Three months before l turned eighteen my life changed.

 My best friend and biggest supporter was taken away by a selfish man who got behind a wheel whilst drunk never caring about others around him and knocked her down as crossed the street killing her instantly. That man took away my life with that self-minded act.

There were no relatives as my mother had been an orphan; my dad took his own relatives back when he left so there was no one to help. Her business partner simply took over the boutique leaving me with nothing. The only thing that devil of a woman could not touch was the house and the car. Thank goodness insurance buried my mum.

I was an 18 year old just finished high school no money no job and no relatives that could pitch in.

How did anyone expect me to survive? 

Living alone in a house with no one to talk to confide in my only source of comfort were the memories of my beloved mother. I missed her and wanted to be with her now more than ever. I was barely teenager what did l know of the world?!

Two months down the line things went even more sideways. 

First it was the plumbing in the house that decided to die on me. The man who came to fix it took advantage of my age and charged such an exorbitant price that selling some furniture only put a dent. How to pay the remaining balance became my worry.

“Let’s negotiate darling. I will forget the balance if you can give me something in return” he smiled showing some rotting teeth. The way his eyes kept stripping me even a blind could see what he was hinting at.

“You are disgusting. Do you know how old l am?”  

“Your mouth is old enough

even a blind could see what he was hinting at.

“You are disgusting. Do you know how old l am?”  

“Your mouth is old enough” he said leering at said mouth.

“I would rather rot in hell than let you touch me. Give me some time l will come up with the money” l shouted.

Never in my life had anyone been so insulting and disgusting in one smelling breath. Sure l had blossomed early but still anyone could tell l was barely legal.  Even worse was the person making the suggestion!? Describing him would probably make me vomit.

One would think it was a huge balance than a measly $10. It might have been a small amount but it took me exactly one week and three days of scrounging and begging to get that money. My mum’s so called friends and neighbours; not a single person would help. My own friends had disappeared right after the funeral. 

That was just the start.

Load shedding those days was the norm and my mum would make me switch off everything when it happened. One day l forgot the electricity came with such a high voltage it literally fried the wires and took the fridge and stove as well. 

The fridge wasn’t really in use but the stove was a priority. I couldn’t eat or heat water without it. We didn’t have a gas stove nor did l ever learn to make a fire. My neighbour Baba Rutendo an electrician by trade came to take a look.

“I’m sorry Rachel but to fix everything it’s going to cost you a lot of money” he said handing me the quotation. My heart nearly stopped beating there and then.

“This is a lot of money baba Rutendo even for someone going to work. What am l supposed to do now?”  

“You can try selling the car it’s not like you will drive it. But honestly that will barely cover anything. Other than that l don’t know what else you can do” he said walking out.

Was life supposed to be this unfair? What was l supposed to do? I was eighteen years old with no adult supervision leaving in a three bed house and no money. I had already sold most of my mum’s furniture and the only things l could have sold were broken. Selling my mum’s old red sedan was not an option. It held too much sentimental value to let go


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