These bars are what gave birth to my humbleness. It's these bars that curved and shaped my life. It's In these bars that I lived and paid for my sins. 

Cell 12 has been my home for eight years now. Looking back I wonder who I would have been if I hadn't come here.

What kind of person would I have turned out to be? I've cried enough about my sins. I've paid for them. 

I've been punished faced death a couple of times and felt hurt a few times. 

My mom died just a year after I got in here and I couldn't even go to her funeral. 

I'm happy that she had forgiven me and never held my actions against me.

I never listened to her. I was never changed by her chastening. 

Looking back I don't want to have any regrets. 

I made mistakes I made bad choices I'm only human. I hurt a lot of people betrayed those who loved me and killed the hopes of those who believed in me. 'Those' being my mother.

I never thought I'd ever get out. I'd gotten used to these walls to being here. 

Fezeka: "So it's true? You're being released "

I throw my ass on the bed. 

Me: "It's true. I can't believe it either "

Fezeka: "You don't seem happy "

Me:" (sighs) This Is all I know Fez. I don't know what awaits me outside this. The only person who ever visited me here is mom. (chuckles) Where will I go from here? "

Fezeka: "(takes my hand) You don't have to be nervous. I'll be out in two years then we can figure it out together. Didn't you say your father is a church man? I'm sure he's forgiven you "

Me: "(chuckles) Yeah right. Nigger never loved me. He was even glad when I was arrested "

Why I got arrested Is a story for another day. 

Fezeka: "It's been eight years. No man who believes in the almighty holds a grudge for that long. Relax "

She starts massaging my shoulders and I close my eyes and allow her hands to perform their magic. 

I don't get scared easily but somehow freedom scares me. I've been deprived of it for so long that I don't know how I will react to it. 



I'm woken up by my phone ringing somewhere in my room. My head is banging. I had a crazy night. 

Shit won't shut so I get up. I have a terrible headache. 

Me: "What? "

I say the minute I answer. 

"That's no way to speak to your mother Liyah "

Me: "(sigh) What can I do for you mother? "

Mom: "Come home. We're doing dinner"

Me: "I'm way to old to be dictated to. No"

Mom: "Liyah "

Me: "I said no. Leave me alone! "

I hang up and get back on bed this time with my phone switched off. 

My stomach grumbles and I know it's time to get up. I look at the time on my wall clock and it's 3pm. 

An hour later I've showered and dressed up. I'm just in a white romper and black heels. My weave Is curled and my makeup is on point. 

I take my phone and switch it on as I make my way downstairs. 

Me: "My lunch Josey "

She's my chef. 

I know she's here and didn't bother looking at her. My focus is on my phone. 

I sit in the dining hall and wait for my lunch. 

I have missed calls from my father. I'm so not looking forward to this dinner. I'm not going. 

Me: "Josey!!" 

Josey: "Sorry Miss Rhodes. Here's your late lunch "

Me: "(clicks tongue) How do I like my food Josey?! "

Josey: "I'll bring the wine ma'am "

Me: "Why the fuck do I keep reminding you of this? Don't you want this job anymore?! "

Josey: "I'm sorry Miss Rhodes. "

I just click my tongue. She puts my wine on the table. 

When I'm done eating which is after two glasses of wine  I go up to my room where I floss then grab my car keys. 

I hop into my Ferrari then drive off. 

I'm meeting up with my girls at the salon. It's 5pm and I'm late. 

I got another traffic ticket. 

Gina: "Finally she graces us with her presence "

I laugh and hug them. 

Me: "I tried woke up late"

Meisie: "I don't blame you girl. Last night was wild"

Gina: "I missed out "

Me: "You sure did "

Gina: "I have to get my act together when hubby is home so next time guys"

Hailey:" (laughs) I wonder if he knows the bad bitch he's married to "

Gina: "(chuckles)  Does Jerry know? "

Hailey: "Mxm"

Me: "Girls let's get to why we're here. I want a full wax. I have a date "

Nina: "You don't say "

Me: "I'm not telling you hoes anything "

Being with the girls is always so therapeutic. It erases all worries. 

I'm all hot when I get back at my house. 

It's 8pm and I haven't even showered. 

I know how impatient Lefa is. I'm forced to take a ten minutes shower And leave with just foundation and lipstick as my makeup. 

I'm wearing a black high waist skirt with a black front tie top. 

He's sent a car for me. 

Lefa: "You kept my driver waiting for thirty minutes "

Me: "I'm sorry I was at the salon "

He turns and comes to me. We're in his hotel suite. He's not my boyfriend yet. This is my first time here. 

We've had two dates and the girls don't know yet. 

He kisses my cheek. 

Lefa: "(sniffs my neck) You smell good"

Me: "Thanks "

Lefa: "Let's do dinner "

He takes my hand and we walk out get into the elevator and get off at the restaurant floor. 



I always wake up early in the morning to make breakfast. 

My husband loves his greasy breakfast and our daughter is a flapjack addict. 

He's going to be home for the rest of this month which means no going out for me. 

I grew up as an obedient girl which is probably why I got married at 21 and as a virgin. 

My husband is turning 40 while I'm 28. He's twelve years older than me and I love him. 

I'm planning to throw him a party for his fortieth birthday. I know it can't be a surprise party so I want to run the idea by him.

Zoë comes when I've just finished making our freshly squeezed orange juice. 

Zoë: "Good morning mom"

Me: "Hey baby. Why are you up so early? "

Zoë: "I don't want to make daddy late. He's taking me to school "

Daddy comes and greets us while I'm 28. He's twelve years older than me and I love him. 

I'm planning to throw him a party for his fortieth birthday. I know it can't be a surprise party so I want to run the idea by him.

Zoë comes when I've just finished making our freshly squeezed orange juice. 

Zoë: "Good morning mom"

Me: "Hey baby. Why are you up so early? "

Zoë: "I don't want to make daddy late. He's taking me to school "

Daddy comes and greets us giving me a baby kiss. 

I set the table and we eat. 

Zach: "Do you have plans for today? "

Me: "No. I'm only going to work"

It's Monday today. 

Zach: "Are you not fetching your sister? "

Me: "Why would I do that? "

Zach: "She's getting released today "

Me: "And how do you know that? "

I don't want to think that my husband could be in contact with Matshidiso. She's suppose to rot in jail. 

Me: "I hope you had nothing to do with her sudden release "

Zach: "ZOË you'll find me in the car "

He kisses my cheek and leaves. I can't even scream at him for walking out while we're talking because of Zoë we don't argue in her presence. 

Tshidi can't come back. She can't. Things are perfect without her. 

I call my father when I get into the office. This thing with Tshidi is making me uneasy. 

Dad: "Gina"

Me: "Is it true? "

Dad: "How are you my baby? "

Me: "(sigh) I'm fine. Is Matshidiso getting out? "

Dad: "Oh yes. I'll be fetching her after breakfast "

Me: "Fetching her? Why would you do that? "

Dad: "She's my daughter. "

Me: "Have you forgotten what she did? She killed a person. She's a murderer. She was suppose to be there for fifteen years. "

I'm boiling. 

Dad: "Do you not know that the Bible says 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone ' ?"

Me: "Mxm"

I hang up feeling even more frustrated. I loathe her and I thought we'd be rid of her forever. 

I can't believe dad is doing this. 



Warden: "Change daddy brought you clothes"

Me: "Daddy? "

Warden: "Yeah. O motle if only I wasn't married "

Fez: "This is it "

I can't believe ntate is here. 

Anyway I change into the hideous dress and sandals. 

I hate dresses. I don't even wear sandals until now that is. 

Me: "I'm going to miss you so much and all the memories we made in here"

Fez: "Don't cry on me now"

Me: "(laugh) I don't cry"

Fez: "I don't want you coming back In here. Don't even visit me. I'll see you in two years "

Me: "(hugs her) Until then"

Ntate is really here. 

He gives me a hug which I unfortunately can't reciprocate. 

I'm given the clothes I was wearing when I got here and my ring. 

I throw them in the bin outside. 

Ntate: "Are you ready to get back to the outside world? "

Me: "No I was actually used to being inside. "

Ntate: "I'm glad you're back "

Me: "Ka hlompho Ntate ntse ke nahana you hate me" (With all due respect I thought) 

We get into his car. He still has the same amorok van he had back then. 

Ntate: "But you're my daughter why would I hate you? "

Me: "Because I... I have never made you proud jwalo ka Gina. I've always disappointed you. No father wants to have a murderer as a child "

Ntate: "Lebala ho fitile. Ke ho tshwaretse" (Forget I've forgiven you) 

Me: "Ke a leboha ntate " 

I didn't know being out will come with peace Heavenly peace. 

Outside the window much has changed. The houses have gotten bigger and the village even has a tarred road. 

When he drives into our gate I remember how I left this place. I was handcuffed and tossed in the back of the police van like the criminal that I am. 

The house has been renovated and even has a tiled floor. 

Ntate: "I cooked. I'm sure you'd appreciate a home cooked meal "

Me: "As long as I get to eat as much as I like. Gina okae? "

Ntate: "She got married the same year your mother died. She lives in the city with her husband and daughter "

Me: "(smiles) she's always been the perfect daughter "

Ntate: "You're both very different people. No one is perfect "

He gives me my food. My father and I never had a close relationship. We were always bickering. 

I'm surprised he's been so welcoming of me. Maybe being out is not as bad as I thought it'll be. 


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