© Tisa Phiri
Standing on the edge of a cliff in the dark night, she felt a grip of fear engulf her. The fear of leaving the horrible world that she had come to live in for the 15 years of her life filling her heart. “What is left to live for?” She asked herself trying to suppress the fear of death with that of facing her tommorow.
She closed her eyes and pulled back the memories of hours ago.. she was laying in her hard bed trying to rest after spending the rest of the day toiling in the fields where she had gone to work for some money. Not only to feed herself but her selfish step father who just went around the compound aimlessly and drinking heavily on the expense of other people’s works and would later on get home to expect her to give him food.
Over time she thought she would get accustomed to giving him food but the worst night mare of him taking advantage of her body was so much ubearable.
There was nothing that tore her apart more than the issue of her step father forcing himself on her since she was only 10. She had thought after the death of her mother which too had a lot of unanswered questions would at least surpass that pain but she realised nothing would cover the shame, the pain, the toture, the sound of a horny man and his smelly sweat falling on her body as he contiously pounced on her small miserable body.
She held on to the rails that were the only barrier between her and the steep cliff she was standing on. Closing her eyes and letting herself free from the world. She slowly slid her hands letting go of the rails. ” forgive me Jesus” she whispered and flipped herself off.
The sharp pain that came from her hands as something pulled her up made her realise she was still alive and whoever was interfering with her decision to leave the world was shouting as she pulled her up the steep. Giving her hand s very sharp pain where the person was holding her.
” what the hell is wrong with you idiot! ” came a sharp voice of a girl almost her age and another one who looked a bit shoddy and rough on the face who both held her away from her suicidal point.
” what where you thinking throwing yourself down there?” The tall girl shouted at her again this time she sat up looking around.
” I didn’t tell you girls whoever you are to interfere, I want to die, I can’t live any more. I can’t go home back to that monster and worst still work up and face the torments of tomorrow. Please leave me alone and let me finish what I came here for” she shouted crying and getting herself back to the cliff.
” you have lost your stupid mind!” Came the voice of the same girl who stood talk among them. ” we all have our issues, we all suffer and wish we were dead. We all have been living under the torments of hell in this earth but we never contemplate kiiling ourselves. Life was given to us as a gift from God and so we have to live it. Wether in suffering or in good times” she added seriously pulling the suicide girl back.
” I don’t care about your philosophy. If you feel you can continue living in this tormented life then suit yourself!, am done! ” she yelled back fighting to leave the grip of the two girls who now were pulling her away from the cliff and leading her to the main road leading the way to the compound.
” well, find another day to kill yourself and not today. We don’t want to live Our miserable lives adding the torment of seeing a stupid girl committing suicide!” The fat girl now responded using her evident strength pushing her to the ground angrily.
There was silence as the girls sat down near each other. Each of them lost in their own thoughts. A person passing that route would think they were in some kind of ritual ceremony where they were required to remain silent for hours.
The heavy buddens of their lives weighing heavily upon them they could barely notice the presence of each other. The deep darkness surrounding them reminding them of their own toils.
” what is your name?” The fat girl broke the silence asking the one they just saved.
” Thandiwe” she responded abruptly without showing any interest in the conversation.
” My name is Saliya and she’s Matilda, but she likes being called Mattie” the fat one talked patting the tall girls hand who was still quiet looking down on the ground.
” so what are you girls doing out here this late?” Thandi asked looking at her newly found company.
” that should explain to you that you are not the only one who had been through a lot of suicidal conditions. A we just a couple of two girls trying to find a way to survive even when we have few reasons to live for.” Mattie spoke up now fully alert.
Thandi could not clearly see the faces of the other gilrs as they talked but she could relate to them. Knowing somehow that they too were like her in some ways.
” do you have a home?” Thandi asked the girls when she finally noticed their unwillingness to move away from the dry ground they all sat on.
” we have no where to go. We were hoping to find a place under the market shed but we have to wait for the guard to sleep so that we can sneak in the shed and sleep behind the sacks loaded with charcoal.” Explained Saliya.
” well, at least I have a home or let me say a place to lay in. If you girls don’t mind we can go there together and spend a night. Tommorow we can get to know each other before you find your way to wherever” shrugged Thandi standing up and wiping her back.
The two girls looked at each other, Mattie stood up too and extended her hands to pull up her friend and Saliya moaned loudly as she stood straight dusting her hands.
” well, we surely can use a proper roof” giggled Mattie leading the way to the surprise of Thandi who thought she was the one to be in the lead owing to the fact that they were all heading to her place which Mattie had no idea which direction it was. She shrugged somehow matching Mattie’s bossy altitude to how she spoke to her earlier.
The girls walked in silence with their feet stomping softly on the hard ground making little sounds as they stepped on some dry grass and leaves in the small path that led from the hill and Bush place to the compound which was dark signifying people were asleep and all the fires and lights put off.
The only light they could see ahead was meters away where the dignified people of the compound had built their decent homes and had their houses connected to the power grid.
Saliya who was tagging behind Thandi wished inside her heart they were heading to the lights. Thinking for a change she would spent a night in a house built in concrete blocks.
Much to her disappointment, Thandi took over Mattie’s position when they came to a cross roads and headed to the dark side of the compound where they could see a full view of the first house which was almost falling as it bend towards the ground.
The walked through a few poorly structured houses which were favoured by the dark and one wouldn’t really tell how dilapidated they were.
They came to a halt in front of a small building with a slightly open door, they all wondered if there was anyone inside.
” shshshshsh! Let me check if my father is in there. We cannot let him see us walk in.” Thandi whispered to the girls and slowly pushed the door open to check inside. She sighed realising the silence of the inside. Her step father was not around.
” come in girls” she called them in and led them to a small room which was the third room of the house which served as her bedroom.
She didn’t bother to look for a lamp to turn on as she already knew where her small bed was.
” so how are we going to sleep on this small bed?” Winced Saliya folding her hands.
” well this is all I have to offer you guys. ” sighed Thandi patting her small bed.
” come on Sali stop being ungrateful, this is far much better than outside in that shed full of charcoal bags” Mattie scolded her friend sitting next to Thandi.
” well, we need to sleep, if we are lucky my father won’t come back from his drinking place” Thandi told them pulling up the thin blanket and indicating for her friends to lay down.
They had to sleep with their heads in the widith sides of the small bed as they could not fit vertically.
Thandi closed her eyes trying to allow sleep take her mind off the suicide attempt she just had. The slow movements of Saliya’s sleepy body next to her causing her to shift slightly to create some space between them. Mattie too seemed fast asleep and she couldn’t help admire them. She had been fighting insomia for months and no matter how tired she felt at times, she couldn’t just get herself to sleep that deep.
Thandi couldn’t wait to hear their tales the following morning. Believing something about her life would change with the coming of the two strange girls in her life, she believed from her mother’s speeches that nothing was really a coincidence in one’s life. Everything has its purpose.
To be continued