This was the beginning of a revenge story that I was unable to move forward with. What I did manage to write looks promising, but I sort of fizzled out on it.
Big credit to Martie Coetzer Pozyn for coming up with the story idea. Three chapters in, maybe one day the story will actually take some solid direction and I'll finish it.
It took a while for the sleep to clear from my mind and when it did, I was ready to murder someone; preferably a short, skinny gay boy who woke me up at the ass crack of dawn, singing loudly while he took down my bedroom curtains.
I love my cousin Kea. I really do. He’s bright, kind and can make me laugh even when I want to cry or shout at someone. He’s also one of few people whose advice I generally listen to. And because I was stupid enough to listen to him yesterday, I was now waking up to a band of drum majorettes doing a practice session in my head. Kea singing along to the loud blast of Pharrell Williams proclaiming that he was happy did not help matters at all.
“Ugh! It’s too early, Kea!”
“Sorry, Buki,” he muttered, not sounding apologetic at all. Thankfully he climbed off the chair to reduce the volume on the iPad he’d put on my bed. “We have a lot to do if we plan to finish your move and unpack your boxes today and I thought the music might cheer you a bit.”
“After the night we had?”
“Wee…ll. You don’t want to get stuck with unpacked boxes after we’re gone.”
“And you think waking me up at,” I glanced at the wall clock facing my side table, “five past six after a night of carousing with you lot is a great idea?”
“Definitely! Tonight you’re going to fall asleep on your brand new bed in your brand new house and you’ll be so exhausted you won’t even have new house blues. And Chrissie is going to love her new home, not be traumatised by masses of unpacked boxes hiding all her favourite toys. So drink your coffee-” He pointed at big steaming mug and a tall glass of water on my dressing table “and then take a shower. I’ll have breakfast ready when you’re done.”
“I’ll forgive you for waking me up because of the coffee,” I said after swallowing two Panados with water and then taking a sip of coffee.
The party in my head was my cousin Kea’s fault. Not that the brat drank anything stronger than cappuccino the whole night. But he and my other cousins - his older brothers Micah, Omogolo, Kagiso and Mathew - talked me into celebrating my family’s move from a two and half bedroom flat in Yeoville to a four-bedroomed house in a middle-class suburb less than six kilometres to the East. And a roaring celebration it was, starting with the “eat as much as you” like sushi dinner at the Blackanese and ending with a long drinking and smoking session at the 411 on Queen Street in Kensington, my new neighbourhood.
“Nothing elaborate for breakfast, please?”
‘Just Wheetbix and two percent for you,” he promised. “Your mom and Chrissie and I already ate our greasy breakfast. We needed the energy boost for today’s move,” he said.
“They’re awake already?”
“I don’t think Auntie Mona slept at all,” he said, his face losing its cheer. Kea climbed off the chair and sat on it, facing me. “She’s as excited as Chrissie about the new house.”
“And you’re not.”
“I’m happy you finally own a good home for your family but I’m not too happy about this particular house or your reasons for moving next to that woman. What you’re doing is dangerous and it’s going to blow up in your face and then who is going to take care of your mother while you’re in jail?”
My stomach rolled with nerves. Finally I was taking the first step to get justice for my father. It was exciting and as Kea said, nerve-wrecking. What if I was caught? What would happen to Mma and Chrissie.
“I can’t let them get away with what they did, Kea,” I said. “I can’t let my father’s killers go unpunished. I waited for almost twenty years to be old enough, to have enough resources to make them pay for his murder and I couldn’t just quit when I was so close.”
“I don’t know what to say to you. We have to forgive crimes committed for political reasons or we’ll never heal. All of us.”
“His murder was not a political thing,” I wanted to shout, but said the words much more softly because I didn’t want Mma to overhear us. It upset her when I talked about Pappa’s murder. “Those people hit him because they could... because they knew they could do that and the law would do nothing because who cared about a poor Black farmer. He was not part of a fight for freedom or apartheid law enforcement.”
“I know that. You know that. But the law said...”
“The law is an ass! And if they refuse to get justice for me, then I’ll go get it myself. End of story.”
‘Ok,” Kea said softly, his voice soothing, as if he was quieting down a wild animal. ‘Ok. But you can’t hurt her physically or kill her. Promise me that.”
“Kea, I love you. You know that. But I can’t promise you anything at this stage. Sorry.”
For a moment he looked like he was about to cry. He stood up and turned Pharrell Williams off.
“ I hoped my “Happy” could be infectious but clearly I can’t change your mind. For now,” he said. “But I’m not giving up, because honestly? Whatever you do to her is not going to bring Uncle Sipho back. It’s just going to hurt you and this family further.”
I took my underwear, grey tights and long blue top I’d set aside to wear for the move into the en suite bathroom with me and took a long scalding shower, hoping to rinse away the hangover and Kea’s grim mood. The lavender-scented body butter helped relax my body and the thought that I was finally going to be in a position to hurt the people who destroyed my family was really heartening. Soon, Irene Retief would pay for what she and her husband did to my family. All I had to do was ingratiate myself into her life and make a copy of her house keys. Then I could be in and out of her house anytime I want.