men who had escorted their women and I say this because men were not allowed inside because according to the lady Miriam had spoken it for space reasons. I thought otherwise though, it was for security.
“It was hey. How many people do you think came in and out?”
I asked her.
“I think thirty I am not sure hey but it’s a lot. You can tell summer is almost here!”
She said laughing but I was not laughing.
“How much hair do you think you would need to enter this business?”
I asked her.
“I don’t know hey because looking at this shop it must be a lot!”
We drove out quietly and for a good 10 minutes neither of us spoke. It was Miriam, who broke the silence when she said,
“We love hair hey its crazy.”
I don’t know why she was not thinking what I was thinking,
“Those people had what, 6 workers plus security right?”
She asked me.
“Yeah kind of I did not count them why?”
“Do you want to rob them?”
She asked me and laughed at her own joke. I was not joking around though because what I had seen if someone else had told me I would not have believed.
“Have you ever considered putting those people skills of yours into a business?”
I asked her.
“Business? No never! I won’t even know how to open a business and besides whom wants to be doing that tax stuff! Have you seen the lines at SARS?”
She asked me very much against the idea. This was a business opportunity if ever there was any but something told me I needed Miriam to make it work. She however was one person who allowed her limitations to stop her from doing many things.
My phone rang.
“Dude you said you were coming earlier for the Will where are you?”
My sister asked me. I had not cancelled with her when I went home.
“Yes something came up I am sorry!”
I told her.
“Well you better get here fast because I am sorry I was too curious I dug it out! You better get here quick!”
She said to me.
“Ah come on don’t tell me you opened it alone! Really?”
I said to her!
“Just get here!”
She said and hung up.
Why did it feel as though something was wrong?
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading my letter I have wanted to write this for the longest time ever I just never had the courage.
I am 33 and I am married to a man who changed literally the day after we got married. When we dated he was sweet and caring. We dated for two years before he proposed. After the wedding he lost his job and went into depression for almost a year. I took care of him and us. I had a job so I made things work. For the most part in spite of his depression he worked hard to get back on his feet and in the right mind. He got a new job and that’s where everything changed. Firstly he was working long hours then was moved to a different town. I could not find a job there and considering how hard it had been to find a job he could not reject. He started skipping days when calling me and it was all me. He came home once a month meaning I had to go to him. He moved our life from our home to where he was posted temporarily. I thought he was cheating so I asked him to stay with my younger brother. According to my brother all he does is drink. My husband started drinking during the depression. He reached a low point where he was verbally abusive. He never cheated as far as I know but he became negligent. I started cheating. First a one night stand then next an affair with two different men. I recently found out I am pregnant and I don’t know who is the father between my affair and my husband. I found this out with my husband after we went for a check up as is required by his job. The person I am having an affair with is my white boss! He is much older. I can’t abort as my husband knows I am pregnant but also what if the baby is my bosses? It won’t be black! I messed up. I know that but what should I do? Is abortion an option then I say miscarriage?
Please advise me I am a bad person I know.