Mandla

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Dear Diary, 

The day is bright, is bright and fair

Oh, happy day, the day of rest,

The day is bright; it’s bright and fair

Oh, happy day of joy.

Don’t ask. I’m not sure why those lines are stuck in my head either. But the day is bright. I almost cannot believe how fair and sunny 7.24 am on a Thursday is. 

I do not want to get out of bed. Meh, what else is new. I dig into the sheets and lie still for a few minutes. I forgot to draw the curtains the night before, so the sun’s rays are the first thing I see. The star warms my skin, and at first, it feels like the soft, warm kisses of a mother who found her long-lost son and then, not. My feet find the floor a second after I decide to start my day, and I think again of how I really do not want to get out of bed. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that lately, my heart has been craving, very intensely, companionship. It seems to long for a certain someone with that (worrisome) craziness of new love and won’t come to terms with the fact that I say ‘no’. 

I live in what many would call and have, in fact, called a “mansion”. You must understand that when an African calls your home a “mansion”, he doesn’t always mean it as the Englishman does. Sometimes, he is simply in awe of what he considers your finer living. So, no. My two-bedroom apartment, albeit spacious and darkly and richly furnished, is no mansion. I stagger towards the drapes and draw them towards each other with an exaggerated force. I like the sun. I like it very much exactly where it is — outside. I stand as I had lain a minute ago — still — hoping against the reality of the start of a new, long day. I have to get to the hospital, though, so I don’t have the luxury of leaning against the thick curtains for too long. I let go of them and get through my morning routine and into something comfortable. 

Having a crush on a co-worker has to be the most cliché of all things cliché, but I guess it is in the nature of clichés to occur so commonly as to be called that. Thembo had driven in just as I did. She smiles broadly like she’s looking at a trusted friend. Not that I’m not, of course, but I’m glad my thoughts are hidden from her. I wave back with a grin and wait as she catches up.

 “Get any sleep?” she asks. New day, same old question. 

“Not enough”. I raise my flask of coffee and smile. 

“You’ll wear your heart out with caffeine, Mandla”. 

You wear my heart out, Thembo. I turn to find her staring. 

“A penny for your thought”. 

“Not even for a pound”. 

“Ouch”. 

We’re at the lobby, where we part ways. 

“Stay sane”, she mouths as she walks backwards with a smile on her face, and it’s as though the sun found its way in after all. 

“Hehe, I’ll try”. 

“There’s a child with hydrocephalus, Dr Mandla”. Kati. The nurse.  

“Good morning to you too”, I mutter under my breath. I close my eyes. God help me. 

I open my eyes, and I’m still in my bed. Someone’s hand is on the curve of my shoulder, and I turn slowly. My mother is peering into my face.

“Time to get up”. 

Against my pride and wishes, my eyes well up. 

“The dreams again?” 

The tears find the rest of my face as she brings the wheelchair around.

“You should see the weather today. So bright and beautiful”. 

She walks over to the curtains with the eagerness of a mother desperately looking to cheer her child up and pulls them apart. The warm, golden light of the Thursday morning sun fills all of the room and little of my soul. 

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