The house that I live in, the home my parents built for us their children is the most frightening and miserable place I have ever lived. It’s not what you think: we do not live in the slums or share our neighbourhood with the poorest of the poor. Yet amidst these manicured neighbourhood yards, in the core of these annually repainted pallisades is our debilitating house, an ugly sore on the flesh of fair surburbia.
We can’t even say we live remote from all of modern life’s ammenities. A brisk five minute walk eastward from our yard takes you to a shopping mall with a decent provision of all-you-will-need commodity stores- clothing stores, furniture stores, a decent supermart and factory store after factory store of solid South African family brands. A brisk five minutes back to no 709 Niewhout Street leads you to our house refridgerator where there are exactly five edible things in there to provide for three adults and one pre-scholar.
Most people move to other neighbourhoods, places that are conducive to their tighter budget and leaner purse. They pack up, brace the inevitable and make for the sky rises where yards are a thing of a mythical nature and the only way to live with another is cramped; they move to these modern little concepts called apartments. For some reason, we seem to believe that we deserve this breathing space even though we cannot afford it. We cannot accept that there is such a thing as “people like us”, broke people who should be living in neighbourhoods where there are “people like them”.
I don’t have a job. I am thirty years old and not even supporting my own child. Instead I am supported my my 27 year old younger sister- she supports us all. Today I don’t even have a cent bouncing about in my wallet, making me feel like more will come to keep the solo coin company.
I have been trying to build a business since 2009. Because I’d been miserable in formal employment for five years and had obsessed over the idea of being a self made person one day since my first day at a job, I believed quitting formal employment to be an annointed decision, a predestined juncture of my life journey.
Here I am. I’m not only broke but am just as bad a business woman as I was an employee. I am all talk and very uninspiring action. I have the confidence of a mole. The only time I shine is when I get away with almost missing a client’s deadline. I am broken a apparatus of God.
I am pregnant again and I am having this baby. I see my youngest sister’s face whenever I think of this baby, how her eyes teemed with such well suppressed dissapointment and worry. “I don’t have what it takes, that’s what she’s thinking,” I think to myself. “She is probably right,” I conclude but when I awake the next day I feel even stronger about having a child I cannot provide for financially.
The father is out of the picture and so I know that this is my albatross to piggy-back. He’s not coming back either, so I know it’s not going to get better.
The sewer in our backyard reaks somewhat stronger today. What is wrong with me? How dare I even consider raising my children here?
This place used to be filled with music and laughter. It used to be filled with my mother and father. It used to be filled with their love for one another. Now we live in the decay of all that died when they died, the love that died, the security and comfort that departed with their migration to the next world. This place is no place like home.
I can’t raise my children here.