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The First R100

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The very first time I had left Cecilia’s place, is the very first time that I had fallen into the money trap. Up until this point, I had witnessed a gentle natured and loving person, being victimized and traumatized constantly. She never asked for anything, and she jumped as soon as Dries would tell her to do something. She was so quiet… and so nervous… all the time.

I had to fill up my car at the Engine[1] Garage, on Paardekraal Drive, before leaving. Cecilia had asked to come with me because she wanted to get out of the flat for a bit. When I needed to go inside to pay, Cecilia insisted on coming inside with me because she wanted to make sure I was safe.

Standing in the queue, it took one look at Cecilia, and I could not help but feel broken inside. She was pale… she was skin and bones… she genuinely looked terrified… she was shaking. She never asked for anything. I felt so helpless.

Without saying a word, I told Cecilia I was going to the ATM. She had a confused look on her face. I quickly withdrew R100 and slipped it into my jacket pocket. I then went back to the queue, where Cecilia was still standing, and paid for the petrol.

When we both got back into my car, I pulled the R100 out of my pocket saying, “Here, I know you need this…”

Cecilia responded hesitantly and kept saying, “No, no, no… I’ll be fine.”

“No, take it,” I insisted.

Cecilia took the money from my hands and said, “Thank you,” and then we drove back to her flat… in what felt like an awkward silence.


[1] Engen is an African-based energy group focused on the marketing of petroleum. http://www.engine.co.za