Growing up

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Chapter Nine

When I wake up the next morning, Mongikazi is nowhere to be found. I panic. I call her phone but it rings from under the pillow. I go to the bathroom and she is not there. I go next door to Nandi’s room and they say they haven’t seen her. While we are still wondering she enters in her short summer dress, eating chips.

“Where have you been, Mongikazi? I was worried sick about you,” I ask.

“How cute,” she replies carelessly. Then she blows me a kiss. Something is wrong with this girl.

“I am going back to sleep. Mongi, don’t ever just take off without reporting to your roomy otherwise you’ll cause her a heart attack,” says Nandipha.

I leave them there standing on the corridor. I get to my room and go to my bed. I check my phone and see I have a text message from Mrs Mali, asking how I am settling in. I reply saying everything is well and that I miss them too. The door flips opened, Mongi enters and locks the door.

“That wasn’t cool,” she says, rudely.

“What wasn’t?” I ask, calmly.

“Since when do I have to report to you when I am going out to buy food? You going around asking people if they have seen me is not cool Aviwe. You can’t do that, I mean its 10am in the morning, where do you think I’d go?”

Shaking my head I reply: “I can’t believe you. Do you remember last night? Do you remember when you were so scared? You can’t just take off. Maybe from now on you have to report to me when you are going. Kill me for caring.”

“I don’t know what you talking about, I was probably having a bad dream. We don’t control what we dream of, do we?” Mongi becomes defensive and insists that she was having a bad dream.

“Ok Mongikazi” I say.

I don’t want to push her. Whatever is eating her is going to come out only when she is ready. The only thing that scares me is that I used to have nightmares; I used to see Azola in my dreams. I once couldn’t sleep either. I am wondering if she is going through the same thing too I go sit next to her.

“You don’t have to pretend like everything is all right, Mongi. It won’t be right just because you are faking it. Instead of faking it you have to face it,” I say, softly.

“What are you talking about?” she giggles and fakes a smile but her eyes says it all, she is not happy. Something is eating her.

“I know we just met but I trust you. So I am going to tell you a little secret about myself. I was once scared too. In my life there was a time where I couldn’t close my eyes because I was scared he was going to come back.” I say, with a straight face. Now she gives me her undivided attention, she puts her phone on the table and looks me in the eyes.

“What happened? Who was going to come back? How did you stop being scared?

“When I was 14 I was rapped over and over again. I couldn’t sleep; I lived my life in fear. I spent every second of my life scared that he will come and rip my clothes off and rape me. I lived in hell. The people close to me didn’t believe me and that gave my rapist more power. He came back for more almost every day. I was so scared, I’d dream of him every night. But one day I felt so strong that I took control of my life. My body belongs to me. I repossessed my body. I took care of him. I learnt that we as victims have all the power to change our situation. All we need to do is to look down in our hearts and find that spark that makes us who we are, that makes us believe in ourselves. Enough is enough.”

When I am about to say the last words I look up at Mongi, who was listening carefully. Her eyes are filled with tears but she holds them back.

“lt’s ok, you can cry. I used to cry too. Nobody expects you to be strong all the time. It’s ok to cry.”

Like she has been waiting for me to say she can cry, she started crying hard. I go get her water and when I give her a glass, she can’t hold it, her hands are shaking. Trying to wipe off her tears, she says: “oh my God how did you survive that? I am sorry you went through that!” Then she cries again. I don’t get a chance to respond. I hold her till she gets better. After a few minutes she tells me to get her another glass of water and I do as asked.

“My story is totally different from yours, I can’t fight back, and I can’t do anything about it. I was defeated long time ago,” she says looking down.

“Don’t say that. Words are powerful because they control your mind. There is always a way out of any situation, l’m telling you.”

Taking the glass of water she says: “Not in this one. Remember, I said I am the only child of my parents/ Well, I lied. I had a little sister. She was four years younger than me. When I was 8 she was 4 we were sent to the shop one day. We were walking, playing like we used to do. It was not our first time to go to the shop alone. Our parents always sent us to buy small things like bread. I guess on that day we were at the wrong place at the wrong time. On our way to the shop I lost the money. I begged my little sister to help me find the money but she refused. So I went back and traced my steps, I left her standing next to the road. When I was like 10 feet away I heard someone scream. I knew for sure that it was my little sister.

I turned around I saw her being taken way. I watched her screaming and fighting a white lady that was dragging her to a car. I didn’t do anything - I watched my innocent little sister being abducted. She screamed my name. Do you understand? She called my name; she knew I was supposed to protect her. I was supposed to do something, but I let her down.

I saved my ass. I ran away like my life depended on it instead of getting help. I ran to a hiding space. After hours I went back home and told my parents about what happened. They went to the police station but my sister was never found. I will never forgive myself for that. Every time I hear a scream I think of how my sister was taken away in front of my eyes, I think of how I didn’t even try to save her. I put a smile on my face every day trying to cover the pain and the void inside me. \

My parents never stopped praying; they always tell me that it was not my fault. I know Viwe, I know it was my fault. I shouldn’t have left my sister next to the road, I shouldn’t have hid, I should have called for help as quick as I could but all I thought about was to save myself. I wish I could go back and make everything right. I see my sister in my dreams screaming for help. Instead of giving her a hand I get so scared and I close my eyes.”

Oh my God how can people be so heartless? How does one steal someone else’s child? I become numb, I honestly don’t know what to say to Mongi. I am lost for words. For a moment I feel that what I went through is far better than what she is going through. At least I knew my perpetrator and I made him pay for what he did. Mongi keeps hoping her sister comes back, wondering if her little sister is still alive, wondering what they have done to her, wondering if they haven’t turned her into a serial killer or a sex slave. The whole thing is so sad I feel like I am being stabbed in my heart. A tear escapes my eyes and she catches it before it falls. She uses her thumb to wipe it off my cheek, then softly touches my cheek and looks deep into my eyes. I don’t know why but I can’t really read her eyes... If she was a guy I’d say they are sending a sexual message. An ”I want to eat you" kind of message. We stare at each other for a seconds and the next thing I feel is her lips touching mine. I get lost! What’s going on here? We are both hurt but sex won’t take the pain away and we are both girls. She cups my face and kisses me passionately, l am hesitant, but l feel like I need this. My eyes slowly close. And l respond. We kiss for a very long time until I then break the kiss.

I give her a questioning look but she ignores that and come closer to kiss me again, roughly this time. My body gets defeated. I give in and kiss back with as much hunger. She then gets up and lays me down on the bed. She gets on top of me and kisses the living hell out of me. She uses her knee to apart my legs, I follow her lead. I open my legs and she gets in between my legs. She comes back to kiss me in the mouth, touching my breasts while kissing my lips. She then uses her thumb to rub my nipple. I can’t hold back, a moan escapes my mouth I move my waist back and forth, I put my hands under her summer dress and touch her smooth thick bum, pressing it forward. She then stops kissing me. She takes my hand off her butt. “Take off your pyjamas slowly,” she says. I do as instructed. I get completely naked and she studies my body before she takes off her dress. I am not sure of what’s going to happen but this moment feels perfect.

After she takes off her dress she gets on top of me where she thinks she belongs. Her breasts touch mine and so does her private part. I feel warm, she is hot, she kisses me softly and I put my hands on her hips while I kiss back. The kiss takes me away from the world of living. I don’t want it to end. She slowly moves her hand down there, she feel my wetness and giggles a little. She is making my clitoris shy, I break the kiss and look at her and then she looks at me and smiles. I smile back. All of a sudden I feel two fingers being shoved in my honey spot. “Ahh!” I scream. She uses her left hand to hold me down, eyes still locked, she makes love to me in a way I have never imagined. After a long passionate and rough love making we kiss till our lips are swollen. I put my head on her chest. I listen to her heartbeat. I fall asleep in her arms; little did I know that while I am falling asleep she is falling in love.

I wonder how we ended up here.

When I wake up, I find her memorising my face.

“Have you seen the time?” she asks with a smile drawn all over her face.

“No, what is it?” I reply yawning.

“It’s 14:47; you have sleeping for almost two hours.”

“Oh shit, I was supposed to be in church.” I say.

“I’m sorry love, it’s all my fault,” she says, still looking at me.

Did she just call me her love? I hope she doesn’t think this means something because it doesn’t. It was nice but it was a mistake and it won’t happen again. Her mood has changed she looks relaxed. I am scared she might have fallen for me but I once told her that I am not gay and I don’t want to talk about it. I love her better when she is like this, she looks genuinely happy and I am happy about that but I have my soul mate is out there and all I have to do is to find him. I decide to play along just this one day. I honestly don’t want her to scream and think of her sister or anything along those lines. I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

She comes close and plants kisses all over my face. I don’t participate, l look at her and smile. I tell her I have to go and take a shower.

With a goofy smile she says: “Can I join you?”

“No ma’am thank you.”

“Why not? I promise I will keep my hands to myself.” Then she winks and sticks her tongue out.

“No, I it’s not going to happen, especially because of the ideas I know you have.”

She laughs a little and pulls the blankets over on her face. I go to take a shower and when I come back she is sitting on her bed - naked - looking at her phone. I lotion without taking off my towel, all of a sudden more self-conscious about being naked in her presence.

“Do you want to talk about it?” she asks, nonchalantly, without taking her eyes off her phone.

“About what? I reply, my tone betraying my conspicuous disinterest in the subject.”

“About what happened between us today.”

With a faked smile I say: “There is nothing to talk about. Besides, you have a boyfriend.”

“No I don’t,” she says, almost too emphatically.

“Yes you do, the one you said doesn’t want to be dumped. The one that calls you every hour.”

“He is not my boyfriend. I dumped him the day I came here. He keeps calling me to ask what went wrong. I have not told him that I am in love with my roommate yet. I fell for you the first day I saw you. Remember when I talked about lesbians? I hoped you’d say you are one.

Her phone rings. She takes it out, puts it on speaker and says: “What?”

“I want us to talk Mongikazi, please,” a deep voice pleads. That voice sounds strangely familiar, l think to myself; quickly brushing off the absurd idea.

“Talk. I am listening.”

“Hun, what’s wrong? Please make me understand.”

“I am in love with someone else. There you have it. Are you happy now?”

“You are kidding right? Look, why don’t you come and look me in the eyes and tell me that you have fallen for someone else?”

“Lord have mercy, I am in Port Elizabeth and you are in Cape Town. How the hell do I just ‘come and look you in the eyes?’ ”

“I’m came to PE just to see you, I’m worried about you; about us. You have been in PE for only two weeks but everything has changed. Just come and make me understand what exactly is going on. You owe me at least that much.”

“I don’t owe you a thing.”

“You don’t want to see me and that means you are not over me. Bye Nunuberry. I love you more,” then he cuts the call.

Mongikazi looks at her phone with her eyes open in disbelief. “Did he just hang up on me? Who the hell does he think he is?”

She then looks at me and asks if it’s okay if she goes and tell the guy in his face that they are over.

“Why are you breaking up with him? He came all the way from Cape Town to PE just to see you. He loves you.” I say not paying much attention.

“And I love you,” she says looking into my eyes like she is searching for something. I chuckle and say, “What? Good sex makes people say things they don’t really mean. Just go sort things out with your boyfriend.

“That was not just sex, we made love. If it didn’t mean anything to you, kill me because it meant something to me. Given a chance I would do it over and over again. Aviwe, you took away my pain. I feel alive again....”

“I am glad I took the pain away but I still advise you to go and see your boyfriend. He is right. You owe it to him to make him understand. Now take your phone, text him and set up a date to meet him.” I wink at her and go to Nandipha’s room. I am not up for this “thing” with Mongikazi.

Chapter nine

I knock once and when I enter, the girls all seem busy. “Am I interrupting something? Y’all look busy,” I say.

“Oh, is she is still alive? I have been knocking on your door but no one answered,” says Chumani as she applies her lipstick.

“Oh, sorry man, we were sleeping. We went to bed late last night so we were trying to make up for the hours we lost. What’s up with the make-up and the stilettos?”

“Put on your sexy outfit, Nandi is taking us out. Where is Mongi? Tell her she is invited too,” says Amanda.

“Who goes out on a Sunday? Mongs has a date and she can’t come with us.”

Right after that Nandipha jumps in excitement and says: “Oooooh that’s what I am talking about baby. Mongi is the only person here..... Hahaha we aren’t really going out doll, we are just going to the Boardwalk for ice cream and whatever yummy stuff they have there.”

Amanda says: “Mongs already has a boyfriend here?”

“Oh, friend you should ask when you don’t know,” I reply.

“Whatever, go get dressed up and please go easy on guy’s clothes please. We have planned to wear short black dresses and stilettos. If you don’t have one, look in Nandi’s closet. She has more than enough. I am pretty sure she won’t mind to lend you one.” Amanda continues. I honestly don’t like this Amanda person. “I don’t do dresses and I won’t start now,” I reply trying hard so sound chilled. Amanda gives me an evil look when she is about to say something Chumani interrupts her and says: “Wear whatever you want, boo.”

“Time is ticking doll, go, go get dressed,” says the star of the movie.

I wink at Chuma and give Amanda a “voetsek look” as I go to my room to get dressed. I find a note on my bed: “Gone to dump my boyfriend for the 10th time, I’ll be back before you know it xo xo” I read the note and shake my head. I go to my closet I take out my red Adidas sneakers, black skinny jean, black blazer and a black snap back. This is one of my favourite outfits. It reminds me of Babalo - he loved dressing all black and just one bright colour. I get dressed and look myself in the mirror. “Damn I am one hella hot chick.” I keep my head up and put my smile on like nothing happened between me and Mongikazi.

“Aviweeeeee!” Someone calls my name. “What’s eating you?” I reply. “Come, we are getting late.” “Coming!” I take my phone and call my MiLady to tell her I am going out with the girls from next door, but I will leave my phone in my room. I don’t trust Port Elizabeth. She is so glad that I finally have friends. She says she was worried about me. “Kiss Vuyo for me, tell her I love her very much.” I say.

“Ok, now go have fun love,” she says and cuts the call. I go to the girls who have been waiting for me downstairs.

“Oh, wow that is nice. No, nice is an understatement. You are blazing hot, friend,” Chumani says. They all go crazy on how good I look. The compliments make me blush and shy. “Thank you guys. Y’all look gorgeous by the way,” I reply. “Thank you, Vee but come on guys, we not going to sleep on this,” says Amanda. I roll my eyes and lead the way to the parking lot where a cab is waiting. Amanda talks a lot and her dress doesn’t even look good on her. She has no hips, no butt, it’s like she traded her bum for her stomach. While walking to the cab I look at Chumani. She is quiet. Her black dress covers up just to her butt, her back is all bare it sits perfectly on her cupcake breasts. She is light skinned so a black dress goes well with her skin tone. She is wearing it with red pencil heels. So we are both wearing black and red.

As for Nandipha - she is the Royal queen. She is wearing a designer back lace dress and gold stilettos. Her dress is see- through, it shows her black under wear and black bra. It’s perfect. It’s the one that Kim K wore in one of the BET awards. I wonder who her sugar daddy is.

When we get to Boardwalk, Nandi pays the cab fee. We decide to go to the Spur and we will see what we going to do after. On our way we pass the News Cafe. We take pictures with Nandi’s iPad. While taking a picture of the other girls, I see a guy behind them, but he is looking down to the screen of his phone. He photo bombs their photo so I decide to go to him and ask him to please move to the other side.

When I am about three feet away, he looks up. I can’t believe what I see! I stare at him, he stares back. “Aviwe?” he reaches to touch my face.

“Oh Lord it’s her, its princess, it’s Aviwe!” he says, still in shock. I see Mongikazi coming out of News Cafe, approaching us. “Ok, what’s going on? Do you guys know each other?” Mongikazi asks with a confused face. Us looking at each other is the last thing I remember.

I wake up on a bed that is not mine. I slowly open my eyes. And the details of my surroundings begin to sink in slowly. I am in a small room full of machines. What the hell is this place? While I am trying to figure it out, a nurse enters. She looks at the papers next to my bed. “Aviwe Minnie, right?” she asks. I nod.

“Do you know how you got here?” she asks. I shake my head. “You fainted, but the tests confirm that you will be fine. We just have to keep you here for a few more days,” she says.

“No ma’am, you can’t keep me here. I have to be in school tomorrow,” I reply. “You fainted two days ago. It is Tuesday today. What is the last thing you remember?” she asks.

“I was out with my friends....“Good........”

She keeps asking annoying questions. I don’t really know how this is helping but I play along.

“Alright, you seem to be fine but we will need to run some more tests. If everything is fine you will be discharged tomorrow, ok?” She says. I smile and my heart does a victory dance. Before she exists she looks at her wrist watch and says: “Oh the time is 12:55, its only 5 minutes before visiting hours. Your friends have been here since Sunday. I will tell them you are awake. You are blessed to have such friends.”

My friends? Ohhhh! I remember, my mind flashes back all the events on Sunday. I start to remember everything. Part of me wishes I could forget. I know I have waited very long for the day I would meet Babalo; he has been my drive in everything I do. He is the only thing that kept me going. I was eager to see him again but not under these conditions. This cannot be happening. So the boyfriend Mongikazi has been talking about is Babalo. The world is just too small. I know they are going to be in my room within five minutes, so what am I going to say to Balo? I am happy to see Babalo again, regardless. But still something doesn’t feel right.

I hear the door open, but I close my eyes.. Tears roll down the side of my face. I then feel someone whipping my tears off. I open my eyes slowly and find Babalo on the left side of my bed, Mongikazi on the right side and Chumani, Amanda and Nandipha sitting on the edge of the bed next to my feet.

They all have gifts, Babalo is carrying a HUGE brown teddy bear, and Mongikazi has a gift bag and flowers. Nandipha always goes an extra mile. She has 5 gift bags. I can’t wait to open them. She also brought balloons and a lot of glittering stuff. She redecorates my hospital room: above the door she puts a “GET WELL SOON” sign. I never had people who genuinely cared about me except Balo and the Mali family of course. I smile and cry at the same time.

“How are you feeling Ninja?” Babalo asks. The smile, his voice, smile and dimples are exactly like four years ago. He has not changed a bit. He still looks perfect. Funniest thing is that he is wearing the exact attire I was wearing on Sunday, just that his sneakers are purple. I stare in his eyes, his eyes leads me to his soul. I can see how happy he is and the joy he has for seeing me is unexplained but I am more than sure that he is not happier than me. He puts down the teddy bear and cups my face. He looks at me like he does not believe it’ really me. He slowly brushes my cheek with his thumb.

“I feel fine. Thank you,” I reply. He smiles and giggles, tears follow. Then he hugs me tight. “Awkward,” says Amanda and when she sees that nobody gives a damn about her she takes her bag and exits the room. “I can’t believe this, deep down my heart I knew we were going to meet again but now that you are here, it feels so unreal, like I am in dream. Words can’t explain how happy I am Vee. The most amazing thing is the fact that you have not changed a bit because you are amazing just the way you are. You always have been and you will always be,” he says breaking the hug when he kisses my forehead. I close my eyes and feel his soft lips touching my flesh. The kiss heals my soul; it erases everything I went through; it heals all the wounds; it’s a promise he’ll stay and hope for a brighter future.

I fall in love. I fall deeply in love with the boy I knew for a few months four years ago. I fall in love with the person who stood by me when nobody else did, the first person I called a friend, the first person that made me laugh ’till my stomach hurts. The 1st person who looked through my dark skin. The person kept me alive all these years.

I, Aviwe am in love with Babalo. I choose to ignore the fact that there is Mongikazi in the equation and she is the reason that Babalo and I met at the boardwalk.

“Welcome back to the world of the living,” says Mongikazi, then she holds my hand and kisses it. Babalo lets go of my face as I turn to the other side of the bed and look at Mongikazi. He holds my other hand. “I was so worried about you,” she adds. “I am fine, thank you roomy,” I reply. The emphasis on the roommate part is a message that we are just roommate and nothing more.

I am hoping it’s heard loud and clear to the recipient. “I am glad,” she says, her face is unclear. She looks like she has a lot to say but it seems like she feels it’s not the right time or place. “By the way, that is my ex-boyfriend, the one I told you about. I am so confused though, how do you two know each other?” Nandi cuts Mongikazi’s speech. “Guys I don’t think this needs me so I am just going to run and grab something to eat, when I come back I will take your bags to res okay?” She comes and kisses my left cheek. “Be strong,” she says and leaves. I look at Mongi and then at Babalo. Mongi looks pissed. She tries to cover it up but eyes never lie. Babalo looks scared.

“Come now I am waiting for an answer,” Mongikazi says firmly. “It’s not the right time or place, my love. I will tell you everything you need to know when Aviwe gets better,” Babalo replies politely.

I am in no position to say a word. My life is full of lies, I don’t know what Mongi told Balo, and I don’t know what Balo told Mongi. If I want to keep all my secrets safe I have to be very smart about this, I have to calculate each and every risk I take. I have to watch and count my words. I don’t know how but I will figure something out, I always do. “It’s a long story, Mongikazi, you’ll be told everything you want to know once I am back in res. Now if you will please excuse us, there are things I need to discuss with Balo privately,” I say politely but my tone is rather aggressive.

“Balo? He isn’t Babalo now? I see, I wonder what is it that makes you faint for two days when you see my ex-boyfriend. Whatever it is, it’s huge,” Mongikazi says and violently takes her bag and flowers and leaves. I am now left with Balo. I remember I have not called my parents so I ask to use Balo’s phone. He tells me that Mongikazi called them and that they know everything but they have been told not to worry, I will be just fine. “So why did you faint, bro?” he asks with a naughty smile.

“Dude I thought you were a ghost.” We both laugh so hard

“I didn’t know you missed me that much,” he then winks. Oh, he is still has charms.

“Tell me, what did you tell my friends about us? And what did they tell you about me?

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean. ‘US’”

“Well, they told me nothing interesting about you and I noticed they have no clue of Babalo in your life so I figured you buried the past, so I let it be. I told them we were close friends in primary school but I went to Cape Town for my high school studies. Then we never saw each other and that you got so excited to see me, that your excitement led you to hospital, but I don’t think Mongikazi bought it,” he says softly. Lord I love how my Balo thinks and his cockiness.

“Even if you didn’t say the last part I see no trouble. Thank you love, I can’t wait to get out of this place. We have so much to talk about. First, how the hell did you get to the Western Cape Province?”

“Let’s leave that for tomorrow, when you are not in bed. It’s frustrating to see you laying here. I need you to get better. I didn’t imagine the day we meet again would be like this, I need my chocolate twin back.”

Balo says all the right things. It’s really hard not to fall for him. He is a hunk. I just wonder how he feels about me. But from his face when he saw me I saw it, it was written all over his face: he is totally into me. We were meant to be together. I was made out of Balo’s rib. It’s so sad how people go on about un-existing true love. Just because you don’t have something it does not mean it doesn’t exist. What I feel for Balo is love, that’s a fact. When I think about it, I have loved Balo as long as I can remember. I know he always felt the same, remember how he always protected me. How he lost everything because of protecting me. I know I don’t owe him my life, it’s just my honour to live my life for him.

What happened between me and his ex is history and it will stay like that. It’s Balo and I against the world once again.

Nandipha comes back with pizza and apple juice. She just drops the food on the table and tells us that she has to go somewhere. “It’s ok, I will see you tomorrow and thank you for everything,” I say and blow her a kiss.

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