The “Freedom of Creative Expression” stories continue with Going around in circles by Selloane Tseka
The bar was almost full, with people milling about, some playing pool and others chatting excitedly to their friends. I was the only one at my table. No one spoke to me except for a few guys who sneered and commented on how ‘wasted’ I was…Well how long had I been there? I fumbled for my phone in my pocket. It was off so I could not tell what time it was. There were still about two quarts of beer left on my table. Maybe I’d finish them first before I go home, I thought to myself. Once I’d finished my brews I attempted to get up to leave, but I got dizzy and before I knew it I’d crashed onto the next table.
‘Hey man, what is up with you?’ yelled someone, exasperated. Before I knew it a pair of strong arms were dragging me up. I shut my eyes and when I opened them I found myself outside. Because I couldn’t stand upright, they pushed against a wall and forced me to sit. A crowd of people swore and clicked their tongues at me before they left me alone in my misery. After a while I helped myself up by leaning against the wall, and surprised that my legs could somehow carry my weight, I staggered in the direction of my home.
Along the way I gathered my scattered thoughts. I had to meet my mother and then Lit’soanelo, my wife. I could only imagine what they were going to say; they couldn’t just give me a break. They knew I was too young to get married, I could not support a family and months had passed since I last had that poor excuse of a job, loading and offloading bags of flour at a supermarket.
When Lit’soanelo fell pregnant, both of us ignorant and 22 years old, we decided to elope before she started to show. We did not anticipate the ups and downs of marriage; that in the end it was going to be a bitter pill for the both of us to swallow. The more I tried to make things better, the more difficult things got and before I knew it we were fighting constantly. I took comfort in drinking and our arguments intensified with Lit’soanelo and my mother ganging up on me, so I resorted to the bar most of the time. At some point I met a girl… Like a slap back to reality I remembered just then that I had a meeting with her family the next day. She was pregnant and I was responsible.
I realized I was approaching home and talking loudly to myself so I sat by the road and meditated. So far my life had been a rollercoaster of bad decisions and misfortunes. Indeed my life seemed to be going in extremes of bad, awful and worse! Every bad incident seemed to go on forever. I knew how the meeting was going to go; the girl’s family was going to demand that I pay six cows for damages. Where was I going to get the money? My wife and I lived on my mother’s meager pension. That and the guilt of having been gone the whole day made my stomach turn. Feeling claustrophobic and less intoxicated I arrived home.
I opened the kitchen door slowly but it mocked my discretion by letting out a loud squeak which called the attention of both my mother and my wife, who were sitting inside at the table. As if on cue they looked up at me, clicked their tongues and looked away. I sat down quietly in the living room and then noticed that my five year old nephew was playing with his toy truck under the kitchen table. I calmly asked him to hand me the bottle of paraffin from behind the gas stove. He obliged. Without a second thought I gulped the 3 liters of fuel and put the empty bottle on the floor. My nephew stared at me in disbelief; even he knew that what I had just done was insane.
In no time a sharp pain shot from my stomach and spread throughout my body, I wrung my body in agony on the floor. My nephew screamed and my wife ran to me and wailed as she shook me vigorously ‘T’sitso! T’sitso! What’s wrong?’ I opened my eyes, her teary face was going around in circles and then slowly it faded away.