Church-boy Heartbreak


Refiloe Lepere 20171107_162101

Text: Ms Doo Wop

Photograph: Supplied

My little sister crept into my room late last night, her hand balled in to a fist I immediately recognized.

A selfish child, she had perfected the curl of fingers around special objects. A bully at heart, I had practiced to an art, the slow effort of massaging her fingers until they unfurled to reveal whatever delicacy our grandmother had gifted to her favourite child.

So, on this night I let her in my bed and went to work, prying gently, loosening joints, stretching fingers, to find in her palm, her heart wrapped in a bible verse. John 4, the perfect psalm for the woman who has come to understand the secret pain of the Samaritan woman.

Church-boy heart break is a special kind.

You are stale water he spits out.

You are shallow well to his holy thirst.

I tell my sister how God’s Chosen Son sat me down 12 months into our loving. In a private place so no one would see me cry, Church-boy told me They would not accept us.

His pastor said I was ungodly.


I repeat it three times to break the spell but the words turn to salt in my mouth.  Raised in a family that Christian-worships on Easter weekend and burns impempho with our daily bread, thee God’s love has never been in my lexicon.

Ungodly he had said and as hard as I wanted to be free of it, I knew nobody I told would fully understand the punch to the gut. They had not witnessed the nights God’s Chosen Son, tired as he was from his journey, lay down by my well declaring forever and offering prophesies of a future I could not imagine he would deny.

Three times.

I whisper reassuring things as I rock my sister to sleep. I remind her of the Samaritan woman’s first question to the Chosen Son: “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”