All that glitters is not Gold


Age 13 – I am a late bloomer

This realization hit me when we were in the changing rooms getting ready to go for hockey practice. All the girls were wearing sports bras and busters and me, well just wearing my plain T-shirt without a spaghetti top inside was sufficient. It didn’t really bother me at first, until Jaden put it upon himself to explain to me why the boys preferred to date girls like Harmony and not me. “You are too chubby to start off with.

Your cheeks are so big that I cannot even see your lips and your chest is as flat as the tennis-court wall. Look at Harmony, her body is like a harp I can at least play a tune to.”  This is the very first time I begin to wonder if something is seriously wrong with me or my body. I have never been slender and I have always embraced my chubby body.

I have had one or two innocent crushes but the thought of dating these boys ‘wanna-be’ man has been far from my mind. The way Jaden talked about me having really big cheeks has affected me. I am suddenly under pressure to have my first kiss. I thought I could wait a couple more years but it is happening this very day.  King my cousin’s best friend is staying with us till the weekend.

King is a nice boy. He is very respectful, tries to be funny and is very hard working. He is not good-looking, definitely not my type of adventurous just… well nice. We are taking our usual stroll around the neighbourhood and he is going on and on about how Phineas and Ferb is a political cartoon (I am not paying attention) when we approach a dingy corner. That is when the idea strikes me to get my first kiss right here right now! I abruptly push him against the wall and shout “KISS ME, KING.” He closes and opens his mouth like a fish underwater, but he doesn’t let me go either.

I am relieved because this means that he can at least see my lips. I remember how some of the girls in my stream have been talking about their first kisses. One of them said it was amazing, another said it was sensational she just could not let him go. Mine and King’s kiss is… WET!! Not only is it wet but eerily slimy. I can taste the maputi and guava juice he most probably had before we came for this walk. His tongue is wrestling with mine and I do not understand why his eyes are closed. Damn social media and the girls in my stream!

My first kiss is so atrocious! The worst part though is I wake in the morning with swollen lips and a swollen throat. My mum is so worried that she takes me to the doctor who after examining me gives me such a glance so suspicious that I want to fall out of my chair. “You have a severe case of mumps my dear, transmitted by salivary glands, have you been drinking water from a juice bottle that is not your own?”

I am tempted to tell him that instead of what was supposed to be a passionate make-out session was just me drinking King’s saliva but with my mom wearily looking at me I nod my head. I am given some medicine and all the way home I am doing nothing but wishing I had just waited and not succumbed to wanting to fit in.

Age 16 – That one senior you can’t have

In high school there is always that one senior whom you know you are never going to talk to but still wish you could get to know. I have one such senior. He is my dream crush. Every time I see him my heart tingles and I desperately wish he could give me notice.

At least say a ‘hello’ or a ‘get out of the way’ so I can get the peace of mind that he does notice me. My prayer is answered when we bump into each other in the corridor and he says ‘I am going to marry you one day…wait for me’ I almost melt in the position. He does not wait for a response but I quickly take out my diary and write what has just happened. Of course, I will wait for him who wouldn’t.

Two days later I am in the girls’ toilet reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. It is a bad habit that I have tried to get rid of but cannot. I get in the toilet, put the seat down and start reading during lunch time. Not to pee or do the other one.

The toilet is one place I can really escape and read my favourite classics without being disturbed and it is the last place anyone can look for me. I flip the first page and it reads, “The falcon turning in a widening “gyre” (spiral), cannot hear the falconer……..”    I am interrupted by the sound of his voice. I know it’s his voice because I have learnt to master it but wait he is not alone, I can hear a female voice. He says, “I have dreamed about this day let me kiss you.”

And his lady friend says “Yes Daniel kiss me…” as for me my eyes are opening so wide I think they are going to fall off. And they start kissing; well I assume they are kissing because there is a moment of silence. “Take your panties off…” he grunts and I instantly hear zips opening and the lady friend going “Ohhhh Daniel….” to that he starts growling like a bear I saw on national geographic.

Daniel then says, “Harmony baby do want to feel the big D?”  Before she can reply I decide that I have heard enough foreplay to last me a lifetime. Without putting anymore thought to it I flush the toilet. The two of them don’t wait to see who it is, I think they get the message and quickly get out.

 If I can be honest with you I am taken aback to the simple fact that kids our age are already having sex or thinking of having sex. I am disappointed in Daniel and in Harmony. In Daniel for just wanting to have his big ego stroked, he did not even consider the venue of where he wanted to get it stroked.

In Harmony as beautiful as she is, decided to diminish her self-worth by wanting to be part of this act with Daniel in the girl’s toilet of all places.  Is it because Daniel pressured her to do it or because he is the coolest guy in school? No-one will answer these questions for me but one thing I immediately know is I am never going to view the girl’s bathroom the same way again so I take my Things Fall Apart elsewhere, where I can read it in peace. Oh by the way I am definitely NOT waiting for Daniel.

Age 17 and half – I have just sent a junior to go and call him

As I anxiously wait for him I am biting my nails- a very bad habit I thought I had gotten rid of in primary school….but here I am biting them anyway. As I wait for him I regret laying my eyes on him, I am wishing I had just left the sleeping dog to lie. I remember the day when my uncle in his drunken state saw us holding hands in the street acting so in love. I was confident that he would not remember what he saw but the next day he said to me, “Kasi wakudanana nemaHwindie here nhai Thelma?

Who was that boy, kunge mbavha wandakakuona uchitaura naye?” (Are you dating bus touts now? Who was that hoodlum I saw you talking to?) I just smiled and brushed it off. He enters into the classroom bringing me back to the present day. As he lazily saunters to where I am seated it boggles my mind the extent to which he is so hungry for attention when I am the only one in the classroom.

I am reminded of how he was the first boy who demanded to touch me. “Why won’t you let me touch you?” he would aggressively say to me, “this is one of the reasons I will never ask you out!” then I would be rewarded with two weeks of silent treatment until he saw me talking to another boy and he would come back. “Is it true?” I ask him when he has finally settles in his seat. He smiles, that cold sinister smile to indicate that I am crossing the line. As he smiles I am brought back to the first time he smiled at me like that.

We had been talking about equal rights and women emancipation. I was giving a strong passionate point when he suddenly grabbed me by the neck and bashed me against the wall. “The problem with wanna be women like you is that you don’t know life! I want to get you pregnant with 4 babies woenda kumusha kunosakura negejo!” (I am going to send you off to the rural areas to cultivate with cattle). He then harshly let go of me and walked away. In that moment I realized that I was in a toxic relationship but so far in that I could not get out of it.

He later on came to apologize, claiming that he did not know what came over him, and like an idiot I accepted it. “Ryan I asked you a question. ANSWER ME!” I shout no longer able to contain the anger I have withheld for so long. “What are you talking about?” he says in between a yawn as if I bore him. “Did you sleep with her?”

“No, I did not” he answers simply

“So you ordered a hotel room with her to….” I say and he interrupts me by indignantly saying, “To rectify our differences in a civil manner, where no one could disturb us.” I almost want to laugh but I am so upset I choke, “Do you think, I am stupid?”

I ask and to that he bangs his fists on the desk but I don’t jump. He always does that to try to keep me quiet. “Yes you are stupid.” He says it so slowly those words truly sink in. “I told you nothing happened in that hotel room so nothing did….” I try to interject but he raises his hand in warning, “Even if I did sleep with her what would you do to me? I am a guy Thelma I have needs.

It took me months to get you to let me kiss you, I definitely wasn’t going to wait for a fucking century to get you to open your legs!” he leans closer and gingerly says “It is my martial right and you refused to give it to me. I was never going to leave her for you. She gave me food better than sadza. At the end of the day you were just my slut.” Before he can do anything I spit in his face.

He raises his hand to try and hit me (If I can be honest he would have seriously slapped the black off me because he is 3 times bigger than me) when my close friend puts her head through the window and yells, “Thelma let’s go for tennis we are late!” she then speeds off and I slowly stand up. “I want you to look at me for one last time because your ugly disgusting face will never see me again!” as I walk away he starts laughing like a hyena.

I on the other hand quickly go to the changing rooms, lock myself in the toilet and start to cry. It is in that moment I learn to never diminish my value for any Adam or Tonderai and as I quietly sob I realize that the real me is back. The real Thelma that had been lost the few months I allowed this hoodlum to cloud my judgment. It is also there and then I know for a fact that I am never going to see him again.

Age 18 – The final stretch is here

In a couple of weeks I will be officially done with high school and I will get a taste of what the real world is like. If you ask me though I think I already have had a taste of what life is like. I am studying accounting, well trying to study it.

The last accounting exam paper I wrote was brutal.  I am in the library, trying to understand IAS 8. It is almost 5 o’clock and my “boyfriend” will be here to get me at 5:30. However I am so tired and am considering going to the hostels to get a quick nap and digest what I just read. Our library is a beautiful structure, in my eyes.

There are also two rooms where the Computer Science students do their lessons and I usually like to study facing one of the doors. Whilst I am contemplating on whether to pack my books or bully my boyfriend into packing my staff and carrying me too, one of the doors forcefully opens almost making me jump out of my chair.

Out comes Melody with her shirt buttons undone, her looking disheveled and hair unkempt. “I swear to God Thelma if you tell anyone about this…” I quickly interrupt her, “What?! Tell people what?” and before she can answer my question right behind her comes a male teachers whom I have great respect for and grown to admire over the years.

He is just as raggedy as Melody and must have forgotten to close his trousers zipper for I can clearly see his black boxers or briefs?” I instantly feel the color leave my face and I cannot stop opening and closing my mouth. There is a moment of silence, eerie silence before Melody says, “I am 18 years old and we love each other!

This man…..” she emphatically says whilst holding his hand, “This man loves me, I can feel it…” I do not respond, I dare not respond. As if sent by an angel Michael enters the library to come and get me. I guess he senses the tension in the room; he greets our teacher, says a quick hello to Melody and then quickly whisks me out of the library.

As we walk on our way to my hostel he holds my hand. We are awfully quiet today, “They were boning” I say, more to myself than to anyone else, I turn to look at Michael and the expression on his face is more shocking than what I just discovered, “you knew?” 

He nods his head but what he says is a punch to my gut, “It’s not everyone who is as naïve as you are T. She is considered an adult now, she can do what she wants” I slowly absorb what he has just said and I assume he is right. As I go to bed that night I hope that Melody does not regret it.

Age 21 – The final stretch is here

He is shouting I am not sure about what. I have mastered the ability to block all negative energy. I was paying attention though but the moment he said, “You are twenty mother f***kin one! And I want to tap that……..” My brain cells instantly switched off.

You see my brain has the ability to switch off when a person starts saying things it deems irrelevant. So as I watch him talking loud, I can barely hear a word that he is saying. I am pretty sure that this will be the last time I see him.

I will not be bullied into doing something I don’t want to do. To anyone who is reading this and they are under pressure to get kissed or have their first kiss…Wait. I want you to read the 13 year old me who had a severe case of mumps for a whole month for a kiss that was not even worth it.

To anyone who is reading this and they are under pressure to have sex and you know that you don’t want to then….. DON’T!!. Peer pressure is real and it does come on strong but all that glitters is not gold. There is a beauty in waiting or a beauty in doing certain activities when you are confident and you alone are ready to do it.  So just be beYOUtiful.

Thelma is an aspiring writer who wants to be the change she wants for the world.