Shantell Nyoni 11.4
In these unfamiliar walls, with these unfamiliar faces the beat of her heart suffocates her
mind, body and soul. Each step felt heavier than the last, each breath felt deeper than the
last, each voice was telling her to turn back. The glaze over her dull brown eyes blurred the
vision of the intense gaze and whispers of judgement hurled her way. The red flare of
embarrassment ascending from the tips of her toes rose to accommodate every inch of her
being, while the echoes of laughter override the drums. The quieting sounds of her
heartbeat brought her back to consciousness, as an unsure smile crept up onto her face, her
eyes still monotonous and her cheeks still scarlet. She wanted to look unfazed to the five
smiling girls each with a twinkle of happiness in their eyes. As the head of year started the
introductions she felt overwhelmed with the names she had to remember: which triggered
the continuous wave of nerves flowing in her mind to go to overdrive. No words had left her
mouth and none were at the tip of her tongue, all the vocabulary she had learnt since she
was young had disappeared and had left her stranded. All she wanted to do was seem
normal and in place so she could fit right in.
From there on seconds felt like hours, hours felt like days. Already drained from the pile of
questions about her past life, she slumps her back against the wall as they get ready to
satisfy the beast inside their stomachs. The swift breeze that caused a shiver through her
spine drove her to close her eyes and reflect on the crisp air she’s familiar with. Slowly the
tears began to force their way on her; she made no sound and the others talking did not
Now out beyonder her was the sloping of the hill descending to the building of traffic next to
the arcades and seafront. The noise heavy in ear; wind whistling its favourite tune; the
people rich with uniqueness. Her friends lead the way while she moved slowly out, and
when they reached the sand they took off their shoes. Soft sky above, sharp stones
underfoot and the clouds caressed with reflected light. The lacy waves were a drumbeat that
echoed her heart, the breeze blew the tension right out of her bones and all the while the
birds arc above. Taking a deep breath, inhaling the salty water, she felt a jolt as her friend
pulled her to lay with them and gaze up at the sky. Bathing under the unrelenting sun, the
world is painted vivid by its rays, like a new painting with still wet oils. No longer is it gently
Shantell Nyoni 11.4
warming our bodies, bringing life back to cold muscles; now it burns unprotected skin in
minutes, battling against the strength of the wind that fought to soothe us. The sun was hard
on the sand, the concrete and the few trees. It made the air hot and her clothes were hot
too. They began to shift out of the summer sun, laughter running its course through all of
them. They sat in the shade of a balcony, she listened to the talk, she listened to the
laughter, she knew the people. The colours began to change slowly, to deepen and shift from
the sparkles of the sea. The lights were coming, the ones that lit up the town when it was
time for the sun to lay at peace. The chatter and the buzz of the familiar people was dying
down. She lead them to her home, under a sky of perfect midnight velvet, under stars so
brilliant they drew the eyes heaven bound. As they got closer to her home she could see
light in the house, and she could hear the soft hum of the classical music her father loved to
play. As they all sat around the table friends and family, she cherished the moment, knowing
it would be one of her last. Her father served them up their dinner- the sweet intoxicating
smell of his cooking assisted her in capturing a forever lasting memory of her home. They sat
at the meal and there was talk with happiness but with an underlying feeling of sadness.
She stopped slumped back against the chair and just examined her surroundings, examined
the familiar faces, examined the familiar walls trying not to miss one single detail.
Experiencing that all familiar feeling of love, warmth and deep emotions she sighed heavily.
She didn’t want to speak to ruin the moment because she couldn’t mask the sadness in her
She could feel the tears and she was afraid to open her eyes for fear that the others see.
When she could look at the unfamiliar faces and the unfamiliar walls, nothing made sense.
Shantell Nyoni 11.4
A game of poker is always dangerous, but when you’re risking all of your life savings and the
trip of a lifetime- that’s when seconds feel like hours and the uncontrollable beat of your
heart becomes so loud it invades your capability of hearing. My eyes darted at the three
other lads right in front of me, examining their facial features to determine my next moves.
Each of them had beads of sweat rolling and racing down their face with scrunched up
eyebrows, intense gazes and flared nostrils. Fear is what fed my ego and I became relaxed,
sure of myself. It was time, the moment felt so unreal, like I was in a movie or something.
One by one they folded and there was two of us left. I won’t lie... the doubt of what my
future is to be in the next 5 seconds was prominent in my mind. He places his cards down a
smirk creeping up of his face while stretching his shoulders back to rest on the chair like he
has never rested before in his life. It’s hard to describe the moment that would one-hundred
and eighty turn my whole life around. I felt like i had never lived before, as if some sort of
spirit just revived a soul that was lifeless until now.
I turned to my best friend, Fabrio and smiled, excitement oozing from my face. No words had
to come out of my mouth for him to understand what was about to happen. I placed down
my cards and my opponent’s face dropped to the ground. His once confident stance, was
crushed in the matter of seconds. For a guy like me i didn’t have much to lose, but for him i
think he learnt a valuable life lesson: don’t bet what you can’t afford twice. Fabrizio and i
wasted no time taking our winnings, bags and exhilaration of knowing i am returning home.
We climb on board ship with only having a couple minutes to spare, with hopes of starting
new lives for ourselves. Entering the ship created a ripple effect of goosebumps to appear. I
had never been accomodated to something so beautiful, elegant and charming. It was hard
for Fabrizio and i to stay focused and find our cabin, we looked like two young children
entering a chocolate factory: it was unbelievable. One of the staff men had to snap us back
to reality, he didn’t have to say anything but we knew he wanted us to move along to cabins
fit for my class. You’d think society would finally be accepting to those less fortunate than
Shantell Nyoni 11.4
Having finally reached our cabin on the lower decks, it was bigger than i had hoped, beds
comfy enough to sleep well but that was all i needed. Exploration of what this ship had to
offer was not out of the question. Enthusiasm was being excreted from throughout my
whole body and i wasn’t ashamed! The top deck of the boat was astonishing, really blew my
mind. Looking out into the ocean was impeccable, being able to inhale the salty upthrow
from the sea, the rough wind blowing through my hair- being able to feel like i was flying. I
look behind me and i was in awe. A beautiful redhead had made my heart skip a beat, her
sparkling intense blue eyes drew mine in, ruby-red lips leering me in. Such an elegant young
woman covered in expensive upper class jewelry, i knew from then on i would never be able
to get in close proximity of her. Unrequited love was not what i was expecting.
She glanced at me, not with happiness or the same awe as i did her, with worry and sadness
which felt heavy on my heart. I don’t know her or her story but i felt a connection and
electric pulse that for her and i could only share. My heart's strings were being pulled at the
sight of the rock on her left hand, it made me feel ill, the thought of knowing someone
unworthy of her love had claimed her… that it was not me. From then on i longed for her
presence near mine, just to feel her aura next to mine and her warmth indulged in mine. I
couldn’t sleep that night or eat or think straight. I just had to see her again, i needed to see
her again. Days went past without a sight, the torture of every misconstrued person being
the love of my life was tearing my sanity apart. I longed to see her again.
A couple of days later the sun was the only thing to get my spirits high, to grant me the
energy to find my love. I followed to elongated corridors and the many amount of stairs to
the decking area. The area was blocked off for anyone without an invite to a wedding. The
staff members on duty wouldn’t provide me with any information on her or whose wedding
it was. All i was hoping for was a chance to find her, to see her face one more time. Finding a
back staircase i slowly followed them to the top and carefully pushed the door open to not
make a sound. Looking, searching, yearning for my red head made me oblivious to what i
was about to see, the most wonderful woman i had ever seen walking down the aisle.
Shantell Nyoni 11.4