JOURNEY THROUGH THE UNKNOWN
DIARY OF A LOST TEEN
I had started drinking in high school and I still remember the first time I did. I and my friends had qualified for the volleyball team and we were to attend the ball games in Norton which was a small town located a few kilometres from our school. Our school being a mission school was located in a remote area and the nearest area of civilisation was 30km away. We had a strict headmaster who would only allow our parents to visit us once in three months so that was once during the whole school term.
You would go home if you were extremely ill otherwise the school clinic would cater other minor illness. So going out for the sports tournament was a good opportunity to do some grocery shopping and see the outside world. The day finally came and our names were called one by one as we entered the school bus. The bus roared to life and we were on the move. Excitement was spread on everyone’s face as we left the school. We all wanted to win this game as it would mean another trip to the next tournament. The students were chatting on top of their voices, some singing war cries and me and my friends we were planning what to do after the games.
Nyasha one of my close friends brought up the idea of buying alcohol, in my mind I thought of what my parents would do to me if they found out but the urge of fitting in with my mates got ahead of me and I agreed. The games proceeded well and we made it to the next tournaments that were to be held in the capital city Harare. Our teachers gave us an hour to rush to the local supermarket and we put our plan in action. We were wearing our uniforms so we couldn’t buy the alcohol so we found a group of boys who were just smoking by the doorway. We offered them some money and they agreed to get the beer for us. We took it to school and since that day that was our way of getting beer in the school premises without being noticed. I didn’t like beer but I did not want to be left out of the circle by my friends, so that’s how I started drinking.
I started complaining of boredom to my parents, I wanted to visit my cousins who lived in the ghetto as we call it, the high density areas where there were no curfews. I wanted to get wild and have fun for a moment, have that feeling of having no one telling you what to do and when to do it. I wanted to be free, but my parents would not let me have that. Christmas holiday was drawing near and my parents decided to shut me up for once, they invited my cousins over for the holiday. Being used to the vibrant ghetto life they found it boring at our house. We lived in the low density area of our town and it was quiet all the time and you rarely saw anyone in the neighbourhood.
We would take walks in the neighbourhood and just talk of our childhood memories, but Christmas day was drawing near and parties would be at every corner. Knowing my parents would never allow us we just decided to have a quiet barbeque at home. The day before Christmas we took our usual walk around the neighbourhood and we ran into my old friend John, who immediately showed interest in one of my cousins. In turn my cousin seemed to like him to so we left them in his car whilst we settled some few metres away from them. After some time he offered to take us for some drinks at a local bar which we hurriedly accepted. At the bar it was quiet since it was still in the afternoon. We had a few beers and we headed back home, the drive home was a long one since John was still trying to convince my cousin to date him. We reached the last turn before our house where he was dropping us off and he offered to take us out on Christmas night.
How could we refuse, this is what we had been waiting for we quickly accepted with no knowledge of how we were going to convince my parents to leave the house that night. We got home with excitement on our faces, we assembled in my room and we discussed how we were going to ask for permission. After minutes of debate we decided that it would be best to sneak out. The following day was spent doing chores and making sure by 8pm everyone would retire early to sleep which would also make my parents retire to their bedroom.
The plan worked out brilliantly by 9pm they were fast asleep. We got ready for the night ahead and by the time John called we were ready. We used the front door as it was furthest away from my parent’s room and we headed out. The night was full of life, way better than I had expected. I let out the other side of me that had been trapped fo
for all this while. The club we went to was so full that we couldn’t keep track of each other. Alone, I danced my gut out and if my parents would have seen me that night they wouldn’t know it was me. We lost track of time and when I finally went back to where John’s car was everyone was there waiting for me. I checked the time and it was almost 4am, we got in the car and John speeded back home. We tip toed our way to the front door and managed to crawl inside without making any sounds and finally we were in our rooms. My cousins started snoring as soon as their heads hit the pillow but I couldn’t sleep, my mind was still at the club. How I envied the people I had left there having all the fun to themselves. I could still feel the beat of the club music and since that night I swore to myself that this was only the beginning.
The festive holiday was soon over and my cousins headed back, once again I was left to the boring quiet life of the suburbs but this time I had that knowledge of sneaking out. It worked once and I was sure it would work again.
I had never had a boyfriend in my life and being the daughter of an elder I never entertained those kinds of thoughts. My mother was an elder at our local church and she was expected to lead by example and that included us the children too. All eyes of the church would be on us so my mother never expected me to disappoint her. Dating amongst teenagers was not tolerated and if you were seen walking with someone of the opposite sex in an ungodly manner that matter would be taken for hearing.
Above that I had this sense of pride that always got ahead of me. During my school days I remember telling one guy who had asked me out that he should go make an announcement at the boys’ hostels that anyone who is thinking of dating me should with immediate effect discard those thoughts because I would tell them a piece of my mind that they never want to hear. I always thought that no one deserved me and I was too good for them. I looked at most boys with disgust and a most of them were casual friends. So that was high school for me.
Days flew by and I started making applications for college. I applied to a few universities in South Africa and I waited for the responses. Having no internet at home I had to travel to the town centre to access my files from my emails. I remember my first offer came from Stellenbosch University, they had given me a placement in Accounting. I made my way to town and I downloaded my offer letters and I headed back home. The mini vans are our local transport, locally known as kombis. I boarded one and went home. The bus stop were it dropped me off is about 500 metres from my house. As I was walking home I was going through my files and a car came and stopped in front of me. It didn’t occur to me that it might have stopped for me so I continued walking and went to the opposite side of the road to avoid it.
Again the car came and stopped in front of me, this time I was sure this driver was doing it on purpose so I decided to give him a piece of my mind. When the door opened, out came a handsome young man, mid-twenties I assumed, well-built and a nice smile spread across his face that I could not say anything. He put forward his hand and I offered him mine and he shook it gently. He introduced himself as Wayne and I introduced myself too. He apologised for his abrupt stops in front of me and I quickly assured him that it was no big deal. He offered me a lift which I politely refused as I was close to home. All this while he hadn’t let go of my hand and this time he had covered it with his other hand. In his favour it began to shower and I had no option than to accept his offer. Like John he drove slowly creating more time for us to have a little chat. For the first time in my life I really felt something that I had never felt before. I didn’t feel like saying rude things to him or any of that stuff that I would have done. Instead I smiled all the way and I even felt disappointed when the car approached the last turn before my house. I signalled him to stop by the last turn and he switched off the engine. I asked why he had stopped the car completely and he said he wouldn’t let me run off home in the rain so he would wait for the rain to stop and then let me go. I didn’t know when the rain would stop and I didn’t care, all I wanted was to get to know this stranger more. Finally the rain stopped after two hours and by that time we were laughing as if we had known each other for long. We exchanged phone numbers and I headed home. For the first time in my life I had not cared about been seen in a strange men’s car, all I cared about now was seeing him again.
THE MADNES BEGINS
At home we discussed my college plans with my father, he had chosen South Africa because it was closer to home and that way they could visit me anytime they wanted. My mind was still on Wayne, why was it taking so long for him to call, maybe he didn’t like me or maybe he had found another girl as soon as he dropped me. A thousand thoughts were rushing through my mind and I wasn’t paying attention to what my father was saying. Dinner time came and I wasn’t feeling hungry so I went to bed. As soon as I lay on the bed my phone rang and there across the screen was the name I had been thinking of all day, Wayne. I picked it up instantly and I tried to hide my excitement by speaking in a low tone. He proposed to meet me tomorrow and I accepted. We talked for about ten minutes and I suppose he ran out of credit because it hung up without him saying goodbye. A text followed afterwards that said goodnight angel and right then I knew that he was going to be my first boyfriend.
I could not wait for tomorrow and when the sun’s rays came through my curtains I woke up and started doing my chores before anyone else had woken up. By the time they woke up I was placing breakfast on the table, I did not want them to find an excuse for me not to leave the house when I had to go meet Wayne. When afternoon came I got ready and went out to meet Wayne. I waited for him by the corner near our house as we had planned to meet there. I was looking out for the black car that had picked me up yesterday. Then someone hugged me from behind I was startled but the hands were soft so I turned around softly and I was staring into that handsome face, lean cheeks and the smile spreading across his face. He held me in his arms whilst asking how my day had passed, I wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying. I had never been this close to a guy before and I wanted to stay in his arms forever. When he let me go I was so embarrassed because I hadn’t even replied to what he had said. He looked at me with worry thinking something was wrong with me, I managed to take his mind of it and we started our walk around the neighbourhood.
Wayne turned out to be in college too, he was in his final year and he had plans to start his Master’s degree soon afterwards. I also told him about my college plans and that while I could feel his gaze on my cheeks. Occasionally we would bump into each other and hold hands. Then with no warning he took me into his arms and gave me a warm kiss, I did not hesitate. I had never kissed a guy before but I felt as though I was good at it. He was a great kisser, not that I would know a good kiss from a bad kiss anyways. It didn’t even come into my mind that we were in the middle of the road, I was so absorbed by the moment and I wouldn’t let publicity ruin that. It was official now, he was my boyfriend. We broke free of each other and smiled to ourselves, he pointed to a nice house that was ten metres away and he added that is where he stayed. I was surprised as to how close we lived from each other and yet we had never ran into each other for all these years. Well it didn’t matter anyway I had him now and that was all that mattered. He took me home and with another kiss we said our goodbyes and I made my way to our gate.
The following days were by far the happiest of my life. I was spending most of my afternoons with Wayne, at home I would tell my parents that I am going to check my application updates on the internet and they would gladly let me go. One day Wayne wanted to see me at night, with the love I had for him I came up with a plan to leave home. Every Friday evenings, the youths at the local church would hold all night prayer meetings, though I never attended them I knew it was one thing that my mother wouldn’t refuse me. As soon as I got
home I told my mother that I would be attending the evening prayer that day. She even offered to drop me off as it was held in the town centre.
Evening came and I prepared to meet my love, my mother dropped me off and as soon as I went in the building I made my presence known by greeting everyone as many people as I could in case my mother would make a follow up. The service started and Wayne called me 30 minutes later, he was outside waiting for me. I made my way to the ladies room and from there headed to the exit. He was standing by his car and he opened the door for me and we drove away. We parked in an isolated area a few metres from the town centre and we sat in the back of the car. His hand was moving up and down my spine and a thousand thoughts were rushing through my mind, maybe it was a gesture that he wanted to have sex, was I supposed to do anything in response, I didn’t know. I had never had sex before and I definitely didn’t want to have it now. I just sat still as his hands started moving freely up and down my body. He pulled me close and gave me what seemed like a big hug, until it occurred to me that he just wanted me to lie on his chest. We spent hours in that position talking about many things, how soon he would be going back to school and how much we would miss each other. Time flies in such fantastical moments, the clock struck 4am and I knew that the service would be ending soon so he dropped me back. My mother came to pick me up at exactly 5am and when I got home I got in bed thinking of the time I had spent with Wayne. I was ashamed at myself for thinking that he wanted to have sex with me; maybe after all there are good guys out there who are not after sex only.
Time went by and finally the time came for Wayne to go back to school, his school was on the other side of the country but he promised to visit and call regularly. With that he was off. The first days he would call and text regularly but as time went on communication between us started to break. I then concluded to myself that maybe after all he had another girl over there who was taking up his time. With my pride I wouldn’t call him or text him and if he didn’t that was fine with me.
My brother finally came back and we all went to pick him up at the airport. After four years in Malaysia he had grown into a fine young man, we went home were the women from our church had cooked a fine dinner to welcome him home. The following days were just full of excitement as most of his friends wanted to see him so we would go together and drink beer till we couldn’t take in any more. Sometimes my mother would send us to the local store to pick up some groceries and having the car in our hands we would spend the whole day with his friends, sometimes we could even come back home the next morning. I would act all innocent whist my brother took in the scolding. He would be blamed for exposing me to bad night life, not knowing that I too was now deep into it. We named our escapades “suicide missions”, we didn’t care what our parents would say when we got back, as long as we had our fun besides everyone was doing it so why not us. I soon forgot about Wayne though he had broken my heart, but I wasn’t going to let one silly heartbreak get in the way of my life.
I had the coolest brother; my friends would envy me at how I could go out with him and how he would let me drink and chat with his friends. Then one night when we got back late as usual my father called me aside and he said my curfew was now 5pm it didn’t matter if I was with my brother I had to leave him wherever he was and come home. I was so devastated; it wasn’t fair how come he had to break the rules whilst I couldn’t. Then it came to me that I still had the option to sneak out, it worked when my cousins were here so it would definitely work again.
INNOCENCE IS LOST
For the next days I watched my brother as he went in and went out as he pleased. I went as usual to the internet café, after that I would pay my friends a visit and head back home. The transport was scarce that day so I decided to hitch hike private cars. A grey car passed in full speed and it made an emergency stop 20metres away, it reversed and I immediately got in. The driver was a big man whom I assumed might be in his late thirties or early forties, he was light in complexion and I could smell his strong colon from the back seat. I offered him one dollar which was the local fee from the town centre to the bus top were I would drop off. He politely refused it and he started making conversation which I just went along, I was going to be out of his car soon so a casual conversation wouldn’t hurt. Just as he was about to drop me, he asked for my number which I politely rejected and made my way home.
It wasn’t long before I bumped into this man again, this time I was with my brother and surprisingly they knew each other. They began talking about the previous night; it seemed they had been together at a night club that was hosting a local dancehall artist. We however acted as though we had never met before and I proceeded with my brother to where he had parked the car. This man could be my ticket back to the night life, this was what I was thinking to myself after all I wouldn’t have to do anything with him (how naïve I was). He looked old enough to have a wife and kids but with my ego getting ahead of me I brushed that aside.
I hoped to meet him again, not that I felt anything for him but he would get me back in the game. As though the universe could read my thoughts, provided me with another chance to meet him. I had visited my friend who had a job at a local shop, as soon as I left the shop I ran into him at a local restaurant. He offered to buy me lunch but I wouldn’t want to be seen in the company of an old men on broad daylight so I gave an excuse that I was needed home early. He offered me a lift home which at first I refused just as a normal procedure and later accepted. This time I sat at the front passenger seat, and I was playing with my phone in the hope that he would ask for my number again. He asked for my phone number just as we neared the turn that he had dropped me off the last time. I showed some reluctance at first and finally gave him digit by digit making sure he never missed anything. He said his name was Andre, something about that name sounded familiar as if I knew him or I had heard about him somewhere. I headed home with the anticipation of great nights to follow.