So in short. I was born in London, grew up in Swaziland and Johannesburg, and moved to Florida when I was 9 years old. I now consider America my home, but I left my heart in Swaziland many years ago.
The years I lived in Swazi were wondrous. While I was so young, it was an impressionable age and I couldn't have asked for a better childhood home and environment. It has been difficult for me to explain the impact this tiny Kingdom has had on me, so I have been trying for 3 years now to put it into a story. It is fictional story, but inspired by true people and a true setting. I have never told a soul about this, but I figured it is much easier to share my first written words with thousands of people I don't know and a few I do.
This is the introduction, and a very rough draft.
Our home sat on a beautiful and spacious piece of land in the mountains of Swaziland. I remember the feeling of the rough, patchy grass prickling against my feet as I ran from one hilly end of our backyard all the way to where the swings and jungle gym sat. It was a long stretch of ground to cover for my little legs, but I loved being outdoors and exploring the wonders and dangers that existed behind my house, and deep into the woods. Our backyard stretched down a small hill where it met a scary yet enticing pond that was haplessly surrounded by stinging nettle plants. My sisters and I had some unfortunate run-ins with those plants as we attempted to fearlessly get past the barricade they had grown over the years. This pond was a reminder of the line we were never allowed to cross, both determined by nature and our parents. Lining our property on the right side was a small swimming pool and a row of beautiful banana trees. Oh, those banana trees. My mother had planted them the day she and my father laid the first brick of our home. Behind the pond was the most majestic backdrop of rough and rocky mountains that turned lush-green as they cascaded to the bottom of the Earth. Scattered in small clumps in the distance were small, flat-roofed houses that were all constructed out of the same corrugated iron material indigenous to Swazi. They were similar in structure and size, but different in small ways: one family had painted the left side of their house a bright mint green color, while another had a cherry red door. If I squinted really hard, I was able to see the mothers hanging up their family’s freshly-laundered clothes on the white lines draping from one end of their house to another. I would smile and think of Thandiwe.
I remember helping her around the house with the laundry or cleaning. It was our time. We had been together since I was a baby when she would swaddle me in a blanket and cautiously throw me on her back while doing the housework. Mama hated that I bothered Thandiwe and always told me to go finish my homework or play outside. But I never did. I always insisted on her bathing me every night, and while she lathered the slimey soap bar all over my body and washed my hair, she would sing me our special Xhosa lullaby.
The End...for now.
Once again, feel free to shoot me an email with your feedback. This is a very rough draft, so please be kind :)
Have an awesome day!
New York City