The love of your life


A distinction

 

I’m 29 now. I remember the first time(s) I fell in love. Between 20 and 22, with two different people. Before these loves, I was completely oblivious to what it was.

I’m now in a loving relationship. It’s going stronger by the day and I’m happy.

The other day my friends asked me if he’s the love of my life. I said no, without much hesitation. He’s the great love of my life, I said.

Those four words, LOVE OF MY LIFE, describe to me what happened between 20 and 22 with those two individuals. The experiences with them were very different. In one situation it was unrequited love, it was acknowledged but not necessarily returned. In the second instant it was everything, I was given mind, body and soul.

 

This is how I experienced the loves of my life whether things were good or bad:

  • The sound of a door opening, I hoped it was them.
  • A beep on my phone, I hoped it was them.
  • When I turned a corner, I hoped they were on the other side.
  • Elevator doors opening, I hoped it was them inside.
  • In public spaces, it was them I hoped to see.
  • Footsteps.
  • My name hollered.

See this was everywhere. It wasn’t a thing of logic. My body had physical reactions to what I was feeling, a lot of adrenaline. I spent three years anticipating. Every single time it wasn’t them, my heart would sink in disappointment. Knowing this disappointment wasn’t enough; the anticipation would come back, as strong, over and over again. So many moments of breathlessness.

This is what my life was. Excitement, anticipation, disappointment. It was heroin.  I swear there were times when I thought I was going to throw up.

 

These feelings quelled over time, as most things do. I however wanted to replicate this. This is what I knew as love. I was still addicted to that rush.

It never happened. For years it never happened. I thought I’d reached my love quota. I’d peaked too early.

I then found the great love of my life. A knowing came over me. I always knew. He was the one around the corner, I always knew it was him calling/texting, I knew his footsteps – it was always him. This is, again, how it always is, whether things are good or bad.

 

I’d rather this. From heroin to kale.

 

 

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​Time to go


This is for my friend who forgot to follow the music.
So quick to shell’a you, so very very quick. They come at you with their guts and desires. You take them on, for whatever reason you do.

They come to know you. You give to them, and maybe they too give to you. You’re dancing like you never have.
Time passes, things dwindle. The flames quell, as they often do. The lights go on, and home whispers to you both. 
The buck now falls with you. Now you must nurse them out of what they started. Oh they’ll tell themselves a tale of two hearts:
“I’m still in love, but it needs to end, I just don’t want to cause hurt”
Filling your space with gassy lies of favour and pity, apparently for you. 
It’s strange for a while, it doesn’t feel like anything, how can it? You inhale the gasses, you lose your mind. You scramble for your stuff.
Then a time comes. They don’t have it, you must. That bravado that started this is no more. True grit is now with you. 
It’s time to go.

Dating Rambo, Whatsapp and Being Ignored


This is an empathy blog post, I’ve heard this story many many times. I was having a conversation with Quest. She was telling me about a guy who’s just acting up for no reason, especially since no one asked him to act down in the first place.

 

If you’re a 20 something year old doing his/her own thing, this has probably happened to you before. I used to do this, but it got done to me, so I think it’s inhuman to do this to another mother’s child (yes, we must think of how people have mothers, and how they’d just bleed if they knew their children were being treated so badly). So I don’t do it anymore. Here’s the deal.

 

And so it starts. One of your friends has the best idea in the world. It usually starts like this: “I know this great guy’. You’re not particularly busy, so it’s chilled, you go along with it. It starts with whatsapp and if you’re lucky, or not, it’s followed by a date. The whatsapp conversations are nothing ground breaking, but you can survive them. You figure that you’re interesting and have things to tell someone, either then twitter and your friends. So you decide, fine, I’ll tell this here niglet things. Then you get comfortable, because somehow that’s just how it happens. Inside of you grows a comfortable excitement, still nothing to write home about, but you do happen to smile about it whenever.

 

A few days later, you go on a date. It’s a good laugh, it could easily be a scene from a B rate romcom. But you’re smart, so your expectations are again left unchanged. Then, this person wants to be dating Rambo at the end of the date. “This was great! I’m so glad that I finally met you. Wow! You’re so amazing! You’re like the best date I’ve been on in eons. We should totally do this again”. For a moment, your ego is on spinning rims. You tell a few friends, your voice goes up a few octaves. But again, you’re smart. You calm down. You get home and check whatsapp…no messages from Rambo…

 

You send a standard message, polite, breezy, chilled, informal and just generally oozing of etiquette, to comment on the date. Mind you, not because you’re ‘trying something’, because that’s what people do after a date. You go to sleep. And wake to “Yeah sure, it was great! Have a good day.”

 

You think to yourself: “Um…what is this now?”. But now there’s a script! So you follow it, “Will do you too.”

 

A day later, dating Rambo is quiet, and you have interesting things to say. You know it’s pretty much over, and he’s just not that into you, but he’s a human being right? So you say hello, and ramble on about something. There he goes, tweeting up a storm and 3 hours he replies. By now the fat lady has sung all the numbers in Mama Mia, she’s done! It’s over. Nothing is ever going to happen between you and dating Rambo. And you’re cool with it. BUT HE IS A HUMAN BEING. So than it starts.

 

You say hello, when whatsapp says he’s online. Literally, 2 seconds later, he’s “last seen”. “Is he putting his phone down because I said hello? What the hell is this bull now?”. 10 minutes later he’s back, not to reply to your hello mind you. So you think “Oh hell no! TF kinda goldfish memory does this one think I have? Does he think I forgot that I said hello to me?” Why is he doing this? You hold back all the crazy that’s brewing, until it all just goes away.

 

10 days later…you’re completely over it. But you have to holla at Obi…because you’re not too sure what happened. Obi’s response. “I have no fucking clue!!!”.

 

But I did learn a few weeks ago that there are studies that suggest that being ignored sends signals to your brain, that closely resemble physical pain. So people just want to hurt you sometimes. That’s the only logical explanation I have for why dating Rambo exists.

Her father’s sins


I miss telling stories about the people I’ve known in my few years on this planet, or rather my few years in university. My varsity experiences were made better by the diverse people I got to meet.

A girl I know was going through a lot. For someone many considered blessed, she was going through things a girl should never go through. Her strength was in her cold heart. A heart that grew cold long before she’d had any say in the kind of woman she wanted to be. It was these things that brought us close. In a lot of ways we shared a common sadness.

It was the beginning of the school term. Everyone was excited to be back after a long holiday. That first week of term is a lot about friends catching up on all the events that happened over the holidays. I usually have the least exciting anecdotes, so I find a simple joy in listening to everyone else’s tales. Little did I know that I was in for a somewhat of a scandal when I visited Kagiso’s room for a quick catch up.

A few months before the holidays, Kagiso found out that her mother’s cancer had returned. While we were excited about going home, she just wanted to be home for her mother. We’d IM over the holidays about her mother’s illness. Although she was weak at times, she was responding very well to treatment and the prognosis was good.

I knocked on her door with so much glee. She opened the door and gave me a big warm hug. We held on for a few seconds longer than usual. This setting a tone for what was about to come.

We started with a bit of small talk. The usual-you’ve lost weight, your skin’s looking good-frivolous things that don’t matter. I could tell that she was anxious to tell me something. I figured it was about her mom’s illness. So I asked how she left things.

Without mincing her words, she jumped right into it.

This is Kagiso’s story

When I was younger my father had an affair. My mother is the kind of mother who believes in protecting her children’s innocence so she’d always cover for him. Yes he was a businessman and he travelled a lot. But there were many nights where my home was without a husband. Not because he wasn’t there in presence, rather he wasn’t there in a way that I could swear on a bible that he was a loving and caring husband to my mother. Although he adored his children. I never questioned that for one bit.

It is for this reason that I resented my mother as a little girl. I felt like she was the one driving him away. I was a child then, it only made sense. I’d often think ‘Why doesn’t mommy kiss daddy hello. He’s been gone for so long. She’s so mean to daddy’.

One night, I walked in on her talking to him on the phone. She was in tears, weeping, begging him to come home. Saying how much she missed him and how much she loved him more than she (the other woman) did. This was a rude awakening for me. Unnoticed, I walked back to my room. I felt heavy and empty at the same time, almost lethargic. After what felt like a great deal of effort, I made it to my room. I couldn’t sleep.

I felt like an awful child. All those times I’d bombard her with questions ‘Mommy, where’s daddy, when’s he coming back. Mommy I want daddy’. Those memories played over and over in my head. I felt real guilty for the first time in my life. I learnt how to hate for the first time in my life. I felt remorse, compassion and empathy. I cried myself to sleep. I aged twenty years on that night.

I said nothing about this to anyone. I kept this to myself. I decided to be everything I can possibly be to my mother.

Fast forward ten years later. I go home for the varsity holidays. My mother was doing better than I could’ve ever hoped for, considering what I’d seen the last time she was ill. Everything seemed normal on the home front. It was home and glad to be back.

A week into the holiday, I get a phone call from Kirsten. Her parents had bought her a new car. She wanted us all to drive down to KZN. I obviously didn’t want to go, but I told my mother about it and she insisted that I go have fun with my friends. I was skeptical. But I went anyways.

We left for St Lucia on a Friday morning. We got there in the afternoon and jumped right into action. Did the things that juvenile girls do on a juvenile weekend away. On the Saturday morning everyone was hung over. But I drink like my father so I could function. I seized the opportunity to drive Kirsten’s new car and I drove to the local grocer for supplies. I wasn’t prepared for what was waiting for me.

I see this man, pushing a trolley a man who resembled my father. A man who was my father. He was with two boys, twins, not much older than my youngest sister.

You often hear people talking about near death experiences, how your whole life flashes before your eyes. The same thing happened to me. Everything I’d buried and masked through the years greeted me in that moment with insolence and spite. I was suspended in time. Everything in front of me was moving so slowly. My subconscious was taking in every single visual element of the cruelty before me. My eyes were fixated on those boys, and yet it was like I was feeling more than seeing. My cold heart was breaking. I could almost hear it over the sounds of cash tills, beeping scanners and trolley wheels.

I just stood there and watched as it became clearer that those boys were his. It was in the way they looked, there was an undeniable resemblence. The way he looked at them was another like a stamp that would forever seal what I felt for my father, nothing.

I watched them walk away as a tear rolled down my cheek. I just then realised that I’m my mother’s daughter. Every time my father walked away, she’d helplessly watch with a broken heart. Nothing can prepare you for anything like that. There was no comfort for me. I felt a loneliness I hope to never feel again. All the company in the world left the store with my father and those boys.

This middle-aged lady briefly saved me from my initiation into hell by coming up to me and asking if I was okay. I don’t know how much longer I would’ve just stood there if she didn’t come. She had such kind eyes, I suppose in that moment Charles Manson himself would pass for someone with kind eyes too. I opened my mouth to speak, but I somehow found myself deep in her bosom, weeping. I didn’t care, I couldn’t care. I’d just lost my father. I needed to mourn him. I was inconsolable. She was rubbing my back and stroking my hair. It was like a granule of sugar in my bathtub of lemon zest, and I couldn’t be more grateful. She kept saying something in Zulu, but I couldn’t hear her over my sobbing.

Slightly embarrassed, I eventually stopped. I thanked the lady, left her clueless and rushed out of the store.

The sun was blinding, but it was different. It felt different. It wasn’t as warm as it was before. I became clear to me that things had changed again in my life. Once again I had aged.

I got into the car. It then dawned on me that I still had things to buy. But I just didn’t want to. I also remembered that I was with four other people, who I so desperately didn’t want to be around anymore. ‘Ah fuck, those fucking perky bitches’, I though to myself. That’s when my good friend Obi called, it’s like he knew something was a miss. He asked me how everything was. I knew I couldn’t handle another episode, so I played it down and told him how much I hate those fucking perky bitches. His advice ‘drink them away’. Just like that, I decided that’s how I’m going to survive the rest of my weekend. It was the only way.

With my head slung low, ashamed for such an extroverted display of emotions, I walked back in the store. Grabbed everything we needed. Then I rushed to the bottle store and bought enough gin and tonic to sedate me until I got back home.

As I was driving, a part of me kept hoping I’d get involved in a freak accident. I just needed a little distraction, some else to suffer through, anything but this. But I had to think about my mother. This triggered another emotional reaction. I hadn’t at all considered her. ‘Did she know? Oh my God, this is why she has cancer again. That bastard is making my mother sick’. My mind was like a network of trains with multiple collisions. I had murderous thoughts. I was fuming! ‘He gave her cancer, he gave her cancer twice’. Over and over again in my mind.

Before I knew it I was outside Kristen’s holiday home. I sat in the car for a bit. Had a croissant and washed it down with a massive gulp of gin. Braced myself to face everyone.

The girls were barely awake. This was a grace I was truly grateful for. I was to get sauced before I could have a conversation with anyone. I fixed myself a good shot of GNT went outside and lit a cigarette.

And so the weekend continued. Juvenile! Most of it was a blur, as per my intentions.

It was Monday morning and time to go back home. It suddenly hit me that I wanted one of them to see that something wasn’t right with me. I wasn’t going to say anything obviously, but not at any moment did one of them come up to me and ask if everything was okay. These are girls I’ve known for over ten years. Couldn’t they tell that I was going through hell? I found this quite disturbing.

As we were driving home. I contemplated the kind of person I was. Questioning if I was perhaps acting normally to my friends. Was this who I was? Maybe I was going through hell long before I saw my father in that store. I was already there. I mean, hell is hell right? How much hotter can it really get?

The girls dropped me off first. We had a quick chat reminiscing about ‘the good times’.

Before I walked in the house, I took a deep breath, as if to channel some divine being into me. And just like that. I decided to be that little again.

With my new discovery unnoticed, I walked into the house. I said nothing about this to anyone. And again I vowed to be everything I can possibly be to my mother and now my sisters too.

As for my father. I don’t have one.

An afternoon with Cynthia


When I was still in college I had a flat mate who changed before my very eyes, in a short period of time.

She was a very sweet and timid girl. She always kept to herself and was careful never to bother anyone. Every time something shocking would happen, she’d have this classic and endearing “deer caught in headlights” expression on her face. Everyone adored her and her life was close to perfect, until she fell in love.

His name was Collins. Not the most charming fella, but he was okay you know? He broke a girl’s heart.  But this story isn’t about him. It’s about the girl. This is about my old flat mate, Cynthia.

 

An afternoon with Cynthia

So there I was, chilling in my room on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I was putting the finishing touches on my Gender Studies assignment. In walks Cynthia with an offer to take me out for ice-cream. I was quick to put on my flip-flops and off we were. We walked to ice cream parlour then she insisted we take a stroll to the park, which I didn’t mind. When we got there, she seemed restless and uneasy. I figured she wanted to talk to me about something important. ‘Maybe she wants me out of the flat’ I thought (I was such a slob back then). Little did I know that I was a part of a covert mission to stalk someone.

We were having an unmemorable conversation about Janet Jackson’s fading music career. I had funny things to say, so did she I guess. Suddenly she changed the topic, and looked at the opened field.

“Obi do you know that girl over there”, as she signalled to a group of “free spirits” who were relaxing under a tree. I looked and I knew one girl in the group. Stella, an acquaintance I was on friendly terms with.

“Um…I know the one girl, Stella. Party animal that one, she’s probably recovering from a hangover”, I joked. I then looked to Cynthia to acknowledge my joke. No such luck! Cynthia gave me a stern look instead. Which confused the shit out of me and made things a bit tense too.

“Yes, they told me you know her” she said, in a solemn tone. At this point a million things started running through my mind. I looked at her, with as much evidence of astonishment that I could possibly muster in one facial expression.

‘Did she here something about me and Stella? What did Stella do? Oh God, has she gone lezzy for Stella? Mmmmh, if I knew we were doing this, I would’ve gotten three more scoops of this delicious ice-cream.’

She soon stopped the bullet train running through my mind, “Obi, she’s been sleeping with Collins”.

You know I thought I was a good friend/flat mate, but all I could say to her was “Oh”. ‘Oh’ was really all that I could offer her, because I had million questions to ask her dammit! Why the hell was I doing in the park, eating ice-cream and stalking an alleged mistress? Why am I getting dragged into this shit? Why didn’t she tell me about this when she first suspected it?

Needless to say, my meek ‘Oh’ didn’t deter her. She wanted me to divulge every single thing that I knew about Stella. Which wasn’t much, but she was so dynamic in her efforts to get intel, I even felt compelled to embellish a few things. Which I didn’t, I would’ve under ‘normal’ circumstances (being the eccentric I am), but the whole thing of stalking in the summer time was crazy enough.

We got into the whole thing, and I was pretty convinced from everything she told me, that Stella was indeed sleeping with Collins. It had all the clichés of the tales of a cheating boyfriend. Denial, we’re just friends, people are lying, I love you, she’s crazy, etc.

Which again begged the question, “Cynthia, why are we here? Why am I here?”, so I asked her.

“I want you to introduce me to her”, I nearly choked on my last scoop of ice-cream.

“Um, are you sure? Why? Does she know you? What do you want to say to her? Shouldn’t you be speaking to Collins? I mean this is about you two. You’re in a relationship with him, not her.” I replied in a bit of a panic, trying to change her mind.

All her faculties were surprisingly in order as she picked up on my discomfort and vehement protest of this confrontation.  Cynthia put my mind to ease. She explained that she’d been coming to this spot in the park for a very long time before she even knew about Stella. That she only found about Stella once she started sleeping with Collins. She even made farce at how she knew how crazy the whole thing seemed to me. She called it prima facie feeble duplicity (law students). She confessed that if she told me before hand, I might have disagreed, and that she didn’t have the nerve to walk up to Stella alone.

I was convinced, yet I was still sceptical. My curiosity took over and I wanted to see the story unfold. So I walked over to the shaded tree and hollered Stella’s name. Stella was infamous for her zest, she was quick to respond.

“Obi! How you doin’ doll? Come over here and gimme a hug”, I conceded to her hospitable charms and hugged her with my tail between my legs. I felt a bit dirty. But this feeling was quickly watered down by how she reeked of weed.

“So Stella, can I have a quick word with you buddy”, I smirked sheepishly. I motioned her towards Cynthia’s direction. I then realised that she might know of Cynthia, which didn’t matter to me anymore. As we took the short walk towards Cynthia, I told Stella that my friend wanted to meet her.

“Oh, that’s Collins’ girlfriend isn’t it? Is she the friend who wants to meet me? I’m shagging him. Oh fuck Obi, what is this bitch shit trap you’re drawing me into?” she laughed! Then I couldn’t help but smile at her bizarre behaviour. ‘I should hang out with this girl’ I thought.

“Stella, this is Cynthia, Cynthia, Stella”, I was very curt and eager to end this.

Without skipping a beat Cynthia went straight into it.

“Hey Stella. I’m so sorry if you feel ambushed, but I don’t know what the protocol for doing this kind of thing is. I’ve been thinking about this confrontation for a few days now and I thought it was best to do it in person. “

Stella, tried to interject. But Cynthia was determined to finish. She sounded like an automaton, programmed to confront the other woman with as much tact as possible. She continued as if she she’d never stopped.

“A few days ago, Collins ex-girlfriend contacted me. She told me that she’s HIV positive and that she’s not sure where she got it from. Apparently she told Collins and he’s been ignoring her since then. So she got desperate and contacted me. I’ve been trying to get a hold of Collins too, but he’s phone has been off since I told him that his ex called me.”

Tears started rolling down Cynthia’s cheeks, and just like that it felt like the end of summer. I took off my sunglasses and held Cynthia’s hand. Stella stood still like a marble statue. Her face looked gaunt like something inside of her had decomposed instantly. I didn’t know how to comfort her, hell, I didn’t know how to comfort Cynthia.

As if she had a potato stuck in her throat, Cynthia resumed with her monologue that now sounded like an ode to the end of a young life. The most human and most real thing I’ve ever heard spoken.

“I’ve been going to Collins’ place to try to speak to him, find him, to get some sort of explanation. I’ve since found out that he’s run back to his hometown of Orange Groove. I got tested for HIV yesterday and I’m negative. I suggest you do the same.”

At this point tears were rolling down Stella’s face too. This provided me with some sort of relief. At least now Stella was showing some feeling. And she wasn’t being the belligerent sassy girl. She was processing everything and taking it all in. Stella then gestured to hug Cynthia.

Cynthia stepped back. Wiped her tears and then there was fury in her voice.

“You don’t get to sleep with my boyfriend and then have me comfort you. Your God does not love you that much. You have a reputation Stella. For me to do this, I had to think of you as a human being and not a contemptible whore.”

I don’t know if it was the weed, or if this is who Stella really was. But she didn’t respond at all to Cynthia’s scorn. She wiped her tears, told me to take care and walked away back to her friends under the tree.

I immediately held Cynthia in my arms. She was shaking; all I could do was stand there in the middle of the park and hold her as she wept. When she regained composure, we walked home and stopped at Mirror Tables, for a late lunch. We ended up having a liquid lunch and we had a conversation about the whole thing drunk and loud. We both cried and said all that could’ve possibly been said. We had a few comfortable silences, which would end up in more tears and hugs. Occasionally we sang along to a few songs that were played on the radio.

We literally crawled home and both passed out on her bed.

The next few weeks were hell. I’d hear her crying every night, and when she wasn’t crying she was drinking. Sometimes I’d tend to her, but on other nights I pretended not to even hear her. She was not prepared to draw anyone else into this. I suppose then I was expected to carry her through this whole ordeal. But all was prepared to do was that I could possibly do, listen. I listened to her anger, confusion, regret, pain and hope. All the while I was speaking to my mother for some grown up guidance.

She got tested again for HIV and again she was negative. We were both jubilant. But it had become obvious that something had changed about Cynthia. There was nothing neither sweet nor timid about her anymore. She was now firm and a little more selfish.

Somehow she found the strength to graduate and instead of getting work as a legal intern, she decided to go teach English abroad. Her next test was scheduled for just after graduation. But I had moved back to Southville. It’s been three years, and I still don’t know if she took the final test or not. I didn’t care to ask or bring it up. I didn’t think it mattered then and I still don’t think it matters now. What nearly consumed her, saved her in a way. We email each other every now and then and she is the poster child for carpe diem. I couldn’t be more proud.

 

Collins was never heard of again.

I actually heard about Stella a week ago. She married a Muslim Doctor.

As for me…well, I’m just the guy telling the story. It’s not about me, lol.

The Science and Poop Of Breaking Up


Eish another one of my friends got dumped, I’m in bad company, I know. I used to be the worst person at breaking up. I didn’t know how to break up and this sucked for me and the other person.

Getting dumped sucks! I actually don’t like the word “dump”. It’s a synonymous with unpleasant things. We are not trash; we shouldn’t have to “get dumped”. I don’t know if I’ve said this before on my blog but I’ll say it now. I’ve had two great loves, T and S. With T it wasn’t going to work because I was way too insecure then, so I ended it. With S it wasn’t going to work because we were living on hope alone and that isn’t enough to sustain a relationship, drugs do a better job. It was just impractical. Needless to say, when you break up with someone the why trains keep coming because people need closure.

I remember a long time ago my friend was dating this guy, they were “both” very “happy “until he moved to another city. They tried the long distance thing for a short while, but he felt that it’s not working for him so he ended it. My friend was pissed off for a reason I didn’t expect. She had it in her mind that he was lying about why he wanted the break up. She swore it was something else and she wished he could be more honest. We were never able to establish this “truth” my friend was looking for, but she’d soon be proved right. A year later they were in the same city again, both single. They tried to get back together, but it didn’t work. He just wasn’t that into her.

So when you do break up with someone, you owe them closure and closure is honesty, especially if you know how they feel about you. The truth really does set people free even when that freedom isn’t instant. Everyone has some kind of idea(s) why a lover doesn’t want to be with them anymore. Even when they don’t see it coming they’ll have some kind of clue. It will haunt them if that idea isn’t confirmed or dispelled. We all want to hear it sometimes…to be set free.

I’ve seen people lose their minds over break ups and if there’s a common trait in these break ups, it’s a lack of truth. And things like “we can still be friends” and “it’s not you, it’s me” don’t make it better. Those are not things anyone wants to hear when they’re getting dumped; they’re especially not things I want to hear. I’m in the habit of saying this to potentials in my romantic life “I can take anything you throw at me, you just need to be careful how you throw it” this includes how you dump me. As such I always offer friends who are about to dump someone a crash course in sensitivity training after advising them to tell the truth. Sometimes the truth is “I’m bored” but you can never say that to someone. It’s rude and karma doesn’t take kindly to such. Actually relationship karma is the worst kind of karma. Trust me, T and S are being well avenged by karma’s wrath right now. I got so many stray animals after them.

Take home message is be careful how you leave people. It’s fair, do best. We all want love and permanence, when you take that away from someone be considerate.

Postscript and other things (you don’t have to read this bit)

1.       When you’re dating (having a fling, testing the water) you actually don’t need to be the breaking up martyr. This is for people in relationships. Really an email is will do just fine if you’re dating. I see nothing wrong with that. Smses, post-it notes etc are a little too curt. But a well thought out email is enough. Also, if you’re quiet long enough, they’ll get the message. Jokes.

2.       Meera and Robert had been together for four months, but Meera felt that the relationship had run its course. One night they got back from a party together, slightly inebriated. They proceed to drink more on Meera’s request. Robert always knew Meera to be a coward, he just had no idea how big a coward she was. He was in for a rude awakening.

After a number of vodka tonics she had all the Dutch courage she needed to leave him. She tells him that it is over and she’s not in love anymore. She then insisted that he has to leave. They argue for a bit and he tells her that he’s too drunk to drive. So she lets him sleep on the couch. She could hear him crying from her bedroom until she passed out. On the next morning she wakes up with him hovering over her with his lips quivering and his eyes twitching. With his voice shaking Robert asked “can we get back together?” Being the coward that she is, and at this point terrified for her life and her property, Meera took Robert back. They hugged and she convincingly explained that she was stressed and didn’t mean to break up with him. They stayed in bed for a little while chatting. Meera then sent Robert for breakfast.

Soon as he was out of her complex, Meera called Rob to explain that she did indeed mean to break up with him and that she was scared of what he would do to her, so she had to take him back. At this point Robert hung up on her. She rushed to security and informed them never to let him again.

Moral of the story break ups are messy enough, don’t be clumsy.

3.       Lastly, to my T and S. If you’re reading this. I killed a little part(s) of me when I let you (y’all) go. I think about you (y’all) often and I really wish I could’ve handled things better. I hope you’re both doing well. #MeeraTendencies

Bitter Circles, My Cold Summer


On the edge of my sleep you pull me back in

With the weight of hell and the promise of heaven

With folding smiles and fading spaces

I’m still studying you and your emotional paces

Drunken sadness, sheets of metal

A sobering thought of your dying intentions

You make it hard to breathe

You make it hard to feel

Dangerous and delayed

A denied truth grows this space between us.

It’s filling with nothingness, a solid emptiness

Prompting fears of loneliness

In summer’s winter fog I’ve found clarity

We’re a love written in history

My old heart I shall keep for myself

All that’s left is a chilly goodbye

The lebola/magadi stock exchange


The other day on the tweet machine lobola was trending. This post is long overdue actually, better late than never? I’m actually going to call it magadi from here on, because I am Tswana and lobola is the Zulu word for it. Since it is all about culture, let me preserve my own.

One of my very good friends in varsity was of the opinion that she’s going to fetch a very high price on the magadi exchange. In her words: “Amongst other things Rodean was a finishing school, someone has to pay my dad back for all that money spent on my grooming”. She said this with a straight face and I was inclined to believe her, because it made sense to me then. Growing up I’d hear stories about how cousin Kagiso’s magadi was more than cousin Lebo’s, because Kagiso went to Wits and Lebo went to Damelin.

Old Skool

Things were very different when the idea of magadi first came about. Magadi negotiations were a lot about pride and the values families instilled in their daughters. Men were only too glad to pay sizeable amounts of cattle for these young women. However, it wasn’t so much about the consideration given up, but more about the symbolic celebration of a women’s worth, to her family, society and the man she was to marry. The worth of a girl/woman was based on a few things, to mention a few:

  • The kind of family she is from and their standing in the community
  • whether she’d be able to bare children. So they’d look into how fertile the mother and other females in the family have been
  • whether she’s a virgin or not. I don’t think Tswana people did this. I think this is a nguni thing
  • aesthetics also played a role, and
  • her weight. Apparently big girls are well nourished and it shows that they are well taken care of by their families (heard from a nguni friend).

It is also important to remember then that men were the sole providers in the family. As such, for the bride’s family to allow a marriage they had to be satisfied that indeed the groom will be able to take care of their daughter. Back then living standards were relatively on the same level with the exception of a few. That few would marry into those families which they associated with in terms of wealth.

Nu Skool

While some families still have the same ideas of yesteryear, others don’t and it’s become a little dicey. Thing’s exist today that didn’t exist then, creating challenges that are left unaddressed. These things have in my view skewed the real meaning of the whole practice of magadi. From the list above we can already see how some of these things have no meaning in modern society.

Back then marrying families knew each other or at least of each other. Standing in the community was easily determinable. How’s Mashudu’s family from Polokwane going to know how respected Mbali’s family in Johannesburg is? Fertility is hardly an issue these days because children are no longer viewed as some sort of wealth. As for beauty today and beauty then…that’s a whole blog post on its own. You also find men of modest means marrying into families of considerable wealth, and vice versa. Both parties come to the table with different expectations. Inter-cultural marriages also present a different set of issues; interracial marriages are probably ten times worse.

So then what do we have to value Mbali’s worth? Education, future earning power and a loose assumption of what kind of family she is from?

I find that the major challenge with this practice nowadays is the issue of money, money, money, money!!! Putting a price on everything seems to be how this ritual is practice. The potential monetary gains to the bride’s family leave the groom’s side to potential abuse. These issues are further exacerbated by the paranoia caused by divorce. Back then this was never an issue. The money paid was an “investment” for life.

So what now?

Fact is we need to assess if it’s still worthwhile to have this practice. Like polygamy it’s comes across as archaic and it might no longer be relevant in the times we are living in. Women can now provide for themselves as well and sometimes even better than men can. Being the “bread winner” and the magadi payer aren’t the masculine tasks they used to be.

As much as I love preserving our cultural heritage and customs etc, I need to feel comfortable with paying an amount for someone I’m going to marry based on random valuations. In my head it is honestly so much better to give cattle. Cows are a source of life and survival. Those cows would give milk and meat and hide. Cattle are still celebrated in the rurals and it’s tangible. It makes senses.

Ever wonder what happens to the money these days? Some families give it back to the couple as they know they need the money to start a new life together. Others want to use it to help pay for the wedding. Then there are the families that use it to pay debt, get new kitchen units and whatever other things they want. Do you see my problem?

Good luck with your future magadi negotiations. Ladies I hope you fetch a high price. Gentlemen I hope you can afford it.

DISCLAIMER: If something in this post purports to be a fact, please be so kind as to look upon it as an opinion. I have not researched any of this; I’m just sharing what’s in my head. Please also try to have a sense of humour.

 I once heard a story of one malume at magadi negotiations trying to get an extra R1000 because the girl had a learner’s license.

 

 

The Good Mistress


A few days ago I had a conversation about mistresses with @KopanoMashishi. She said that she’d never be able to be with another woman’s man. It’s admirable that some women choose to stay away, but I don’t necessarily condemn women who don’t. Women who have side dick…The Good Manstress, this is for you too. Diane Lane was too convincing in Unfaithful for us not to recognise this growing pandemic.

The word “mistress” seems to have glamorous connotation. Mistress (I looked it up) means: a woman who has a continuing extramarital sexual relationship with one man, esp a man who in return for an exclusive and continuing liaison provides her with financial support. The penny chaser and the sex fiend. I’m not talking about this woman.

I’m also not talking about Glen Close’s character in Fatal Attraction.

I’m talking about a single woman who gets pursued by a married man and ends up giving in to his advances. What’s the name for her? Why does she also have to be degraded into the same class as penny chasers and sexual fiends? And if she’s lucky enough to not be called a mistress, she gets called a “home wrecker”. I’m not trying to come up with a new word for this woman, so for simplicity I’ll keep calling her a mistress, the good mistress.

We all need to understand that a relationship is between two people. The demise of a relationship and any issues that may arise can never be blamed on a third person. I believe this to be an absolute statement. I don’t think mistresses have the power to end a marriage. Every time a mistress in blamed I feel like women (society) has completely given up on men, and it is now every single women’s responsibility to make sure that all husbands don’t stray.  It’s bullshit.

Maybe there aren’t enough men to go around and the “good ones” are taken, what’s a single lady to do? I’m not advocating for bad behaviour, all I’m saying is that when “bad behaviour” happens anyway, we must be very careful who we condemn and if they even deserve condemnation.

I just wanted to advocate the good mistress. She too needs, wants and deserves companionship. If this world were perfect she wouldn’t have to accept it from a married man. It’s not fair for her to say no when it’s a perfectly viable option for her. Even when it’s not every night, on Christmas, on her birthday or on nights her lover has to be with his wife.

Postscript

  1. Dr Mamphela Ramphele is the perfect example of this good mistress I’m talking about. One of the greatest women on our continent, she was Steve Biko’s mistress and everyone knew. See how terrible the word mistress is? You can’t be calling the great Dr Ramphele a mistress. It’s rude!
  2. I asked people if there was a euphemism for mistress. I got two funny responses.  @Onklez : Ad hoc companion. @KopanoMashishi Mistress is already a euphemism for whore.
  3. But what about the kids? Truth is kids are resilient if you have a relationship with them. Many of my friends have philanderers for fathers and they turned out just fine. Many of my friends have faithful fathers and they’re fucked up. So really, leave the mistress out of it.
  4. With polygamy it works out perfectly for The Good Mistress. She can get promoted to The Good Second Wife. I guess all our first ladies, before the first wife were mistresses at some point? Not sure how it works with polygamy actually. Grey area…
  5. I love Angelina Jolie. If you want to hate someone hate Brad Pitt. Yes, I went there!
  6. Ladies, if you have to have men on the side, please don’t use the excuse “if men can do it, so can we”. You don’t need to be like men. So that really is the worst excuse ever! Cheating isn’t cool, if you do it, it best be for quality dick or untamed passion that you really can’t help…or love.
  7. That song Women To Women by Shirley, was in bed taste.
  8. If you are The Good Mistress your favourite songs are “Saving all my love for you” by Whitney Houston or “As we lay” by Kelly Price, than you deserve that call from Shirley! Smh!

MORAL OF THE STORY…DON’T BE TO QUICK TO JUDGE!

The thing about my baby it don’t matter if you’re black or white. Or does it…


Last night I had a conversation with my buddy and she mentioned that she likes white boys. I’ve had friends who’ve dated outside their races, but I’ve never had someone actually own up to it as a staple. This got me thinking about dipping into vanilla and maybe even caramel and cinnamon, never custard or malva pudding though. *insert appropriate races*

I once had a conversation with a seemingly open minded (she drinks, smokes, does coke and weed and hangs out with young people of all races) lady in her forties. I asked her if she’d ever had any choc (or others, see above) lovin’, she coolly replied no. She said it’s something she’s never been interested in. Then she said, maybe it’s because of the way she was raised. No idea why she’d bring that up, considering she grew up as a white person in apartheid South Africa. But whatever, that’s a different post altogether. Point is here’s this woman in her forties, she’s travelled everywhere, she’s done so many interesting things in her life; most of them would give my dead grandmother another stroke. She loves all people, but she’s never shagged outside her race. Looking back I wish I’d probed her further, but that comment on how she was raised put me off completely.

So what is it then? The only times I’ve dipped outside my race, was when I was extremely inebriated. Even then, it was never a full dip. More like a “oh, look at that our lips touched…let’s make them un-touch”. Well there was this other time I might or might not have gone all the way…one of those nights, if I don’t remember it doesn’t count right? For the record, I’m a very different person now. #thingsinmyyouth I’ve never consciously targeted or thought of deviating from my race. Right now, I can’t even decide if I’ve ever even been attracted to someone outside my race. Sure it would be interesting to tap a hot piece of white ass…but is that what I want?

Now let’s talk about the relationships.

Interracial relationships are made hard by cultural differences. A relationship is hard enough. It’s easier when you’re both born and bred in Sandton I guess. The challenges are much greater when Parkhurst is dating QwaMashu (rural KZN). Dating is one thing, but a relationship is a whole different animal. You’re in a relationship with a person’s whole life. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find that your friends and family are receptive. Political correctness and walking on eggshells…I feel like interracial relationships thrive on one person’s race (the race the couple hangs out with most) being more dominant, depending on who can provide less awkwardness etc .

Bringing a legoa (white person) into my mother’s house on some “yeah mom…this is who I’m going to marry” it would be interesting to say the least. I’ve always said that I’ll try everything once. This of course limited to crystal-meth and the likes. I told my friend that this year I want to date someone who likes doing out doorsy things. I want to go hiking, camping and fishing this year with my lover. Her response “Then you might just have to cross over to the white side”. So I guess I’m putting it out there, I will entertain jungle fever this year.

P.S. Dear black women, here’s some food for thought. White women don’t complain about white men like y’all do about negroes. This is why white women often remarry after their divorces. Find you a Ryan or a Jacques, if tooooooooo many Siphos, Thabos and Mandlas have shown you flames. Look at Halle Berry, she aint never dating a negro ever again!!!