“You should really tell him what’s going on,” Max says in the bakkie.
“What could he do?”
“Why don’t you let my mom watch Gabs? She likes babies.”
“Max, if Ma heard that I was using your mother as a babysitter she’d be so mad. He’s our responsibility, she’s already embarrassed that I’m taking charity in order to surf.”
“Is that how you really look at it?”
“Look at what?”
“Tazmin, I don’t think anybody views you being on the team as charity. Sir wants to have a winning team, and the girls’ side is not only short on people, they’re weak. We need you.”
I shrug, because there is no point arguing. I glance at my watch and realise I’m going to need Max to drop me off at the crèche, or I’ll never make it in time. I’d never normally do this, but Ma seemed fine with him last night, so this shouldn’t spread too much gossip.
“Thanks for the lift,” I say, once we arrive. I’m out of the bakkie before he’s finished saying, “A pleasure.”
“Taz,” he calls.
I glance over my shoulder.
“Think of telling coach.”
I wave and sprint through the door.
Lady raises her eyebrows. “In the nick of time, with twenty seconds to spare.”
“Thanks,” I say, and rush over to Gabs, who is doing a bum dance.
I scoop him up and he gives me a hard hug. Those tight-tight ones around my neck that make me feel like I’m his whole world.
“We’re going to be okay, little man,” I say.
He give me a gobby kiss, right on the lips, as if he’s understood.
But things don’t go smoothly at home and I’m late getting Gabs to bed. Bath is done, his PJs are on, but I haven’t read him his story yet and Ma is insistent that little kids, even babies, must be read to every night.
The knock on the door is loud, hard. I freeze.
Another rap. It sounds mean, insistent. Oh Lord, I do not like being here on my own at night. I always tell Ma I don’t mind, but it is a lie-lie-lie. I secretly wish we had a dog, but there is no money for all that extra food and care.
“Who is it?” I call, staying well away from the door.
“Tazmin, it’s coach.”
I go over and unlock the door, opening it a crack. “Can I help you?”
“I think we should talk.”
I give him a sharp nod. “Okay, I understand if you want me off the team. I’m know –”
“Is that why you think I’m here?” His face has changed, looking softer, less Sir and more like the face my daddy would make when he thought I was ill.
“How’d you find my house?” I say.
“Checked your forms. Address was required to be on the team.”
I nod, then step back, and let him into the house. As I close the door a quote catches my eye: You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given freely. – Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale.
No kidding, I think.
Tell us: Do you agree with the quote, “You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given freely”? Why or why not?