“The first day a guy asks you out to officially be his girlfriend, ask him for his phone, don’t be scared, his reaction will tell you all you need to know about the man he is!” Mike Maphoto
I wonder what Nicolene had gone on to say. Was I going to be punished for someone else calling white people racist? It’s amazing how white people get very touchy when you call them that but they don’t want to acknowledge that own and control the economy, they own and control most arable land in South Africa, they own the mines, most of the private sector and you own what, the politics and SAFA? You don’t even own the name Bafana Bafana so who am I kidding. Nicolene needed to chill. Now I had to find something to say to Ms Du Toit. I never really spoke to Mrs Du Toit much because she was significantly older. I had nothing against her and she probably had nothing against me.
“Sir, thank you for coming in. Unfortunately I have to cut our meeting short. I understand and appreciate what you said but you know some things whether true or not are not supposed to be said!”
I told him. I don’t think Mr. Mawela really cared because he smiled as though he had done the right thing.
“No, the problem is far too often we are forced to hide the truth! It’s what makes us not succeed. As long as we apologize for other people success at our expense we will never succeed. Do you know how many times we had to reapply just to get this approved?”
He asked me. He was becoming political now and I had somewhere to go. Miss Du Toit was not going wait forever,
“Yes I do!”
“Then you understand then why we have to fight harder and always to get recognition. I promise you if a black man invents a replacement for fossil fuel they will disregard it for as long as they can until a white person does!”
Much I had been conditioned for this conversation I really had to go.
“I really have to go sir but when we have time we really should continue this conversation!”
I told him. He stood up and I walked him to the reception area.
“Thanks again for coming!”
I told him. I actually felt bad. It was as though I had chosen Nicolene’s side and I had kicked him out which was not even the case. Nicolene had probably reported me. I debated whether to go look for her first or just go straight to Ms Du Toit. My phone rang on my way there.
I said picking up. What did she want?
“Can I please see you this evening? I feel like I owe you an apology for something I said and I really need to say in person.”
She said. The good doctor wanted to confess now all of a sudden. I wonder if Mbuso had said something.
“You really don’t have to though Esethu!”
I told her.
“No I want to and I should. It’s the right thing to do in any case!”
She said. I was not going to shake her off so I agreed that she could come through in the evening. She knew my place. I found myself standing outside her door.
“Good morning maam!”
I said when I entered her office. I looked up and saw the time and realized it was after 12 actually then I corrected myself,
“I meant good afternoon!”
She smiled behind her librarian lookalike thick frame glasses and responded,
“Good afternoon, or rather it’s not the best one. I am afraid a colleague has filed a serious case against you!”
She said to me.
“I take it its Nicolene?”
I said almost sarcastically or rather that’s how it came out. Sometimes sarcasm comes out as arrogance if not rude and I think that’s how it came out because she frowned.
“This is serious, if the allegations against you this is grounds for dismissal. This is very serious!”
She said sternly. I don’t understand why she was saying that.
“I did not say anything; i even tried to protect her so why would she have a case on me!”
I asked annoyed. Nicolene knows the truth; I had already had enough problems with her.
“I never said it was Nicolene but clearly I should be expecting something from her soon!”
She said looking at me from under those glasses.
“If it’s not Nicolene then who is it?”
I asked perplexed.
“Rudzani and if it’s true what she is accusing you, woman to woman, how could you?”
She asked me. I froze. I had no idea what to say or how to justify it. I was not naïve anymore as I knew why I was being called to the office. Rudzani really had not wasted any time. If there is one thing I have learned, women stand together on this one, if you are seen as a home wrecker more often than not, every other woman who finds out about it does not like you. It’s the one time I think as women we stand together because that’s like a sin, a no no! If your man has ever cheated on you that’s the pain that you feel when it happens to someone else. What’s worse was that Rudzani was well liked because she was quiet and she kept in her lane. I was therefore never going to survive this image of being the big bad wolf in this scenario and what’s worse she had been transferred. I could only imagine how the story would be spun once the rumours started to spread. I know of women who develop thick skins and so on but I don’t think I had it in me especially knowing I was guilty.
“I thought you guys were friends what happened?”
She asked me. There was no use lying.
“It’s not what you think I made a lapse of judgment and look at us now!”
I told her. I don’t know why I said it like that but it was as though I was looking for her sympathy.
“Well you have made your problems company problems. Do you understand the implications of this?”
She asked me.
“There are no implications, this happened in our personal time in our personal time so it has nothing to do with work!”
I responded to her or was I missing something?
“Well you are wrong. You are her boss that’s for one, secondly you got her transferred to Cape Town and thirdly it seems you did all this just to sleep with her fiancé. She has grounds to sue on this!”
She said to me. I was not sure if she was kidding or not because she kept a very straight face as she said this. My heart was beating faster at this moment.
“So are you going to suspend me?”
I asked her.
“Nope I am not. It’s not my job. She has not filed those charges yet. I suggest you go find her, where ever she is and you apologize profusely to her. The last thing you want I promise you is this going any further. Take it very seriously Miss Mbatha!”
She concluded. I thanked her and stood up slowly. What had I done? I thought of calling Nthabiseng for legal advice but that would mean my secret was out. If girls know you sleep with other girls men they stop trusting you. Even you own friends would be weary of you. I did not want to be treated like I was a leper. I had to find her. Where to start? The problem was that it way too soon since we fought. It had better sense and logic if I waited a few days not like this. I called her. Her phone just rang. Now in my head I was wondering whether or not she saw the call and just ignored it. I was tempted to put my number on private and try that again but I did not. I was just confused.
When I walked into my office the last person I expected to find was there, my sister Pamela.
“Dude what are you doing here?”
I asked her.
“I thought I would surprise you. Its lunch and we need to go get moms present!”
She said. I had forgotten about that already.
“Do we have to do it today because I am a bit busy?”
I asked her.
“Unfortunately yes unless you have forgotten that her birthday is tomorrow!”
She said to me of which I had indeed forgotten.
“I lost track of days. Yeah, let’s go then. What must we get her?”
I asked her.
She said and we both laughed.
“That woman knows how to show up without giving warning and I am tired of it! What’s worse she will embarrass me in my own office!”
My sister said and again we laughed. Yup, we shared the same mom.
“Let’s go to Sandton. It’s better than Melrose and more variety. We only have an hour and a half tops though!”
I told her. She agreed and we also agreed to use two cars this way we will part from the mall. It meant that we could not sit down for lunch. We had fought the last time she called and fortunately she did not bring it up. It took us 45 minutes actually to get what we wanted.
I called Rudzani again and this time she picked up.
“What do you want?”
She asked me.
“Please can we meet up and talk?”
I heard someone in the background say,
“Who is it?”
I did not immediately recognize the voice. I even thought it was Azwindini for a moment but I was not certain.
I don’t know what the voice said but I could hear her stand up and walk.
“Please we need to meet and talk. I know you hate me and I don’t blame you but please Rudzani I am begging you, please, can you meet me!”
I begged her. She kept quiet for a moment then she said,
“Protea Hotel Wanderers, Room 306, I hour!”
She said and hung up. One hour? I had to be at work at that time and she knew it too. It was a risk I had to take though. I drove from Sandton straight to her. It’s not that far but with traffic it took me about 45 minutes. I sent Nicolene a message saying I was going to be back late. She did not respond obviously. I am sure she was still writing her book of civil rights! My phone switched off because I had no battery power left. I definitely had to switch it on in case anyone called. When I got there I knocked and she opened the door.
She was coming out of the shower and in a hotel gown.
“This better be good!”
“I am sorry!”
I told her even there at the door.
“If you came all this way just to say sorry then you have wasted your time. It’s an apology I can’t take back. You tried to ruin me and even got me sent to Cape Town, far away from my family and far away from my fiancé so that you can sleep with him!”
She said angrily. It certainly seemed like so!
“That’s why I am here, to apologize!”
I told her.
“The problem with you is that you think you are high and mighty, you think you are better than everyone else. When you see me you see a dusty Venda girl forgetting that you and I have the same education just that you got there before me!”
She went on. Well she was kind of dusty and dressed funny though I had never actually said it to her in those words. I just encouraged her to try outfits that actually suit her body and when she did she always loved them.
“I am sorry if that’s how you felt I treated you!”
I told her. I guess now was not the time to tell her that she really needed to do her eyebrows!
“I am laying a charge against you. I am sure you have already been told. This has nothing to do with all your racism talk and what not, it’s all about how evil you are as a person. I am told I have a case too! I am also suing the company. I am telling you all this because I don’t want to blind side you like you always do me! I am saying it to your face!”
She said. She was not bluffing this was bad for me in so many ways. Yes I was not guilty in some departments but my professional reputation would be ruined. If I lost my job under these circumstances I would not get a good recommendation that’s for sure and if Nicolene added the racism thing to it I was done for. I had just gotten a new promotion for crying out loud so I could not afford this!
“Rudzani please don’t do this!”
I begged her and I found myself in my pencil skirt on my knees! Yup, even the might get humbled.
“It’s too late. I used to look up to you!”
She said and turned her back.
I pleaded with her. I even had tears now. This was serious.
“Have you ever had lesbian sex?”
She asked and turned around to look at me. I looked at her confused because I am not sure I had heard her correctly.
“I don’t get you?”
“I said have you ever had lesbian sex?”
I just stared at her and she stared at me arms folded across her chest!
********The End **********
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
I am a 17 year boy and I was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. Doctors say that I won’t live till I am 19 and I think I have made peace with that. I am not too sick at the moment and do regular chemotherapy treatments. I am tired though. It’s not that I have given up it’s just that this takes its toll on a person. My question is of a personal nature. There are so many things I won’t be able to do because I am running out of time but one thing is certain I don’t want to die a virgin! That one I can’t do. I don’t have money to hire a prostitute but how do I lose my virginity to one? Secondly how do I ask my mother (single mom) to hire me a prostitute in the first place! The woman hardly let’s me out of her sight and now she is on some religious tip. I can’t hit on a normal girl because all the people at my school know am sick anyway. I am not skinny or anything but when you are terminal everyone thinks HIV no matter how much the school has tried to educate them on my condition Thirdly, I am not that religious but at the back of my mind I ask myself if this will mess up my chances with God? I know I sound very naïve right now but I really want to get some. How do I ask a girl for some without offending her? My time is running out.