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The sounds of laughter and happiness, everyone wishing each other, hugging one another with well wishes, a family and friends were celebrating a new year, the year 1979 not knowing that the real celebration was still to happen. A few hours later, a scream of tremendous pain. It was time. The screams of labour pains echoing through the house, it was a New Year’s morning, the mother to be was taken to hospital and at 3:10pm a baby boy was born to two God fearing parents. They named him Joe, as white as snow, all toes and fingers accounted for, in other words, perfect. The father arrives after 7pm to take his wife and new born son home, where the baby‟s older Brother Edison and grandmother awaits; oh what a joyous meeting it was.
Four years later Joe grew, as any normal 4 year old, but always wanting to be in the background. He never liked to be centre of attraction. He even took his first steps before his parents found out. Not long after his fourth birthday he and his older brother got the news that a new addition to the family would be coming, he was excited like any other sibling would be and for him it was an added bonus because now the attention would shift to the new sibling. One day on the way home from the doctor he overheard his parents speaking with concern in their voices, at 4 years old he did not know exactly what was wrong, but he knew something was wrong. There was a complication with the new sibling that was on the way. He was still happy though and exited and could not wait .That year 20 September the new sibling was born (Angel) and she was different, but he did not care because she was his little sister and he loved her. Months went by and his sister was diagnosed as mentally handicapped and had a huge murmur on her heart and the doctors did not give her long to live, mother explained this to them, that did not change a thing for Joe, she was his sister and he loved her even more. Life went on, his sister went for countless operations and checkups, and he never liked it. Lots of trips to the hospitals but on the brighter side of things he liked it a little because he always got chips and sweets and cool drinks (and that is heaven for any kid). Time went by and sister got better and was perfectly healthy (doctors were wrong she lived) she could not walk or talk but she did things that a normal child could do, and the family adapted to know exactly what she wanted and needed, to the family she was as normal as any other child, only special though Joe and his brother hated it if people stared. Joe could hurt someone seriously, he had a very dark side to him that no one knew and will never know. All the attention was on sister now and her improvements, so Joe was happy.
1985 summer, it was now time for school and Joe was exited because Joe liked learning new things, Mom took him to school that summer morning as moms did all those things because dad had to work. He immediately made friends, there were kids crying and going on but that did not bother him, he wanted to be in school like his older brother. He went to Liesbeeck primary which was not far from his Portland‟s house where he lived. Just after his birth his parents moved to Mitchell‟s plain, Portland‟s in Cape town South Africa, Portland‟s was a peaceful suburb and Joes mum walked everywhere with them, so he knew his way around and not long being in school, Joe told his mum not to come to the school to fetch him, “we all know how mums are‟‟, so that did not work, only in time mum waited further and further away and those days it was a much safer world. It was so safe that people could leave milk bottles with money outside and in the mornings a van with fresh milk would come and deliver the milk to the door step while you sleeping or out and no one would steel the money or the milk. People could leave their doors unlocked, that is how safe it was.
Joe was an average boy nothing special about him, maybe just his nice eyes. Joe had nice hazel eyes and some days it would turn green. He was average at school and doing well, but he had a stutter and it got worse, and he realised it got worse when he got nervous oh! He was made fun of, but he still had friends. In grade two one day the teacher went out the classroom and told the class captain for that day to take names of anyone who talked. Joe was not much of a talker but his class friend Paul was a chatterbox and spoke to Joe, Joe did not answer cause he knew he would get into trouble but Paul did not stop, so Joe eventually told him to keep quiet and at that time Garth the class captain spotted Joe and wrote his name down. Joe knew he was in trouble but said nothing even when he had to go to the toilet he kept quiet. Eventually after 45 minutes His teacher Miss Daniels came back and asked Garth who the talkers were and Joe was one of them. They all had to stand in front of the class to get their hiding, while standing in front another teacher came in to talk with Miss Daniels and the same time Joes pee was pressing but he was too
scared to disturb his teacher because she was already angry with them. So Joe let go and peed in his pants. That at least got him out of getting a hiding but the class had a huge laugh. The stutter did not last long in grade 3 he had it under control. He met Jack in grade three who came for the first time to the school that year (1987) and because Joe saw him at church the Sunday before, he befriended him. They became very good friends. Jack was a good boy and the two of them had a lot in common. Joe started having a very strong liking to soccer that year and played every day in his breaks and after school, after his homework was done. The next year he joined the club Portland Rovers which his friend Ricardo staying 2 doors away already played for and his dad Uncle Freddy was the chairman of the club.(more on that later).Joe did nothing special on school and was not famous, he was a normal boy. Teachers liked him but they always compared him to his older brother, because somehow Joe ended up in the same teachers classes. Joe was overall a good boy, yes he was naughty as any other kid, but he worked with a style so that his mum did not find out much, due to his mother being the enforcer. Joe‟s dad worked a lot like all dads did those years. Joes mum was a house wife and was very strict and gave a good and solid beating when need be. Joe and his brother Edison had to be in the house by 5pm and if not, mum would come and get them, in the street where they lived with a thick leather belt and hit them straight into the bath, one by one. She would first grab Edison and then return for Joe. They were bathed and done eating by the time their dad got home from work and that was a rule not to be broken or else. Joe‟s dad was cool, very passive he never hit them, his talk alone was scary enough, but there was one day that Joe and his brother got a hiding from his dad and they would always remember that hiding. He‟s dad was a lover of the old peugot cars .He had a green one that was driving and 3 others in the backyard that he kept and used as spares, but that is what Joe and his Edison did not know. One sunny day they with their friends Ricardo, Denver and Rashaad that lived in the road, played in their backyard and they decided to smash all the lights and take out the globes of all the cars in the yard. The day went on, mum did not notice, when dad got home he blew his top when he saw what they did and they got a hiding of their lives with a thick leather belt (original thick leather).The hiding started from the yard and straight into bed with no supper. A hiding they would never forget.
Joe enjoyed soccer, played it everyday when he could. He joined the club, Portland Rovers at the age of 9.He played under 10 and played right half. Joe was good for a rookie and got a trophy at the end of that year. It was called “rookie of the year”, which was the best improved player that joined that year. The next year a deacon from the church asked Joes mom if he and his brother did not want to learn music, but they both said no and I quote „‟no that is for nerds‟‟. Joe‟s mom and dad were good parents they did not force them to-do anything. Joe and his Edison went on playing soccer. Joe was a better soccer player than Edison. Later that year that same deacon asked Joes mum again and Joe decided to try it out, and when Joe said yes Edison also wanted to do it, and guess what ?Joe loved it. That is when he realised that he could learn fast if he wants to learn and if he enjoyed it. For example he could not be able to play something when he went to sleep and then the next morning when he woke up he could play it, but he did not tell anyone because he did not like attention. Joe enjoyed playing soccer and playing his recorder, no problems, but suddenly Joes coach made the soccer practices the same day and time as his music classes. Joe asked his parents what to do and dad said “do what you love the most it‟s up to you”, because he did not want them to blame him at the end of the day, and that sounded fair to him. Joe decided to leave soccer and continue with music. That was his choice and he was happy with it. Things went well with Joe‟s music. The next year his mum asked if he would like an other instrument and he wanted a violin and he got it, it was not long then Joe started playing, he amazingly taught himself with a book his parents bought him, the same time a school teacher found out he had talent in the music sector and used him to play in concerts and he actually enjoyed it. Jack Joes best friend also played recorder and trumpet, so they played in concerts together and practiced together.
The Wonder Years
At 12 years of age Joe started noticing girls and had his eye on a girl at his school, Candice was her name. She had light coloured frizzy hair almost blond and was light of complexion. She was a bit shorter than Joe. She always had on a short tight grey skirt and in summer she wore a red pullover (that was the colour of the school red and grey), Joe was not much of a talker around girls (he was still wet behind the ears) and did not know how to approach this girl. He had an older school friend in his class Shevon that was popular with the ladies and he told Shevon he has his eye on Candice and did not know how to go about the whole situation. Being friends he told Joe he would help. It was first break and Joe and Shevon were standing under a tree looking “cool” and Candice walks past and Shevon tells her “hi there this is my friend Joe, he likes you” Joe turned red but to his surprise she answered “I know” and she smiled at Joe and walked on. Shevon insisted that he must go talk to her, but he was to shy and said “no another day”. Shevon then told Joe not to be so a sissy otherwise someone else might make a move before him and he would loose. The next day Joe made his heart strong and decided he is going to speak to her, at first break. The bell rang he was pretty nervous but made his way up the stairs to the girl‟s class, and then he walked into her and said “hi” ..............long silence............. “Can I talk to you after school” she replied with a smile “ok? But we can talk now” Joe replied all Dum struck “no after school I got something to do now” he lied; he choked that why he said after school hoping he could shake the nerves. After that encounter Joe was pretty angry with himself but still nervous. The day passed and the bell rang for school to be over, he walked slowly to the gate and there she stood waiting over the road, Joe was still a distance away and coming closer suddenly another boy came past her and put his arm around her neck and walked with her, with Joe seeing this he turned around and walked the other way not knowing that Candice took the boys arm off her and walked away from him. Joe did not bother to even try to talk to the girl again but the strangest thing happened his stutter came back. He still had a crush on her and eventually after 2 weeks he did not see her in school anymore, he asked around and found out that she and her family has moved and she went to another school. He was angry with himself, but that passed with time. Later that year Joe met Mel but that
did not work out because she lived in Lentegeur. Lentegeur was situated next to Portlands but was a very dangerous area. There was lots of gansters and kids that wanted to be gangsters, and a couple of boys wanted to hurt him because he was visiting the hot girl that lived in their area and Joe did not want to go through all that trouble for a girl, so he did not bother to call her again. She on the other hand called three to four times daily but then Joe told his mum to tell her not to phone there anymore. Joe was an average student and was ok in sports, with every inter house he always came in second or third but never made it to the inter school athletic meetings, except for the last year in primary school grade 8.He was in yellow house and it was the 100 metre sprint, they all lined up and got in position to start the race................. “on your mark................... get set...................go” BANG and Joe was off he ran like he never ran before, at the 50 meter mark it was neck and neck between him and Neil, (Neil was a boy that Joe could not win in running, every year Joe trained to win him but never could) suddenly a spectator got a little on the track and broke Neil‟s concentration and that was the break for Joe. He pushed and he came first. That was the first round in his age group in the last round he came 2 that made him qualify for the school team. Joe was happy to hear that he also came first in long jump and was to represent the school in that as well. He was exited and immediately the day after started training. During that time he actually got famous at school, other kids started greeting that would never great before etc. Joe trained everyday at school and even after school, he even drank raw egg. Training went well and eventually it was time for the athletic meeting. That morning Joe got up early with lots of butterflies because it was the first time he was to run for the school. He had a good breakfast that morning and was off to school early. The school transported all the athletes to the stadium. It was finally time for Joe‟s race, the first hit in his age group. All the boys lined up in their lanes, Joe was lane 2................ “On your marks” Joe got down in position “get set” and because of nerves he started before the gun went off. BANG BANG a double shot went off and was announced “lane 2 final warning, take your mark” now Joe nerves were really on end but he controlled his breathing.............. “On your marks..................get set................. BANG” and he was off, but to his surprise he could not get away from the other
boys, it was tight so Joe decided just before the line came up to fake a cramp and came last. He did not want to run the entire race and come third or fourth at least this way he could say it was because of the cramp. Everyone said after the race that it‟s a pity he got the cramp he could have made it, so Joe was happy with his sneaky choice he made. With the long jump as well he got disqualified he had 3 no jumps. That did not bother him at all because it was his last year on primary school. The year went fast and he past at the end of the year and was accepted at Portland senior secondary which was situated behind his house, but this reminds me of a rather embarrassing story that happened to Joe in the final exam. It was a rainy day and Joe had this long navy blue rain coat. He put it on that morning and left for school. When he arrived at school he took it off cause the rain stopped and it looked like the sun was coming out. The bell rang and he got ready for the maths paper. He was confident he knew his work so he started with his paper but after 15 minutes he stomach started not feeling well and had to go to the toilet, but as we know once you start exams you cant leave the room so he had to continue with the cramps. The cramps got so bad after a while that he could not concentrate and decided to let a little of the pressure out and he shit in his pants. At this stage he did not care, all he wanted was to get done with the paper and get home to his toilet because he never ever used other toilets. Time past and the pressure started again, but he was not done yet so he decided to let another bit out, the teacher walked around the class as they always did checking if anyone was cheating. She came to the back of the class where Joe was sitting and pulled her nose, but did not know who it was. Eventually Joe finished and gave in his paper but now he was faced with getting up and he had a huge wet spot on his pants, but at that time it started raining again and he thought “my rain coat” he put it on and ran home and no one knew what he did.
It was now 1993 after the holidays and Joe just turned 14.It was time for high school, Joe was a serious looking fellow and had a lot of older friends. He was a fearless boy and would never keep his mouth for anyone, and that got him out of a lot of situations as well as in trouble, for example when his brother came home one day with a blue eye, a boy in his class had beaten him up and Joe was the one who went to the boy who beat his older brother and told him if he ever comes near his brother again he would kill him. The boy laughed at Joe, then Joe looked at him with no fear in his eyes and told him” well we will see after school who will be laughing when you dead” and with that said he walked away. That boy was so scared they never went close to Edison again. Joe loved his brother although they argued a lot. Finally first day of high school arrived. Joe was exited because all he was thinking about is girls like any 14 year old would. He arrived at school and got to his class, his friends were with him and he made new friends. (Joe‟s older brother Edison was also at the school and he was a nerd in all the sense, always done his work and done nothing exiting or wrong, (where Joe was a black sheep or at least wanted to be, always doing naughty things but without his parents finding out). The first day of grade nine was surprisingly going great for Joe, he met a lovely girl Amanda, she had black hair cut in a “Bob” style and she was pretty and tall. She approached Joe where he was sitting in the far end of the classroom, second from the back, she introduced herself to him and asked him if he had a girlfriend, he replied “in actual fact no I do not have a girlfriend” then she asked him “can I be your girlfriend” Joe was astonished but answered “yes why not”, they chatted the entire day but over the next week they stopped talking to each other and lost contact, nothing came from this short hook up, mainly because he listened to a friend, who was on the school the previous year. He told Joe that Amanda was an easy girl and had a lot of boyfriends and that made him turn a blind eye towards her.(In actual fact she was not like that and Joe missed out on something great) Life was good on high school, until one day when he had a fight. Gary who was in Joe‟s class was teasing Joe for a while and this one Friday Joe had enough. It was the period before first break and it was a free period and there was no teacher in the class. Gary who was a bit bigger than Joe walked passed him and hit him with a piece of paper in his face and at that moment something snapped inside Joe (like a mirror breaking) and
he jumped up not saying a word and started hitting Gary in the face, one blow after another eventually Monrey (a friend) had to grab Joe away but Joe broke loose and went for Gary again, it took three of his classmates to keep him off the boy until he came to his senses. Joe had to please explain that day and got a hiding from the principle. That year Joe became a bit of a renegade maybe because of his new class friends he made. Their names were Monrey, Ossman, Randy, George and Jake who was his best friend. The six boys were naughty, one day they decided to drink a bottle of brandy before school. All the boys told their parents that they have a class project and had to be early at school but that was a lie, they all met at a park not to far from Joes house and Monrey who bought the bottle took it out and they drank and got drunk and went to school. They were never caught. Joes mum was clueless of his doings on school.
Close to the end of that year Joe was playing in a lot of musical workshops in the church orchestra. (The bishop area orchestra). He played every week (Tuesday evenings @ 7pm) in different congregations, but when he went to Colorado congregation his eyes fell on a very beautiful lady in the audience (oh and she was very pretty, very small nice curves long brown hair and two dimples) and it seemed like she was looking at him but he was not sure. After the workshop she disappeared but Joe asked around because someone had to know who she was. Luckily for him one of the girls that also played violin with him knew this girl. Her name was Shirnel. The next week he spotted her again in another congregation and gave her a wink just to see her response and she smiled, Joe told himself “it is on”. After the workshop was done he rushed to get to her before she left and he got to her and there was electric. Joe eventually dated Shirnel for a few months until the worst brake up that left Joe angry at the opposite sex, angry in a sense that he would get back at all females by using them. It was a Monday and after school he and Jack went to the library like they always did and when he got home Edison (who was seeing a Tamzin that was friends with Shirnel) told him “Tamzin phoned and said that Shirnel does not want to see you anymore”. Joe was astonished because the night before he sent a dedication to her over the radio station Good hope fm saying how he feels about her and they read it out and Joe actually recorded it, because of that Joe was very angry and started using girls seeing 3 or 4 at one time, but that came to an end when Joe‟s dad noticed
his behaviour and had a man to man talk with him and told him he is heading down the wrong road, and when his dad talked they listened.
At that age Joe‟s parents left them a lot alone at home on Friday‟s because Joe and his Edison did not want to go with, and their parents trusted them because Edison was the responsible one, not knowing that Joe could easily manipulate Edison into something. This is how they started smoking; (Joe, Edison, Jack and the 2 Macintyre brothers Calvin and Joseph).It first started with the dad‟s nipped cigarettes that he left behind. Joe and Jack were always together best buds as well as Joes brother and his friend Wilson. When Joe was left alone he immediately phoned Calvin and Joseph Macintyre to come over to smoke. As I mentioned Joe started smoking from his dads nipped cigarettes and later when they started getting addicted to it, he started stealing of his dads, when his dad went to sleep, because his dad always bought the “bible of smokes” (30 cigarettes). Joe‟s dad loved his beer and drank a lot of it on his off days which was weekends starting Fridays after work and when he got past the level and went to sleep Joe would sneak into the room and stole 1 or 2 sometimes 3 and did it well and never got caught(or so he thought). The four boys were very close, they were always together, they were at the age were they wanted to go clubbing, but they were not allowed (Christian parents were totally against it those years) but that did not stop them, Joes parents trusted them and let them go out alone, but only if Edison was with because he was older and very responsible, that gave Joe an idea. He persuaded his older brother and every Saturday Joe would tell his mum they are going out for the day, to malls or the cinema, but guess what! They did not go there; they ended up at club vibe matinees because they were too young for the night. This carried on and they were never caught. Joe was sneaky and a fast thinker, and could manipulate people easily. He was so sneaky he actually made a fake I.D. from Edisons old I.D. and
was able to go to clubs at night with Edison and Wilson and Jack. Jack looked much older than his age. The shyness Joe had as a young boy has gone but he still pretended to be shy, this approach help him a lot with the girls (somehow girls liked the shy ones).He was a very good judge of character and could read and sum up people very quick. He was a fast learner and he did ok on school but was constantly compared to his brother by his teachers, because like on primary school he ended up in the same teacher‟s classes as his older brother. That annoyed him because he was clearly not his brother he was his own person and he and his brother were total opposites. Joe was an average student, where his brother was an A student. Joe was not one for reading books etc.One thing about Joe he was very good with his hands, he could make things, he could fix things and this he done with no lessons he could just do it. Even when a small kid he was always dismantling his toys just to see how it worked, Joes brother on the other hand was totally useless with his hands he even got an F for handwork in school. So you see Joe and his brother were total opposites. Joe could do tricks on his bicycle and when his older brother tried it he would get hurt. Joe was an extremist he road skateboard, roller blades and was good at it, he actually learned to skate over night (the gift he had) he got his roller blades on a Monday night, could not skate at all, that night he went to sleep and the next morning he could skate. He also had a very short and bad temper. “Now you should have a pretty good picture of Joe”. Joe did average at school and the next year 1994 he was 15 and a new love interest arouse, there were other girls that he has encountered but they were (fly by nights) insignificant ,now this girl named Joy was something else. Joe actually knew this girl all his life they were in the same Sunday school from the age of 6 but they never liked each other, they were like strangers to each other. That year 1994 after the Holidays, school started again Joe started noticing her and could not seem to get her out of his head, but she did not seem to notice him. Joe knew since that time there was something different about her he knew this is the one. Through the course of that year Joe had made it known to her that he was interested and she brushed him off like he was a piece of dust, He was disappointed cause he knew this was the girl for him, but he accepted her response “for now”. They were both learning for confirmation and would be confirmed the next year, so he saw her every Sunday and they were at the same school so he saw her everyday. The year passed by and Joe had other girlfriends but always had Joy in his heart. Joe passed grade 10 and
it stated in his report that if he continues the way he was he would pass metric with exemption because he passed all his subjects on higher grade. (English, Afrikaans, maths, history, geography and biology.)
It was a Monday third last period, English class and the entire class was split up into groups to do oral presentation. Joe and his group was last to do their presentation, while they were busy Ashraf decided to make fun of Joe from the back of the class, Joe got real angry and when the bell rang and the teacher left he approached the boy and asked him what his problem was and he answered “it was not me” Joe asked him “do you think I am an idiot and pushed the boy, at that time someone shouted “the principle is coming and every one split up and Adhraf told Joe “wait for me after school. Joe knew at that moment that he had to fight after school. Eventually when the bell rang and the school was out Joes anger subsided and was going to make peace with Ashraf but as he and his friends were walking more than half the school was behind him and knew about the fight and Joe realised it was too late to bail out. Joe walked down the road and they all followed and looked around there Ashraf came walking on with the rest of the school behind him. Joe waited for him in his road where he lived. Confrontation There the boys stood facing each other with almost the entire school around them; Joe was not angry and did not want to fight. They started pacing around each other, and suddenly it happened , one of the school kids pushed Ashraf against Joe and Joe immediately retaliated with a punch to Ashrafs stomach then to the face, he continued with more punches to his face and he was moving back and moving to close to Joes neibour‟s house at this time Joe was thinking “please someone stop the fight” bit no one did and Joe paused for a second and at that time Ashraf Jump on to Joe and both of then fell on the ground Ashraf ontop, asraf got a blow in and Joe felt it , Joe turned Ashraf and he was on top again ready to hit him and someone pulled him from behind, he turned around ready to give that persona shot but he stopped, it was Edison, he saw the commotion and as he walked outside to see someone shouted “that is his older brother” and that when he realised Joe was in a fight again and he knew how angry Joe can get, as Joe turned around to go at Ashraf again he was gone, Joe shouted at Edison out of anger “why did you do that” and stormed back home to get a knife and ran out to look for Ashraf but
then all Joes friends stopped him. He eventually cooled down and realised his nose was bleeding and mite be Brocken. He had huge blue eyes. After going to the doctor and finding out his nose was in fact broken and the doctor told him not to fight again because he had a week bridge. Joe realised a valuable lesson that day. Never underestimate anyone.
1995 arrived and this year was to be a very exiting year for Joe because it was his confirmation, (or so he thought).Joes dad was well known in his field of work(steel) and the beginning of February that year Joe was shocked with the news his dad told them. His dad got an excellent job offer that he could not turn down, but there was a huge catch. They had to move, they had to leave the country. Joe‟s dad got the job in Malawi. Joe and Edison were devastated with the news, they did not want to leave but never had a choice, it was decided that we would all leave in June that year. That night Joe‟s parents discussed the move because they could see that the kids were not happy. The next evening Joes dad called another meeting and asked their opinion on the move and they both told him that they did not want to leave all their friends and school etc and surprisingly Joes dad told them that he decided they could stay cause they were old already but he made it clear that they loved them that why they decided to leave them behind. Now that sounded like heaven for Joe, a dream come true, no parents a house for them. Then Joe‟s dad added that Joe‟s grandmother would move in and look after them and Joe‟s dad gave the car to Edison, but that was cool with them because they had the coolest grandmother ever. So all was settled and agreed. This was indeed a great year for Joe and he had a huge trip to Mmabato as well, after confirmation. End of April arrived and Joe was confirmed and set to go on the biggest youth train trip ever. The next week after confirmation they all left for Mmabato, Joe had been visiting a girl prior to the youth trip Helene and thought he had everything sorted, but his heart got broken by this girl on the first day of the trip, but Joe was a fighter and things like that did not bring him down, he enjoyed that trip to the fullest and met a lot of new friends (Some things are to remain secrets) although the food was terrible and he did not go to the toilet for a number two the entire weekend.
June has arrived and Joe‟s parents were all packed and set to leave the Saterday morning at. Joe, Edison, Jack and Wilson stayed up all night cause they had to be up at 5am to be at the airport at 6am, Joes parents had to book in that time. all the preparations all the planning all came down to that moment .Everything went perfect and they got 5H45am at the airport, all the friends and family came to see Joes parents off. The goodbyes started and obviously the tears started rolling and surprisingly Jack started with the waterworks, Joe on the other hand did not shed a tear, but that was Joe very hard person and did not like to show emotion actually he never cried. Joe‟s parents and sister (carried by dad) disappeared through the terminal two doors and everyone waited for the plane to take off. After takeoff Joe recons “it‟s party time” and this is while watching the plane disappear into the clouds.
Joe and his brother was now officially parent free, and on their way home they bought them a tray of beers. They got home and immediately started a fire. Joes mum had an old model boat that was made out wood and sea shells and he took it and put it in the fire that was the first things to change in his life, a new life of being independent at the age of 16. He started changing after that, the next 2 months things got hard because Edison was not working and the only income was the grandmothers who had a house of her own to maintain as well. There were complications with the transfer of money from Malawi to Edison‟s account. After about 2 months things eventually came right and the bills were all squared up.
Life was good for Joe a bit too good; he partied everyday and bunked school every day and never got caught at the end of that year failed grade 11, but even that did not bother him, he told his mum that he did not want to go back to school and that he wanted to go to a technical college the next year and mum agreed.
The next year arrived 1996 and Joe did not go to college because he and his brother got employment at a good established company (Rennies Fastflow Logistics) and it was permanent positions. Joe refused to stop working because he was good at his job and the money was great to have. Those years R2500 was a lot of money and for a 17 year old it was the best. He had the best shoes the best cloths and just had it all. Everything was going great for him, money, friends, girlfriend‟s life was good. Joe thought he had it made and went on working. There he leaned a lot because he was the youngest, but did everything with his colleagues. He even smoked marijuana there for the first time. He worked 7 days a week and it was shifts, but enjoyed it. Joe and his brother decided to take leave the end of that year to visit their parents and their boss approved it. In this time Joe had a girlfriend Tania. She had blond hair and was light of complexion and had huge breasts and Joe loved huge breasts and Tania had a killer body. Joe was never home because he worked shifts so his off days he would be at the girlfriend‟s house in Goodwood. All Joe did was work and girlfriend...................... (This girlfriend was also the second cousin of his future wife, but Joe did not know this as yet) and a year before Joe dated Tania‟s younger sister but that was only a summer holiday fling.
The Home Away From Home
At the end of the year Joe and his brother went to Malawi and had a ball of a time, they were treated like royalty there because of his dad‟s status in that country. They woke up in the mornings and by the time they got out the toilet their beds were made up and room was clean. Their dad had a servant in the house that did all the house cleaning, a garden boy and 2 security guards because he had huge grounds as big as a soccer field. The country itself was marvellous; trees everywhere and fruit trees grew on the side of the road and did not belong to anyone so you could stop on the road and eat of the fruits. The only thing that bothered Joe was the lizards and chameleons. The lizards came in different sizes and colours and the
chameleons were huge and had horns on their heads and the people of Malawi did not believe in killing them, so when they visited someone‟s house the walls were alive with those creatures. They said the creatures killed the mosquitoes and those mosquitoes could give you malaria .Joes mum could not stand the things and killed them as soon as she spotted one in the house. When Joe or his brother were done eating the servant would come and collect the dirty plates but would kneel when they got close to them, (Joe was amazed at the humbleness of the Malawians) they would collect the plates on their knees and walk away on their knees and if Joe farted and the maid or garden boy was near they would apologise and Joe found that very funny and did it often.(they said sorry boss) .They never paid to go into any clubs all that was said at the door is “this is Mr G sons” and we could enter. Joe could picture himself living there. Life was good in Malawi but all good things had to come to an end and they returned home after a month. It was 1997 and Joe was 18 and soon got his licence and was sharing the car with his brother. Later that year Joe broke up with Tania and made plans to quit and move to Malawi but always had his eye on Joy who wanted nothing to do with him. Joy was different from his girls he dated before. She did not have blond or light coloured hair, she had black hair, she was not light of complexion, she was brown a light brown with a glow her tan was beautiful and she had a beautiful body. Even when he had girlfriends he always thought of Joy and could not wait to see her at school and in church and strangely enough Joes brother started seeing Joys best friend (Pearl) at the time, and eventually one night Pearl brought Joy to the house, Joy did not want to come with her cause she knew how Joe felt about her.
It was a cold Friday evening in June (winter) and Joe did not plan anything for the evening, Edison left to fetch his girlfriend Pearl and when they came back to his surprise Joy came in with them. There Joe stood looking at her standing in the doorway looking as beautiful as ever, his heart started beating fast and butterflies in his stomach, but he did not want to show her how he felt. He greeted and asked Edison “so what are you guys up to” he replied “nothing much just going to watch movies” with
that answer Joes sneaky mind started working and he said “Edison give me your car keys please I wont be long” and left but came back within 5 minutes with a bottle of southern comfort which he knew was Joys favourite. Joe knew he only had this chance to impress her and show her what a great guy he was and had to play it cool. Joy replied “is that for all of us” Joe answered “yes” and asked “is this ok what I bought” Joy answered “oh yes it‟s my favourite drink” Joe replied “is it” and knew he was on his way to success. So the four of them made themselves comfortable in the bedroom ,they watched movies and enjoyed the Bottle of southern comfort, Joe knew he had to show Joy a fun night without spooking her away and that is exactly what he done. At the end of the evening when it was time to take the ladies home Pearl pushed Joe and he fell on top of Joy. They had a laugh and then Joe gazed into her eyes and she gazed back, Joe thought to himself at that moment “it‟s now or never” he kissed her and it was exactly how he imagined (heaven on earth), the night was a success..................................................! Joe had a plan and had to work carefully, he totally figured out Joy and she was a complicated lady and he had to proceed with caution not to spoil everything. She did not want a boyfriend, but he did pick up a signal from her the Friday past and had to play all his cards. Joe had already made plans to leave the country to live with his parents and decided to use that although he was confident that she was the one, it was all or nothing. The next week, Thursday after the Friday night, Joe was working night shift and decided to give Joy a call to ask her on an official date. It took him an hour and a half to get her to say yes to go with him to the movies. He convinced her she has nothing to loose, cause after 3 weeks he would be gone and never to return and she agreed, the 3 weeks past and he was right she fell head over heels in love with him and he with her, but it was too late to change the plans cause Joes mum was exited and waiting for him, now he was sitting with headache of his life, what to do? He constantly asked himself and decided this would be the ultimate test. The night before he left his friends gave him a going away party and there is where Joy and Joe had a serious talk and Joy told him that she loves him and did not want him to leave, and Joe felt the same but is was too late to cancel everything. They never came to a conclusion they just decided to enjoy the night. Joy slept over at Joe‟s house that night. Joe
did not want the night to end but it did. That night was the first time Joe cried in a long time (tears of joy and sorrow). The morning arrived and Joy, Edison, Jack and Rosie (another close friend of Joy that lived in the same road of Joe. They were friends since primary school) took Joe to the airport, it was the saddest goodbye. Everyone cried, Joe left, and he was gone.
Joe‟s Brief Thoughts
As he sits in the aeroplane “Its too late, I can‟t turn around now, mum and dad would be so devastated not to talk about pilot and the air hostesses they would be pissed at me. It took me so long to get Joy and I finally have her and now I leave her, am I an idiot! Maybe time will heal this feeling I have, this feeling of being lost, this feeling of something missing, this feeling of regret and this feeling of disappointment”. Joe‟s eyes closed and he fell asleep.
Four and a half hours later he arrived in Malawi, and what a welcome. His parents and all his friends that he made on his first holiday to Malawi were waiting for him with open arms. When he got home he immediately phoned Joy but that was a mistake because now he missed her even more. After he put the phone down he told himself he was on holiday and this made him feel a little better. He phoned Joy as much as he could. Two weeks past and Joe could not handle it anymore, he wanted to go home, and he missed Joy too much. This living like a king was not what he expected. He made up his mind and told his mother. She agreed with Joe because she could see he was not happy. When Joe‟s dad got home that night Joe immediately told him, and he agreed to sort out his plane ticket the next day. Joe stayed another 2 weeks and was on his way home, but did not let Joy know. He wanted to surprise her. He told her to stay at home the Wednesday night because someone was going to bring her a present that he bought in Malawi. That Wednesday he got home at 6pm and had enough time to get to Joys house before church. He knocked on the door and Joy opened and stood there shocked, he held her very tightly and told her he is never leaving her again. That night he went with her to church.
The next month Joe got his job back again and everything was back on track. Things were going great for Joe. The year passed and Joe‟s relationship blossomed.
It was now the year 1998, that year kicked off with a bang. Joe always wanted a tattoo but did not want to ask his mum, but when he was in Malawi he did mention that he wants to get him one and his mum just gave him “the look”, so that year he decided to do it but did not want to go alone and he asked Jack if he wanted a tattoo and he said yes but he did not have enough money. Joe told him its ok he will pay for it. The reason Joe wanted his friend with him is because if he did come into trouble he will not be alone in trouble that was Joe, always thinking ahead. He decided to go the 25 April, a Saturday because that weekend he would have Edison‟s car, because he was going away for the weekend on a youth trip. The Friday 24 April, Joe and his friends went out and partied very late and got home after 3am and went to sleep. Jack slept over because that day was the day they would go for their tattoos. The alarm went off early and Joe got up all in a daze and put it off and went back to sleep. When he eventually woke up after 9am, they got done and Joe‟s grandmother already left for work (she worked every Saturday). She did something strange that morning, she left a note with a list of things Joe had to buy and at the bottom of the note “please pack the things away in the cupboard”, that was strange for Joe because he and his brother never did shopping and never packed the things away. While Joe was driving to Steenberg (the tattoo parlour) he heard over the radio of a major accident that happened that morning on vanguard drive where a taxi burned with all the passengers but that did not cause any concern for him, he was too excited to get his tattoo, and besides he knew his grandmother did not travel by taxi, she hated taxis. They arrived at the parlour and after 3 hours they walked out with the same tattoos on their left arms. They had panther tattoos. Joe left and went home and dropped Jack at home before he went home to freshen up. It was not every day that Joe had the car to himself and decided to make the best of it. Later that day he picked up his love of his life and went out
for the day. Jack and Peter (a work friend of Joe) went with. They had a good time at N1 city and a good meal at a pizza den. It was after 6pm and he made his way home all exited to show his grandmother his tattoo. Joe lived on a corner house situated alongside a main road. As he came closer to the house he noticed that the lights of the house was off and told Joy who was next to him “that‟s strange why are the lights still off mamma did not say that she is not coming home today”. Now and then Joe‟s grandmother would go to her house and stay one or two days there but would always tell them before hand. Joe thought to himself “maybe she went to one of her friends”. He went in the house closed all the windows and packed the shopping away. He and Joy sat a bit and were doing what they always do and eventually took her home because she had to be home a certain time and Joe respected that. After dropping her he went to Jacks house to find out if Jacks aunty (Jack stayed with his aunty and uncle) heard anything from his grandmother but she did not, he went home and started phoning everyone that he knew his grandmother would visit but no one knew anything. Joe started to worry because she would not be this late out; he immediately thought of the accident but brushed that thought off because he knew she hated taxis because she was knocked over by a taxi years ago. It was now getting very late and Joe was a bit lost so he phoned the rector of his church and told him the situation he was in and the rector reminded him of the accident. Jack‟s aunty and uncle came around after 10 pm to find out if he found out anything. (Jack lived with his aunty and uncle) they were worried and told Jack to stay by him, after they left the rector called me and told him its late and nothing could be done that time of the night and further told him to wait for him after church and they would take it from there. Joe refused to go to sleep and bought them couple of beers, there they sat in the lounge drinking and chatting about the day they had until they both fell asleep on the couch. Joe had a flash of when his alarm went off, he could see the time of the clock and that was the time his grandmother woke up for work. He woke up and thought to himself “could it be, I put the alarm off so quick, is it possible that she overslept and missed her bus, no, no that can‟t be” he could not sleep, so he decided to clean the house and when he was done he got into the bath to get ready for church.
He phoned his uncle and told him the situation and his uncle said he will come after church. When Joe arrived in church and he could feel all the eyes on him and that made him angry (we all know how the grapevine works). The hour passed and after church he met up with 2 of the ministers (Aubrey Paulse and Melvin Stout). The rector Melvin Stout who was the head of the congregation told him that it is most likely that his grandmother was in the taxi and he nodded his head.
The 3 of them decided firstly to go to morgue and before they left Joe picked up his uncle that was waiting at his house. Joe drove but he was very distant and in thought. He did not speak to anyone. They arrived at Salt River morgue, Salt River was very close to the city, and Melvin Stout told him he does not have to go inside to identify the body, Joe replied “it‟s ok it‟s my grandmother” not knowing the horrifying picture he was about to see. All Joe wanted was closure at that time. As he approaches the two huge metal covered doors, there was a burned smoked meat stench but he carried on like its nothing. As they entered the room there the bodies were lying all black and burned each one lay next each other on metal beds two rows of corpses on either side of the room and Joe walked past each one slowly looking for something to identify his grandmothers body, the bodies were badly burned that they all looked alike. When he reached the fourth body he froze for a second and carried on. (The body was really burned to a crisp; the body‟s arms and legs were off at different places and looked like a skeleton, just covered with a black charcoal. The body had a piece of purple hair and strangely enough the blood was oozing from the nose area). Walking past more bodies some of them with their intestines showing (because of the smoke inhalation the stomach burst open) and their faces still frozen in pain, there was also a child holding on to the mother but they were melted together and the mother‟s intestines were showing, her face in the position shouting help... Joe walked pass all the bodies but could not say his grandmother was one of them. Joe asked the undertaker where the rings and possessions of the people were because he would be able to identify his grandmother‟s 18c wedding ring. The undertaker said that the rings were in the safe and the guy that locked it away has the keys. He was off
duty. The possessions recovered at the scene were at Mitchell‟s plain police station. Joe was calm but disappointed he did not get any closure. They decided that Joe and his uncle would return later when the undertaker was on duty again. The ministers went home and Joe dropped his uncle, while driving home he decided to go to the police station to see what he could find out. He explained to the police and they gave him a box with everything they found at the scene. As he went through the box, a tear ran down his cheek he had one of his grandmother‟s shoes in his hand and he knew. The nightmare has become reality. He decided to throw everything out the box and found his grandmothers wallet, it was burned but he could still see a huge piece of her clip card. He also found her favourite blue scarf that she always wore to work, strangely that was not burned. The last piece he found made him stop looking. It was a burned piece of paper but he could still see his grandmother‟s surname. He packed everything back in the box except his grandmother‟s things and told the police he found what he was looking for and left. As he drove to Joy‟s house he was thought absolutely nothing. He arrived there and went to the door and knocked thrice and Joy opened the door and he uttered “She‟s gone, she‟s gone.” Joy immediately bust into tears and hugged him and got him into the house. (Joy lived with her grandparents, mother and sister.) Joe asked for a glass of water to clear his thought to explain to them what he had found, but in actual fact the water was to keep the tears away. He explained the entire day to them and had lunch there. He then went home and Joy accompanied him, when he got home they sat down and Joe burst into tears, it finally hit him that his grandmother was dead and died in the most horrifying way, but that tears lasted less than 5 minutes and Joe was back to his normal self, Joy was astonished. He then told her he has to let his mother and brother know what has happened and asked Joy “how do I tell my mother her mother is dead? It‟s not right, how do explain how she died, how she looked? She answered “I don‟t know Joe” he replied “ill find a way”. He then contacted the ministers of the church and his uncle who was not home and told them that all is confirmed his grandmother was dead. After being a half hour at home the phone started ringing and the people came knocking and Joe did not like that and decided to not answer the phone and not to open the door. After 5pm his uncle pulled up in the driveway and Joe opened the door. His uncle told him that he was at the
morgue and got the rings and Joe told him what he had found. Joe was happy because the ring was not burned and that he did not have to go back to that horrible place. Joe only had one question for his uncle, he asked “what body was it” His uncle replied with his head dropping “the body that was worst off the body you paused at. Joe replied “shit I did not know why I paused at that body” he then sat down and thought back and everything came clear, he remembered the purple hair and the blood oozing. He suddenly had a smile on his face and Joy asked him “why are you smiling”. He told her in that week his grandmother dyed her hair but something went wrong and her hair turned purple and she was so upset about it and did not want anyone to see it. He then said “now no one will see it” with a smile on his face. Joe really could not tell his mother thousands of miles away the bad news and asked his uncle to contact them. His uncle agreed and called. Joe‟s mother picked up and his uncle asked her to speak to Joe‟s dad and then he explained and said goodbye. After a half hour Joe‟s mum called and she was hysterical but more worried about Joe, She also told him that she would be home on Tuesday and not to call Edison, She said to wait until he is home the Monday. The next day arrived. Edison was set to arrive at 8am, Joe and his uncle went to get him that morning, with the uncle‟s car. When Edison got into the car he looked angry and asked “why are you picking me up, Where is my car, what is wrong” Joes uncle calmed him and told him his car is ok. Joe tried to speak but could not get to tell his brother anything. Joe knew his brother and knew his brother can‟t handle tough situations. They got home and Joy was cleaning the house and Pearl was making coffee, Edison ran in the house and ran straight to the yard to look at his car then ran back in the house and asked “where is mamma where is she” at that moment all the girls started crying and Joes uncle took Edison to the room and told him what happened. Edison went mad hitting the walls shouting and crying. Joe closed the door and left him. The day went on and all was ok. The next couple of days went hectic until the funeral was over. The church was so packed that there was people standing outside. Joe knew his grandmother was loved by a lot of people but not that much people. They came from all over; some came from overseas just for the funeral. Joe‟s grandmother was a great lady and very humble, she always helped where she could and always had good advice to share.
Joes mum decided to stay and not go back to Malawi because she was afraid of not being around her family. She lost her mother and she was not there. Joe and his brother had to adjust having their mother around it was different. Their grandmother spoilt them a lot and did not set any rules to follow. Their grandmother was the best; she even bought the boys adult movies, she made only food that the boys liked and every Sunday after church she would buy doughnuts and make coffee cause she knew Joe and his friend Jack would come. Joe and his brother had to adapt to having their mum around, she was a cool mum but had more rules to adapt to, but eventually they got the drill.
Three months later Joe lost his job, but that did not get him down. He got a huge amount of cash after loosing his job and applied for his unemployment fund as well. At the end of that year Joe‟s dad came home for the Christmas holidays. It was 2 December 1998 and Joe‟s dad told them he would like to go out with his 2 sons. They agreed but their dad did not tell them why. They left and while driving he told Edison that he has to give Joe his car. They were both shocked at the news and Joe asked why. Dad replied “don‟t you want your own car my son” Joe replied “yes I do, but what about Edison, its his car” dad answered “that is why we on our way out son, we are going to get him another car and you can have his car” Joe was over the moon his dad did not intend buying Edison‟s new car, only to give him the deposit for the car because Joe was not working he could not afford to pay off a new car. Joe did not care about that cause now he had his own car. The next day Edison picked up his car and Joe finally had a car. He had a feeling of freedom. Joe actually spent a huge amount of money on the car before it was his. He went half on all the wheels, the system and the tint on the windows. The windows were black and there was an amplifier with two 12 inch subwoofers in the boot. That was a good Christmas for him and he had an excellent holiday. Over the next couple of months Joe lost contact with his friends Jack and Wilson because they had girlfriends as well and just lost contact, but started making new friends. Later that year he befriended 2 friends John Baggins and Benjamin. The 3 got very close obviously with Joy as well. John and Bengi knew that Joe was very much in love with Joy and they knew not to interfere when he was with her, so they always waited until he came from her then they would hang out, Joe had a clock out time and if he did not leave by 11pm
for the latest Joy‟s grandfather would ask out of the room “Joy what time is it” and then Joe would reply “goodnight Pa, Goodnight all” , then he would pick up his 2 friends and they would party until the sun comes out. John Bengi along with Joy all went for tattoos and got the same panther as Joe but Joy‟s panther was different. Joe paid for Joy‟s and Joe‟s mum paid for John and Bengi‟s. The 3 boys did allot together, (after hours) most of the time it was drinking, one night they were drinking and Joe told them of their neighbour that was drunk and rude to his mother. Joe decided it was time for revenge. Joe wanted to hit him where it would hurt and he knew exactly how. They were at John‟s house. Joe told them the plan. They told John‟s mother that they are going to get something at Bengi‟s house and on the way each one picked up bricks. Joe‟s neighbour had huge windows in front of his house and they threw in the 2 dinning room windows and ran to Bengi‟s house. They stayed there for an hour to let things calm down, then went back to John‟s house walking past the neighbour‟s house again and decided to throw in the kitchen windows as well and ran back to John‟s house. That became a norm, if anyone messed with them they got revenge at night doing what had to be done. There was another night when the boys went out, it was a Sunday night and they eventually came home drunk after eleven. They decided to go to Joe‟s house to have something to eat and when Joe put his key into the door he couldn‟t open the door because Edisons key was in the door, so he knocked but Edison took his own time to open and that got Joe very angry. When Edison eventually opened the door he stood in the doorway and asked Joe “where do you come from” and that got Joe more angry and Joe snapped and screamed at him “who the fuck are you to asked me where I come from, are you mad? Just get the fuck out of my way before I hurt you” at that time Edison could see Joe fire burning in his eyes and told him I‟m going to get my gun.(Edison had a legal firearm, a 9mm) then went to the room to get it and with that said Joe replied in a rage that John and Bengi never saw “go get your(fucken) gun do you think I am scared of a gun, come now shoot me, come shoot” Edison just stood there with the gun in his hand and Joe told him “yes I thought so you a dam chicken but you better sleep with that gun by your side cause I am going to kill you in your sleep” with Joe saying that Edison ran into his room and locked himself inside. Joe eventually cooled down and went to sleep. The next day when Joe came from work, as he walked into his house a priest from the church was sitting and waiting for Joe (Edison had called the priest) Joe walked in and immediately asked “what are you doing here” the priest answered “your brother phoned me and asked me to come
around cause he is worried” and Joe replied stopping the priest from speaking further “hold on this has nothing to do with you, I don‟t know why you here” and gazed at Edison and told him “I‟m sorry I was angry” and walked away and went to his room, then shouted out the room “you can leave now priest you wasted your time” That came eventually to a stop as the boys got older. The next year (1999) arrived and Joe was lucky again, he got a job at an established pest control company. He went through training and when he was qualified he received a company car, medical aid and a nice salary. Within 6 months he was promoted (that is how Joe was, he learned fast and he was a hard worker). Things were looking good for him and he was still very much in love, Joy and Joe were always together. The year passed by quickly and he was excited because he was turning 21 and his congregation where he attended was invited to the Chief Apostle Service that would be on New Year‟s Day 2000. The year 2000 arrived with a bang. Joe did not want a huge formal celebration all he wanted was a nice party where he and his friends could go mad and that is what they did. That party lasted 3 days. Joe realised for the first time how foolish he got when he gets too drunk that night of his 21 party. On the 3 of January Joe and his dad sat in the yard drinking beer and they got wasted together. Then his dad said to him “you know Joe I am a proud and happy father, look at what I have, 2 great adult sons and look at what we have achieved” He looks at the 3 cars standing in the yard “look at there, when I was young we never had these things and today I sit in my backyard with my second born having a beer. Each one having their own cars and look at you, you have 2 cars I‟m proud of you; I was worried that you did not finish your schooling, but look at you at age 21. Keep it up my boy you got something special in you and never loose it”. Then he said “let me go inside, I need to sleep I‟m drunk and by the way, where did you learn to drink so much” and laughed as he walked inside.
It was now the end of the year 2001 and Joe‟s dad came home again like he did every year, but this time around he started asking Joe if there is
anything he wants to tell him. Joe did not know what his dad was talking about. Time went on Christmas was done. One day Joy and Joe were alone at home and did what they did and later the night his parents came home. The next morning Joe‟s dad asked him and his brother if he could have a word with them alone without their mum being around. They decided to take a drive, they road in Edison‟s car. Joe sat in the back seat, and Joe‟s dad Sais “guys I‟m not blaming anyone but next time do not thow your used condoms in the bin, rather throw flush it” while staring more at Joe. Joe thought to himself “what the hell why are you scratching in the bin” but did not want to ask him. He then asked Joe if there is anything that he wants to say and he answered no, and he said ok. That was a very tense drive home. Strangely enough Joe mother did not ask them what happened. Now this made Joe think. He thought “Joy was acting a bit strangely over the past few weeks, so he decided to buy a home pregnancy test. When he got home after work that Friday afternoon he went to her and told her what he thinks and gave her the test. She agreed to take the test the next morning. The next morning arrived and Joe was early up and went over to Joy and then got the best news ever the test came out positive. They were both very happy and exited, but at the same time very nervous and scared because now they had to let the parents know of the happenings, but before Joe was going to take that step he first wanted to be hundred percent sure that Joy was pregnant. They then went the Monday to the doctor and he confirmed it, now Joe knew exactly what to do. Joe and Joy had spoken about getting married but now had to bring that thoughts to reality, and they got engaged but nothing was final until Joe did his manly duty and speak to the parents. He waited until his dad was gone to tell his mum, and a week later they told his mum after work. (Monday) He always came straight home after work and then went to Joy, but this time he picked her up after work and then made his way home. When he came home Edison was home and they went to his mother who was in her room watching television. He entered and greeted and asked “mom can we speak to you please” and she replied “yes” then he closed the door and then his mother‟s eyes went big. Joe then said out of the blue “mom you going to be granny” Joe mum was dum struck and went Quiet and it was an awe quid silence. Then she replied “ and now” then Joe answered “I would like to have your blessing because we decided to get married” she answered “you know your dad told
me exactly a week ago before he left that this will happen but you have my blessing, but please phone your dad now”. He then made his way to the phone and dialled his dads Malawi number but he was very nervous, his dad answered “hello” and Joe said “hi dad how are you” dad replied “I‟m ok what is wrong why are you calling me and Joe told him. The only thing his dad said was “I knew it” and asked Joe why he did not tell him when he was at home the week before, then Joe told him that he did not know that time.(Joe lied). His dad then gave him his blessing and asked to speak to his mum. Round one was done. Joe‟s mum asked him after she was done speaking to his dad “my boy why did you not use your hands” with a smile on her face Joe answered “it did not serve the purpose” and had a laugh. Then she told him that she will accompany him when he goes to asked Joys parents and that Edison will accompany as well as a representative of his dad. Joe decided to go to Joy‟s family the coming Sunday after church. All was set and he took Joy home, but by the Friday Joy could not keep it in and told her mother, she was furious and insisted that Joy must go with her that Friday evening and I must go with. (They went every Friday to the family) Joy then phoned him and told him and he told her that there is no way that he will go with them alone with all the family around and Joy agreed and she did not go with. Joe went to her when they left before they returned. Joy‟s mum did not mention anything to the family because she lived with her parents and was afraid of them. She told Joy to tell her grandmother herself because they lived by them but then Joy told her that Joe would be coming Sunday after church. Joe did not go to Joy the Saturday, he as too nervous and scared because Joy told him that her mum was still in a foul mood.
Games set and match
Sunday arrived and Joe and Edison accompanied with their mother went after church to Joy‟s house and as they entered the house and sat down Joy‟s grandmother asked “what‟s going on now, did the two of you cross the line?” and Joe took the cue and replied “yes we did cross that line Joy is pregnant” Joy‟s mum looked like a dog that was ready to attack. Her grandfather started to ask questions in a loud angry voice but then surprisingly her grandmother (who in fact everybody was afraid of) jumped in and said “George leave the children and except it, all of our kids did the same” and Joe said “I brought my mum and my brother who is representing my dad because Joy and I would like to get married before
the baby comes and would like to have your blessing” and they agreed. Joy‟s grand father asked if they have a date and Joe answered “yes the 14 April 2001, I know it‟s a short time to plan a wedding but I know it is possible” and the planning started. Everything went well; everyone helped (Joy‟s aunties and monther, Joe‟s mum and dad). The week before the wedding Joe‟s old friend Jack organised his bachelors party, and what a party, although all the meat as stolen because everybody was pissed drunk, but after 12 Jack had a surprise for Joe. He got a stripper and that stripper gave all the guys a good show. She even stayed more than the 1 hour that was arranged and paid for.
Time went by fast but everything was going to plan except that Joe was struggling to get a place for them, because Joy did not work and his parents and Joy‟s family were all helping already, but this did not stress him out. He eventually got a separate entrance right opposite his parent‟s house, a week before he got married. 12 April 2001 (Thursday) Joe and Joy got the legal part of the marriage done. John Bagins was his witness and Rosie was Joy‟s witness. The blessing in the new apostolic church was set for Saturday the 14 at 10am because the 13 was Good Friday (and the day was Friday the 13) which was a bad omen for Joe reason being he had an accident with his car on that day the previous year. The accident Joe and Joy together with her uncle Regan who was only 6 years older than them were very close, they were more like brother and sister and Joe was close to him as well and they went allot out together (Joe, Joy, Regan and his girlfriend Anthea), so they decided that good Friday to go with Joes car to one of Anthea‟s cousins for a party but before they left Portland‟s they arrange to meet up with Carlo and Anthea‟s sister Reis and her boyfriend. They all met at the community library in Westridge in the parking area and decided to have a beer and a whisky there before they went to the party in Blue downs. After an hour and a couple of shots the all left with three cars, Carlo alone in his car, Reis and Andre in his car and the rest in Joe‟s car.Carlo drove in front Andre in the middle and
Joe was last. They took the beach road named Baden Powell and drove 130kph and as they took the turn to the left there was a loud BANG and Joe‟s car spun around 360 degrees. Everyone was shocked and when Joe turned around he saw a white golf riding on but could not get the number plate. Joe got out and his entire right side at the back of his car was dented a lot. They didn‟t see the party that day because Joe wanted to go home, his day was spoiled.The car was eventually fixed by his insurance but that is why he did not ever want to go out on a Good Friday. That was a bad Friday for him. D-Day continue He did not see Joy the next day because as we know you can not see the bride till the official blessing .The night before Joe and his best men (Edison, John and Benji) had a little party just them and a couple of beers. They all slept in the house that Joe rented. 14 April 2001 The morning arrived and they woke up early and went to Joe‟s parent‟s house where they got dressed for the wedding service that was scheduled at 10am.Joe was a very, very punctual person. He and his best men were all dressed up and Joe could not wait and told his dad to drop them at the church. Joe was very nervous and exited just overwhelmed with feelings and 10 minutes before the scheduled time of the service his dad went to him in the front row of the church and whispered in his ear “ the main car has not arrived yet but don‟t worry I will sort it out”. And when hid father said he will sort it out he did not worry because he could always count on hid dad. Joe checked the time it was 10H10 and then the organ started to play the wedding march and everybody stood up and he went to the isle and turned around facing the door waiting where his bride would enter. The bride‟s maids in their purple dresses came in first and then his eyes went huge. He could not believe his eyes. Joe‟s thoughts “Wow I have never seen her looking this beautiful” she had on a cream dress, she had glow around her looking like an angel “is this beautiful woman really mine? I am the luckiest man on earth” and Joe‟s eyes got all shiny but then he started swallowing to keep the tears away.(Joe did not like to shoe emotion) When she got to him he took her grandfathers hand and thanked him with a huge smile he turned around and Joy hooked his left arm with her right arm and they walked together to stand in front of the alter. After 40 minutes the service was done and they went inside the sacristy to take photos. After they were done with the photos in the church they went to Claremont gardens to take the rest of the photos. That was at that
moment the best day of Joe‟s life. They got to the reception about half 2pm which was at Joy‟s parents house and there they had a joyous celebration. After 8 Joe said his goodbyes and his thanks and took his wife home to their own place. Then he arranged that his closest friends come over for a beer or 2 and at 11pm he kicked them out. John actually started to cry as he was leaving and cried out “oh now I‟m loosing my friend” but that was just the way he was when he had a bit too much to drink. (Now you all can imagine what happened after everyone left), but they both could not sleep so they started to open all the gifts they have received and eventually the sun came up and then they went to sleep. Two months later Joe bought a huge Wendy house and set it up on his mother‟s grounds. Ethan‟s arrival Time went by and they were as happy as ever and the baby was growing nicely in his mother‟s womb, Yes it was a boy. They wanted to know the gender of the baby. Time flew and one Sunday night 13 August Joy complained about her pains, Joe timed the contractions as the doctor told him but it was not time and they go to sleep. Joy woke up about 5am and Wakes Joe telling him that she thinks it is time and Joe jumped up and timed the contractions again and realises it was time. He immediately phoned the doctor on his private number and the doctor told him to take her immediately to Gatesville medical hospital and book her in. When he arrived at the hospital the nursing staff took Joy to the maternity ward while Joe filled in the hospital and medical aid forms. He rushed through it to get to Joy. By the time he got to Joy she was already in the hospital robe and hooked up to the machines monitoring the contractions. The nurse explained that Joy is in labour but the baby is still too high and they have to wait. Hours went by and the doctor decided to break the sack to speed up the process, but Joe‟s son was a lazy one. The doctor told them that it was time to take him out and they had to approve an emergency c- section. By this time Joe was overwhelmed and signed the papers and they moved Joy to the operating room and at 10h15pm Ethan was born. Oh what a beautiful sight my son, Joe thought. The nurse took the baby and put long tube down the baby‟s nose and Joe thought at that moment “What the flip are you doing to my son” and gets up to ask but then the nurse wraps the baby in a white blanket and gave him his son. Joy was unconscious all the injections. Joe stood beside her with their new born son and Sais “hello Ethan I’m your daddy” with tears rolling down his cheeks and he puts the baby by Joy‟s head and Sais “and that’s your mommy” Joy just opened her eyes for a second or two and fell
asleep again. The nurse took him again and put him in an incubator and he left Joy and followed the nurse who was taking him to the nursery. When they came inside the nursery the nurse put the band around him and took his weight and head size. He stayed until they did all their checks and then went to Joy who was in her room already but barely conscious. Joe told her the baby is fine and he will be leaving now so she could rest and get her strength. When he got outside he immediately started phoning everyone that he knew. He was the proudest daddy. He spent all the time possible in the hospital until 3 days later when his wife and his baby son would be at home. The 3 days went long for Joe but the day finally came and Joe took his family home. He arrived at home thinking to have alone time with his wife and child who just fell asleep. He was not even 5 minutes at home then his in-laws came and woke Ethan up. Joe did not like it at all but said nothing. He did not work because he took his annual leave at this time so he had 2 weeks to be with his family. The first couple of days were tough but as all dads he got use to the drills. Baby Ethan was an energetic baby but was later diagnosed with asthma but was healthy as a race horse. Joe was happy and a proud father. The end of that year Joe‟s dad came home and met his grandson for the first time. With life comes death
2002 Arrived and Joe‟s dad gave them a surprise visit in July but Joe noticed that hid dad was not the same outgoing energetic man, but he claimed he had flue and Joe thought it could be that. Joe‟s dad was only to stay 2 weeks and had to go back, but before he left he wanted to go to his mother to make things right and that was strange for Joe because he raised Joe not to worry with family. He did that what he wanted to do and left to his Malawi home the 11 July 2002 (Thursday), by the Sunday Joe‟s mum got a phone call from his dad saying that he is very sick and is going to hospital just for observation. He went in the Monday and they kept him overnight because he was getting worse and later decided that they would send him back home the next week. Joe was not worried because his dad was not one to be long sick in fact even when he had a Brocken rib a couple of year‟s back he still did not stay home. In that week Joe and Joe along with one of Joy‟s friends decided to go to the club galaxy where everyone went on a Thursday
night. Joe was lucky to be first in line that night. The club opened at 10pm. They had a half hour to kill before the doors opened but at that time Joe got a call on his cell phone, it was Edison with bad news, he told Joe that their dad just went into a coma. Joe was devastated but told Edison to keep him posted and stayed in the line. He thought to himself “ hope the old man comes around” and within five minutes he got another call, it was Edison again, he told Joe to come home but Joe insisted that he tell him what is going on and then he asked Edison “is he gone?” and he said “yes” Joe hanged up and walked away from the crowd, Joy followed and pleaded with Joe to tell her what is happening and he told her his dad is gone, and at that time he realised that he locked his keys in his car, but he did not care he immediately called his manager to let him know that he would not be in work because of what happened and then he told Joy he does not want to go home right now, he did not want to be all depressed and he did not want to be around people that never come to his mum but would now be there, so he went inside the club and did what his dad loved to and that was to drink beer. Strangely enough when he got inside the club he got allot of people he knew and they all knew already what has happened (once again the grapevine effect) and when he arrived at home 2 hours later his mum was crying and he gave her a hug and said “it will get better” Joe never cried that night in fact he never cried. The next day things were sad but Joe carried on like all was well. He started drinking a lot that week until the night before his dad‟s funeral. That was the way he dealt with his dads death. The funeral was the next Saturday because the body still had to be transported from Malawi. Joe came late that morning of the funeral because he drank till early hours of the morning and overslept. He was one of the Pallbearers and the funeral could not start until he got there, when he eventually got there 5 minutes late they stood waiting for him, he took his position in front on the left opposite his brother. They walk into the church hall and Joe held so tight on the coffin and suddenly he dropped his head and burst out in tears and he could not keep it down this time. He finally let it out and it was a good thing. The funeral passed and life carried on. A couple of months later his brother made an announcement that he was getting married. They decided to get married 21 December 2002. Joe thought to himself “oh! That was sudden, maybe she is pregnant...........no....no that cant be after all this is my brother the one that broke up with a girl because she wanted to have sex”, and it turned out not to be as Joe thought. She was not pregnant. As the wedding plans
went on Joe‟s mum gave the brothers an option. The one was she would sell her house and give each one a deposit for their own houses but would live with Edison or she would give the house to Joe and give Edison a deposit and live with him. At first he decided with Joy to take the money but changed their mind because Joy was not working and it was not wise to make dept, and his mum‟s house was finished paid. So he decided to take the house and sell the Wendy house that he stayed in. A week before his brother‟s wedding he moved into his new house. Joe was a simple person he enjoyed the simpler things in life and did not stress about money. His philosophy was that people should not see on your face that you have money problems. Joe was grateful that he could at least put food on the table. They were living from hand to mouth but he was happy. In September 2003 he was forced to resign from the pest control company because the boss found out that he was making plans to start his own pest control company. He did that after he left the company. Business was going well for him until a couple of months later his vehicle with all his equipment was stolen from his house.
March 2004 the happy couple Joe and Joy got a surprise, Joy was pregnant. The reason it was a surprise is because Joy was on contraceptives at the time, with this news Joe realised one morning when he woke up that he did not see his son Ethan grow because he was busy every night with church and music work and made up his mind not to make the same mistake. He told himself that he is going to be there for his kids. Grow up with them; see how they change from baby to toddler etc. Three months before the due date his friend Roland was in need of a place to stay and Joe being the good friend that he was offered Roland a place to stay, and besides Joe needed the money as well. November 29 2004 his daughter was born Caitlin Gordon. She was born in a government hospital unlike Ethan, but she was perfect and Joe and Joy decided that they have their pigeon pare so it was time to close the baby making factory. Joe did exactly the same as he did when his first born was born, he followed the nurse every step but this was not a private hospital so he had to leave after the birth and come when it was visiting hours. During that time Joe travelled up and down to Mowbray hospital with the bus and taxi. After Caitlin‟s birth Joe took a transfer back to his congregation from Duinefontein congregation where he was the resident choir conductor, but decided to not take choir anymore and not do any musical work in the church, all he wanted is to be with his family bit the church could not
understand that, and because of that he decided to resign from the deacon ministry, but there was allot of other reasons that influents his decision. Joe realised that if he did not want to do something then he did not do it. He felt that, that was his choice. Time passed all was good with the family, yes life had its ups and downs but they were happy.
It was a Sunday night and Joe and his family was sleeping. Joe was a light sleeper and woke up with the sounds of dogs barking in the area. He got up and checked through the window and realised his car was gone. He immediately got dressed and ran down the road hoping he could see the thieves with his car but then he heard his car start up in the next road running parallel with his road. Joy was pregnant with his second child so he did not want to leave her alone so he called the police and at that moment the thief‟s road pass him. He picked up a brick and wanted to throw his car hoping to break the window and maybe the thief‟s would stop, but then he did not. He was worried what if they had guns with them. There he stood watching his car drive away. He could not see how many people were in the car because of the black tints. He explained to the police that they road pass him and they were there within five minutes. They asked him the particulars of his car and he told them how his car looked and one of the officers told him he road pass the car on his way to him. They ran out into their vehicles and raced away to find his car. 2 hours later they returned to his house telling him that they found nothing. That Monday morning he went to the police station to get his case number so he could get his case number. After that he called his insurance to put in his claim. Two days later he got a call from the police saying they had found his car in Nyanga east. They also told him that he must identify his car at the police impound; He went at twelve o clock that day. After completing all the forms the captain took him to his car, while they were walking to the yard Joe asked the captain “how bad is it” and she answered “very bad” as they entered the yard with all the smashed cars they come to a hold and Joe asked “where is it” and the captain pointed to the striped vehicle next to him, it was so bad that he did not recognise his own car. It was bad it
was in a front smash, the bonnet was off, the fenders were off, the lights were out, and basically everything that could come off was off. Seeing this Joe eyes got all shiny he had a tear. He called his insurance to inform them that they could collect it. The next day he got a phone call from his insurance telling him that they would not be paying him out because his alarm was not working, after paying insurance for years they did not want to pay a cent, he was furious but there was nothing he could do. All he got for his car after selling it to a scrap yard was a R1200 and he gave that to his mother. Things were hard without a car but he soon got to cope. Joe got a permanent job at Steelbenders after that.
Edison invited Joe over to meet his new friends that he was hanging out with, it was a Friday night. There Joe met Lloyd, Roland and Sagat not knowing that they would end up being friends. At the end of the evening those 3 went home with Joe to party further and a new friendship started, Joe was still friends with his other buddies but did not see them as much. Joy at that time also got a casual job and made friends as well Zoe and Chantal and they eventually met Lloyd, Roland and Sagat. Sagat ended up going out with Chantal and Roland ended up with another friend of Joe. Her name was Monique. They had endless parties and had great times together.
Joy grew up with her grandparents and mother and sister and they were a very close family (auntie and uncles) unlike Joe and his family and Joe got very close to them all Especially to Joys grand father who was like a father to Joy. Joe never knew his grandfathers both died before he was born, his father died two weeks before his 50th birthday so Joe took Joys grandfather as his own. In 2009 Joy‟s grand father got very sick and Joe rushed him on more than one occasion to the hospitals because he lived the closest. One night the 14 September at 11h30pm Joe got a phone call from his mother in law asking him to come over immediately she thinks the old man is having a stroke, Joe immediately got out of bed and pulled his car out and rushed over to their house (Joe was a first aider level 2) and when he got there he walked into the room. Joys grandmother was there and Joys sister and some of the neibours as Joe entered the room he could see the old man was gone, his mouth was totals skew, but Joe kept
calm and cleared the room he asked everyone to leave, he did the first aid steps and got nothing , no breathing and no pulse but he did not have the heart to tell them the old man was gone, so he pretended that he got a slight pulse and was waiting for the paramedics to arrive and they could deliver the news. Joe made the corpse comfortable and left the room to phone the paramedics because they were taking long and could not get through to them so he decided to look for them thinking maybe they can‟t find the road. He drove around two blocks and found nothing then returned to the house, when he got to the house he went into the room and noticed that someone has taken the pillows away from the old man, he was laying flat on his back, Joe immediately lifted the body to put the pillows back and as he did that the last wind came out the old mans mouth and Joes face was very close to his. Joe could feel the wind on his cheek. Joe realised what just happened and left the room to smoke a cigarette outside and at that time the ambulance pulled up. Joe approached them introduced himself as a first aider and gave the hand over. They went inside and at that time Joy‟s aunty and uncle and cousins came in. Joe did not want to enter the room again and the paramedics hooked up the heart machine etc an 5 minutes later said “sorry lady he is gone” when Joe heard that he burst into tears and ran out the house to fetch Joy. Joe hates death and hates funerals and made a promise to himself not to go to funerals unless he has to. That incident still haunts Joe today. A year later Joy‟s aunty passed away as well.
The cycle of life
Ethan Joe‟s son was four years old but was very mature for his age and he decided to get him into crèche but his little boy hated it and the next day Joe found out that there was place at Portland primary pre-primary and got Ethan in and he loved it. So quick it happened now his son was in school again and doing well and coping. He spent two years in Pre-primary until he was the correct age for grade one. Joe wanted the best education for his son and enrolled him into a semi-private school around the corner from where he worked in Bellville (northern suburbs). Eventually Joy got a permanent job at the red and yellow school (marketing and graphic design) and things looked up for the couple that was struggling for years.
A week before Ethan went to grade one Joe looked back into his life and thought to himself of all the obstacles that happened through his life, the good and the bad, but the good cancelled out everything. He and his wife always stood by each other, supported each other and knowing this he knew that they could get through anything. And he thought to himself “What could the meaning of life be? Was a question that frequently popped
up in my head; it could be different for everyone! My conclusion is, to love, Lets look a little at the spiritual side of love, Love was there since the beginning of time, you must of heard sometime in your life “ LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF’’ and if we all should live by that then surely the Lord would come get us all. We grow up, we fall in love, we get married, (love has to be present otherwise it will be a disaster) we have kids they grow up and they have kids and that continues and through all of this love is always there, (just imagine the earth as we know it with no love, it will be a miserable place to be). I look at my life the love my wife and I share; we were blessed with a son and a daughter who we loved from the time we knew they were on their way, and once they were born the love just grew. Amazing because of the love we were blessed with life entrusted unto us, and one day they will grow up and fall in love and give us grandchildren who we will without a doubt love and if we lucky great grand kids. The cycle goes on. None of this would have been possible without the love of God. So yes everything we do is love orientated, we all work why? To feed our families, to give our kids a good education and there are many other reasons but it all boils down to love, cause we love our family, we love our kids and want the best for them and for ourselves Now we all know that there is a major difference between love and lust but ill mention it for the young bloods that are at the stage when it could be confusing. First you will know when you are in love you should be able to see the rest of your life with that person (no matter what gender) love has no boundaries. Love is when you can’t stop thinking of the person and not the body parts
although the body should be respected, so if you only thinking of the boody, that is not love, that is lust and lust can be a powerful. But don’t be fooled!!! A friend’s grand parent replied to a question I asked. The question was, ask your grandparents what was their secrets to survive through the years and the changes, and still being happily married. Her grandfather replied “We have always respected one another, above all arguments, disagreements and obstacles, Id never say something I knew would intentionally hurt her’’ and this is out a man that has celebrated his 50th anniversary 5 years ago and is over 70 years old, their love is so strong that even when he had a memory loss that could not tear them apart. He further Sais ‘’when you make a commitment to someone for the rest of your life, you honour it with all your heart, life and soul and I am blessed to have found my wife’’ Respect, patience, tolerance, and love are the key words to remember and that goes for a person of any age. I am surely going to continue applying that in my life”. conclusion All Joe’s friends through the years eventually got married and only starting with having children, so Joe is one ahead of all of them. Today John is busy getting a divorce after 5 years of marriage with three children, Bengi still married about 3 years now with one child. Edison is still married with no kids yet. Jake is married 4 years and expecting his second child. Don’t know what happened to Wilson it’s like he dropped off the face of the earth. Calvin Macintyre actually got married to Joy’s best friend Rosie and has a daughter. Calvin’s Brother Joseph moved to England and is living there 5 years now still not married. Roland and Monique also got married they married 1 year now.LLoyed was married for less than a year and dot a divorce and is enjoying single life. Sagat is in Jail I think (drugs). Joe had a life’s plan and that plan was to either have his own business or be a manager of a company or just to be someone by the age of 40 and it was going to plan because he already made supervisor at the age of 29.
My name is Joe born the first day of the year 1979.I got married on the 14 April 2001; it is now the year 2011 both my kids are at the same school, Caitlin will start grade one and Ethan is in grade 4. I am unemployed my company closed in March 2010 that is why I decided to write this book to keep me sane and I had a lot of time on my hands a lot and all that free time alone with no money could drive any man crazy. This was really the worst time period of my life so far being unemployed at the age of 31 and having a wife and 2 kids to take care of, but what does not kill you makes you strong. The first month was not bad but from the second month the stress started. There were times I went into depression and I think to myself “why me, why must this happen to me, what did I do so wrong to be punished this way because one month went by one by one and I could not get a Job, I applied every day for work but did not even get interviews, I emailed my C.V up to 40 different places a month and different positions but was not successful. People always told me not to lose faith but it was easy for them to say, they were not in my shoes. I was angry. When it came to December 2010 I was still unemployed but I decided to stop applying for jobs and just enjoy the holidays with my family and in the New Year I would start applying again and funny enough I got paid my pension fund in the second week in December, it was thousands but enough to have a stress free holiday and I decided to rather spend the money having a good time than being stingy, but somehow I had this feeling inside of me that everything would be ok. February 2011 I started applying for positions. The week before valentines day I came across this one ad and I got this overwhelming feeling that the job was meant for me and I applied and to my surprise the same day I got a call from this company wanting me to come for an interview the 14 February Valentine’s day. I was ecstatic because just the morning after I applied I made up my mind That I was done, I was finished worrying just done believing as well. The next week came and I got the job and not just any job a dream job just made for me.
Three months has passes now and I love my Job and this made me reflect on my life the past year and how close I came to giving up and how I grew, grew as a man, grew as a husband, and grew as a father. I can say to all that for a man/or a woman to be unemployed is not easy. I know how a mother at home feels like as well. It is a difficult job and I have the biggest respect for a woman, a mother working or at home after all I have been at the other end of the stick. A mother is a 24 hour job and it never ends. I have grown closer to my kids and wife being most of the time with them and I understand my wife more. I am not perfect I still have faults but I try to be the perfect husband and father and that is what counts. Everything is coming together, I even have the opportunity to study further all cost to my new company I am working for and I am taking full advantage of this. If this book touches the heart of and gives faith to just one person not to give up hope and faith, God will answer your prayers it might not be the time you want it, but it will happen when the time is right. This is my story the story of “what Joe did.”
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