Bonteheuwel teen claims writing prize

The teenagers’ theme for Rylands library’s short story competition was “If only I hadn’t” and it was Bonteheuwel’s Iman Jedaar who stole the judges hearts with her moving piece.

Iman won the 13 to 14 age group category.

Below is the winning short-story, titled, If only I hadn’t:

The pounding music, the colourful strobe lights and the throbbing crowd. As I stepped into the house the stench of sweat, alcohol and other unknown substances invaded my nose.

I observed my surroundings, watching as everyone danced until they became too tired or too drunk to even stand upright. Being the straight A student that I am, I have never been to one of these absurd parties. Everyone always had something to say about what happened during their weekend parties and I was never really one of them.

I was inexperienced and thought I could change my regular boring weekend into an outrageously fun one I would never forget. Now that I’m actually here, all I see is a bunch of notorious teenagers, competing with each other to increase their social status.

I scrunched my nose up in distaste; this was not fun, just utterly ridiculous and a complete waste of my time. If I hadn’t come, I would be reading one of my many favourite books, cuddling in my blankets while drinking a cup of hot cocoa.

A lot of “what ifs” came to mind but I might as well stay and try to blend in. As I forced my way through the crowd, I saw all the short dresses, and high heels the girls wore, they would dance until they were tired not caring if their cleavage was on display.

Had they no shame. I just came in a pair of jeans along with an oven sized polo shirt, I was comfortable. I decided that I had enough of this monstrosity, I headed for the front porch in search of my brother.

My brother is the captain of the soccer team which immediately made him popular. Every Friday he would go to a party and come home the next afternoon, completely drunk. My parents always end up grounding him but he would sneak out not caring what they did or said.

I then suggested having an intervention which didn’t really go well. He lashed out at my parents and stomped his way upstairs into his room. I tried stopping him but he slammed the door in my face.

I thought his lifestyle was very unhealthy but he never cared about my opinion. As children we were inseparable but as we grew older he started pushing me away.

I eventually found him surrounded by his so called “friends”, a girl occupying each arm. My brother is what others refer to as handsome. In my eyes, he is just a modern day Casanova, with his pale blue eyes, a tuft of dirty blonde hair and tanned skin from all the outdoor soccer training.

I tried to make my presence known by dramatically waving my hands in the air but he never noticed. He was too engrossed with the conversation he was having.

He only noticed me when one of his friends pointed in my direction. He let out an aggressive sigh and marched his way to the car.

Before I came, I made sure to ask my brother to drive me home if I didn’t want to stay here. He started the engine and sped off into the dark night. As we approached a long narrow road, two blinding headlights caught my attention. I checked if I had my seatbelt on, which I did, and took cover knowing what would come next.

We crashed into the car and my brother lurched forward through the windscreen and onto the bonnet. He had glass everywhere and the bonnet was filled with blood. Tears poured down my flushed cheeks, as I kicked the passenger door open with all my might. I felt a stinging pain but continued to limp towards my brother.

I quickly called the paramedics before I rushed over to my injured brother. My heart pounded against my chest as I hugged him. I then realised he reeked of alcohol. He was driving while he was drunk. How could I let my stupidity get the best of me; we were at a party after all and obviously he would get drunk.

I observed my surroundings and noticed that we were in the middle of nowhere. Glass scattered everywhere, some pierced my back and head. I touched my gashes and winced. My hands were filled with blood. More tears welled up and black spots clouded my vision before I fell into an abyss.

If only I hadn’t tried to fit in, just be grateful for what I had, my brother wouldn’t have been lying on a bonnet filled with blood, we wouldn’t be stuck in the middle of nowhere and we wouldn’t both be lying on our death beds.