“Oh God, why me? Yvonne said as she threw her bag on her bed, which was a mess. “I am so going to kill her” Yvonne said under her breath. “Lumuno! Lumuno, come here right now!! What did I tell you about messing up my bed?” Yvonne said when her six year old sister appeared.
The little girl gave her sister big liquid eyes and looked down at her feet while biting her thumb nail. “Answer me Muno”! Yvonne yelled.
“You have your own bed, Yvonne continued when no response came, on your own side of the room, she said while indicating an imaginary line in the middle of the room, all I asked of you is to stick to your side and stay away from mine.
Oh, man! Yvonne sighed as she spread her bed; this day has just come straight from the deepest pits of HELL! Then she stopped abruptly, slowly picked up her favourite white duvet from the bed, took a deep, slow breath, and then faced her sister.”
“What……is………this?” Yvonne said, indicating to the huge yellow stain on her duvet. “Orange juice”, Lumuno said, with her thumb still in her mouth. “Orange juice?! Repeated Yvonne. Why were you drinking orange juice on my bed? This stain is going to take me forever to get out, what do you want me to do now, huh?! Are you going to wash it?! Why don’t you ever listen?!
I’ve had it up to here with you, she said as she drew an imaginary line in the air, just above her head. Where are you going?! She screamed at her sister who ran out of the room in tears, covering her eyes with her arm. Lumuno, come back here!” Yvonne called out while she followed her sister. She was too late, Lumuno was now crying loudly in their father’s arms.
“Vonie, what on earth is going on? Why are you yelling at your sister?” Her father demanded. Daddy, look at what she did to my duvet, Yvonne said, she was tearing up herself as she showed him. Ah, Yvonne surely, is this something to be making so much commotion over? Her father said. She is always yelling at me, said Lumuno sobbing, she hit me. “I didn’t hit her-you, did I hit you? I didn’t hit her”, said Yvonne, almost yelling.
You did, insisted Lumuno. Yvonne gave her sister a deathly scowl and clenched her teeth. Alright, that’s enough, shouted their father. Yvonne, what is wrong with you? This is not the type of behaviour I expect from you, I mean, hitting your sister? I didn’t hit her, repeated Yvonne. Then why is she crying? At which point Lumuno started crying even louder.
I didn’t hit her, Yvonne maintained, almost whispering, I only shouted at her a little…….. It doesn’t matter, said her father. When will you ever grow up? You are sixteen Yvonne and yet you are still acting like a child, I don`t expect this of you, you can just wash that duvet and it will be as good as new.
Now, said her father, go get changed and start getting supper ready. Yvonne opened her mouth to speak and then closed it without saying a word. She stood for awhile, looking at her father helplessly, and then gave another deadly glare at her sister before she poured and angrily started walking away.
Yvonne! Yelled her father, the authority in his voice stopping her in her tracks, I am running out of patience with you young lady, do you want a spanking? Because I am going to give you one if you keep pushing me to it. Behave yourself! Yvonne took a deep strained breath and then walked back to her room, properly this time.
Once in her room, Yvonne fell on her bed and sobbed into her pillow. Why does life have to suck so bad? I hate my life and I hate everyone in it. Why was I ever even born? Why doesn’t God just do me a favour and kill me. Let them wait till I am done with school, Mom, Dad, my infuriating Little sister, my favoured little brother, my teachers, especially Mrs Mvula and everyone who laughed when she announced to the class that I flunked the math test, and Ken…………. Just let them wait until I become a successful lawyer and Judge, they will take me seriously then.
Yvonne took a deep breath before entering the school gates. Dear Lord I hate high school, she said as she walked into what she considered her torture chambers since the first week of tenth grade last year. She was still counting the humiliating things the place had dealt her when she saw him, Ken, the twelfth grader boy she had the mother of all crushes on. He was with his friends, he must have just joined them because he was walking with a bounce toward them saying “what up, what up, what up fellas, what’s cutting?”
That smile, those dimples, that face, those lips….
And there you are, said Gracie and Joy, we’ve been looking everywhere for you. Oh….they said when they caught sight of Ken, so that`s what`s been keeping you, huh? Said Gracie with a naughty smile. Stop it you guys, I really am not in the mood. What`s wrong, asked Joy. Everything, said Yvonne, it all just sucks, home, school, I can’t wait till I am done with school so I can finally move out of my parent`s house. Ah oh, said Gracie as she grabbed Yvonne`s hand and led her to a bench with Joy following closely behind, what happened this time?
Hmm, where do I start? Said Yvonne while tapping her lower lip with her index and middle fingers. Oh, yes, first, woke up feeling just plain lousy yesterday, started getting ready for school, couldn’t find my school shoes so I started freaking out. I looked everywhere, and they were nowhere to be found, so after about ten minutes of frantic searching, it dawned on me that Lumuno , my darling little sister, might have been playing with them, AGAIN.
So I tried to wake her up but since she sleeps like a log, I had to shake her to get the desired results. And sure enough, she was playing with them. Apparently, she and her friends were playing house and they needed beds for their dollies. I told her to go get them and give them to me NOW, but she couldn’t remember where they left them, and they are my only pair that I use for school shoes you see, and it was Monday, you know how the prefects are on Mondays. I got a little angry. Naturally, said Gracie.
Actually I got A LOT angry, and started yelling at her, telling her to go and find them and she started crying, loudly, as she has taken to doing whenever she wants to escape a difficult situation but I had reached the end of my tether so I ordered her to shut up and slapped her, I regretted it the moment I did it.
Needless to say, that approach didn’t work, it only made her scream even louder and she woke up mom, who came fuming into our room and demanded to know what was going on. I told her that Lumuno had lost my school shoes and I was trying to make her tell me where they were.
And of course mom came down on me like a ton of bricks, telling me how childish I was being and asking why I couldn’t be more like my cousin Gloria, she’s perfect and does everything right blah. She finally concluded by telling me that this was a small issue, I should just wear my black sandals to school. I tried to tell her that sandals are not school uniform but she wouldn’t hear any of it.
I, not wanting to any more of it, I was really getting late for school anyway, just got my black sandals, put them on, got my bag pack and started walking out when she ordered me to stop and asked me why I was walking with attitude, she asked what was wrong with me, when she was finally done berating me, I was glad to be finally out of the damn house.
I made my way to school, I was late of course, so I had to face the wrath of the prefects, who gave me hell about my shoes, they made me crawl on all fours to the class room, they told me to go back at break time to water the whole garden as punishment.
So I crawled to my class room, and can you believe it? I met Ken on the way and he saw me. I could have died from humiliation, just died. Then, when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, Mrs Mvula announced to the whole class that I flunked my math mid term. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. By the time school was over, I was actually glad to go home, incredibly.
When I got home, found my little sis had struck again, she completely messed up the bed room, which she always does anyway, but this time she added a new twist to it by pouring orange juice on my WHITE duvet cover. Of course that inevitably led to my yelling at her, which led to her crying and going straight to tell Daddy.
And Daddy took that opportunity to come at me like a pack of wolves. After that, I prepared supper, which I declined to partake in coz being so angry makes me lose my appetite. I just told them that I wasn’t hungry, mom just looked at me, tutted and said something under her breath.
I gladly went to bed after doing the dishes, I didn’t even care that I was missing my favourite TV show. I just got into bed and covered my head and reflected on the day. That just made me start crying and when I started, it was like I’d opened up gates of lent up emotions, I couldn’t stop.
Then I heard the door open, I tried to pretend to be fast asleep but I just couldn’t stop sobbing. I felt a hand on my back and heard my mother`s voice asking why I was crying. I wanted to tell her, to let her know that my whole world was spinning out of control, that I hated my life, and that I wished I were dead.
That I don’t understand why I’m angry all the time but I didn’t know how to make her understand. My mother has never understood me, that`s why she keeps comparing me to other girls. She has no idea how hurtful it is to hear her say that she wished I was like Chico, or Gloria.
It`s as if she wishes I weren’t her daughter. But I couldn’t find the words, so I just let her do the talking. She asked what was going on with me, why I was being so moody lately. When I didn’t respond, she asked if I was pregnant. PREGNANT! Can you believe that? I mean, I don’t even have a boyfriend, and even when I did have a boyfriend, which was two years ago, the most I ever did with him was kiss, once and it wasn’t even a very good kiss at that, it was disgusting, so much saliva, ewww. So, unless pregnancies are airborne, there is no chance in hell that I’m pregnant.
Gosh, no wonder you didn’t want to talk about it yesterday. So, what did you say, asked Gracie? So, I pulled the covers off my head and looked at her, continued Yvonne, not believing that such a thought would even cross her mind, and gave her a firm “NO, mom, come on”.
She was like “tell me the truth honey, I am your mother, I can help you but I need you to be honest with me first. I told her I was being honest, this actually shocked me enough to forget my tears, I was just plain shocked. I was like “mom, I am not pregnant, so can you please just drop it. There is nothing to be honest about.”
She got quiet for a while and just stared at her feet. After a while, she was like, “you know this is going to keep growing and growing and in nine months, you are going to have a baby.” And I was like “ah, mom please, I am not pregnant, I don`t know how many times you want me to say it, I-AM-NOT-PREGNANT, gosh! I was thoroughly exasperated see. Mom, just looked at me, placed her hand on my back, sighed, then stood up and left the room, to my great relief.
Early this morning, she wakes me up and asks me to pee in a bottle, I ask what on earth for, she says that it’s because I had malaria two months ago, she wanted to take my urine to the lab to know for sure that I was completely malaria free.
Like seriously, come on, Yvonne said while looking at her friends, who were so completely mesmerised by the story that they were lost for words. And you think your parents have trust issues. Can you believe my mother? Yvonne continued, I mean, how stupid does she think I am? “She needs my urine for a malaria test”.
But honey, said Joy, It’s pretty common for mums to be suspicious of their teenage daughters, my mom subjected me to an interrogation on the same once, though she never actually tried to trick me into getting a pregnancy test, eventually my tireless denials put her mind at ease, but she only really relaxed when I got my period.
See? Said Yvonne, the thing with my mom is that she doesn’t trust me even when I have never given her reason not to. And to think she thinks I’d dare fall pregnant knowing full well how my father is. He’d kill me if I did. Oh, come on, said Gracie, some fathers tell their that but they don’t actually mean it, he was just trying to scare you, that’s all.
By the time school was over, Yvonne was in a good mood. She was looking forward to seeing her parent`s faces now that they had been put to shame by the pregnancy test results. She waited until supper to begin with the fun, so mom, Yvonne said smiling sweetly, what were the results of the malaria test you took using my urine sample?
Her mother immediately tensed up, ah yes, she laughed nervously, they were good, you are fine, she said while shifting uncomfortably in her seat. That`s a relief, said Yvonne, I must have had a really strong strain of malaria for it to be detected in my urine, especially since it’s been over two months since I had it, she added while eating a piece of chicken.
Well, I am glad that it’s all over and done with now, said her mother while avoiding meeting Yvonne`s eye. I thought they checked for malaria by using the blood, said Austin, Yvonne’s nine year old brother, innocently. Me too, said Yvonne, jumping at the opportunity to further embarrass her parents, but as it turns out, there are specially occasions where you can do it using pee too. Yvonne`s father cleared his throat, can we please talk about something other than urine? We are eating after all.
I am sorry Daddy, said Yvonne sweetly, I am just saying, the bolt of malaria must have really strong to be detected in my urine after over two months, she smiled. Please pass me the salt Austin, her father said. Yvonne decided to rub it in a bit more, so, what made you decide to get me tested in the first place? I mean, it has been two months and I was only sick for three days. We had to be sure, said her mother.
Oh, said Yvonne, but I already told you that I was completely fine, I mean, it has been two months, and it just seems like a waste of time and money. Ah well, I guess it was easier to take a test than it is to just take my word for it. But anyway, it’s good that you have proof that I am fine. Her father cleared his throat again and began asking Austin about his day at school and the soccer match they had.
Yvonne was euphoric all evening, she grinned when she looked at her parents and smiled all through dish washing. By the time she got to bed, she could hardly hold it anymore, she just started laughing uncontrollably. Lumuno, sat up on her bed and asked her sister what was so funny. It’s just life my darling, replied Yvonne, it’s life.