Hello. My name is Thulani.

by - 16:43

I am going to share this short story with you guys because it meant a lot to me and I put all my heart and effort on it. The story was created with the intention to be submitted to the Short Story Day Africa 2016 competion which the theme was migrations. Unfortunaely I didnt make it but I think I was able to create an amazing fiction piece. I shared it with a few close friends and they encouraged me to share in this platform."My name is Thulani" is about finding ourselves, appreciating life no matter what and understanding that sometimes love is not about living it but remembering it.

I would appreciate if you guys take time to read it and share it please. The story is 5000 words long which I will divide into several posts. If you enjoy reading it please leave your comment or send me your feedback to [email protected]

Hello. My name is Thulani.

I couldn't sleep…those dreams again. It was the same thing every single time, the walls closing in, I was trapped and I couldn't get out. This feeling was controlling me and it was stronger than anything.

When a story starts with someone with insomnia it denotes a secret. Usually secrets are based on what people have done wrong or their moral failures but in my case I didn't do anything wrong, except being born. 

My hair was falling, I could not look at myself in the mirror. I was depressed and the stress of not “fitting in” in my own body was killing me. I decided to force myself to sleep like I forced myself all those years into accepting myself: ‘Tomorrow is going to be a good day.’

It was my graduation ceremony, I was finally an engineer. If you asked me what I learned I couldn't say much, because I was only focused on finishing my studies in order to make my mother happy and not to aggravate my dad’s cancer. My mother was the most religious person on earth but even her relationship with the Lord couldn't save my dad. And what I was about to reveal to them was more devastating than the cancer.

I was chosen by my class to be the keynote speaker at our graduation. When I asked them why, they said, “Because you are perfect…” If they only knew… 

They told me I should talk about “being true to yourself” and motivate others to finish their studies. I wrote the speech while I was on the phone with my future employer, we did an interview on the phone that lasted one hour. Forty five minutes me talking and bragging about how perfect I am and fifteen minutes he putted me on hold so he could look very important. Those fifteen minutes were enough for me to write a bunch of lies for the speech.

They called my name and I stood up and started walking in the direction of the stage. I found myself right in front gazing at a sea of eyes looking with anticipation and adoration. They saw me as perfection and a beacon of hope for the youth, would they still love me if they knew?

“Today I am graduating myself, not academically but personally…I am a better person because of the education I chose and the people who supported me and made everything possible for this day to finally come. I am proud of myself and all my classmates (…)” Lies…Lies…Lies…I couldn't stand myself.

One hour after the graduation party started my dad decided we should leave and I nodded. I never complained nor denied anything from my parents. I always did what they asked of me even when I didn't agree with most of their decisions, for example when they persuaded me to pursue Civil Engineering I relented. The rationale was that engineering was the course with the most chances to get scholarships. True to form, I did get it. I went all the way to being an honours student, class representative and any goal they automatically made me believe I desired it.

At dinner my mom cooked lasagne because it was Thursday.

“Mom I am going to Yodesa, I got a job in the capital and there are a lot of opportunities for me there. “ I finally told them.

“Why my darling? Aren't you happy here?” She said in a quiet and warm tone. I wanted to burst into tears and tell her everything and how my heart was getting weaker and weaker but I couldn’t, so I said:

.“I will work for the best civil engineering company in the country and I will come anytime. It’s only three hours from here.” 

My dad was there the whole time but he didn't say much, it was his thing, he would look at my mother, and my mother would speak for him. He was only worried about my career and me having a family one day and that was it, after that he could let cancer kill him. My mom was more human she would ask me from time to time “Are you okay? Are you happy?” and I would lie every single time.

I spent one month just taking care of my parents and saying my silent goodbyes because once I left they would lose me forever. I helped my mom with the garden and we spent hours talking about Yodesa and how it’s such a welcoming country for people with dreams and how their market is very competitive. 

She attempted several times to change my mind saying that Yodesans can be very manipulative and talking about their hunger for money. “Money controls everything there and they can even kill for money…Once you go there you lose yourself and your ambitions take over.” But I didn't buy it, I was too determined. For me moving there was a second chance, a way to start again. My mom sensed something was wrong and she knew I was running away from something. She tried every day to convince me to stay and she kept telling me “Whatever it is, I am here.” But this time not even my mom could persuade me. 

My mother raised me to be perfect because she didn't want me to go through the things she struggled with. When she came to this town, before meeting my dad, she was a troubled young woman with history of drug addiction and having men as her hobby. When she met Dad she changed completely, I guess love really changes people. She became obsessed with religion and invested her time in pretending that our family was perfect. 

When you migrate you are either looking for a job, better financial conditions or a man. It didn't apply to me, I just wanted peace. Even though I never explained to her what was really going on, she just accepted my decision and told me “Sometimes we need to move in order to move on.”

She woke me up and told me it was time. I packed my things, hugged my dad, looked to my mom and we both cried. Till this day I still think my mom knew and has known this since I was born. Mothers know everything, they have super powers and I was refusing to be a super hero to be able to give birth.

Obs: Please let me know if you are looking forward for the next part :)

Lunga Izata

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  1. It's an amazing and interesting story. Can't wait for the next part.

  2. It's an amazing and interesting story. Can't wait for the next part.

  3. Great peace sure looking forward