Whoever said that sticks and stones can break their bones but that names can never hurt them must have led a charmed life.
This afternoon when I got home three young boys from next door were standing on a pile of bricks and ogling The One and I and everything their beady little eyes could see over the boundary wall. Given the state of their own yard I can't really blame them.
Even though I was livid at the blatant invasion of our privacy I didn't swear at them the way I used to. I was shaking with anger but I simply asked them what they wanted. They gave no answer but slyly melted away, hiding behind the half built wall and peeking out when they thought I'd gone.
I watched them for a while and then The One and I went to sit outside and had a coffee and a smoke, chatting about our day the way we always do. The kids came out and hung over the wall again like snakes searching out the last bit of sunlight.
They became bolder as we ignored them. I clenched my fists but I didn't look at them. They commented on everything we did. "Smoking a lekker kak cigarette, hey? What flavour is that?"
They tried to incite the dogs and threw rocks in our direction and onto the roof. Luckily our dogs have more sense than stupid kids and remained calm. I was still trembling but I kept facing in the other direction while slowly grinding my teeth and swearing under my breath.
Not satisfied at the response they were getting, they started loudly shouting obscene lyrics from current hit songs. "I don't give a, I don't, I don't give a fuck about you or anything that you do."
When that also didn't have the desired effect they started calling out to us. First "Hey", "You guys", "Man". Then they tried "Girls". Finally they shouted "Faggots".
I haven't been called a faggot in 22 years but it felt exactly the way it used to feel when Reginald Frates called me that in high school on a daily basis. And even longer ago, the way it felt when Mr van Staden yelled it to me in front of a bunch of other kids in primary school.
I'm glad the kids couldn't see the tears in my eyes as I felt a familiar pain shoot right through my heart. Still I kept looking away, not showing them how palpable a hit it had been.
Soon after that they got bored with our disappointing reaction and took their nasty, bigoted little selves elsewhere.
For those three boys I have a single wish: that all of their own children will one day turn out to be faggots too.
Written by I
Sent from my Sony Xperia Z Ultra smartphone