Dineo couldn’t believe it had only been five days since Kaleidoscope decided to start training for The Lion King try-outs. Her body felt finished as she walked toward her flat, every muscle sore. They were pushing themselves to the limit. Between waitressing her morning six-hour shift at Claudio’s, and then another six hours of practice in the studio, Dineo was exhausted.
The next day was Saturday and tonight Fezile could see everyone was tired. “Nothing can be gained by destroying our bodies,” he said. “Tomorrow and Sunday, no training. Take the days off. Let your bodies recover. But also let your minds recover. We all want this, I know, but dance cannot be joyous if we are not joyous inside. Go off and do something lovely for yourselves, my talented ones. Monday we’re back to work.”
Two days off! It was unheard of in Dineo’s life. She didn’t have shifts at Claudio’s either, since he was closing for the weekend. Angelica had decided a deep clean and a repaint of both the kitchen and the dining room was in order. She gave the keys to the contractor and she and Claudio were off to Hermanus for a weekend away, to see their granddaughter.
Dineo suspected that Saturday would begin with a long sleep-in; it was heaven just thinking about it.
“Smiling to yourself then?”
Dineo looked up, and there was Table 7. How did that happen? He hadn’t been in since the Friday before. She’d accepted that he must have been visiting on business and she’d not see him again. And suddenly he had appeared.
“Hi,” she managed.
“The waitress, from Claudio’s … Dineo, right?”
“Yes, that’s it. A bit surprised you remembered,” she said.
“It’s not easy to forget the most beautiful eyes in the world.”
Dineo smiled, but then looked away, wondering if he noticed that she thought that was nearly the cheesiest line in the world. “I never got your name,” she said.
“Lame … Lame Rammidi.”
“Do you live around here?”
“No, I live in Claremont. I met a friend for an early dinner. I was heading home.”
“Well that was an amazing coincidence. Nice to see you again, Lame.” Dineo started walking away.
“I …” Dineo stopped and turned to him. “I … I mean, maybe we could get a drink.”
Dineo was tired, but then she remembered that tomorrow she could sleep as long as she wanted. “OK, sure.”
They walked down the street to a pub on the corner, one of those trendy places with rough brick walls and steampunk decorations. They both ordered beers and Dineo got some chips, realising suddenly how hungry she was.
“So you live downtown then?” Lame asked.
“Yeah, a tiny flat above a dry cleaners. It’s a bit shit and too expensive for what I’m getting, but it’s close to Claudio’s and the studio,” Dineo said.
“The studio?” Lame asked.
“Oh, yeah, I’m a dancer. I’m a waitress to pay the bills, but in my heart I’m a dancer.”
“That’s so cool! I’m impressed, seriously.”
Dineo was surprised to see that he actually was. It wasn’t just a line or a come-on to pull her in. He was not the sort of man she usually met, who used every word out of their mouth to reel her in. He actually cared about what she said and – more importantly – he listened.
She told him about the various shows she’d been in. He seemed quite knowledgeable about theatre and the arts and was familiar with a few of her dance productions. They even discovered he’d been at one of her performances in Joburg.
“It was amazing!” he said. “I remember a fantastic dance with blue flashing lights and some eerie house music.”
“Yes! I was in that! Gosh, what a coincidence,” Dineo said.
They talked about dance and the arts. He asked her lots of questions and seemed genuinely interested in her. But after two beers she couldn’t stop sleepiness overcoming her.
“It was so great meeting you like this, Lame,” she said shaking his hand at the door of the pub.
“Yeah. Maybe I’ll see you at Claudio’s. Great breakfast by the way,” he said.
“That would be lovely.”
It was only when she was walking home that she realised she and Lame had talked for nearly three hours, and she still knew nothing about him.
Tell us what you think: Is Lame to be trusted or is he faking interest in her?