Saturday 25 October 2014

when roses drown the eyes with red

Being here, in Sweden, I've had to learn to master the wild mare that used to ride me.

She still runs in her wild, but I can bring her in easier and we can move really softly, so no one can hear.
And then we can break free, for a while, again.

I've learned to love the silence.
And clarity.
The lakes here give space for reflection.
The forests befriend the solitude..the wind answers your questions if you choose to listen.

In Africa,colonialism has raped people of their sense of dignity and created a complex mesh of duplicitous lies and deceit. 
It's so hard to read the signals.
There are short-circuits everywhere.
I try to act from the integrity of heart, but still I get trapped in the cross wires of our historically separated realities.
I will never truly know what it's like to be seen as black.

But my sister's child, perhaps, will. 
And her child.
And her child's children.

My cousins' child, like my cousin, was born with an undiagnosed intellectual challenge. 
Her little body was abused at the daycare centre when she was all of two.
We knew about it, because her brother, Clint,  who was then only 11 months old, came home with bruises around his anus.
Later on, my cousin said, she never knew why Jolene always had infections.
It must have been from that asshole, that son of the daycare mother who it came out, was abusing all of the kids, all ages, all of the time.
When my cousin called to tell my mother the story, we told her to lay charges against this son immediately.
'No, she said, it wasn't necessary, because he had had an accident on his motorbike a few days after the story cam out. he was paralysed from the waist down.
'Shame,'' she said. ''he's already been punished.''
We always say 'Shame' about everything.
The comfort of common guilt.

My cousin was not so convinced that therapy was necessary for the children.
'It's our kids. Don't tell us what to do. ' You don't own them'.
Later on I managed to get her to a clinic that gave free homeopathic consultation and medication for trauma.
That night her otherwise mute husband took the little bottles of pills and threw then down the toilet saying;
 'Tell that interfering bitch to fuck off. They are not her children. ''

Jolene was always very quiet. Almost not quite, invisible.
When you asked her how she was, or how it was at school she would blush and withdraw and murmur something inaudible.
She cringed if you hugged her, and looked away.
It was as if she was afraid of the sound of her own voice.
Maybe it had got lost from the earliest imprints of the chaos and carelessness, and she had forgotten that she needed to look for it.

Later on, when Jolene was seventeen, her mostly mute father ran off to England with the money paid out to her by the Road Accident Fund, after her mother rolled the car off the road and Jolene flew out into the air. They were on the way to meet another of her mom's trashy internet-dates, in the Vaal.
Jolene's back almost snapped in two and she lay in traction for many months after that.
It was lot of money then, the pay-out. Almost R350 thousand.
It could have bought her a year or two at a college. She once said she wanted to be a beautician

She made it through the hell of a School For Problem Kids from equally horrific backgrounds.
Then she was raped by a fellow student when she was seventeen except her mother didn't believe it was rape. When I asked what had happened, she said her daughter had been ''sleeping with k----s.'
After that she got very sick. it turned out she had contracted HIVAids.
Then she met and fell in love with a parking attendant from Tembisa. He already had a child and another on the way, but he was kind to her. She moved in with him and lived with him in a one-roomed backyard shack. Soon she stopped taking her medication. She got very, very thin.
it wasn't long after moving into the townships that she phoned her mother to say she thinks she is pregnant. 
Seven months later she gave birth to a little boy born HIV positive and with a heart defect.
Maybe it was the act of giving birth, or the river of love that flooded her afterward, for this little baby that she was able to hold, and care for, but her

After a while she had to move back into her mother's complex, as they were starving. Still she says, even as she has moved back into the more comfortable but so claustrophobic stranglehold of a low-income white suburban townhouse, that, 'It was much better in the township. People are much more friendly here. i don't feel so lonely.''

She survived having two self-absorbed and mute parents who could not, would not protect her. 

At home the earth is marked with blood.
Where I walk, the roses drown my eyes with red.

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