The alarm bell rings. I’ts 5:30 in the morning. I scratch around half opening my eyes half wanting to be asleep. I can’t find my phone. Pink blares louder and louder edging me to wake up with her scratchy-I-really-couldn’t-give-a-f%ck voice. Just as well , I put this ringtone on as the other ones aren’t loud enough, or I just like Pink. Whatever. Those are my reasons. She’s loud now, almost ready to wake up the entire house, I find my phone, I put her off. I lie back. Is it morning already? Phuck, there needs to be more hours in a day. More hours so I can rest more, sleep more but with each time that thought creeps up on me I always ask the same question : “What has sleep done for me lately”. Like some old song or cliche. LAME. I close my eyes for a while, half praying, half meditating, half thinking , half quitting. Then I think quitting is for losers and I never lose. So, I wake up. Rathere, I drag myself out of bed. Always looking at my son before I do, as if for some form of motivation.
Put on the kettle, come back to sit on the bed while I think of stuff to do : What to wear, what my son will wear, why I didn’t iron his clothes the previous night. It sure would’ve saved me this thinking time. Kettle boils. I get up. Mix the water in the basin. I have no soap. I remember. I have no soap. I scratch around my toiletry bag for old pieces of soap. I find two. I decide to use one. Share the other with my son. I have no money to go to school. School is about 35kilometres away. I don’t have money for the train. I have no money for a taxi. What am I going to wear?
I’m done. I go outside, smell the fresh morning air. Listen to the birds sing. There aren’t many birds in this part of town. I think that’s a problem. There aren’t enough trees. All these cables and wires and squatters. The doves hoot. People no longer have chickens in their households, too many thieves with hungry stomachs. So you never hear the rooster anymore. I’m back inside; time to wake up my son. He doesn’t want to. Not in the rebellious I don’t want to way. Rather in a -I -haven’t-had-much-sleep manner. I love waking him up in this way. With lots of kisses and kind words. I think he loves it too coz he always smiles. I lie next to him , thinking that maybe he’s on to something. Maybe we can lie like this for the entire day. Sleep.
I can ‘t. I wake him up to go urinate. I fix the bed. Iron his clothes. I fix his water. Take the other piece of soap. He’s dressed. Breakfast. There was a bit of milk in the refrigirator, I mix it with warm water. Pour the All Bran, strawberry yoghurt. He eats. I dress. I’m hungry. There is no lunch. No lunch for him. None for me. No bread. No ‘Rama’. No escort. No peanut butter. Just jam.
I wish for breakfast. You know, reall breakfast. I can’t remember the last time I had breakfast. You know with all the proper trimmings ; well done eggs, sausage…make that pork sausage, bacon, two slices of toast and a steak! Oh and some coffee with extra milk and extra sugar or a coke, ice cold coke. Aaah….burp. I try and think. The last time I had such a breakfast was…two years ago. haha. These days I walk around with three five cent coins in my wallet and I tell myself I’m cool with that . My legs are so sore. I don’t feel like walking. I send my baby daddy a call me back, I must be really desperated. He calls back almost immediately. “hello?” I clear my throat and make small talk. I tell him i need money for school. There’s something about my desperation that he loves. That he’s able to help me out of a difficult situation. We talk like decent human beings these days. Which surprises me. We have these moments. Civilisation. Mutual respect.
I thank God he’s a taxi driver. He’s on his way to drop of the school kids. We make an arrangement to meet at the bus stop. He takes long. An hour. I’m standing. My knees feel weak. I’m hungry. I lick my lips. I’m too tired. Too tired to fix my self up. Today I couldn’t care less how I look. My life is sh!tty enough as it is. Another call me back, he responds, again immediately, reassuring me he’s on his way. He arrives , gives me enough to go to school. I suppose I’ll have to figure tomorrow out. I’m here now. There’s a strike. All that striffle. All for nothing.
I hate being poor. It sucks. Having nothing. The thing about poverty is that you can never trully understand it until you have experienced it. Much like insanity or HIV. Everybody empathises but they don’t really care. Most probably the reason our government affords to sodomise us so much. I’m too hungry for politics. My mouth is full of dry saliva. This place is too hot.
I need some air.