My name is Lebo; I was six years old when my mother was dying.
They had brought her home from the clinic in a wheelbarrow. At home, they helped her out; she was fragile and ashen. She looked at me with painful eyes as they unloaded her of the wheelbarrow. They laid her on a mattress in my aunt's sitting room and left her there all alone. It was about four o'clock in the evening, and the village was quiet except for the painful cries and howling of my mother. It was dark and cloudy; the day was gloomy; the atmosphere matched the mood at home.
Lebo watched her mother die at six years old, and her junior school best-friend Thato commit suicide. Orphaned, she had to suffer at the hands of everyone she lived with. She was never a happy child, and to some extent, she had accepted that for people like her, happiness was a luxury. After being abandoned by everyone in her life, she finds joy in the last place she expected to find it. The real question was, would it last? This is where the real story begins.
Life was cruel, everyone knows that, and Lebo was aware of it. But sometimes all we need on a bad day is one person to tell us that we have a pretty smile and Lebo got that. When she passed out and was rushed to a hospital, she had no idea she would be diagnosed with TB, and would be in treatment for six months. She never thought she would meet her ride or die best friend in a hospital gown.
At the hospital, she bumped into a young man, Theo, who taught her that she deserved happiness. Theo soon became her world and her cheerleader. Lebo learned to smile by Theo's side, but she also learned that joy was hard to get and harder to keep. Theo had Niemann-Pick disease, and the doctors said nothing could be done for him. As she recovered, Theo got worse, and the two of them were fighting circumstances beyond their control.
When Lebo was released from the hospital, she was homeless and had to live in a shelter. There she met Neo, who became a surrogate mother and real friend. Now Lebo had two people in her life who truly cared for her. When life would give you a chance to be happy, Lebo needed to grab it with both hands and fight to hang onto it.