I had that dream again. The one when he is standing above me and doing up his belt. I could feel everything. The cold harsh wind blowing outside and the springs of the old dilapidated bed under my buttock. It was real again and I was back there, in that shack. That shack. The pain was real, in my heart and between my legs. The tears were stuck in a ball in my throat, but oh how I wanted to release them. ‘Sorry!’, he said and reached down and touched my shoulder. I flinched and I just wanted him to go away. Afterall, it wasn’t a real apology. It was just something he said without thinking, satisfied in his body at the release of his tension. ‘Ng’yakuthanda hantsho! You are my special girl!’ His rough beer burnt voice sounded exactly like rusty metal would, in my ears. It hit my brain as a thousand porcupine needles would feel on a babies’ thigh. I just wanted him to go away.
My name is Primrose, and I am 20. I would tell you my surname, but it would force me to associate myself with the one person I have spent a long time running away from. I work in a nice place, a quiet home right next to the beach and it is far away from everything I have ever known. Bhud’Manga, my boss, is one of those singers who come out on TV a lot and he has a daughter, Nandi. She is 5 years old and she is free. I watch her and take care of her everyday. I also clean the house and cook the food that they like to eat. It’s not hard work; he could actually do it himself, but I suppose people with money don’t want to do some of these things. I mean, I don’t even use my hands to wash his clothes or Nandi’s; he has a machine that he wants me to use. I practically don’t do anything here, and so I stay out of his way, in case he begins to notice, and he decides he doesn’t need me anymore.
My duties start at 7o’clock in the morning. I am supposed to prepare Nandi’s breakfast and pack her food for school. She attends a crèche two neighborhoods away and she must be there by half past 8. I then wake her up and bath her. She is normally awake though, by the time I am ready for her and she is watching cartoons or she playing in her father’s bedroom. She is lucky that when they play, she laughs.
Bhud’Manga takes Nandi to school at five past eight, and then I am left alone. I finish cleaning the whole house at half past nine. It is a clean house and does not need much scrubbing. After that I just walk around and find things to fix, like dusting the picture frames or wiping the toys in Nandi’s room. Bhud’Manga allows me to clean his bedroom, but he is not messy. I try not to spend a lot of time in there, but sometimes I get carried away with looking at all the books he has on his self. I pretend to read some; the ones with many pictures and easy words, but the ones with many words, hay’, those ones are for very educated people.
Nandi comes home at two o’clock. There is a boer woman who drops her off. By that time, I would have washed the clothes and ironed them, if it is not raining. I also prepare a small meal for her, she doesn’t eat much. The fridge and the pantry is always full. I am allowed to eat anything I want, but some things taste funny, like that cheese they call gourda, tjo! I don’t know why they both like it so much. It’s horrible. When I first started living here, my stomach would run everyday. He likes food with funny flavours, and it took me a long time to get used to them.
MamThandi, his mother, brought me here. She also taught me how to cook the meals that they want. Every time she visits, she teaches me a new recipe. I like learning and I like cooking, but I wish I could learn more everyday.
Bhud’Manga comes home at 5 o’clock most days. I don’t know where he works. Sometimes though he can spend the whole day at home and only go out to drop or pick Nandi. There is a big room in the house that is full of musical instruments. He can spend the whole day in there just playing and playing. He is very good you know. The room has a piano, two guitars, drums and a violin which Nandi uses for her practice. He says his daughter is going to be the concertmaster when she grows up. She will lead an entire orchestra. I don’t really know what that is, but he seems excited about it.
He loves his daughter. You can tell just by looking at him. I don’t know where her mother is. I used to see some pictures in his bedroom, but in November he removed them all. There is only one left, but it is in Nandi’s bedroom. He hung it up on the wall.
I am happy to be here, it has been a good 11 months. I miss my mother, but at least I can now send her some money. She works hard to take care of my younger brothers, fending for them as a hen over its chicks. That monster that is her husband is useless, he will not even provide a penny for bread. Sometimes I just walk outside and pray to the great God, if He is there, to watch over her. I love her so much, but it is my fear that I can never see her again.
To be continued next week
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