Paralysed - When the fear is greater than the will

Ntsika is a 19 year old young man. He is a runner. As he he is faced with challenges in his sport and his life, he realises that the race to be great is only beginning. When he finds himself paralysed by fear, the doubt, loneliness, discouragement and worthlessness takes over. Does Ntsika have the will to keep going? Or will he remain PARALYSED?


10. Chapter 10

“I will finish him off.”

Marsha was distraught. “That child must be crazy!” Ntsika had spoken to her properly for the first time since she had started visiting him in prison.  She had told him to listen closely through the speaker.

“The charges have been dropped against you. Do you understand? You will be free… but you need to forgive Karabo because you need to put this behind you and focus on developing yourself. Are you listening?” Ntsika nodded slowly. Then he asked, with evident sobriety, when exactly he was being set free and when he could go home. When Marsha told him that he would be set free on the day of his next court appearance and repeated that the condition was that he needed to forgive Karabo, Ntsika made it clear that he was not willing to forgive and forget.

Jerad had become like Marsha’s big brother over the past few weeks. He was doing the renovation work for her building. Jerad was very skilled in tiling, carpentry and lighting. He was a Coloured (a person of mixed race ancestry in South Africa) born in one of the most dangerous provinces in the country. He grew up in a rough neighbourhood where drugs and crime were the norm. He was quiet most of the time, which made him a good listener. Sometimes he would pause, take the match stick out of his mouth and say something so wise that it made Marsha feel silly for overreacting.  What was even more interesting was that he looked so simple and minimalistic and… actually Marsha thought that he looked like a homeless person.  He had very unkempt hair, filthy finger nails and looked so underweight that Marsha wondered how he could handle such a labour intense job.  However, his humility and wisdom made him very likeable.

Lindi and Marsha were waiting anxiously at home and their mother was in court. Ntsika was going to return home today. He had spent Christmas, New Year’s Eve and his 19th birthday in Prison. His nephew was born and was even starting to walk without them ever seeing each other. He had spent a whole year being remanded over and over again without ever finding help. Social workers had said that they could not help and had suggested that they take the story to the newspapers to expose the justice system. The people that they had gone to for help were breaking down and saying “Oh God what a sad case.” All the family wanted was for Ntsika to be off drugs and regain his sanity and for a whole year they were going round and round in circles and not finding any help.

“I feel as if I have been holding my breath for so long and now I can finally exhale.” Marsha said, exhaling fully at the end and gesturing with her hands for emphasis.

“I know what you mean. I feel like we have all become stronger from this experience, I mean look at mama!” Lindi said. “And I am so happy that this got sorted out before I start my new job. Now I can be focused.” She continued.

“Hmmm, but what will we do with him now? We need to make sure that he goes to rehab as soon as possible. Maybe next week. I will push mama to get the stuff sorted out.”

Their mother called when she and Ntsika were on their way home. As soon as Ntsika walked through the door his sisters embraced him. He was tall and chubby and his skin was clear and brighter. He was wearing a soccer shirt that they did not recognise and navy tracksuit pants. It was the first time in a year that they could touch him. They did not care about the prison bugs that he might have but Marsha insisted that he have a bath in Dettol before touching her baby. Their mother explained how Karabo had come early to talk to the prosecutor and that after the judge spoke to both of them, they signed some paperwork, got Ntsika’s fingerprints and Ntsika was free.

“What did Karabo tell them his reason was for dropping the charges?” asked Marsha

“He said that he wanted Ntsika to get help and that he felt that prison was not the right way to get help.”

“Wow, how nice of him.” Marsha said as she rummaged for Dettol in the kitchen bottom cupboard.

Lindi took Ntsika outside to give him a haircut. She spoke to him as she was cutting his hair. He was restless and eager to get out in the street. He said that he needed to finish what h started with Karabo and that he had not forgiven him. Lindi asked him to wait for her as she went to get a brush. Lindi pulled her mother and sister aside and whispered, “Hey, he keeps saying that he needs to go somewhere to get some things done. He has only been here for two minutes and he’s all jumpy- jumpy… and, he says he’s going to finish off Karabo.” Their mother said that one of his old friends had already seen Ntsika when they were on their way to the house. Lindi quickly ran out to continue with the haircut and acting as if nothing was going on. While in the house, Marsha and her mother were working on a plan to get him out of the house, and out of the neighbourhood before another relapse like the one after Ward 55.

When Ntsika woke up in his metal and concrete prison cell surrounded by so many other young men on that Thursday morning, he could never have guessed that his day would end the way that it did. The women had put the plan together so quickly. Lindi left to buy Ntsika a pizza while he had a bath in antiseptic water. Marsha made a quick call to Jerad who had told her about the rehab that his little brother Ash had gone to for a year. It was affordable because it was run by a church as an outreach project. Mama packed some clothes and blankets and the rest was going to be bought on the way. After Ntsika was done bathing, Marsha kept him busy by introducing him to his nephew and telling him a lie about her “friends” who were going to pick them up to celebrate his freedom. Jerad and Ash arrived in the van and Ntsika’s belongings were discreetly loaded on while he watched cartoons with his sisters and ate pizza. Marsha managed to manipulate Ntsika to get into the van with the guys. Her mother came along with them and they drove for three hours. During the ride Ntsika demanded to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere three times. He smoked 12 cigarettes and complained about hunger many times.

Ntsika was only going to use the toilet in this big building. The man at the door asked him to put out his cigarette. As he was being accompanied to the toilet he saw a young man sitting on a bench with a stuffed sports bag at his feet. He looked worried. The man who accompanied him to the toilet made friendly conversation with him and led him to a room where a few other young men were sitting quietly. His mother came around to tell him that he was going on holiday for a bit. He asked her to buy him some cigarettes and she left to get them for him but never returned.



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