Story: Tissue is an issue


Short story by Lebohang Mashiloane

Every morning at 5 o’clock my alarm wakes me up but most mornings when it rings I’m already up and admiring the view of Lesedi from my bedroom window. It is a privilege to wake up to the views of the Heidelberg hills, most of my neighbors wake up to the view of their neighbors RDP houses with cracking paint.

The ritual after the alarm does it’s work which is waking, the boy up hasn’t changed for years. The door handle broke three months back, I’m not a handy man, it remains broken and by the look of things it will remain broken until someone decides to fix it but for now me and the door will wrestle for two minutes before the the back room door opens.

When the door finally opens, the breeze of Lesedi teases my bare chest and every time it does I wonder what state of mind God was in when he decided that these beautiful views, this beautiful land of ours must be accompanied by this beautiful breeze, God must have been in a very tranquil state of mind, must have been smiling from ear to ear.

I often hear people say that, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, well I say a dump a day keeps the doctor away, the morning dump is mandatory.

While I sit on the toilet seat, I wonder how it feels to take a dump in a toilet that is in the house, it must feel weird taking a dump in a house where people are continuing with their business of the day, it must feel weirder when they start asking questions about who is taking a dump while covering their noses, taking a dump is sacred it has to be done in peace, outside.

Tissue is a luxury, in this part the hood many households use newspapers to wipe their their behinds.

Like every other morning before I soften the newspaper, I read the paper it deserves at least some respect before being subjected to some stinky waste from last night’s dinner of pap and beans. Mapepeza always has the last updates about what’s happening in our communities, the second page of the paper reads: STUDENTS OF SEDIBENG COLLEGE HEIDELBERG CAMPUS ARE REGISTERED WITH OUTSTANDING FEES! If my memory serves me well, five years ago, I was a student of the college but was turned back during registration because of my outstanding fees. Had I not been financially excluded, I would have my national diploma in Public Management by now.

I read the article.

A student leader from a student movement was quoted saying, “students with outstanding fees must come to campus with necessary documents, no one will be financially excluded.”

I quickly folded the paper, pulled up my pants, flushed the toilet and ran to the house to look for my documents so I could go register too.

When I saw the Mapepeza paper in my hand I remembered that I had forgot to wipe my behind.

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