Public, Secret Lives. – 1

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4am- the alarm went off. The night seemed very short but he had to wake up and pray. That was his daily schedule. Just as he laid in bed a few seconds after hearing the irritatingly loud alarm, bargaining with himself and God on whether he needed to wake up, a loud repeated bang erupted from the living room. Someone was knocking- at 4am like police officers looking for a fugitive. He hurried out of bed to the front door, still disorientated he opened with haste. “Hao, Mma Bapela !?” He was stunned to see one of his loyal church members at his door at 4am, tears having washed down her face, a tremble in her body and blood in her hands and on her clothes. He took her in and at that time, his wife – affectionately known as “Mamoruti”, had just entered the living room to see what the noise that pulled her man out of their matrimonial bed in a haste was all about.

“Bring her some sugar water baby, she seems very shaken”. He sat her down and after a few breathe in exercises and sips of the sugary water, Mrs Bapela was able to talk. “She is dead, Thato has killed herself. I need you to come help me. “  This was a shock. For a second he felt like perhaps he was in a bad dream, but he wasn’t. This was definitely something he didn’t expect to be hearing  that glorious Monday morning – especially that specific Monday morning after the Sunday they had just had at church.  He was still feeling tired from the celebration day they had, spending the whole day at church singing, dancing, eating, arts projects from the youth ministry… and Thato, she was at the forefront of most of the work. She was leading the worship band and always involved in every church activity.  “If there is an award in heaven for church attendance, Thato would get it” This was joke that usually went around when people spoke about her; but now she was gone, worst of all, she took her own life? This was unbelievable!

No time was wasted. The pastoral couple hurriedly changed out of their sleeping clothes and accompanied Mrs Bapela to her house and into the bathroom where she led them. And there she was – a bloody mess! Her lifeless body in the bathtub, water filled to the brim – red water filled to brim. She had slit her wrists when everyone went to bed. Her mother, only found her when she woke up to go to the loo. This was an unbelievable sight- how could this bubbly young sister, who was always on fire for the Lord, who was always active at church, who always seemed happy , how could she have taken her own life?

… to be continued.

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