Stories Like Ours have Happy Endings
I sit quietly in my little corner with my knees curled up and my arms wrapped around my skinny arms, its another extremely cold day and keeping warm is a very hard job out on the street where its every man for himself. My body is locked into a to and fro rythmn and my hand are stuck in between my thighs, a boy passes by me with a bottle in his hands “cold day mate!” he says, i nod my head still not moving from my position, he gestures the bottle towards me and i reach my hand out to take it but something stops me halfway and then i remember the promise i made to myself, i wasnt going to touch this stuff ever again. I drop my hand and shake my head, the boy moves away while he inhales and exhales out of his bottle. The stuff is good though, it makes you feel good..almost as if nothing matters but when the effect is gone it is back to reality so i ask myself what is the point? so that was when i decided to stop. I’m not particularly sure of when i fell asleep but I’m glad it happend soon rather than later…
My parents died when i was four years old in a car accident leaving me and my ten year old brother to fend for ourselves, i don’t quite remember them though but i know that they had a lot of love to give and we had a good life. After the death of my parents we were taken away to live with our very sick grandmother who eventually passed away when i was just going to turn five..our aunt, my father’s sister then took us under her wing but life in her household was hard. Our aunt treated us badly and I never understood why we always had to clean up after her kids, why we always ate last, why we never got new clothes or toys or why we never went out to play with the other kids and most importantly i never understood why we never went to school. It was when she beat me down so brutally that i couldnt even walk that my brother suggested that we run away in the afternoon when nobody was home, we packed the little that we had and some food to last us a few hours.
At age 8 i was already under foster care and on a waiting list for being adopted so was my brother..life at the shelter wasnt bad in fact it was better than anything we could have known. Everyday we took showers so we could look our best when the prospective parents came, i watched everyday as the other kids were being taken to their new homes..the smiles on their faces and the joy they felt and i also watched those who were not chosen, the disappointment in their faces as their smiles faded and i was always one of those with fading smiles but i really didnt mind because i liked it at the shelter and Mama Grace said i could stay there for as long as i wanted. It was just another day and the same routine was happening when a man and a woman walked into the shelter and stood right in front of me, they chose me but refused to take my brother along..my brother told me to go, it was a sad farewell but he promised to keep in touch and that he would be okay. I knew he was telling the truth
Life with the new foster parents was even worse than my aunt’s…the man abused me repeatedly but Mama did nothing about it, she let it happen over and over again. At age 14 i ran away from them and i tried to look for the shelter so i could ask about my brother but i never found it. I was alone in the world and i had to be tough, firstly i had to survive so i went around looking for odd jobs..i was a babysitter, a delivery girl, the hired help even the toilet cleaner. It didnt matter what i did because in a way i had to make an honest living and with the little i had and the few friends i made i learned that education was key so my main focus now was to educate myself by any means possible. I worked during the day and attended night school..i absorbed a lot of knowledge and my teachers were impressed but it was when i lost my job that all the hope i had went with it. I dropped out of school at 17 and made my way into the streets but it was tough out there and it was indeed every man for himself, I tried to make ends meet but in the end i got mixed up with the wrong crowd and my whole life changed, i was now a thief and a junkie..life was a gamble and i really wasnt winning. I missed my brother terribly and not a day went by without me wondering about his whereabouts and longing to see him, he would be greatly disappointed to see what had become of his sister, i had even fallen pregnant at 18 and had a miscarriage on the street, i never saw that boy again..i wasnt proud of myself.
Age 19 I was really old now and living on the streets really started to bother me, i really didnt want my life to end there…i wanted something more. My heart would break everytime i saw a young woman driving her own car and dressed in smart clothes, i wanted to be like that too i wanted success, i wanted a better life but how did anybody get that living on the street with no motivation and no mentor but i knew there was something more to life than this and i wanted it! I decided to step out of the streets and try to find a job once more so i could finish off my matric. I found a job as a waitress in one of those fancy restaurants they paid really good money and the tips were excellent but i needed fast money so i could enroll into a finishing school asap, so on the days when i was off duty i worked on more odd jobs like baby sitting and as a part time cleaner. It was coming on good, one could even say i was doing well for myself.
Age 20, i was missing my brother even more now and the fact that i didnt know how he was doing or whether he was even still alive or not ate away at me day by day. The saving money scheme was going well though, the money was coming together and if everything went according to plan i was going to enroll that very same year and things at work were going great as well, i had been awarded employee of the month 5months in a row now. Then the greatest thing happened the day that changed my whole life and for the better, 24 march 2002…it had been just an ordinary day at work, hectic and busy but i wasnt complaining the tips were great. Themba another one of the waiters had given me his table because he was swamped already, I had gone up to the table and was busy taking out my notepad when the man at the table said out my name..i looked up at stared right into those familiar eyes, i scanned the now very grown and handsome man infront of me..he had changed a lot but i could still see those features that said he was my brother, he said my name again and he stood up and held me tight in his arms..i didnt hug him back i was shocked then i had this big lump in my throat, i tried to hold back the tears but one by one the escaped past my lashes and felt hot against me cheeks.
My brother had had a more fortunate living than me because the people who adopted him were loving and decent people that treated him like their own, he had tried to contact me on many occasiona but they didnt let him speak to me and when he had gone to find me they told him i’d run away. He was now married and had two beautiful and adorable children, his wife was also a darling woman who opened up her home and heart to me, his foster parents also welcomed me into their home and turns out he had a little sister. At last i had a family and I finished my grade 12 and went into law school to pursue my career as a laywer.
I am now a succesful lawyer and partner at my firm, also married to a wonderful man and i have two beautiful children and expecting a third addition to the family. I still keep in touch with the whole family and we are all very closely knit now. My life is perfect, i couldnt ask for more..the girl from the slums is now on top of the world. Stories like ours do have happy endings but there’s a catch…You make your own happy ending!