“Let me call Neo first!”
I said to her.
I called him but he did not pick up. I then sent him to send him a message.
“Baby, I am going to nap for about two hours then I will walk up and study. I will probably send you a message then!”
I was doing this so that he did not call! A girl always has to have a plan. I remember in my orientation week the main thing that our orientation team leader emphasized was that when it comes to university the one thing that we did not have was time. She tried to drill it in us that on the face of it we look and feel like we have so much free time on our hands seeing how many times we sleep in a day but the actually reality was that there was always something to do that is non-academic. When I got here, being from Pretoria meant that I had been outgoing myself but I was not really exposed too much. Johannesburg opens your eyes to so much more and the reality is there is always somewhere to go! Do you think the club owners who open on Sundays care that you have school tomorrow morning? Nope, they don’t and that’s what makes them the biggest devils around. They dangle all these parties in front of you and the temptation is always great. I can guarantee that 90 percent of all students at some point or the other have left an r100 at the door of a club be it for entrance or drinks. Even if it was just the once, those devils took your money. You are poorer and they are richer.
So here I was getting dressed to go out. I made sure I under dressed just so we don’t end up going out for longer to any dance clubs. She was always conscious about dress code so this was me calming her down.
“It will only be for two minutes, just to stretch our legs! I just need air to clear my head because this is a bit much!”
She said as we got into the car. Is that not always the excuse students give when we go out the night before a school night? The sad part is that we know that the dice will never fall in that way yet we do it anyway.
“Please we can’t be more than an hour. I really want to study tonight.”
I told her. She reassured me that we will be back on time and I bought it. She needed my support and maybe this will get her out of that sad thought. I know she loved her grandma because she always spoke about her so I understood. People mourn differently and if she wanted to drink her pain away then as a friend my job was to support her.
“Where are we going?”
I asked as up till now I had not even asked. I had liked a loyal friend got into the car and left with her without asking questions.
“I think we should go to Mashes! It makes the best logic because it’s not too loud and we can actually get to relax!”
She responded. I had not been there yet but a lot of people had been talking about it.
“Awesome that means we can have dinner and come home!”
I responded. We chatted about random stuff until we got there. When we got there it was not bad at all nor was it too full. I think the fact that it was Sunday evening played into that.
“We must order food before they tell us stories!”
I told her as soon as we got in because it seemed that people were still coming. Who are these people though that don’t have to worry that tomorrow was Monday.
“I didn’t know you had been to Mash’s before?”
I told her. I had been asking her to come here with me for a while but she had always been reluctant. Johannesburg is not like Pretoria in that they divide themselves North East West South and it actually means something. Leaving your own section makes the next seem so far away hence even though Fourways was not far from UJ; it was not our first choice of going out. The difference though, which is why I think she brought us here, this was blesser heaven. Fourways men are the jogging, gym type, CEOs of small companies and if anything these are the ones Zuma referred to as clever blacks. She had chosen with purpose!
“I haven’t, it’s my first time so don’t make us look bad! We will figure out what’s going on here shortly!”
It was an upmarket restaurant which made it cosy enough and with so many people in it there was a buzz about the place. There was good music too and that again was a bonus. It was not the dancing type of place as well. We ultimately looked sexy dressed simply and seemingly independent.
“I don’t have money; we need someone to buy for us!”
She said looking around. That was Khanyi for you. It’s not that she was broke but that she knew there were men stupid enough to spend their hard earned money on her. I had not reached her level yet but I knew now that I had my own blesser I was pretty much close. Growing up I always used to wonder how stupid a man must be to work every day for a month to then just go throw away that money at a woman who he did not even know. That’s what I consider of men who meet a girl in a bar, club or restaurant that are willing to pay for you. I believe especially in this economy making money must be the hardest thing ever but who is looking, if they want to spend it then spend it and watch me go home to my boyfriend afterwards!
“Ah come on, that takes too much time. I have money. I will pay. I really have to get back!”
I told her. It was like I was betraying her with those words because it made it seem as though I was weak or something.
“No it doesn’t. We need to save all the money we can for Dubai and in fact we need more money. What if the pocket money we get does not pay for everything and we see more things we like?”
She asked me thoughtfully. At that time I don’t know why she made sense but she did. Imagine going all the way so far only to discover that you did not even have enough money to enjoy. Yes, I must save but I still was not going to play her game tonight.
“That’s up to you! I am ordering and am getting a lift home!”
I told her. At times this girl needed a firm hand. With that said I had soured our night. We ordered our food and had a few drinks before the food came.
“Sorry, those two gentlemen over there are asking if they can join you guys!”
The waiter said as we finished eating. I looked their way and two young men (thank heavens) waved our way. Khanyi and I had hardly spoken the whole time because she was unhappy with me. Before I could say no thanks she had responded,
“Yes they can join us!”
The waiter saw my reluctance but went with what Khanyi had said.
“Khanyi come on, you know I have to go back and study! You said we would be here for a short time now look at this!”
The next thing the two guys were joining us. I just wanted to scream at her but she knew I was not someone to cause a public scene!
“We won’t take long I promise!”
She said as the two guys sat down.
“For a moment there I thought we were going to eat alone!”
One of the guys said as soon as he sat down.
“What’s wrong with that? The food is still going to go down in your OWN stomach whether you are one or a million!”
I responded. I could barely hide my annoyance!
“Don’t mind my grumpy friend. She is always like this. I am Khanyi and this is Palesa!”
Khanyi said for us I guess. She did not even wait for them to introduce themselves.
“There is always a grumpy friend. Good cop bad cop! We are sorry to have disturbed your evening and for that allow us please, my friend anyway, to pay for your dinner and drinks!”
The same guy said. The other one just smiled but did not respond.
“Thank you! That will be nice!”
“This is Mmuso and I am Sash!”
The guy said by way of introduction.
“Doesn’t Mmuso speak?”
She asked him and it was only then that the mute spoke. Surely he was not trying to act like the silent type as these guys do when they hit on you.
“I do speak but you guys were doing all the talking decided that I should give you a chance!”
He said. He was not lying either.
“3 out of 4 Palesa now this means you can’t keep quiet now as everyone else is talking!”
Sash said remembering our names. Clearly he was the fire starter between the two of them.
“What are you guys drinking?”
He asked us. As Khanyi was taking the lead I made her tell them.
“Go ahead Khanyi what are we drinking?”
I asked her as this was her show! She had said they could come so she was the one who had to decide.
“Well it’s a Sunday and tomorrow is a school night so something light. Can I just have a guarana for now and milk for my friend over here as she is writing tomorrow!”
They looked confused by the milk thing but everyone got the joke and laughed.
“I will have juice please if they have it. Apple juice!”
I said. Why was she drinking a guarana though knowing she won’t be able to sleep if we left? That was like drinking Red Bull before bed. With that said they ordered for us and what started as a juice ended up being ciders at some point for me. Before long it was midnight and I was drunk. The two guys had been gentlemen to be fair and they actually told us that they both had girlfriends. It does not make them saints because nowadays having a girlfriend makes you a safer option to date than single guys. Even guys know that, if you tell a girl you have a girlfriend it does not mean it will chase single girls away.
“Is it ok if we drop you off? Unfortunately we came in two separate cars meaning we each have to drive you!”
My mama told me not to get into strange cars with strangers but when you have been drinking that really doesn’t matter. We forget ourselves and when bad things happen we get to blame the government. I rode with Sash and Khanyi went with Mmuso! His car even had that “Baby on Board” sticker.
“You have a child?”
I asked him.
“Yes I do. He is three and very naughty. Everything is child proof this child proof that!”
He said. I liked the fact that he did not pretend.
“You know I never asked you what you guys do for a living.”
I asked him.
“Yes I noticed and funny thing is normally it’s the first thing people ask. I am a journalist and Mmuso is an accountant!”
He said as we drove by the UJ gate. It was after midnight so cars of non-students are not allowed through the gate. They had to drop us here.
“Thank you for the wonderful evening.”
He said when he stopped.
“And thank you too. We had fun. Maybe next time we should drink as much!”
I joked. I was actually not feeling well now as the motion of the car had made my stomach turn.
“Can I please get a kiss goodnight?”
He asked me. I needed some air but when I tried to open the door it was locked.
“Please open the door I need to…”
It was too late! Right there in his car, I threw up all that alcohol and the food they had bought us!
Wonder how he was going to explain this to his wife!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for your books. You have us reading again. Thank you.
Marriage has been tough for me. I have been married 12 years now and just turned 40. My husband and I dated for three years before we got married. We already had a child together and it seemed the next logical step. After we got married his sister died when I was in America for a two week summit. I could not come back because my trip was paid for by the sponsors and I simply did not have the money to make the trip. From that day his family made me public enemy number one! I was the Makoti that thought she was too proud to bury their daughter or sister! When I came back they shut me out. My husband tried his hardest to get me and the family back together but they never came around. They hated me and still do. When he got sick they would refuse to come see him at the hospital if I was there. Imagine, I was his wife and they would rather see him with me not there. Sometimes I allowed it because after all it’s their son. He passed away in late February and everything changed. My son, the first born looks exactly like his father! Now they want my children to come visit them when my husband is dead but when he was alive they wanted nothing to do with “the witch’s children”. I have to endure many unpleasant things with this family simply because I had a trip I could not cancel so many years ago.
Do I allow my children to have a relationship with these people? I am even scared of going to their house myself. My kids have no relationship with them because they never allowed them to get to know them.