Growing up

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Chapter Seventeen

Monday morning, I remember that I haven’t gone to class for a week and I forgot to print the timetable. I don’t even know where and when my classes are! I get up at 07:03 and take a quick shower before running to the Aberdare computer lab to print my timetable.

After printing it, I see that have a 07:45 class in building 123 LH 7, and it is 07:40 already. I run to building 123

I open the door, when I enter I feel I have been struck lightning. I have never seen so many people in one room. The worse and scariest part is that everyone is looking at me as I slowly close the door. Even the lecturer stops talking and looks at me! My eyes scan the hall; I see different people in different colours and shapes! I am 30 minutes late, am I supposed to feel embarrassed?

“Sit down or get out! You are disturbing my lecture, mister,” says an old chubby white man. I bite my lower lip trying to be cool, pretending to have the situation under control. I go up the stairs and take a place at the back of the lecture hall. Everyone looks at me as I make my way up the stairs. Once I sit down the lecturer breaths out a sigh of relief and continuous with the introduction to law. He tells us which text books we will need for his module and he concludes by saying that students have a tendency of taking Introduction to Law lightly and end up repeating it. He says that it’s not difficult, it just needs time and then he drones on about how we should do our work My Mondays are hectic; I have classes all day. After an exhausting day I finally I go back to res. When I get there I get a call from Mongi. She says we should meet in town. She says it’s important and it cannot wait! This girl has no idea of how tired I am but I know she wouldn’t lie - it must be really important. I take a taxi to town and I find her waiting for me in front Zebro’s. I tell her to make it quick, I really am tired. “Sit down, catch your breath and be calm,” she says softly. “Ok, remember the plan I told you about?” she adds.

“You mean the one I didn’t approve of?” I say grabbing a chair.

“That is because you haven’t heard the best part: if she is caught with drugs or using drugs in NMMU premises she will be suspended for at least a year, excluding the rehab time. This means this Nandipha bitch will be out of our lives for at least 2 years. When she comes back, if she does, we’ll simply distance ourselves. We will have a good reason: no one wants to be friends with a drug addict. Here is the best part: I have found a place where we can buy the pills for much cheaper,” she says with a voice filled with joy and excitement.

“And where is that?”

“In Parliament street. They are Nigerian guys who are selling drugs at a much lower price than you can imagine.”

I look at her and frown: “Are you sure about this?”

“Like hell I am!”

“Well, then maybe it’s worth a shot, as long as the drugs won’t kill her.”

“Awesome! I will call the guys or should we just go there now?”

“Rather call them to come down here. We are not going there - that’s the most dangerous place in PE.”

Mongikazi takes out her phone and makes a call. Within a few minutes the guy’s car is parked not far from where we are sitting. On the phone they tell Mongi to come to the car. “No Mongi, you cannot trust these guys. I’ve heard a lot of scary things about Nigerian guys. There is no way you are going to their car. Call him back and tell him to come here or we will find a safer spot for the trade.”

“It’s so cute that you care about me, but I am a big girl and I can take care of myself.”

“Look, we are in this together so we make every decision together! There is no way you getting in that car. I don’t approve of that. If something happens to you, I will be responsible and I wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt. It will destroy me.”

“Calm down, I will take the front seat. I won’t let them drive away with me, I do watch action movies. At least I have a clue of how these things work.”

With that said she gets up and goes to the black BMW. She is stubborn like hell, the more you advise her otherwise, the more she wants to go on with her own way.! It’s ok to be stubborn but there is a limit; nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and that is why we sometimes need other people’s perspectives in matters.

She gets in the car and stays for more than 15 minutes. What is taking so long? I start to panic. I take out my phone and then I decide to call her. My call is rejected then I see the car moving! This can’t be her will! Something is wrong here. She said they were not going to drive away with her. I lose my mind and run after the car! I don’t even think of calling the police. I run behind the car shouting at the driver to stop the car. I don’t even see how stupid I look and sound. Then they make the mistake of taking Military Road - the road passing the Opera house. They must have forgotten that there is always traffic there due to the road reconstruction. They have no choice but to stop.

I run and when I reach the traffic I shout that the Nigerian guys in that black BMW have taken my friend. When I finish the speech people are already all over the black BMW with sticks, knives and stones. You know how South African people feel about the Nigerians. Within a few minutes the road is filled with people.

This goes on for about 5 minutes but there is no response from the car! Guy from the crowd throws a huge stone at the window. But the guys refuse to let Mongikazi go; they say they will surrender only to the cops and the girl is not as clean. Are they mad? My best friend is in there.

These people care less about the issue on the table, all they want is to kill the Nigerians out of hate and anger. Mongikazi is last of their worries; they get out of control, throwing stones at the car! At last the front door opens and Mongikazi gets out with her t-shirt tore apart. She scans the crowd and spots me and then she comes running to me, giving me the warmest hug ever. Luckily for the Nigerians someone called the cops before their car could be set on fire by the angry South Africans.

On our way back to res I keep quiet. The silence is so real, I can feel it. I can’t even look at Mongi, for once, I hate being right. I don’t know what went down in that car but I told her not to get in that car. If only she would listen. All I want right now is to get out of this mess; no more scheming; no more plotting plans and definitely no more breaking the law! It’s time to do the right thing. I have a baby to look out for. I love Vuyolwethu. Mongikazi returns after her shower and throws a towel on her bed and goes all nude. I don’t even know where to look.

“So, are we not talking to each other now? Say it, you were right and I was wrong,” she says. She doesn’t even care to explain what happened in that car! I feel mad, hate, anger, frustrated, taken for granted and crossed. I don’t reply, I hear her saying:

“For how long are we going to go on like this? I messed up, I’m sorry. There you have it. Happy now?

She raises her voice. Still, I keep my mouth shut. They say if you want to kill them slowly then do it with silence. I wonder for how long she can take it. I know how much she loves talking but to wake her sleepy mind, I will give her a silent treatment. The room gets filled with silence. She starts working on her laptop but glances at me every now and then. Much later, I take off my clothes. Put on my pyjamas and go to the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I come back the door is locked. After knocking, Mongikazi asks who it is. She is doing this only to annoy me even further. I don’t reply; instead I bang the door harder. “Ok, ok, I’m coming” she shouts and opens the door. I enter without looking at her. She pulls on my arm, I turn around and give her blank stare.

“I am sorry, okay?” she says with a sad face.

“Are you?” I ask, slowly freeing my arm. She nods “Yes, yes I am. I’m sorry that I didn’t listen and then I became a bitch about it! I wouldn’t have been here if you weren’t there; if you didn’t run after me. I am sorry for not apologising sooner! I am sorry for everything. I just want to help get Nandipha off our backs for good! I want to be strong and fearless like you. Sometimes my feelings for you cloud my judgement.”

“Hey you don’t have to prove yourself to me. I love you just the way you are and nothing will ever change that. Not wanting a romantic relationship with you doesn’t mean I love you less! I would risk my life over and over again to save your stubborn behind. Get that?”

“I know and thank you for having my back, back there. Can I get dressed now? I want you to tell me how your first day on campus was and I want to hear every little detail.”

“Nothing serious, just got lost and shit, but most importantly, I want to know what you were talking about with those drug dealers for 30 minutes. What went wrong to the point that they decide to tear your t-shirt and drive away with you, and why didn’t you scream for help?”

“Let me have something to eat and then I will tell you everything about it.”

“Sure.”

“So, did you make any friends?”

“Kind of, I heard this other girl talking to her friend saying that she had been eyeing me thinking I am a dude!”

“Really?”

“Yes, and that’s not even the worse part; she went on saying my gender doesn’t matter; she would still ride me but she is not gay,” I say shaking my head.

Mongi laughs hard. “Get out of here, are you serious? And what did you say?”

“What was there to say? I just laughed.”

“I swear if I was a hot tomboy like you I was going to tap more ass than the mighty Lil Wayne. I don’t even get why you don’t like girls.”

“Maybe I have not met the right one.”

“Ouch, that hurts.”

“It’s life honey, any way you are done eating now so tell me what went wrong. I thought you watch action movies and that you know how ‘these things work’.”

“Are you still there?”

“You didn’t think I was going to forget about it, did you?”

“Not even a bit. Ok, remember I told you they wanted R1000 for 20 pills?”

“Yhea, I do.”

“Well, I showed them the cash. I told them to show me the pills. They told me to give them the cash before they show me the cocaine. They must have thought I am the dumbest chick who doesn’t know what to do with the money. I told them that’s not going to happen. I am not giving them shit until I see what I want. They started to be all nice telling me to trust them and then they showed me the so-called cocaine. I took the pills and gave them the money. Before getting out of the car something just told me to open the bag and smell the pills; just to make sure that they are the real deal….”

“And how do you know what cocaine smells like?”

“Quiet please, you are disturbing me. I haven’t even got to the interesting part. I smelled the pills and what I smelled was definitely gran-pa pills. They played me. So I tried to keep calm; not giving them the impression that I can smell they are trying to con me, so I played along and smiled. Then, out of the blue, I jumped for my cash, took the money and put it in my bra. That’s why my t-shirt was torn. They were trying to get the money back. After taking the money I threw the gran-pa pills in their faces. I told them to let me go, they gave me the wrong pills and our deal was off. Instead of letting me go they locked the car doors, told me I was not going anywhere with their money and that it was not their fault that I didn’t want the pills, they still wanted the money. I refused. There were 3 of them. When you called they panicked that you might have heard the noise and called the cops or something, so that’s why they drove off with me. It was awful but seeing you running after the car, trying to save my life was the best part of the day! Nothing feels greater than knowing that you have someone to count on.”

“What you did back there was stupid.”

“It will never happen again! What now?”

“I am going home on Friday and I want to tell MiLady everything! Trust me, she will know what to do.”

“I trust you. From now on I will try to listen to you.”

“Good. Have you seen Nandi?”

“Yes.” Her phone vibrates. “Speaking of the devil, here she is texting me: ‘In your room?’”

“Invite her in; we have been ignoring her and she will get suspicious.”

“You’re right! I just can’t deal with that fake.”

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