Coming of Age
A homeless housebreaker consults a counselor from another culture in a quest to uncover the hero he longs to be. "Sounds interesting!"
Coming to the church was probably a mistake. What if they know? What if they call the Police? I listen intently, ready to run. No gunshots, no running feet, only the uneven pounding of my heart. I feel exposed. For seven years I have been invisible, a nothing. Nobod...
Chapter 2. Kay
I am totally out of my depth. I didn’t expect to counsel a child. I have spent most of my life avoiding children. Now here sits this boy, expecting me to help him. I saw him on the CCTV when he buzzed. I assumed he was the son of one of ...
When I hear the police sirens, I feel like I have jumped off a high building and am waiting to crash. My body takes over from my mind. Before I know it, I am out of the door and slinking quickly away from the front entrance. The book is still in my hand and the tast...
I dream about Peter again. I feel his warmth in my arms. He looks so tiny. I smell his sweet milky breath and the baby shampoo on his face. He makes gurgling sleepy sounds. It almost sounds like he’s purring.
A big black octopus oozes through the...
I lie shivering on the hard concrete. The towel has fallen off. I grab it and wrap it around my body again. I am afraid to go back to sleep because I don’t want that dream again. Is it nearly morning? It is dark. I listen carefully. There are...
I take the back routes to Alex. The small printing business on the corner has an open car gate and I slip in. The sun warms my skin as I make my way around the building to a gap in the fence leading to the paint factory. Two w...
Friday starts badly. I wake to the sound of Marshmallow getting sick on my bed. “Off the bed!” I kick her off and she promptly gets sick on the carpet. "Stupid Cat!" I stomp out of bed and jerk my gown over my arms. "Can't you wait to get outside before ...
I don’t know why I agreed. Maybe it was because the police won’t think of looking in a respectable white lady’s house for a thief. Maybe it was because I told her I am a thief and she didn’t turn away from me, like Stel...
I thought Jasper might show aggression to the boy. Usually he barks more at black people. However, he seems to view this visitor as a friend. I inwardly heave a sigh of relief. Dogs are very good judges of character and he would have shown if he thought the boy was ...
I never thought I would see Lucky again. He looks terrible. I can see he is on Nyaope. His eyes look like they are made of glass and there is a big black empty hole in the middle of each one. I don’t notice him until he calls my na...
Chapter 11. Kaye
Dora bustles in to the lounge. “I told that boy to play with Jasper,” she says. I think he’s smiling.”
I follow her to the kitchen and look out the window. Jasper is sitting abo...
I pull the blanket right over my head. It smells clean and dry. I take a few deep breaths of the freshness. As I relax I see Lucky’s eyes in front of me again. Did he mean what he said or was he just trying to boast about his brother? Did Sipho really find my ...
Lutho looks taller this morning somehow, less insubstantial. I can’t put my finger on it. He can’t have grown noticeably overnight.
I have lots to think about. Gogo Kaye said it was stealing when I told her how I get my clothes. I have never thought about it as stealing before but now I begin to wonder. What would Bab...
The sun is getting low by the time I get near Stella’s yard. I find a place where I can see the stoep of her Gogo’s house. I don’t want to visit when Stella is around. I have hidden my e...
Sunday is Dora’s day off. Jasper wakes me and I get up to let him out. I get back into bed and continue reading my book for about an hour before I get up, bath and dress. I notice that Dora has washed my new top and I decide to wear it with my jeans.
I get up before the sun rises. I fold the blanket Gogo lent me and place it neatly on a chair. I don’t want to wake Stella or her grandmother so I sneak out quietly without washing my face and hands. The door locks itself when I close it as softly as I can. The early morni...
I wake before my alarm goes off and lie in bed enjoying the warmth. My mind goes back to the conversation I had with the Major. He is happy to meet Lutho and help him find a way forward. He is even prepared to come to the counselling centre for the meeting. I smile to m...
Catching a taxi to Soweto is much easier in the early morning. I ask to be dropped off at the Jabavu library. I hope it is still there.
When the taxi stops I sigh with relief. There it is looking like the head of a crocodile. T...
I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I last saw Lutho. Each day last week I expected him to buzz at the gate or even just appear at the door. Robert says I’ve become like a neurotic mother waiting for her son to come home after he moved to a...
I don’t expect the car that arrives and I don’t expect the man who drives it. The car is a gold Subaru; I think four-wheel drive. I notice the man because he is white and there are few white faces in Soweto, especially during the late afternoon. It is on...
Robert seems to have taken over. I watch him. Even though he is in a comfortable chair sipping cappuccino, he seems constantly alert and aware. It’s as if an invisible energy radiates from him.
Lutho looks terrified yet determined. He stands up stra...
I lie in a clean bed, smelling the newness of the sheets. I am used to sleeping on the hard ground under a blanket or newspaper. This bed feels different. It is soft under me. On top of me is something like a giant pillow case around a light blanket made of pillow s...
It was probably childish to organise a lunch date today of all days, but I was miffed at Robert for excluding me. After all, Edwin phoned me when he was stuck in Soweto. It is true that having Robert come with me made it a lot easier and less scary, but I e...
I open my eyes after the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had. My bed is free of cats and I hear the sound of a vacuum cleaner from downstairs. Dora must be here already. I jump up and open the curtains. Sun streams into the room. I make my bed and wash myse...
I still remember that day six months ago when Edwin walked into the counselling office. His face was solemn but his eyes were bright. He was wearing his old brown t-shirt which was getting much too small for him. He held his back straight and walked with confidence....