“Give me your strongest drink.” Kholwa said, smiling at her best friend, Mzamo, who also happened to be the bartender at her favourite bar.
She pouted when she shot her a disapproving look. She then looked around the bar, away from his negativity.
“Eat first.” He said, passing her a menu. “I’ll pay for it.”
She smiled. “Will you? Can I choose anything on here?”
“You know the answer to that.”
She grinned, looking down at the menu and variety of items listed. She was already used to the variety of cuisines available on the menu. It was where she and her friends used to go when they were all younger.
It had so many memories for both her and Mzamo.
“I liked the pasta the last time.” She hummed, glancing at the menu. “I’m feeling like a sandwich today. You know, those fancy ones that the chef is good at making.”
“Great choice,” he grinned. “I’ll be back.” He left, going to make the order. Kholwa sat patiently, awaiting the food.
A strange man wearing a very low bucket hat sat two seats away from her. She curiously stared at him, examining his features. She could only see the blonde tips of his hair, which looked to be braided into a fringe that stopped right above his eyes. The rest of his body was covered with baggy clothes, which made him look cute, really. In a childish kind of way, Kholwa noted. He looked a bit familiar, but she couldn’t be bothered with trying to figure out from where. When he noticed her and turned to look at her, she smiled. She then looked away, towards Mzamo as he returned. He gave her two thumbs up.
“Can I get my drink now?” She pouted.
He wagged his finger in front of her face. “I’ll get you a milkshake instead.”
“Such a childish drink.”
He chuckled. “You love it, though.” He walked to the guy with the bucket hat on. “Good Evening. Would you be interested in a menu?”
Kholwa tuned whatever they were saying out as she thought about her day. Before ending up at the bar where her best friend worked, she went past her office to get the rest of her belongings. She couldn’t even say she was said about leaving everyone because she had only been there a couple of months.
After that depressing experience, she decided to go for a walk, which resulted to her stopping by the river, looking over it and at the horizon. The world is such a beautiful place, she thought, breathing in the air and smiling at the old lady who walked past her with her dog. She waved at the dog that wanted to go to her, but the lady pulled it away and continued walking. She smiled at that and then looked at the view one last time, before she continued walking.
She found herself breathless and slightly dizzy after walking a further fifteen minutes. She sat down on a bench in front of a chocolate shop, watching as the people passed by. They were mostly couples, holding hands, laughing at each other’s jokes, and even hugging.
She found her wide smile falling at the sight of the people’s love, especially since she knew how impossible loving would be for her.
After her mini pity party, she walked to her favourite bar. When she walked in, Mzamo was not at the bar, but she slid into the bar stood and pouted, looking at the different drinks on the wall in front of her.
Other than the fact that she had to see her colleagues for the last time that day, she was happy. She wanted to write about it.
She got into poetry last spring. Currently it was late summer, close to autumn, and she wrote almost every day. She had about a hundred poems in total. She was proud of herself. Maybe she could even publish them someday.
“Tropical milkshake. Chef Dlozi’s speciality.” Mzamo said, getting her out of her thoughts.
She smiled at the long glass, clapping her hands as the excitement of the flavours dancing on her tongue grew. She took it and sipped, making the honorary pleased hum.
“Yum.” She said, sipping some more.
“Right?” Mzamo chuckled. He smiled, then carried on with his work, awaiting the chef to finish the two orders for the customers sitting at the bar.
The man two seats away from Kholwa stared at her as she did everything like she had no troubles. She smiled as she wrote her poetry and took occasional sips of her delicious milkshake. When she looked up, he was the one staring. Unlike her, he couldn’t smile. Instead he looked away in embarrassment.
She took the book in front of her and her drink and pushed it towards the stranger. He was cautiously looking at her, regretting staring. She must have thought that he actually wanted her to come closer.
“You don’t mind me moving closer, right?” She asked.
He shook his head. “No.” He shouldn’t have said that. He should have told her to stay away, but a part of him wanted her that close. A part of him wanted to know more about her. Why was she so happy? Was that how she always was?
“I’m Kholwa Dludla, by the way.” She said, going back to her poetry.
He watched her write another line, but then scratched the last word and cutely pouted as she thought of a replacement.
“You write poetry?” He couldn’t help asking.
“Yeah.” She looked at him. “It makes me happy. Do you also write, Mr Stranger?”
He chuckled. “You can call me August. I used to write, yes. But I mostly draw now.”
Kholwa looked up at him, her wide eyes causing him to choke on his words.
“What do you draw?”