Diary of a teenager

“HI, my name is David and I am 15 years old.
I am sitting on my bed wondering about why I was born into this family. Each day I ask myself what I have done to deserve a life like, that perhaps it was possible to choose your own family. My parents are away, not on a holiday or anything, but they work away from home. I think it is a thousand kilometers or so from home, and I don’t get to spend much time with them. I have a brother named Michelson and my sister’s name is Dora so it’s just the three of us here at home when my parents are not around. My mom and dad’s relationship seem to be pretty normal to me. However, my dad abuses my mom physically from time to time when they are back, and sometimes I just think that is how marriage is like. Even I, when I am in school I sometimes have that urge to vent my emotions on my girlfriend, more especially when she doesn’t agree with me about something, or if I feel disrespected by her. I honestly don’t want to end like my father but sometimes I feel like I am slowly becoming just like him.

Just yesterday my girlfriend’s parents came over at my house to warn me that if I lay my hands on their daughter again they will have her press charges against me. I know you’re probably judging me right now but thing is I don’t know how it all started. There is nothing I would love more than anything in this world than for my family to at least be normal. It is one thing to see your mother being abused by your own father and feel helpless, but it is another when all of you as a family struggle to sit down and engage in a civil conversation like any other normal family would. My father has always been someone who worked away from home and was never around. But all of us grew up around him then they decided to move us back to the village because they thought it was best to grow up out here than in the city. People say that my father murdered his mistress in cold blood and that case is still haunting him but he wasn’t found guilty due to lack of evidence. I have never told my mother about this and it led me to being terrified of my father because of what I had discovered about him. It makes me fear for my mother’s life whenever they are away together.

Anyway, I am writing in my journal at the moment and thinking about my life. My sister barely sleeps at home and my brother and I always fight. I despise everything about my family, from myself to the very same people that gave me life. I have a friend who doesn’t have parents and I feel like me and him are alike because I hardly see my parents. I think they come home once or twice a year. Financially my parents take good care of us, they send us money for groceries and toward the end of the year they send us money for clothes. I know they take good care of us financially but they are never here like normal parents should for their children. I have been living like this for years now and I feel like I don’t even know my own parents. My mother is the strangest woman I have ever met. She doesn’t say much to us, she would talk only when she needs something or when she is asking us about school, which barely last for a minute. You know, I sometimes feel like they didn’t plan on having us or perhaps we are not their children. At some point I had the impression that we are not their children. Maybe we are my mother’s sister’s kids. From my mother’s side of the family I only knew her sister who visited us once and never came back. I do not know my cousins or my grandmother and grandfather. My siblings and I don’t ask a lot of questions because we do not understand what is happening. I think my sister knows. However, women are very good at keeping secrets so Michelson and I will probably never find out.
I have a few memories of me as a child; I remember when my mom used to walk me to kindergarten every day. She would give me an embarrassing kiss on my cheek and then tell me that she loved me. She was an affectionate woman, and I wonder what happened to her. My father is worse! He doesn’t seem to really care if we’re jumping or limping. He hardly asks us how we are or know which grade I am in. I remember back in 7th grade when I went to fetch my report card and found that I passed and by then they were home, so I ran home so excited to share the news with them and when I told mom and dad, the only thing my father said to me was “you still have a long way to go, so relax.” I was stunned. I was just a little boy and I expected my father to at least say “congratulations son, I am proud of you.” But no! Not my father. When he said so, mom looked away and didn’t say anything. However, my brother and sister seem to have gotten used to it, I mean they hardly tell them anything. You know, my sister is repeating her 11th grade for the third time now and she didn’t even tell them that. They never even bothered to talk to her about it, so she just let it be. As for my brother, he dropped out. When I asked he told me where to get off, which ended in a fist fight between us. My sister tries breaking our fights but recently she doesn’t bother after I accidentally punched her, and as a result she doesn’t talk to me anymore. It then became apparent that my parent showed a great deal of neglectful parenting because they did not know anything about us and how we were. When they came back it seemed like we were invaded by strangers. As years went on my father became a money machine and my mother was an image of someone who was once our mother.

It is winter now and I think my supposedly parents might be coming home over the weekend like they promised. I am not looking forward to it. Sometimes I just wish they can stay where they are and never come back. One time my dad upset me and I shouted “I wish you die on your way back to work! Life would be better.” Man, he beat me up till I wasn’t able to move. I spent weeks in my room not going to school because of the bruises. Nothing hectic though, I’m used to getting beaten from time to time. Lord I HATE THAT MAN!!!! I did mean it when I said I wished he died because I really wish that he dies. There is no point of having them here when they don’t even notice us.

Here’s a little something to give you an idea about me. I am 15 years, in my 9th grade (yes I fail a lot) and I am sexually active. That’s what happens when you have freedom around here. My friends are older than me, they get to hook me up with a couple of girls and some alcohol since they are allowed to buy. I’m an African boy staying in a rural area, South Africa. Well we have established the fact that I hate my parents and my life in general. I am the last born and my sister Dora is the first born, Michelson the second. I am the only one that was born here in the village but I was raised in Johannesburg where my father works. Dora and Michelson were born there and judging by their childhood photos they were happy. We never get to talk much as a family but there is a great deal of psychological problems affecting this family. I wish I knew the source of it but I don’t.

Anyway, my girlfriend’s name is Stacey and she told me a week ago that she thinks she’s pregnant. I didn’t tell my parents this since it’s pointless and I don’t have any idea what I will do about that. I am not even worried about what my parents would say or do because my life is none of their business. Her parents don’t like me as they believe I am a bad influence and she should leave me. If they find out that I had impregnated their child they will disown her. I have no idea how we will take care of the child because I am still in school and very behind for me to drop out. If my father finds out I am a dead person and he might possibly kick me out of his house. Before I met my friends I used to watch my brother brings different girls at home and I found that really interesting. I couldn’t wait to be old enough so that I too can be like him. Around here 15 is the new 18 and if you are not sexually active by then you are considered an idiot. Now me and my brother compete about who brings more girls in a week than the other. Dora hates all the girls we bring over because she doesn’t know who she should get to know as she might be seeing them for the last time.
My father usually finds out about the events that take place in his house. There is a neighbour of mine named Miss Mnisi and I call her ‘Miss Snitch’. She tells my father about every even that takes place here and about every person that comes over. I wonder if my father asked her to keep tabs on us or she just voluntarily decided to add fuel to this already messed up family. I sometimes look at Miss ‘Snitch’ and her family and ask myself if she would appreciate it if someone told her about what her gay son whom she brags about in church that he is a good boy and will someday bear her grandchildren gets up to at the clubs when he sneaks out of his room through the window every weekend. She would appreciate it, but yet she has the audacity to ruin the little relationship we had with our not so much of a father. It frustrates me to see village people investing their lives into other people’s lives. The people here do not have anything to do besides gossip all day about other families. They are even tired of gossiping about us because there is always something “out of the ordinary” happening at my house. However, my mother doesn’t seem to like Miss Mnisi. I can tell by the way she reacts when my dad raises her name regarding what she had told her. All I ever hope is that my mother talks some sense into him that this woman is destroying this family.

“Babe, I don’t know what to tell my parents, you know if they find out that I am pregnant, they will freak out.” “What should I do then? We both know they will find out sooner or later, there’s just no hiding this. So tell them” Honestly, I don’t think me and my girlfriend would work, if that fool of a dad of mine finds out I will not get my allowance anymore. I don’t know what to do, he would probably use this as an opportunity to dump me at that handy work school like he always wanted to. He sees me like a lost cause, he doesn’t even believe in me. That maybe someday I will make it, although I am failing a lot but I do have a promising future. My girlfriend and I just happened, I wasn’t even sure what I was doing. I would invite her over at my house and she would arrive and then we would have sex. The person that introduced me to this life is my brother, he has always been sexually active. Well that’s from when I started being aware of such. Now that we don’t get along he doesn’t advise me about girls. He’s 4 years older than me and he doesn’t have a kid, I think he’s very careful.

Because my sister is hardly ever at home, my brother and I invite girls over and things get hot. Sometimes two girls would pitch at once and they would start fighting. In most cases it is the parents and the boyfriends that come by. The funniest thing is that, although my brother and I don’t get along most of the times, we have each other’s back. No one would insult me in front of my brother, he would beat the shit out of them. My sister jokingly said “you two are like a couple. There is a love hate relationship going on and you don’t like it when outsiders bully one of you but it is better if you beat each other up. It is just funny that you care about each other like that.” And she is right, we fight a lot but we don’t like it when someone else bullies one of us. I usually sit down and ask myself what is it that makes my brother and me to fight a lot and I can’t find the right answer. Sometimes I can see that he tries but I shut him out. I hope writing in this journal will help me a lot.

I think the problem with me is that I do not have any sense of remorse. I know my parents hate us and part of me doesn’t even care about that because I have managed to accept it. I get in a lot of fights and mostly it’s when I attach my teachers. I just hate it when they stick their noses in my business. I guess that’s why I hardly keep friends for long because everyone thinks that I am a troublemaker and I think it is silly having to put up with all the bullshit that comes with friendship, so I prefer just chilling with random guys. I don’t have friends at all, apart from the guys that get me girls and the alcohol. It is just one of those guys that I get to meet at their favorite sport and they would hook me up with some alcohol. Well I recently started smoking weed too. My brother does smoke from time to time and I sometimes steal his weed to smoke (which would lead to a fight about weed and somehow my dad would find out). Everyone on my street sees me as a trouble child. They don’t want their children anywhere near me, but can you blame them? Anyway I have no intention of chilling with their bastard children anyway, I sort of like the respect I get from all these fools on my street. When one of their folks sticks their nose in my business, I get to sit them down without feeling guilty because none of their children is my friend. Something I recently did with Mnisi. I went to her house and told her where to get off. I was tired of her being some sort of a neighbourhood watch that only focuses on how children of a specific household behaves. I hope she got the message; I would hate to put her at her place by proving that her children are not perfect.
You know sometimes we do things not because we enjoy doing them. You have no idea whatsoever how I am feeling inside. I have this anger that’s boiling and I sort of feel like a time bomb. I don’t want to blame it on my parents but somehow it kind of feels like they are responsible for my emotions. There was a time when my dad completely gave up on me and didn’t send me any money so I can buy a couple of things. I came across this other woman from town near the bushes and she was alone. I looked around and didn’t see anyone, I went up to her with a broken bottle and threatened to kill her if she screamed and didn’t give me money. She gave me a couple of hundred rands. More than I had hoped for actually and it felt so good. That adrenalin rush overwhelmed me. I wanted to do it again, I covered my face so that she doesn’t see my face and it was dark. Sometimes when I am with the guys I have that urge to tell them about what I had done, but since they are not my real friends I pull back. Something tells me that they get down to some dirty deeds though, I mean just the other day while with them a girl passed wearing a really short skirt and I heard the other guy threatening her that if it was dark he was going to get it whether she liked it or not. I don’t know but there is something fishy about those guys.

My sister is the wisest person at home. It’s like she can tell that I am not coping well. At one time while she passed the place I hang out with the guys while smoking weed, the other one started mocking her and I told him that he better leave my sister alone, she saw me and appeared to be disappointed. The guys respect me, they just like the fact that I am not consumed by my parents’ achievements and I am not a brat for that matter. If only they knew how much I hated them, but I didn’t want to give them that satisfaction since they would suggest something silly. As I was saying about my sister, when I got home that evening she sat me down and started warning me about the guys. That is before I accidentally punched her, so now she is still giving me that silent treatment. She said to me “Little brother, I don’t want to tell you who to hang around and how to live your life but even a blind person can smell trouble with those guys that you are always with. There is something about them that is really odd, you know, whenever I pass that place I pray to God that those guys don’t touch me and I am really scared for you. There is a saying that goes ‘show me your friends and I will tell you who you are’ I just hope that it doesn’t apply with you, and being with people that don’t school while you do, will only motivate you to stop schooling since you will envy their freedom.” Yes my sister is wise and all but she doesn’t have any idea how I feel human with those guys. When I am around them, I feel like I belong. I don’t have to stress about my parents’ behaviour, the only thing that worries me is changing. I do want to be a career person someday, but the environment that I am in, scares me.”

David last left his journal here and never had the opportunity to finish it. A few months ago he and his friends went to rob a convenience store nearby and there were armed security guards that shot at them. I warned my brother about the company he keeps and he didn’t listen to me. Reading his journal made me see a lot of things that even I was not aware of. David described me as a smart person but he was. It is a pity he did not realize his true potential. Unfortunately my brother didn’t make it and the remaining ones were arrested and sentenced for 15 to 18 years in prison. My parents still don’t say much, however it damaged my mother that David is gone that she is now at a rehabilitation center being treated of depression. As for my father, he hasn’t changed. He is still the same old man but he is retired now. He spends most of his time working at the farm he bought to keep him busy here at home. We never talk about David as there is little change here at home but I can tell that my father has been thinking long and hard about how he missed out on a lot of things. Michelson is in Johannesburg looking after their house; he dropped out of school and is now working. I don’t get to see him a lot as he seems to be enjoying it that side because he hardly ever comes home, but it doesn’t surprise me because facing my father is the last thing he wants to do. I hope that the family will be able to unite as he had hoped because clearly the reason he started writing this journal was because he was hurting inside. My little brother grew up too fast, he had a bright future and I hope that his son Kabelo will take after him. Dora

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