Freedom

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is pure fiction! I was born after apartheid and i have no experience or whatsoever of the whole situation neither do my parents. So this is just a fictional story of which the main inspiration was Cricket , my favourite sport!!

It was in 1995, soon after the end of the apartheid era. The new South Africa was born and the air was filled with excitement. Everyone had their own fairytale about the country and it's new regulations. We could now walk our streets without fear and conduct our businesses without worry of being suppressed. Finally! Freedom had dawned on us! The city of Johannesburg soon became the hub of commercial success and a safe haven for anyone seeking greener pastures. I too, like the rest of the hungry and thirsty black South Africans left my poor village for the big City, at twenty-three I was the youngest in my family and already orphaned. Everyone was friendly and we often greeted each other with chantings of , 'amandla! Awethu'! The euphoria of winning back the land and Mandela's victory still remained in our hearts so very much. Like all African women I was an excellent cook and I soon began selling roasted chicken casings along the roadside in Hill-brow. Back then, it was still young and had less buildings nor was it full. The chicken casings were a success and i was soon able to stand on my own two feet! By then, i knew all my customers, by name. My neighbour would laughing, asking were the Boers were, for i had all type of customers, Indian, Chinese, Zimbabwean, Nigerians you name it but never a Boer. I had never encountered a Boer before only the stories i heard were horrible others mentioned being beaten to a pulp and others being forced to work with no pay or food. Yet, Jan, wasn't like the Boers i heard off. I met him selling my casings though he failed to stomach them he was kind about it and didn't throw them in my face as the drunkards would usually do. Jan, a 26year old Boer was tall , blonde and very masculine with sparkling blue-eyes. He had a charming personality which i immediately fell in love with though his muscles intimidated me the first time we met. His eyes were kind and he was always attentive, never minding my chattiness. I first realised i was madly in love with him when he didn't come to the stand. I would wait for hours on end for him to come and when he didn't the smile on my face would fade. I soon realised i missed him and wanted to know where he was and with whom. I wanted to be with him, always. I didn't pay any heed to the warnings my neighbours gave me. Love had swept me off my feet and it was only Jan I saw and felt. I soon found myself going to watch him play Cricket. A game i never knew nor understood soon became an obsession. Jan, he never saw me as a kaffir or a dog as most white people called people like us. In me he saw an equal,friend and companion. My opinion mattered to him but in the midst of our fairytale life we overlooked one thing, his family. Jan, loving and caring as he was towards all races didn't come from a similar family. They loathed people like us and when they found us out they made it clear I was not a person they could ever accept in their family. Amidst all these rejections Jan proposed marriage, not caring what his racist father thought. He said i brought happiness into his life and my skin made me even more perfect. I knew then, he only had eyes for me and no matter how much his family tried to suppress our love, Jan would never be with a woman of his colour nor any other woman for that matter. His love for our people was evident and even now I think he felt indebted to our people because of what they suffered at the hands of the Boers , thus he did all he could to help when he could.

 

Preparing for marriage was something i had never envisioned and didn't know how but it occupied my hours. Maybe because of it I couldn't see the stress build-up in Jan but when he came in the middle of the night, drunk, I knew something had happened that would change our lives. The next morning he told me to pack my bags and leave, with no reason and to sell off the ring so I could make a better living for myself. Without a fight, i left, leaving my heart behind.

 

I continued living my shell life with no tomorrow. I wrote letters which he never answered. I tried calling but someone else always picked up. Had he grown tired of me? Did he finally choose his family? Is it something I did? Or didn't do? Suddenly! I wanted to know, why he'd broken my heart?! Or was he just like his family, cruel and inconsiderate of black people!? All these and many more flooded my heart and as i thought of them I became more enraged and i wanted to tear walls apart! The rage in me was stronger than that of a hungry lion! He had fed me promises and had dismissed me like one of his servants with no explanation! So i sought for an audience with him so i could receive the explanation due me. As if the stars had aligned to my side his mother came to my stand and took me to our former home.

 

When i saw Jan, all the rage i felt flew out the window. My heart was filled with compassion and sorrow. His eyes which had shone before were now drooping and puffy from obvious lack of sleep. He had lost weight and like me had become skin and bones. The beard he's always hated had become a permanent fixture on his face and he reeked from the substance he'd hated the most. She told me since I'd left he'd taken to alcohol and he'd lost his job. His job! Cricket was Jan's life and for him wearing the Proteas jersey was an honour like none other! What had turned my darling man into a hobo living in a mansion.

 

He realised I was there and took a shower and shaved. I prepared the best meal i could, his favourite magwinya and polony with lemon tea. He loved them though they weren't the healthiest meal a sports man could eat. Taking his eyes off the meal and I, he ordered me to leave or face a court order. Looking into his eyes, i saw sadness and a pain I could never explain and without listening , I ran to his inviting arms and sank into their loving warmth which i had so longed for. Feeling his heartbeat next to mine, i felt serene and while like i was home and young again with my one and only first love.

 

The pain i felt when he pushed me away from his warm embrace, i could never forget! My soul was shattered. I felt like a dog that had been denied play with its owner and had to leave , tail between it's legs. For a while, i failed to cope and i couldn't comprehend why Jan had acted the way he did even though his mother had given us his blessing to be together yet he chose to let me go even though his eyes were screaming a different message and his embrace had sent chills and sparks right through my body. Feelings that had been deeply buried in wrath had begun to resurrect , yet he let me go, again.

 

Even though i cried i could never have the answer and when he came back to me, asking for forgiveness I could only let him in without a question because ny heart was always his. He wanted us to elope, something I was against, after all he'd just regained his position opening batsman and Skipper for the Proteas. How could i let the one i love throw away his dreams, hopes and aspirations to please me even though the idea was tempting. Then i didn't understand why he wanted to elope or why he didn't want me to let anyone in or even go out like we used too. Deeply in love, i was selfish i never saw the pain my loved one was in or the horrible position i put him in. I only understood when i disobeyed his rule and opened the door to his father who wielded a gun at me!

 

 

He was red all over and furious! An older replica of Jan who hated me to the core! That day i found out why Jan had broken it off the first time, why he was overly -protective of me. His father had threatened to kill me if we continued with our relationship and how he found out about our new home , I'll never know. All i remember is an angry man who came in and started roaring at my face and when I pleaded with him he started shooting at me. I managed to dodge the first bullet. Still, trying to flee, a second bullet came but it didn't land on me, i only heard the sound of deafening screams! Jan! He'd appeared from nowhere, wearing his uniform and took the bullet in his heart, shielding me. He told me to flee and never look back! How could i leave him! Jan was all i ever had and i had been waiting , eagerly, to tell him he'd soon be a father and now he was dying in my arms. The rest became a blur , i don't know how i touched the gun or when the rest of his family arrived. What I'll always remember where his last words ,'I'll always love you', infront of his family, he chose those words before taking his last breath as a living man.

 

The tears that gushed out of my eyes could have watered the whole earth. Even though i tried to explain my version of events to the police. I became known as the deranged ex-girlfriend who killed Protean hero Jan Smuts. Though they knew, they said i had killed him and his mother when she came to visit me in prison, she said ,'she couldn't have the family name, dirtied'. I perceived her pain, her precious son had died for loving a filthy being. He had died protecting a nothing like me, but she couldn't accept her husband had killed their son.

 

 

I was sentenced twenty-five years in prison and today i stand at the graveyard, looking at his grave , thinking....if i hadn't opened the door our life would have been so different....if hadn't run to his car that morning , his life would have been so different....if I'd let him go he'd still be alive, sad but alive. Atleast that would give me peace but now how could i ever have peace knowing he died saving me. ...how can i laugh when he is now rotten in the deep earth, my dear Jan who loved me so much. 

 

Others say leaving prison feels like the first day you were born, a new freedom. For me it's the greatest torture atleast in prison I could feel a little redeemed but now how can i face life when another lost his for me. How can i go on?

 

 

 

PS. THIS IS FICTION ANY SIMILARITIES TO REAL LIFE EVENTS, it's just a coincidinky !!

 


Submitted: October 28, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Grace 96-M. All rights reserved.

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