Failure To Launch


There are houses you go to and you know they are just houses with no aspirations to being anything but a place where humans live. It doesn’t matter how palatial or expensively adorned or decorated they are. They could be under towering trees with big gardens or meadows and a fireplace but they never really rise up to anything but a house. Then there are houses that are homes. They could be elaborate houses with six bathrooms and a sunroom, or small houses with one shared bathroom, but it’s a home. You never know why some are homes and others are houses. You might think that sparsely-furnished houses with minimalist taste are houses because of their empty and yawning spaces, but you will soon realise that is not always the case. Then you might wonder if perhaps decor makes homes; that houses with beautiful rugs and antique-like furniture and paintings on the walls are likely to be homes but I have been to houses like that which didn’t feel like homes. There are houses where you walk in and you don’t want to leave in a hurry because they have a “warmth” about them, something soothing and seductive and comforting and safe. Then there are houses which have a coldness to them even when it feels warm and cozy. These are places where you only feel the dry bones of the house.


Sometimes houses becomes homes by the kind of smell they possess. A burning candle, the smell of cooking fat from the kitchen or the smell that comes from old sofas or carpets. There are homes that make you want to remove your shoes and put your feet up on the seat. Homes where you find yourself sinking lower into the sofa. Places that are so inviting you want to walk around and peer at a painting or a framed picture on the wall or stroke the petals of a plant. Then there are houses where you feel like your primary school headmaster will emerge from the next room with your half-finished homework, a cane in hand.


Sometimes it’s something as innocuous as the sight of a shoe. I once went to this house to interview someone and along the corridor, on my way to the washrooms, I saw two pairs of shoes. One of them was an old pair of faded Bata Ngomas that had gone through many washes and the other was a pair of padded Crocs that looked exactly like the type my mom owned when she was sick and her feet would swell. They were the same colour, almost the same size. Although seeing them didn’t evoke a wave of sadness or grief, I felt a great connection with that house immediately. It became a home to me because it had a piece of something that was quintessentially my mother’s. I felt nurtured in there. If the hostess would have found me along the corridor, she would have – to my embarrassment – found me holding those Crocs to my nose, smelling them to see if there was a message therein because I think dead mothers send us – their lost children – messages every so often.


How was the interview with Biko?


Oh, I don’t know. [Sigh]. I thought him very, very strange.


Oh, why?


Because I found him smelling Auntie’s shoes in the corridor.


Ha-ha. What!? Nooo! That doesn’t sound like him at all.


Well. It was him alright. How do you know him, anyway?


I don’t. It’s Stella who referred me to him.


Aii, he is strange. Who smells strangers’ shoes in their homes?


The one thing that definitely makes a house a home for me is a pair of children’s shoes; a little person’s shoes left by the door. A little girl’s sandals with small little flowers on them. Or a boy’s shoes with superhero cartoons. Baby shoes soften the hardest of decors. You could have gothic themed decor, you could have the the head of a buffalo nailed to one of your walls in the living room, but if there are baby shoes, pink or blue or yellow little shoes in that house – that house automatically becomes a home for me. Those shoes say that a little soul lives in that house. It’s a house that’s fragile with love. A vulnerable house. Which means fear also lives alongside that love. Those shoes mean that in that home there is somebody who is carrying their own heart but also the heart of one other person. God lives in homes with babies. He just sits there, God, being the silent listener to every conversation, the unseen guest at every meal who doesn’t ask for the salt. He just sits there watching over his baby


And so when I find myself seated in this pool of silence in this house I look around trying to figure out if it’s a house or a home. I can’t say where it is but it’s a house with a small driveway. That tells you a lot about its status. Not many of us will ever live in houses with driveways. The house is silent and I try to find something in the living room, anything to offer me an insight into the owner’s personality; a photo of her kids, someone who graduated or something. The floor is parquet but most of it is covered with warm-coloured floor tapestry. There is a sculpture of a Roman woman with half her left breast showing. Although there is a TV remote on one of the sofas, there is no TV in the room. Or radio. There is a small rack of books against the wall and a small dining table made from old wood. The coffee table has numerous magazines, international titles on business and travel. A big wooden chandelier that looks like a Jack-O-Lantern hangs from above. A massive window to my right, covered with a thin, white sheer curtain, offers a view into a very brief garden and a green hedge. From somewhere in what I imagine is a kitchen, I faintly hear water running into a sink. Most likely the help who had ushered me in earlier wetting a cloth to wipe the table. There is no dog in sight. Or cat.


I was told the lady I’m to see will be down in a few ticks. An old clock on the wall, one that you are likely to see in a Sherlock Holmes movie says it’s 3:13pm, I have been waiting for 21 minutes. On a low curved stool is a pitcher of water with cucumbers, mint and something purple floating in it. Small glasses, turned upside down, sit next to it. I contemplate walking over and pouring myself a glass but I decide to chill. The purple thing could be fish. You don’t want to be the guy who drank someone’s fish.


Five minutes later, I hear a door opening upstairs and soft feet padding down the wooden staircase, slowly and carefully. Here comes the lady with her tired smile. I rise. I can tell she’d rather not smile but she has to. My first thought is “My God, she’s not anything like the 50’s age she had mentioned in her email.” She’s wearing a colourful kaftan that has purple flowers at the top and yellow ones at the bottom. She’s also wearing black tights and slip-on shoes that look oriental. The kaftan is designed to hang off her left shoulder and I see a colourless strip that is the strap of her bra, running over her shoulder. Her head is tied in a yellow and green headwrap.

She approaches and conveys her apologies. She was taking a bath and her baths can take the whole day, she says. She smells of things – flowers and fragrance and tropical fruits and sunlight and dew and wet loam soil and coconut and cinnamon buns and burning wax and warm mango and mint toothpaste and a burning matchstick, and potpourri…look, I don’t know, but she smells good.


“Would you like to sit outside?” she asks. I follow her through a door, down a small white corridor that smells of old paint and through a backdoor leading into the small lawn. There is a small garden where a sprinkler that is off sits in the middle of some crawling plants with small white flowers. We settle under an umbrella. When she rubs her knees, I can see a bit of her age from the back of her hands but otherwise she could easily pass for a 40-something year old woman. “You don’t look your age at all,” I tell her. She tilts her head to one side and says warmly, “Thank you very much. Why can’t I  speak to people like you every day?”


The help comes. I ask for water and the silver tray with the pitcher and two glasses is brought and when the water is poured I see with a great deal of disappointment that the purple thing is not fish but some type of vegetable. “You must drink water a lot,” I say and she says, “I drink water all the time.”


“Do you drink alcohol?” I ask.


“I drink alcohol all the time,” she says and I laugh at that louder than I should. “Would you like some whisky, I know you love whisky and my husband keeps some in the house…”


“Naah,” I say. “I’m good, no alcohol for me now, thanks. Let me drink this, I want to feel healthy.”


We engage in small talk for a bit then she sighs and says. “I have been thinking about this and I know I’m the one who reached out and all but I might have to change my mind.”


“Oh,” I say.


“Yeah, I know.” She makes a sorry-face. “My husband thinks it’s not a good idea. My therapist says I should do what my mind tells me when I’m ready and I feel ready but I’m scared of letting go of it because this is the one thing that I have kept for myself since I was a teenager…how many years has it been? Over 40 years. I have hung on to it for all these years and it’s brought me -” she pauses, searching for the right words, “both pain and, I don’t know, something to engage me mentally and so when you write about it it will no longer be mine and your readers will own it and interpret it and perhaps give it a different meaning.” Pause. “I don’t know. Am I making sense?”


She isn’t. First, I don’t even know what the story was. Her email had simply said that this story is nothing I have heard before. I had written back and asked her for a small synopsis to see whether it was interesting or not and she had said she can’t have it on email whatsoever. That piqued my curiosity.

Now she had changed her mind.


This doesn’t happen often but it does happen sometimes; interviewees grow cold feet all the time. So this was not something peculiar.


It start to drizzle – small feathery droplets – and we decide to go back into the house. She switches on the lights in the living room and the chandelier glows orange-ish yellow.


“Is it possible to at least tell me what this was about?” I ask.


She’s seated at the end of the sofa with one leg folded under her, hugging a large throw cushion. She bites her lip and stares at the floor. We remain in silence for a while. Then she says, “I was raped by my father when I was 14-years old.”


People like to use the expression – “it sucked all the air from the room,” but they really don’t know what that feels like. Those twelve words suck all the air from that room and replace it with something dry and suffocating. It suddenly feels like breathing in a gunny bag. Those words were furthest from what I had expected. What is the textbook reaction to that? I stared out the window, listening to the sound of the slight drizzle on the cement outside. She looks at me and smiles without bravery. I realise that it’s the same smile she had offered when I had met her. She had copied and pasted the smile. And done a bang-up job of it.


“Okay,” I say. “That’s definitely heavy.” I want to ask a million questions but I realise that this isn’t going to be that conversation where I prod.


“Yeah. And then I got pregnant and then I had an abortion and then I spent my entire teenage years feeling filthy, feeling possessed by his evil. I felt that everybody could tell that I was dirty. But then I met and got married to a wonderful man who was the complete opposite of my father -”


“In what way?” I ask


“Meaning he doesn’t drink and smoke and he doesn’t rape,” she says dryly. “I married him to cleanse the dirt in me, to cleanse the evil of men, of some men, and it worked well, but still my father remained a part of me. I have struggled with my father since the rape, him as an idea and a feeling, and I have been in therapy all my life to just get him out of my system and remove him from the story of my life.”


She stops speaking and runs her fingers on the embroidery of the throw cushion. I stare at the Roman statue and wonder what the empress did the whole day because she had servants and slaves serving her and feeding her grapes and wine and cleaning her feet in buckets made of copper.


“Why did you reach out?” I ask her.


“Because he died,” she says.


“Who, your dad?”


“No. My father,” she says. “I wrote you that email the night I was told he died. He died of cancer. My therapist says I shouldn’t feel triumph but I can’t help it. I can’t help hoping that his cancer was the most painful type.  The type that makes you scream the whole night with pain. He says that such feelings towards him mean that he still has control over me. Well. I’m glad he’s gone.”


“Did he ask for you at any time when he was sick?” I ask.


“Yes. Many times. I didn’t go,” she says. “The last time I saw him I was 21-years old.”


“What’s your last image of him?” I ask.


“Ugly. All the images I have of him are ugly.”


“Do you have children?”


“Yes,” she says. “Look, one day when I’m ready maybe I will tell you my story. It will take a whole day to tell my story.” She laughs. We talk a bit and then she sees me off. At the car in the driveway I say, “So I had scheduled this story to run next week, which means now I have nothing. Can I write about this conversation?”


She thinks about it and says, “I guess, but I will tell you tomorrow. Very, very few people know this part of my story and I’d like to keep it that way until we can sit down properly. But if I tell you to write this conversation please don’t write my name or what I do or where I live or my house number,” she smirks.


It’s amazing how when people say, I want to remain anonymous and so I change things around, their names and addresses and what they do for a living – make doctors engineers and IT people accountants and I change the number of children they have and give them bad hair or describe their hair when they don’t have any and make them short when they are tall, when the story comes out there are people who call me and say, “Biko, that sounds like so-and-so, am I right?” And I’m like, “Who? Nooo, hardly.” And they go, “Come on, it’s him/her. You know how I know?”


“How?” I ask.


“Because you mentioned that part where they say this and that.”


“That doesn’t say anything.” I feel my nose growing longer.


“It does. This is him/her, right?”


“It’s not.”


“Come on, Biko. ”


“I can’t tell you!”


Kwani who do you think I will tell?”


“It doesn’t matter. Lenga. Look, how’s work, anyway?”


Yaani, you are not going to tell me?”


“Why, will you rub friendship with me?” I say. “Will you block me and unfollow me?”


“You are an idiot. I can’t believe you.”


“I must have hurt your feelings. I’m sorry. I will send flowers.”


“Me I know it’s him/her.”


“Me I know that’s not English. What is ‘Me I’?”


The next day she called me and said the husband had okayed the writing of this part. I asked jokingly if he also doubles as a therapist and she said, “I met him when I was 21 and a mess. He was there when the rape was still fresh in my body when I could still smell my father’s cigarette breath. And he’s been there through my demons. So he’s been my therapist, my protector, my lover, my friend and my father figure.”


So maybe one day she will tell us her story, and maybe she won’t. Is there anyone out there who has a compelling story to share? Any age at all from seven years to 70? Is there a man out there who lost everything and stayed down for a while and rose up? Hit me up; biko@ 

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  1. …….everything you do in life stems from either fear or love. And it’s true ‘”God lives in homes with babies”.He surely does.

  2. Jesus! Biko, why are you doing this to me? God lives in homes with babies. It is true. I remember how my life was useless during my single days despite making good money. Once I got my babies, God came into my home and my life and gave it direction. Life became more graceful, beautiful, richer, warmer, cleaner and all the good things in this life just fell into place. Amen!

    1. You know what else children’s shoes do? They make Kenyan matatus… There’s always one hanging somewhere in a matatu like a good luck charm…. Maybe they are.

  3. ‘The purple thing could be fish. You don’t want to be the guy who drank someone’s fish.’ You sure are a crazy guy…with words!

  4. Hi!

    What a story this was going to turn out to be! What a pity! But it’s perfectly understood.

    I was going to say that the way you paint the house (or, was this a home?) and the surrounding, I could almost place it! But no, I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to claim that I recognise the protagonist – even if you didn’t change a few facts about them to protect their identity. Nonetheless, she must still be really brave – even if she only whet your appetite for a story. What she went through – just the mention of it – is the kind of secret one takes to their grave, I guess!

    You threw me off though …… I had begun picturing home! And reminiscing. Because home tends to feel more like a place you grew up in and and perhaps, one you are hankering after! When you are old, you long for one even though you imagine you live in one! Why else would a man demand home atmosphere in a hotel and hotel service at home?

    Obviously, you were disappointed the story didn’t launch. I have not been disappointed. Thanks again here’s hoping the next one launches.

    Great week ahead!

  5. The title seemed to imply of a guy struggling with erectile dysfunction. How he is coping with it, how it makes him feel when everyone blames his wife for their childlessness. Why he decided not to adopt and how he feels inside when he comes across street children and all that but those hopes DASHED on a jagged rock. But this is life and we live it the best we can with whatever we are handed.
    When she felt good about her father getting cancer and hoping it was the most painful one. I also hoped so too. I think it’s human to wish the worst for people that did you bad things. Fathers should/MUST protect their daughters not be causing them untold misery. SHAME on him, even though he is dead.

    1. Haha! That is one stained soul. Reminds me of a low hanging fruit. I hear it when people say don’t judge a book by its cover (A title in this case) but it goes out through the other ear. Of course, you understand it. You understand the way this story happened. From expectations of erectile dysfunction to something else. Just like from Stained soul to Baraka ni zetu.

  6. “She smells of things – flowers and fragrance and tropical fruits and sunlight and dew and wet loam soil and coconut and cinnamon buns and burning wax and warm mango and mint toothpaste and a burning matchstick, and potpourri…”

    You do know it’s very weird to smell people, right?

    1. It’s not Kenndey. Mapua hayana pazia… kinda stuff. I can imagine her hair. Wet and soft. Freshly done. The kind you want to touch and smell for hours. But it was covered in a yellow and green headwrap. So until next time.

  7. “Will you rub friendship with me?” Hahahaha.
    Kumbe we all did these things? That one got me good.
    Anyway, I hope she tells her story. Someday.

  8. I can’t help but imagine what the whole story would have been. And some of the interviews you do are definitely edgy. Over the words, “I was raped by my father” are a zillion reactions. What do you say after that? Actually, in the short conversation I could already peek into her pain. It is also easy to wish the story wouldn’t be more than what you already wrote.

  9. That title Biko….smh

    God’s grace to that lady. That is a heavy one to carry. Just sad 🙁
    But I love how you described her smell …flowers and fragrance and tropical fruits and sunlight and dew and wet loam soil and coconut and cinnamon buns and burning wax and warm mango and mint toothpaste and a burning matchstick, and potpourri…I believe you, she did smell good 🙂

  10. I don’t know what to say. I have no understanding of what she goes through everyday of her life or what she has been through. But I’m glad she is taking the first step albeit uncertainly to share her pain with us. It’s heartbreaking to be abused by those who are meant to protect us and I don’t think there exist a text book response or reaction to ‘I was raped by my father’ I hope she is okay. I hope one day she wakes up and feel lighter. I hope she’ll one day wake up and tell us her heart breaking story. In the meantime, I’m sending her lots of love wherever she is.

    1. That’s when therapy began for her. She found someone who helped her carry the burden. One mans loss, became another mans treasure. The husband is a good man, I can tell.

  11. Shocking tale…I can feel the air getting sucked out here too as I read her account. Any rape is a horrible thing to endure; but rape from someone who is meant to be your protector is unthinkable.
    About anonymity, I am imagining guys or gals on TV, telling their tales or account of something they saw or did…they will be that person in a dimmed room or blurred, their voices transformed to robotic; it would be hard to guess who they are.
    Perhaps the same should apply in writing. Describing everything about them to a tee…how they look, smell and little details in their houses..BOOM! Their friends and family immediately know who they are, and social interactions thereafter become super weird..their story has become the elephant in the room, and it’s stepping on toes, and sucking the air out of everything, because audiences interpret stories as they will, through prisms, and “own it and interpret it and perhaps give it different meanings,” than what one intended.

  12. My dwelling at the moment is my house. My parents place is my home. Don’t know if it makes sense to anyone else but to me it does.

    For a moment there, I wish she was able to tell her story. It is okay though, everything with its season. Sad that shes scarred for life… No girl deserves what she went through.

    That story reminds me of a certain guy that I sometimes meet in the mat almost every morning. He travels with his daughter who is too old to be held. She’s always on his lap and I can’t help but wonder why he can’t just pay a seat for her. He might be saving some money but there is an age that daughters should not sit on their fathers lap. Too unafrican to say the least.

    Thank the man above she found a good man ….she deserves it at least to restore faith in some men… And there are good men out there

  13. Life can be crazily harsh at times, but that is what it is-Life.
    I look forward to the full story not the synopsis of it…..
    And yes, kids make houses homes….

    1. The part of the “would-have -been” interview that would have interested me the most would have been her answers to the questions, “Did you tell your mother about it? What was her reaction?”

  14. She might just find some solace if the story becomes ours and not hers. Maybe, just maybe, that’s how the father gets to lose control of her.

  15. The husband keeps whisky but doesn’t drink.. interesting.

    Maybe something Biko hasn’t written about but its something existing,something blue and definitely not something new.

  16. It is heart breaking to read the conversation. God grant this brave lady and all who have gone through such a situated grace to forgive and let God be the judge. Hugs to you mum as you heal.

  17. Omg..I was not prepared for that at all..I really hope she gets to tell us her now? We wait…but this is what I’d say to her..”she’s got tremendous resilience..and that is a muscle that only gets stronger and is built up overtime..”

  18. This Cracked me up

    She approaches and conveys her apologies. She was taking a bath and her baths can take the whole day, she says. She smells of things – flowers and fragrance and tropical fruits and sunlight and dew and wet loam soil and coconut and cinnamon buns and burning wax and warm mango and mint toothpaste and a burning matchstick, and potpourri…look, I don’t know, but she smells good.

  19. Some stories are never easy to tell the world especially those of rape. You just want to keep it inside you, afraid that people will look at you differently. You might just want things to remain the safe way they were and not to be judged. I feel her pain.

  20. God, being the silent listener to every conversation, the unseen guest at every meal …The last few days I have been trying to remember what that green wall hanging in my neighbor’s house used to read. Its either I need to say that to my house or am just missing her. Its funny this is also the only part I remember. Somebody complete it coz I ain’t going to shags soon and am more disturbed now….Thanks Biko for the great work you always do.

  21. “You don’t want to be the guy who drank someone’s fish
    That had me giggling, and that was before I read the rest of the story. Actually, the story launched… it is a start. She has told someone, a stranger her deepest secret and despite changing her mind I believe that is a step. It must feel awful that the person who is meant to defend you is the one who hurts you so deeply. I can not imagine how the guilt and feeling of being dirty were for a young lady. Sending her some warm thoughts and hope that one day she will be able to forgive her father, not for him but for her sake. That one day she will look back and be okay and know she is a survivor. My work involves working with women and girls who have faced violence, including rape. Tough. May be one day she will tell us, may be not, may be one day she will wake up and she will feel okay. May be one day the ugly images of her father will fade further and further away.

  22. Maybe this was supposed to be the story. Sometimes we gain more insights by getting a snippet of the picture, than by seeing the full picture.

  23. I can barely touch my keyboard to write a comment because all I want to do is to keep reading ,and laughing loud at chocolate man drinking someone’s fish that sounds really funny right??

    Anyway it’s a good read ,I have tried a thousand and one times subscribing to this blog all in vain ….

  24. Eeehh…i think my house is a house…i hope it becomes a home soon.
    May she find inner healing. Reaching out to you is already a great step in the healing process.
    Her hubby was God sent and at the right time. Let her check out some of Joyce Meyer writings. Though my case is different, i have found lots of solace by listening to JMeyer.
    It is hopeful to know that there are still good and courageous men out there who don’t run away from people afflicted with inner pain.

  25. And now Biko got me wondering if my bedsitter feels like a home.
    I hope that that lady finds what’s really important:peace.

  26. I love how you take a would-be story and turn it into a story. Strength and peace to that lady.

    Thank you for being faithful to writing every Tuesday. I am glad I lived in the era of the bikozulu’s stories.

  27. the silent listener to every conversation, the unseen guest at every meal….. ” well, we have this writing at home and every time am in the sitting room I read it. For 17 years now.
    Sad story.

  28. I’ll have to rub a lamp for a good genie to come and rub off her heart, this ugliness. It doesn’t really go away… so one must find the courage to let it go. #feelingsad

  29. Biko, this story is sad and very raw…To think it has come at a time when I have encountered a home that takes in children who have been abused by close relatives and that includes fathers, I can almost relate to this woman state of mind…Do you know I saw a seven/nine year old that was raped by her father and is now passing waste through a catheter because she got damaged…Worst thing is that this girl hold one of the post card kind of smile…The ones that you will take note of in a room full of people because of its beautify and never leaves her face. It broke my heart to hear her story and later be shown who the child was. Then there was that father who abused his 9 month old daughter and the stories keep churning out till you become dizzy. This world will break your heart when you think you have heard and seen it all. If you will be interested to meet the administrator and maybe hear the stories, I could share her contacts.

  30. This world has a mix of interesting people and it breaks my heart when I think of what most are capable of doing. Her husband is one of the few good man.

  31. I feel this way of letting it out might work for her.
    And thumbs up Biko, you made my single room feel like a home with a shared bathroom, he he

  32. I feel this way of letting it out might work for her.
    And thumbs up Biko, you made my single room feel like a home with a shared bathroom, hehe

  33. Wow! Tough just! I wonder what relationship she now has with her boys, if any. I just pray the rape didn’t cause her to resent her own children, the boys. Because there just has to be something your kids remind you of your parents however small. May Allah help her heal.

  34. God lives in homes with babies. He just sits there, God, being the silent listener to every conversation, the unseen guest at every meal who doesn’t ask for the salt. He just sits there watching over his baby

  35. Now I just have to go shopping for your book -Drunk, because your weekly quota is missing. Kumbe someone can get a serious addiction

  36. Its nothing anyone would even imagine its unthinkable .Good thing God sent her an angel to look after her.may she find peace from God only Him can grant it to her

  37. i think ts very therapeutic to let go all that you carry i your chest and see it on print.i used to keep a diary where i would write all my secrets.a part of me always hoped it would be found even though i hid it so that someone would know the pain i carry. i hope she will soon open up. she will realize she has set the demon free.and oh how freeing it will b

  38. You can trust Biko to leverage from such a brief testimony. Everyone who awaits some part ‘(1/2) of this should get up awake.!Yours truly was also lost inthe literary scene initially. The fact that this is a complete story still proves Biko is still guru.

  39. This seems like one of those stories that leaves somebody staring into their devices once the reading comes to an end. I pray that she will find the strength and courage and invite you for that interview. I am looking forward to reading it one day.
    I hope you will also find the strength to resist smelling a stranger’s shoe in their house. That monologue tickled me.

  40. Who, your dad?

    No, my father….

    He doesn’t deserve the title Dad, because dads are protectors of daughters, they are don’t violate them in such a deeply painful way!

  41. This feels like a room filled with bottled emotions echoing for space to be listened heard and understood.. my wish is that she finds the journey of freedom..cos this can painfully steal you away from self..I know it too well.. I love your home description…felt it.

  42. Biko, you guy…

    Me I know that is not English. What is “Me I” ?

    Ha! I’m on the floor with this. I too dislike it when people say that. I think to myself *wears deep thinking face*
    “Who are you & who taught you English? Go back and get your school fees!!”

  43. I REALLY hope her father’s cancer was the painful type………..Those times he asked to see her……I wonder what he had to say to her.