Growing up

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Chapter Twenty Three

The thought of her falling for someone else scares the living hell out of me. After a long time of cuddling, I get up, take off my clothes and go to take a shower. I take a long hot shower and when I go back to my room, I find Mongi still on my bed.I tell her I am going to Steers and asks if she wants to come with me but she refuses; saying that she is tired. She did not get enough sleep in days. “I will be back before you know it,” I say walking to the door. She doesn’t reply. I turn around and look at her and then she asks me not to leave. “You need to sleep and I need to clear my head,” I say and go back to her. We look at each other and smile awkwardly. My plan was to kiss her but I get scared and shake the thought away. I head back to the door. I glance at her one more time. I find her looking at me with a goofy smile, I giggle like a high school teenager and leave.

I put my earphones on and walk to Steers next to the Total garage. I need fresh air. I get to Steers and buy ice cream. I get a table and get seated. I think of what just happened between me and Mongikazi right after she was in bed with someone else. I wonder if it is love or jealousy but why would I be jealous of someone I don’t love. If I claim to love Mongikazi then what about Babalo? What does that make me? A lesbian or straight? Or maybe I just love my bread buttered both sides. I think of all the moments I have spent with Mongikazi and how I have been so protective of her. I realised I have loved her for a very long time but I thought loving Babalo was something I had to do. It was something that was meant to be. Every girl grows up dreaming of a prince charming, could it be possible for a prince charming to be a princess? Still digesting everything though, I get a WhatsApp text from Mongikazi, it reads: “I miss you already.” “Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping?” I reply and find myself smiling at my phone. “How am I supposed to sleep wen my mind is filled with someone else?”“You smile and hope to dream about them. Only if that someone is me though.” I press send.While I am still smiling on my phone, I get a call from an unregistered number. “Hello?” I say after picking up. “Aviwe, Aviwe, can you hear me?” a familiar female voice shouts on the other line. She sounds panicking and sniffing. That immediately catches my attention. “Hey calm down, who are you? You are scaring me?” my heart beats a little faster, I feel shivers on my back. I am scared; we have been through so much drama, getting a weird call is not doing any justice. “Good you should be scared, now listen very carefully,” she says very fast. “Who are you?” I ask.“I managed to escape them, they want me killed. I need you to come get me, Aviwe,” she says and then she breaks in tears. “Who are you?” I shout.“I don’t have much time left. I am in Mission vale, please come get me.”Then she hangs up. Who is she? Who could it be? It must be Nandipha, she is the only person that can call me and speak this language. I quickly go to the garage to buy airtime. I call Mongikazi and tell her about the weird call. She begs me not to go there. It could be a set up. I try to reason with her that Nandipha is the only person that can lead us to her sister. “I want to find my sister but not if it means I have to put the person I love in danger. Promise me you are not going there Aviwe,” she says.“Ok ma’am.”“No I want you to promise Aviwe. It’s not worth it.”“I hear you Mongi and I promise. I will be home before you know it,” then she hangs up. After hanging up, I look at the phone screen and say: “So you know, I love you.”I hope Mongikazi knows at the back of her head that I will not honour the promise. Nandi is my friend, she shot her boss when she was supposed to shoot us. She got herself in trouble to save us and I cannot let her die in the street. She needs me, she saved me and I am going to return the favour!I take a taxi to Mission Vale. Still in the taxi I get a call from the same number. The girl on the other line tells me to hurry, it’s hot and she is hungry. I ask what her name is, she tells me she is Nandipha and she is hurt. She asks why I don’t recognise her voice. “I knew it, hang in there buddy I am coming,” I say, smiling.

“I knew I can count on you, thank you my friend. Is Mongi with you?” She asks. “No she is not, don’t ask” I reply and hang up!I smile to myself. I knew it’s Nandi. My guts are never wrong. I get off at NMMU Mission vale campus. I walk down the street where public phones are situated. When I get to the phones, I cannot see anyone around. I look across the road where I see a black Fortuner slowly coming my way. I ignore it; take my phone out and call the public phone Nandi called me from. One of the phone rings. I look around but this Nandipha person is not around. Maybe I should not have come here. Where is she? My mind thinks of every possible thing that might have happened. What if they found her and took her away? I should have come sooner.Oh wait, What if it’s all trap? Once this thought enters my mind, my heart pounds. I can feel it beating so fast trying to tear my chest apart. I feel my hands shaking, I don’t know why but something just tells me to run as fast as I can. Without wasting time, I run. The car also speeds up; I cannot run faster than a car. They speed up and hit me on the left side of my lower body. I fall down immediately and scream.A lady dressed in black leather pants, a leather blazer and black stilettos, comes out of the car running. She puts on a very good act like she hit me by accident; I then close my eyes because of pain. I hear her talking to other people who saw this accident. “Oh my god, I am so sorry, she came out of nowhere. No, don’t call an ambulance. I will take her to the hospital. She says. I feel how I am lifted up. I try to scream but I cannot find my voice. They put me in the car and drive off.I finally find the strength to open my eyes. I am so surprised to see Nandipha sitting next to me on the back seat, all cleaned up. A man I estimate to be around his 40′s is behind the driving wheel. ‘This must be Don’ I think to myself. There are 3 other guys in the car. My lower body is burning but the anger takes over when my eyes meet Nandipha’s. “You bitch,” I say, angrily.“I am sorry; I did not have a choice.”“You can go burn in hell for all I care; I was worried sick about you only to find out it’s all a setup,” I yell. When I try to lift my hand to slap her, I realise my hands are cuffed. “I wonder how you sleep at night,” I say looking disgusted.“I didn’t have a choice, ok?” she screams.“We always have a choice. I had a choice not to come to you but because I am a human, I risked my life and came to rescue you. Little did I know that I am walking in trap.” I shake my head in disbelief, “I should have known better; once a bitch, always a bitch. Here I was a fool thinking you still can be saved. There’s nothing to be saved in you…” she cuts me short.“…………stop it ok, do you think I like this? Do you think I liked picking up the phone and set you up? Huh? Do you think I liked putting the only true friend I have in danger?” she bursts out in tears. “Then why did you do it? From what I see, you enjoy every moment of it.” I say, calmly.“They have my brothers, damn it,” she shouts. “The only way to free my brothers is to bring you and Mongikazi. Tell me what else could I have done to save my family? What would you have done if you were in my shoes Aviwe? Huh? Tell me what would you have done?”“I don’t know but I know for sure I would not have sold my best friend. Never! I am better than that. You just called me your best friend but you don’t even know the meaning of the word.” I say softly and then I lean back on the seat and look up at the roof of the car. I feel hopeless. I know this is my last time breathing so freely, breathing in fresh air. Maybe this is my last time breathing at all. I am not even interested in looking at the road to see where we are heading. What’s the use of thinking about an escape plan when you know for sure that there is none?So he broke Nandipha out just to get to us. I think what I would have done if I was in her shoes. I don’t know but I know I wouldn’t have sold my friend; I would have made a plan. One thing I have learned is that the choice you are given is not always the only choice. There are always other choices, all you need is to think. Nothing is ever black and white. Life isn’t black and white. There are unwritten rules you cannot break unless of course you are Nandipha. You cannot sell out your friend or anyone you claim to love no matter what the circumstances are; that’s one of the unwritten rules. “So sentimental but I’ve had enough of your noise now. Shut the hell up, both of you,” says the driver without looking at us. His voice is not deep; it’s calm but commanding. You just cannot go against it. We stop talking immediately.“I thought there are two of our new friends, Nandipha. Do you care to explain?” he continues.“Yes sir, there are two of them but I don’t know where the other one is.”“I don’t work with buts. Find her.” There is something charismatic about this driver. He is so calm.

“I said find her, what are you waiting for?” he glances at us and look back on the road.“I will need Aviwe’s phone.” says Nandi, sounding scared.“What for?”“Mongi and I were not best of friends but I know she would die for her roommate, best friend and lover. We are lucky because we have that person right here with us.”“Simplify, I don’t have time for your scenarios.”Nandipha rolls her eyes and slowly says: “Aviwe is going to call Mongi, tell her she was hit by a car and she is now in hospital. Mongi will leave everything and go to the hospital and then we will follow her.”“Sounds better,” the other guy hands Nandipha my phone.She gives me my phone and say: “You know what to do.” I chuckle and reply: “I am not like you Nandipha.”“Aviwe, don’t make this harder than it already is, Just call Mongikazi. So this can be over.”“So that your brothers can be free; why don’t you say it out loud? It will be over to you but for Mongi and me it’s only the beginning. So that’s what you did? You took the phone and just called me?” after I say that she looks really pissed because the drivers keeps on giving her a side eye as a sign of dissatisfaction. “I am done being nice,” she says and slaps me across my face. “Make the bloody call before I do something I’ll regret,” she shouts. I spit on her face in return. She hits me again. “Why don’t you shoot me right here in the car? You blood thirsty cow! I am not calling my best friend. I know the meaning of friend, I am nothing like you,” I say at the top of my voice.“I like this girl. Who ever said girls are not loyal. He definitely has not met this one,” says the driver being sarcastic. He pulls the car over next to some bushes and orders us to get out of the car. We do as instructed. The time must be around 8pm because it’s dark. I cannot tell where we are.

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