Posted by: The Saffa Mom | November 23, 2010

Don’t talk to strangers, and don’t play with matches!!

My year is standard 6- continued…. I had become a REAL and SERIOUS smoker!!! My Foundational blog … please do have a read, you may just smile especially if you have done the same thing. And I am convinced that we all have.   

I have made the most awesome friend- Kerry. (She is still awesome, but we not close friends anymore…. we now are FACEBOOK Friends.) Our initial common interest is the fact that we lived in the same direction. (The walk home is so much easier when you are doing it with someone else.) With that comes much laughter, and a friendship. The walk no longer seems like such a rush.

On the way home we often stop in a nearby park. In SA finding a nice park is very rare……. this one isn’t great, however it does have a couple of swings. Getting onto a swing takes you straight back to being 5 years old. Do you agree?

Being rebellious teenagers trying to find ways of expressing ourselves…… I am sure you did too? .. we each pick a seat and carve our names. (I really should take a turn there one day and see if the swings are still the same- this was 16 years ago). The carving was a long process, nothing easy. But it was our little mark. (It was a terrible mark, not real art…we could call it grunge). When I think back, we clearly didn’t worry too much about the “niceness” once there.

Being 13 years old, a serious smoker (us) was one who had a cigarette every school break, and perhaps during the trip from one class to another. Serious smokers were miraculous at not getting caught, and disguising it from parents. Serious smokers were also very calm and cool when purchasing cigarettes, and very ready to argue the point that the cigarettes were “for my mom”. Serious smokers ALWAYS carried gum, and deodorant to mask any smell. (It never worked though).

Being serious smokers, we could not possibly go without a cigarette until the next day, so we would have to squeeze one in before home.  And so the little park also became our “hide out”.

With cigarettes, you always need fire!!! With a fire-maker, you always seem to find one or two occasions when “playing” crosses the line. Have you ever burnt your fingers on candle wax?  Of course you have.

So the two of us have matches, (we students and can’t really waste money on lighters- we need GUM), and we are lighting the dry dead grass on the side of the park. The same grass that burns in veld fires. (A veld is an open piece of land, in SA generally filled with long brown grass, the type you would thatch a roof with.) We light a little fire and we put it out. And we light a little fire, let it burn a little longer- and then put it out. Again, and again. At this stage we planning on becoming one of those freaks who swallow fire to entertain an audience.  

Oh f%$#!!!! Too big to put out this time. We have lost control. Now what?

Run. Just run!!!!!!!

That is exactly what we do. We run!!! And we pray that no one has seen us. (I am sure God had a good laugh).

At this point I am convinced that we will be arrested if anyone has followed us or contacts the police. I am in CSI mode, (very far from the police departments in SA), and worry about all the cigarette butts we have casually littered there. I worry about our names carved on the wooden swing seats. What if they trace our footprints? The size shoes we wear?   

PANIC MODE all over again!!!

Get home. Into room. And wait. Obviously I tell NO ONE!!!

At school the next day, we check in on each other. We haven’t heard anything…….. I am sure if someone had known it was us, we would have known about it by now. That was honestly a very long day, although there were many of those in my first few years of high school. I never told a single soul, I still wander if Kerry did.

Walking home from school that day, we had to pass the park. We needed to see what we had REALLY done, and perhaps get some closure on the situation. The ENTIRE PARK was black, the smell still stood in the air. The veld beyond it was the same. This black land lay all around. I felt terrible.

That was the last time I ever played with matches, or fire. That memory will last a life time. I have even turned it into a story that I have told my princess……………except the two girls become 4 boys. (Only boys could do such terrible things!!!)  (And only boys smoke!!!)



  1. […] girl for more than 15 years, however we were good friends once. If you ever read my post about the setting a fire on the way home from school…… this was her. Just like we all do with all our Facebook contacts, we keep in […]

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