Leftovers of a Missed Deadline


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(c) Unathi Nopece



I’m 31 now

I’ve been saying this over and over to myself so I don’t mistakenly tell someone I’m 30. I’m technical. I like to be accurate. A blessing and a curse. I laugh when people ask when I’m getting married. Or why I don’t have kids. I laugh because I understand their perspective as well as mine. They co-exist peacefully and that’s ok.

I’m 31.

I spent 5 years trying to return to a city I loved, but when I finally got there, I realised I no longer loved it. Because I had changed. Home is wherever I lay my head. I’m still living off of one bag between cities. Movement is the move. A nomad’s lament

I’m at the finishing stages of my Masters and I’m stressed. I cry when I think about it every morning. But I play happy music and I keep going.

I can’t complain.

I chose this.

I’m 31

The way I dress and how I adorn myself is my business. I should have more piercings and tattoos. But I’m no longer edgy or trying to be. That left with the anger. My shaved head was long overdue. I don’t miss my afro one bit.

I get anxious when I have a lot of money. And feel guilty when I spend it. What happened? I wonder.

For two years, I watched everyone’s lives evolve while mine stayed stagnant. I watch my creativity burn to ashes with my hands tied behind my back. I said a prayer though. Hoped for some phoenix-rising type shit

I’m envious, I guess. I fell prey to the illusions of social media. But I say nothing.

Because I chose this.

Mixed feelings consume me. I saw my memories on Facebook this morning. I remembered my friend who passed away. For the first time, I was able to scroll through his profile page without crying. I still can’t listen to his music. Baby steps, I suppose

20 000 women marched in protest on my birth date in 1956. They called it Women’s Day and declared it a Public Holiday in 1996. My 12th birthday.

Friendships are changing. Some are dying. Others stay strong despite distance and time differences. Such is life.

My homie is the one. 4 months apart. Two sides of the same coin. He attracts people. I repel them. They love him. I’m the her in “What on earth is he doing with her?”


I say very little. I keep to myself. Isolation beckons me. The hiatus is calling. As always, I say no for there’s no relief for people like me. Very few off-days. We find solace in almost losing it. In torn seams. In the aching of our backs. Knowing full well that no-one will ever quite understand. We look down from ledges. Hoping nothing tips us over.

And despite all this, I’m ok. I’m on the way to my greatness. As it is. As it always has been and forever more shall be.