Her “wonderful” son became a monster at the age of 12 and the warfare with her child has swallowed her life, Bridget van Ballo of Mitchell’s Plain says.
Leeroshe is 19, his legs are skinny and his brain has been pickled by methamphetamine for seven years.
“Thank God I’m a strong person. But you get tired, beyond tired. I’ve reached breaking point,” she says.
“On Sunday, if there hadn’t been people here I would have killed him. I’ve been planning how to do it since last Friday. I’ve thought of pushing a bunch of matches into a cigarette so when he lights it, it explodes. Kill him with a knife . . .”
She shakes her head. “No. Poison . . . I’ve thought of them all.”
She wouldn’t strangle him with a piece of rope like Ellen Pakkies, also of Cape Town, did to her tik-addict son in 2007 because his arms would be free to grab her.
Some of his hair has been dyed red, his denims hang low on his skinny buttocks and red socks stick out of a pair of worn slops.
She’s had him jailed seven times. Now a warrant for his arrest has been issued. When he hears her phone the police he runs off, sits on a nearby hill and laughs at them. As soon as the police leave he returns and makes trouble.
Bridget can’t remember all the places she’s appealed to for help. By the time he was 12 they were attending Afrikaanse Christelike Vroue Vereniging sessions. He was sent to Steinthal, a place of safety in Tulbagh, but ran away and was caught with drugs in Piketberg.
“We were in and out of court; he was in and out of rehab. I’m not joking when I say I’m going to kill him.
“In place of the little boy I raised is an ugly monster. He used to breakdance so wonderfully and sing and tell jokes . . . I can’t remember when last I heard him sing.”
Does it break her heart? “I’m way past that stage.”
She stopped caring in December. He’d spent four months in Pollsmoor Prison and at first she thought she had something of the old Leeroshe back.
“His face had filled out and you could see he wasn’t on drugs.” But two days later her kettle and iron went missing.
“Would you really kill him?” I ask.
She’s silent for a long time. Then she slowly shakes her head. “No, I’m not going to jail for him,” she says. “I still have too much to live for.”
Read more about Bridget's heartbreak in YOU, 21 April 2011.