i slipped off the hospital gown and put my own clothes back on. although they were no longer my own clothes, they were just pieces of fabric, sewn together in shapes, to hide my body from all the strangers in the street that i passed, as i made my way home.
but it was no longer my home. it was just a pile of bricks, cemented into a shape that had been painted and plumbed and decorated to be comfortable and safe. i switched the lights on and made coffee but couldn’t taste it, so i left it, still warm on the table next to the phone.
i wanted to call someone, i wanted to tell someone that i was home. but who? no-one would hear my voice.
my brother had a car. and he picked me up from school one day when he was drunk. he was cursing in the car: at me, at our parents and at everything in his way, cursing right up until we hit the truck and the truck hit us. and that was the last time i saw him, his face smashed in so much that it could have been anyone sitting there next to me, wearing his things.
i sat down on the couch next to the window in the lounge and watched the children playing in the street and the cars crawl by, and before it was dark i heard the door open and there were my parents, at last, and my heart leapt with joy.
but they didn’t smile to see me.
their sad faces, my ma and my pa, i watched them, quietly. i watched them go into my room and it was like it had always been, and then boeta’s room, it still had the posters on the wall of motorbikes and wrestling. everything was the same. and i walked with them.
ma’s eyes were small and red, they looked blistered. she had cried too much. i wanted to hold her and say that it was ok. and pa, he looked too thin. they didn’t look like my mom and dad anymore. i tried to call at them, i shouted a few times, and once i saw ma look up and around and i thought maybe she had heard me.