My face becomes hot, then cold. I’m angry, but then confused. Do they … does it mean …?
I feel like I have a fever. I’m scared right now, to be honest. I’m scared for Levi. If they’ve killed him … No, it’s not true. It can’t be. These guys are all bark. No bite.
Or are they?
I don’t know what to think. I read the note over and over, feeling nauseous. I hold my hand up.
“May I be excused?”
“Why?” asks Mrs Tshinga.
“I feel sick.”
“So do I,” she retorts. “I have a headache.”
“I think I need to throw up,” I say, and it’s half true.
She nods, looking bemused. I half sprint to the door.
Once I am in the corridor I go to the guy’s bathroom. It’s empty.
I look in the mirror.
Who are you? I think. I am David. I am a man.
What do men do? I ask. They … they defend those in need.
Levi … I can’t believe it.
I start to cry. The pressure of this … it’s so intense. They always say men don’t cry, but they do. You know they do. If you’re a man, and you’re reading this, you’ve cried. All humans cry. We need to. From sadness, from pain, for joy, for loss.
I cry now. Not for long. About a minute. Then I splash cold water on my face. I leave the bathroom.
I need to find Ncumisa. She knows Levi well. I find her filling up her water bottle at the water cooler at the end of the corridor.
“Is it true?”
“What?” she asks, after taking a sip.
“Levi,” I say. “Is he …”
She looks at me closely.
“Is he dead?” I ask.
She blinks. “David, no, he’s alive.”
I can breathe. I close my eyes. A tear runs down my cheek. She hugs me and I let her.
“He ran away this morning.”
“Into the city, I think. He said something about a triangle. Triangle House, I think he called it.”
I ponder this. “Have you spoken to him since?” I ask.
“His phone’s off. I’m worried about him, David.”
“You like him, don’t you?” she asks.
I pause. “I care about his safety.”
“Do you have a crush on him?” she asks, giving me a side eye.
“Does it matter if I do?”
Her smile fades. “I’m sorry … you’re right.”
I nod. I feel very grave. I feel … so many things right now. Tenderness. Strength. Weakness. Care. Worry.
“Find him, David. Find him.”
“I will,” I say.
Ncumisa leans in and gives me a kiss on the cheek.
“You’re one of the good guys,” she says with a shy smile. “You should be a superhero.”
I smile even though I feel worried. Ncumisa is pretty.
Tell us: Should all boys/men cry? Do all boys/men cry, even if they deny it?