Sight of the Sun and other Stories

“Sit down Sim!’ Mrs Tamane bellowed. Simon Khabadiso was the tallest and darkest boy in the class. He hardly ever went unnoticed. He had a huge smile on his face as he peered over to the other side of the class to another boy who, had also stood up, ready to make the dash for the door to start off their celebrations. Gift Artiswo was the shortest; a bright boy with eagerness for learning. He and Sim were always seen together. The one couldn’t do without the other. And so they became known as mathe nolwimi, inseparable like the tongue and saliva.  They were like blood brothers. The biggest void for Sim was that he didn’t have a dad. Simon’s father had gone missing a few years after his birth. He never knew his father. He had been told many stories about his father but that was all he had to go on. Relaxing in the shade of a giant Kokerboom, Sims enticed Arts with some information. “Ey, boy, you know that Khanyisa is throwing a party tonight hey? We should go, man. Kgotso said he’s going and he even got us some of that witblitz man.”  “Are you crazy? I’II go to that bash but I’m not going anywhere near that stuff, man,” Arts retorted, “that’s dangerous staff. I’ve heard that they throw battery acid into it to give it a bit of a boost.” “Mfwethu, we are big boys now. We should have a good time besides, I’ve already taken a little from Kgotso after school,” Sims said in return. This upset Arts and he started making his way back to the location. As Sim flipped himself up from the ground to catch his scrawny friend, he felt a sharp pain in his head that made him yelp, catching the attention of Arts, but who did not turn back to enquire what was wrong. Sims eventually got home and went to lie down in the shadow his father had built. There he fell into a deep sleep. He was never to make it to the party. The summer that ended his primary school career also ended many of his hopes and dreams. A bright boy with a bright future now living in a dark world. Blind and regretful. He left home to live on the streets. Four years later he found himself 400km away from his neck of the woods. The sun beat down on him. Life in the city was fast paced but for Sim everyday felt like the long, lonely unending day. There he sat on the steps of the municipal building in Voortrekker Road with his floppie between his feet. He held up a sign which someone had written for him. It read: “I am blind. Please help.” There were only few coins in the hat. A man walked by, took few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat, and strolled down on the side roads. Sim called out to him, “Ey Numzana!” but the stranger was partially deafened by the hawkers who went about their business. This continued for some few weeks and Sim felt even though he could not see this man, there was an attraction.  One day the man came walking along the pavement again. As it was his ritual, he took out some money, pit into the hat, but this time took the sign wrote some words and gave it back to Sims. Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. The man came back to check how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning?” what did you write?” The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.” I wrote: “Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it,” The message the kind man had written touched the hearts of all who read it and even brought Sims to tears. For the first time he realized that even though he had lost his sight, there was so much back home to still be grateful for. Sim said “I thank you Sir for visiting me every day. But we’ve not officially met. I don’t even know your name. What is your name Sir?” The man simply smiled; a smile Sims could feel. “Around here I’m known as Rocky, because of my name which means ‘the rock’. You know Peter from the Bible don’t you? I’m Peter. Peter Khabadiso.” At the sound of these words, Sims felt a chill rush down his spine. Somehow he just knew. He jolted up onto his feet and embraced the man. “Peter said as he slipped out a slight chuckle. “What’s your name? “ Simon. Simon Khabadiso.” And just at that moment the father broke down into tears as he held the boy. Somehow he just knew. For the first time in eighteen years, he saw the sight of his son.

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