Ch 2: Discovery and Acceptance
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It was 12:44 a.m., and the darkness of the new day loomed like a harbinger of danger. He had made a drive into town earlier, his car slinking through the shadows like a prowling predator on the hunt. His purpose was simple—to buy a pack of cigarettes, a dirty habit, but one he clung to like a lifeline.Everyone has a vice they care to enjoy, and this was his.
The scent of fried chicken from a nearby joint wafted through the air, tempting him with its savory aroma. But he refused to be lured into indulgence, his resolve unyielding.
He was a man born of change and upheaval, a product of the winds of independence that howled like a beast through southern Africa. The fight against apartheid was at its peak, and he was the product of an interracial union, raised by an African father and European mother in relative comfort. But despite this, he never quite felt as though he belonged, an outsider in a world that refused to accept him.
As he grew older, the complexities of his biracial identity and the weight he had gained compounded his sense of alienation. He felt like a freak, fat and undefinable, struggling to find his place in a society that didn’t accept him.
Seeking refuge, he chose a boarding school for his secondary education, hoping to reconnect with himself and the natural world.
On the first day of school, the students set out on a journey to the nearby river. He trailed behind, feeling like an outsider once again.
The thought of being the “fat kid” weighed heavily on him, causing him to struggle to keep pace. Ahead, he spotted a teacher or coach who urged the students to quicken their pace. He felt nervous and humiliated, sure that he would be singled out for his weight. But as he approached the man, the latter didn’t utter any critical words. Instead, he smiled and spoke in a soft, straightforward, and honest manner.
“Son, you’re a bit on the plump side, if you know what I mean, fat,” the man said.
It was a moment that would change the young man’s life forever.
As he sat in his rocking chair, sipping on his steaming hot coffee, memories of that fateful moment flooded his mind.
The wound of the argument, still fresh, throbbing with pain like a bullet wound that never fully healed. He had been trying to express the need to get back in shape when she had erupted, her eyes blazing like the fiery pits of Hell.
“Don’t use that word,” she had snarled.
He had been taken aback, unsure of what word had caused such a visceral reaction. But then he remembered—the word “Fat.” It described exactly what he was and exactly what he had been trying to express. He pondered deeply, wondering if there was a way to tell his tale without adding unnecessary flourishes. But she had been quick to dismiss his concerns, calling him “too literal.” The condescension in her voice was palpable, the weight of her judgment crushing down on him like an iron fist.
“You’re just trying to find a reason to exaggerate the flaws I have,” he thought. The tension in the room was thick as the fog that rolled in from the nearby swamp. He knew he had to be careful, to watch his words. There was a dark and dangerous world out there, full of people who would use any weakness, any flaw, as a reason to tear you down. But he was no coward. He was a gentleman, a survivor. And he would not let her, or anyone else, bring him down. Not today, not ever.
As he closed his eyes, he heard a voice.John 12:44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me…”