“This too shall pass”.
I don’t know if I have ever shared this story with anyone, but it came to mind last week, and won’t go away. So instead of pushing it to the recesses of my mind, probably to my own detriment, I am going to indulge my OCD intrusive thoughts…
Grade 8 wasn’t easy for me. In 2001 I hadn’t quite fully grown into my eyebrows, and boys were very perceptive, but girls were like little FBI agents, roaming the changing rooms. My mother didn’t allow me to shave any part of my body (Years later this would translate into me shaving my entire head and way too deep into my vagina), and I was embarrassingly unaware of name brands (I have no excuse for this. My parents tried to keep me a child for as long as possible, so ‘things of the world’ were not a necessity in my very suburban-normative home).
Of course, this left me completely vulnerable to the kids from Strandfontein, whose parents drank kuste biere every weekend, and didn’t really care about their whereabouts. I later found out those same kids were molested by the uncles who used to suip with their parents in the garage and braai. I always envied how cool and free those kids were. My parents were very private. We only really visited my aunty in Portlands, and my ma… till she died.
My mother was the type to duck under the kitchen table when people knocked on the door. “Ek lussie vir mense nie. Se hulle moet loep”.
Also a trait I am growing into.
Regardless, the popular girls at my school looked so care free as they let the boys finger them on the bus, and spoke openly about how they aren’t shy to poep.
I always wondered why the bus driver never told the girls with the short skirts to sit down, and stop dancing seductively to Britney’s ‘slave for you’, while I was always ushered to the back. “Girly, you hitting us with your moerse bag… miniete’, they would say as I awkwardly made my way to my seat.
Even the bus driver and student teacher would laugh. Highschool pussy had power.
I wanted all of that. But as my hairy pussy was more Austin Powers, sans Mojo, I was humble, and sat down.
I learned the high school hierarchy very quickly.
Then, my first civvies day came about.
Valentine’s Day 2001.
My older sister had moved out of our family home years before, and as she had been the only semblance of hope I had of having a mentor to the outside world, and was now gone… all I had left to help guide me through puberty were the hand me down Adidas and Nikes that she had left behind, in her old room. That, and a 501 Indigo Levi.
Whether her parting gifts were garments of guilt, or just couldn’t fit into her suitcase as she ran away from the Prison of Genever, I decided that I was eligible for the upgrade.
On the morning of said; ’Civvies Day’, I put on my Umbro sweater (oversized), my indigo Levi, and one black Adidas and one Red Nike.
I found out how cruel the world was on this day.
My father used to drop me at school very early in the morning. He needed to be at the depot at 7, so I would be meandering the corridors of MHS around 6.30.
I was grateful for this, mainly because the other kids didn’t see me get out from the yellow council bakkie every day, a story for another time, of course.
But today, I was happy to be at school early to prepare for everyone to envy my innovation. I put on my lipgloss lekker shiny, and made two pony tails, leaving way too much hair out in the front, to frame my face.
Confident, and literally glowing, I emerged from the bathroom, straight into a group of Matriculants. And in real life, I saw people point their index fingers, and laugh.
Not only did they laugh at me, they followed me through the corridor, and engaged all their friends in a Hawaiian train dance of ridicule.
At only 8am, I knew I had made a huge mistake.
Home room was a blessing, as I snuck in and placed my feet firmly under the desk. My crush, who sat right in front of me, had already noticed the error of my ways, but was still being kind. I took this the wrong way, I assume, and still acted coy. I leaned forward and whispered in his ear “You look very nice today”.
He must have misheard me, or had a surge of embarrassment that we seemed so intimate, and loudly responded “No you don’t”.
I sat back down.
Still laughing. I’m not sure whether it was embarrassment or fear but I just kept smiling.
Moving from period to period, walking through the halls was torture. Even the one girl I had made friends with in the higher grade wouldn’t say hello to me.
“Angie, there’s your bra’, one of the boys in my class said, pointing at me, but directing the sentence at her.
“Mybru, I dunno why she did that”.
I was ready to die.
I spent first break lamming upstairs, with the ugly children, the ones who forgot it was civvies and the ones whose valentine proposals had been rejected.
Thank God the assembly hall was dark. My dad fetched me that afternoon.
Nobody even noticed the yellow bakkie.
I have learned in my life, several times over that the bad things that happen to you, no matter how painful, are fleeting.
Pregnancy has taken its toll on me this time around, but I find it surprising how in the previous pregnancies, I also thought I wouldn’t make it through.
When the kids tormented me that day at school I thought that my entire life was over, and that I could never go back.
When Lyle died, I thought that I would be alone forever, and I thought that someone who hit me and hurt me was all that I deserved.
I am willing to bet that the last time something bad and humiliating happened to you, you thought that there was no way out of the pain, or financial burden, or break up…
Yet… here we are.
My last blog seemed like a series of first world complaints, coupled with legit blogpost traumatic stress.
It seemed that way, because it was.
This year, the fifth of November came and went, and I had almost forgotten its significance, until I saw the gorgeous illegal fireworks erupting outside of my lounge window.
In November 2012, I stayed in a little cottage in Lakeside. It was around the time of my mental honeymoon, and I remember being outside, hanging the washing, looking at Lyle through our bedroom window.
The fireworks on Muizenberg beach were visible overhead.
He looked up from whatever he was doing and saw me staring at him.
He smiled at me, and made his way through the kitchen to the front yard.
“So, are we getting married or what?”
I didn’t even take him seriously till he showed me the blue, tanzanite ring from Sterns.
I laughed and hit him.
“Are you versin?”
I had immediately forgiven every single thing he had done up until that moment.
“I was going to ask you at the beach but you looked kak reg through the window”.
He really understood me very well.
“You asking me to marry you in the yard? I’m wearing a tracksuit, Lyle”.
I remember this conversation verbatim.
We had argued earlier that day and he disappeared for an hour with my bankcard. I knew he was at Toad on the Road, though. Standard bank kept notifying me of his whereabouts.
“You still kwaad?”
“I don’t smaak for the beach. Light a enchie”.
And that pakkie Princeton accompanied us from the yard, watching the fireworks, to the crackling in the fridge… to the first time we made love as fiancés.
The next day, he beat me into a concussion. I remember waking up, and hearing the scissor snipping up all of my clothes and shoes.
I didn’t know that in three years, the fireworks would be over.
Fast Forward to 2017.
My naked, sweaty, pregnant buttocks were stuck to my couch. I knew that any sudden movements would rip the dermis from my cellulite.
This isn’t a married sex story, I was naked for two very unsexy reasons.
- I no longer have clothes that fit me.
- I had wet myself while vomiting, and was now way too hot (from said vomiting fit) to get dressed.
Riyaahd had picked me up off the bathroom floor, finished bathing the children, and set me on the couch, in the dark, with a juice box, plummades, and Netflix.
I heard Riyaahd and the children saying bedtime prayers.
In my peripherals, the fireworks were erupting and I had the strangest thoughts.
“Why isn’t my husband romantic? He could have taken me to the waterfront to see the fireworks or something; I am always stuck in this fucking house.”,
I conveniently didn’t take into account that our Waterfront visit would probably have been me vomiting off different docks, while Riyaahd held back my man-bun.
I was pretty betluck (I sincerely do not know the English version of this word). And then, I realized that all I could hear was fireworks, the house was absolutely quiet. I rised from the dead, dermis intact and walked quietly to the room. And stopped at the doorway.
The children were bathed and dressed, and in their pyjamas, sleeping peacefully. And Riyahd was In the spare room, ironing their schools clothes.
“Go rest baby. I’ve got this. Ill clean the kitchen.”
I mustered up every bit of post-vomit strength and walked away, so that he didn’t see the tears in my eyes. I still don’t enjoy vulnerability.
But if he had seen me, I would have blamed it on looking too closely at the fireworks…
The very romantic kind, that only a select few are able to witness up close.