A Little Dead; A Little Scared; A Little Brave …

Sipho and I were in an accident, the other night. I made it, somehow, but Sipho wasn’t so lucky. Sipho is no more.And people have questions. My friends, my acquaintances, the people who stopped to help, the police, the paramedics, the doctor, the nurse, myself…people have questions. They have well-meaning but annoying; well-meaning but tedious; well-meaning but pointless, confusing, questions. People have questions and the only answer which I have, honestly have, is: bizarre.

It was a bizarre occurrence; it was a bizarre experience; it was a bizarre day; bizarre night.


I woke up earlier than usual: I couldn’t sleep. And then I couldn’t meditate. I couldn’t read either, which is generally the second thing which I do every morning after meditating. I took a shower, a long one, which is uncharacteristic because showers are a chore of social compromise for me. But I took a long one on Monday morning.

I wore matching underwear; another unusual for me.
I chose to go without makeup: a rarity for me. And I was at work more than an hour earlier than usual: a basically never ever, for me. I wore black; all black, except for my blue stockings; someone made a dark comment about my clothes; I responded with sarcasm: I’m good at sarcasm. Or maybe I was, in the…before.

In the afternoon, my crush, formerly known as my former crush, and before that just: my crush, stopped by my desk and asked me how I was doing; I responded: “I just want to die”. A dramatic response, yes, but at the time it was merely a reference to my long day, to my busy day, to feeling overworked.

“I just want to die.”

All these things; all these random acts, occurrences and choices which have now collectively become an unyielding preoccupation to my mind, and partly my soul…just things, which happened….

Except now they aren’t just things which happened, they are things which preceded the night that this violent and brutal thing happened to me; the night that I was let down by my best friend -Sipho; the night that I whacked; the night that I was touched and prodded by strangers; the night that I had to surrender my wellbeing to strangers; the night that I was coldest and most alone and most afraid and most hysterical and most without control. They are things which form part of, which are attached to, a violent and brutal experience.

People have questions…

People ask: what happened? And I hear “please relive your violent experience, so that I can be entertained”. They ask, and I think: bizarre. But I answer, answering being yet another chore of social compromise, Sipho’s steering stiffened and then he shutdown, and in the middle of all of that, someone came at high speed and whacked us from behind.


Of course they want details; how? why? when exactly? at what speed? And I wonder if I should know the how and why or the when and the what because really the only details which are prominent in my mind are that I’d wanted to leave work at 4 rather than 7, and that I was trying to loosen my seat belt and get out of Sipho when the other car hit us. Those are my details.

People also ask me how I feel. And this is an easy one (because I know exactly how I feel) and yet somehow hard to explain, to articulate. I feel different. I feel a little dead; I feel a little brave and I feel a little scared. Most of my optimism has been eroded, most of my positivity is gone; the idea that I have any control over myself or anything else really has completely been obliterated. So, that’s the dead part.

And then there’s the fact that something that I never quite expected or thought could happen, happened and now that it has happened, it and I have established a familiarity; we are no longer distant, remote, strange, strangers, and therefore it might visit me again. So I’m scared.

But I also feel a little braver; braver because I survived; because I went through it and not into it; because my body and my spirit didn’t yield; because my body (which I spend most of my time deprecating and trying to alter) wouldn’t stand down, wouldn’t surrender, wouldn’t shatter but held its own, and held me together. I feel braver because when parts of me were weak other parts stayed strong, and now I know just how strong those parts can be.

I have experienced an attack, a life attack, a violent attack by elements coming together at the wrong time for a dreadful common purpose, so I feel different; I am different.

I am a little dead, a little scared, a little brave, and somewhat stronger.

Writer: Nomfundo Shezi     Photographer: Leeroy Jason