Growing up

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Chapter Twenty One

My life goes back to what it should be: classes every day. I join the Black Lawyers Association Society. One of the skills I want to gain is public speaking.

My friendship with Mongikazi grows even stronger. She grows in me every day, when I am away from her I feel like part of me is missing. Friday evening I go back to res feeling really tired. I had classes from 07:50 ’till 17:50 with no break in between. When I get there the room is empty. I miss Mongi. I call her; she laughs when she hears that I miss her and promises to be back in 30 minutes.

Is she serious? I will be dead by then. Then I remember I have not talked to MiLady today. I give her a call and ask about Nandipha and Babalo cases. She says that Nandipha said the briefcase was hers she was hired by Ta Yung. We were at the scene because she thought we saw the briefcase when she found us going through her closet, but she didn’t shoot us because she saw that we didn’t know anything about the briefcase. We are just innocent students who were trying to make friends with her without knowing who she really is. Nandi concluded by saying she doesn’t know Babalo, she has never seen him.MiLady says that Nandi saved us. The most interesting thing is that Balo will be out because nothing connects him to the drugs; they might have been planted it in the seat where he hired the car. The government has no evidence that Balo owns the drugs they found in the car. The car was not his. She says Balo’s lawyer is good. As for Nandipha she is not going to get more than 15 years because South African justice has a soft spot for children.

Nandipha was manipulated by her boss to join his forces. She was just a kid, she needed the money for herself and her brothers so Ta Yung used that to his advantage. Nandi didn’t know any better and she couldn’t get out because she was protecting those she loves.This is great news. I play a song and sing along with it. I have no idea when Mongi and Chuma got in, I hear them laughing aloud, standing by the door. I scream, jump up and down and hug Mongi.“Ok what’s up?” she asks also smiling from ear to ear.“Somebody won the lotto,” Chumani says smiling and rolling eyes.“You have to sit down for this.”“She sits down on the bed, Chumani sits on the chair.”Oh my God I cannot believe it!”“What is it?” they ask with curiosity about to kill them. “Babalo is getting out!” Mongi screams so loud and comes to hug me. Chumani looks like a puppy. “Calm down ladies, who is Babalo and where is he?”“Viwe are you kidding me?” “This is my cue to leave,” Chumani opens the door and leaves. We pay no attention to her but only to each other. She closes the door behind her. We go sit on my bed holding hands.“How did you know?” She asks still wearing a huge smile in her face.“Milady told me.”“Poor thing, I am so happy, I know how much you two mean to each other. He loves his princess.”“I know and I also know how much you mean to him. He loves his Queen even more and I know deep down you care for him. How is your shoulder?”“I do care for him especially now that I know he saved you. My shoulder is ok.”“We should go see him tomorrow.”“Great idea. Now tell me what exactly did MiLady say?”I tell her everything Milady told me and we spend the night eating, drinking and talking about everything under the sun. She tells me about the gay society she joined in school; the name of the society is Eloquor Knight. She wants to go with me. I tell her I don’t want girls throwing themselves at me. The society has a movie night so we plan that we will visit Balo and Nandipha then we will go to the movie night. We fall asleep on my bed watching White Collar.In the morning I wake up first and take a long warm shower. I have never been in such a good mood. Babalo being free is the best thing in the world. I wish I was the one who saved him but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that he is going to be out soon. Now, I honestly don’t care who dates who between the three of us, the most important thing is to have each other. I love Mongi with everything I have but not in that way. Even if I wanted to date her I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t date someone Babalo loves so dearly. How on earn can I live with that? Balo is my brother; maybe it’s time to get that in my thick skull and Mongi is my best friend. That is not going to change.When I come back from the shower I find Mongi still asleep. I wake her up, telling her I need her help. After a struggle to get her up, she goes out to take a shower.

After she closes the door behind her I login on Facebook and try to read some stories I come across a diary of a Xhosa girl. I read the first few chapters but it is boring.

I throw my phone on the bed and go looking for Mongi in the bathroom. When I get in the bathroom, she says: “Are you wearing a dress? Aviwe is wearing a dress”. She says with her loud voice. I totally forgot that I decided to wear a dress today. I hear the doors opening, Amanda comes out of her room; she also screams and calls Chumani. And the flat mates come out of their rooms to the corridor where I and Mongi we standing. Everyone is so surprised and exciting about me in a dress.

“What’s so exciting about a girl wearing a dress?” I ask pretending to be surprised. “You not just a girl; you are the girl who never wears girls’ clothes,” says this other chick who I don’t even know “Oh, my friend you are stunning. Wow who knew that a guy can also rock a dress? But where are the shoes? Oh wait I have the perfect shoes for you,” Chumani says as she grabs my arm and pulls me in her room. Chumani is a sweetheart, she never stays mad. “Can you walk in these?” she shows me red stilettos that matches perfectly with my white mini dress.”“No, I am going to visit someone in prison.” I shake my head.“You’re not a prisoner. You are going to visit someone and it’s not a crime to look good. Who are you visiting if I may ask?” “This other friend of mine and Nandipha.”“Nandipha?”“Your roommate, our friend.”“Oh my God, what did she do?”“To make the story short; Nandipha was a drug dealer and a fixer she wanted to kill me and Mongi but changed her mind on the last minute and shot her boss. Then she got arrested and confessed to her crimes.”“Back up a bit. Why would she want to kill you? How are you guys involved in all this? And how come I didn’t see any of it?”“Well, we saw what we shouldn’t have. Anyway, it’s all history now; the police have it covered. Don’t you have nice white sandals?”“Unbelievable.”“I know. Now do you have the shoes or not?”“Yes, and they will look good with the dress. Can I come to see Nandi?”“Ummmm” I hesiste to answer.“It’s ok, I don’t want to be involved anyway! Let me fix your face.”“What! I am offended.” I made a long face.“I mean you are too plain.” I frown and shake my head.“I will apply just an eye liner, mascara and some foundation that will match your skin tone.”“No thanks. I don’t do that. It’s too much.?”

When I get in my room Mongi is ready to hit the road. She is looking nice in white shorts and a yellow vest. Then we leave. Wearing a dress is so not comfortable. I feel like I am naked because I can feel the air blowing my inner thighs. Mongi laughs when I tell her this; she is not doing any justice in my situation. Walking with Mongi is so intimidating - especially now that I am not swagged up at all. She is tall, big and loud. She attracts so much attention from the guys. She tells me about a lesbian secret group called Friends of open Closet. “What lesbian secret group?” I whisper. “That’s not the point here, there is this other chick there who writes beautiful love stories. And why are you whispering?”“Everyone is looking at us.”

On our way to the reception I tickle her and she cannot help to laugh. After signing in, we are escorted to the visitor’s room. The room is full of people who came to visit their loved ones. We are given a table to wait for Balo. They say we cannot see two people at the same time so we require to see Babalo first. When Babalo sees us he asks the security guard to take him back to his cell. I run after him.“Balo, Balo. Ta Yung is dead, I know everything! I am going to get you out of here soon, you are going to be free, Balo!” Ta Yung’s name catches his attention immediately; he turns around and looks at me. Then asks the guard to let him stay. He uncuffs Balo and then we go sit with Mongi.“What did you just say?” Babalo asks; not believing a word I said.“It’s over Balo, it’s time for a fresh start. Do something better with your life.”“Wait with the lecture, Princess. Tell me what you said.”“I said Ta Yung is dead, you are going to be free soon.”He shakes his head in disbelief. “No, no no that, that can’t be.”Mongi jumps in and says: “Yes, he is dead; he was shot by his own daughter. Nice seeing you by the way. ”“Ta Yung has a daughter?” he asks with a very sad face.“No, I mean his own crew member who just happened to be our friend,” Mongikazi explains.“Tell me what happened?”“Long story short; I opened the briefcase, they were looking for it after you were arrested and the person they put on the job happened to be our friend. She saw you that Sunday we met at the boardwalk, she connected the dots and figured we have the briefcase and manipulated us. We ended up confessing; then I set them up. When I was going to give them the briefcase Nandi was supposed to shoot us, but decided to shoot Ta Yung instead. He died right on the scene and then Nandi confessed her sins and said the briefcase was hers. There is nothing connecting you with the briefcase, so they have nothing to charge you with. In a few days you will be drinking champagne celebrating to be a free man. It’s over Balo.”

He puts his hands on her head and looks down, “This is just the beginning.”“The boss is dead! What do you mean it’s only the beginning?” Mongi asks.“Babalo,” I call his name feeling a little disturbed. “This is bigger than any of you. Ta Yung is not the boss,” he says sounding defeated.“What? Nandi said Yang is in charge of everything,” I get even more confused.“She was wrong, obviously she did not know much about them.”“If he is not the boss, then who is? And what do you mean that this is only the beginning?” Mongi asks leaning forward.“Yung is not the boss; he is the twin brother of the boss. And his brother is dangerous as hell. He will not stop until he brutally slaughters each and every one who he blames for his twin’s death. I advise you all to start preparing for your own funerals.”“Are you serious? Just when I thought it was over and we will have a normal life.” I feel a tear escaping my eye, I cannot believe this. I cannot believe that we have been fooled. I believed that we have our normal lives back. This is bigger than us. “Don’t cry, we will figure a way out. I know you come with a plan Vee, you outsmart them once; you can do it again. Babalo, what can you tell us about Ta Yung’s twin brother?” Mongikazi comforts me.

“What do you want to know?”“Everything.”“He is dangerous and without his brother he is the beast. Yung was ruthless but he was nothing compared to his brother, Don.”“Does he have any weaknesses?”“He had one and your friend killed it. The only person he cares about is himself and his twin brother. His father is also involved but Don can give you a gun to shoot his father. He does not care. I don’t know if he has other family except his father. So as far as I know he has no weakness.”“What is it that they do?” I ask quietly.“I might as well tell you because they are going to kill me for losing the briefcase and getting his brother killed in the process of finding it.”“Wait, in that briefcase there was a list of all the members, which means he is also going to be arrested.” my hopes get up a little.“He is not on the list. He created it. That man is a ghost.”“I give up. I might just go home to see my parents once more before I die,” says Mongi raising her hands.“That’s not a good idea; he has a tendency of killing all the people around his victim and leave the victim alive to suffer the pain of not having anyone.”“What is his business about?”“It’s about business.” He shrugs his shoulders.“Speak English or Xhosa please.” I roll my eyes.“Ok, they take street kids and kidnap young kids and then they divide them into four groups so it will be easy to train them. The assassin/fixer group it’s usually the kids they kidnap at a very young age. They train them to be whoever they want them to be - in this case they want them to be killing machines. They also take kids who are in need to make a living, who would do anything to survive and to save the people they love.” “Like Nandipha. I see,” Mongi comments.“I wonder why I have never seen this Nandipha.”“She was Yang’s personal weapon,” I respond.“The other group is thief masters; they are trained to steal everything before their eyes and not get caught. The third group is smugglers. They are trained to move weapons and drugs without getting caught. Then the last group is prostitutes.”“Is this for real?” Mongi asks.“Does it sound like a joke to you?” “It sounds like a movie or a game.”“That’s what life is to them. It’s a movie and a game; it’s all about power, winning, drama and entertainment.”“What now?” I ask letting out a big sigh.“I have no idea, apparently you are the fixer. But Princess I don’t want you to be involved in this; these people are dangerous. Besides you are just a kid. Including you Queen. I don’t want you to get hurt. Maybe there is something I can do when I am out of here but now my hands are tied.”“You will be out before you know it,” I say.“That’s if they don’t break me out first.”“What?” I say.“You don’t know what Don and his army are capable of. Anything and everything.”“Scary shit. I think it’s time to get out of this country. I am so not willing to die with only two certificates. A birth and matric certificate.” Mongi jokes.“You’ll be out of here before you know it,” I reassure Babalo.Mongi looks at me, “We are left with only 15 minutes before visiting hours end. We should see Nandi.”“Oh yes. Take care Balo. We will see you soon, just keep breathing ok?”“Stay alive too.”Balo is taken back to his cell and we go to the reception to ask to see Nandi. Then we go back to the visitor’s room. We wait for more than ten minutes and after that we see five cops in navy uniforms getting in with the receptionist then she points at us and saying: “There they are.”

They violently take us to some small room. What the fuck? We just came here to see our friends, how is that a crime?Then three police men get in and lock the door. I look around the room: there are cameras everywhere and there is a big glass on the wall, but I cannot see the person behind it. From what I have seen in movies, people outside the room can see inside, but those inside cannot see outside. This is what they call an interrogation room.“State your name for the record,” police one says.“What? What did we do?” I ask puzzled.“Your name for the record NOW!” he shouts.“Aviwe.”“Mongikazi.”“What is your relationship with the girl you came to visit?”“She is our friend in university.” “Woman, say everything you know about this Nandipha person or I will make you talk. We do not have time for your bullshit. All we want is what brought you here and your connection with her escaping plan,” he says pacing up and down.“What? She escaped?” I ask shocked.“You heard me. You obviously came here to help her escape. You are the first people who came to see her. Now tell me you didn’t come here to rescue her?”“You are stupid!” I say without thinking. He comes furious to punch me but other police hold him before he can reach me. “You will fucken rot in jail, you little witch. I will make sure of that!” he shouts.

I calmly say, “Let him beat me so he can find himself behind bars, unemployed. I said exactly what he asked me to say and we are not saying a word without a lawyer. I don’t understand what we have done; why are you holding us up here? Because our friend escaped now you all think we have something to do with that? Check your CCTV in the visitor’s room. We have been with my brother. How can we be in two places at once? If I had a way to break someone out would I break out my friend or my brother?”“Watch your tone little girl,” the other cop warns me.

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