I boarded the train on Tuesday morning and it skid almost immediately away from the platform. I stretched out my hand and grasped the loop above my head. I scanned the seats, attempting to spot an empty one. I finally found one and shuffled towards it.
I sat quietly, like a well-brought-up girl should. I placed my bag on my lap and threw my hanging scarf to the other side of my neck. I positioned myself well, so as to allow whoever might sit next to me to be comfortable. I opened my bag, fished out a tube of lipstick and spread it on my soft, pink lips. I pressed them together once or twice until I felt the lipstick was spread equally.
I reached for my heart shaped compact mirror and observed my reflection. I saw that my skin was a bit too tan in some places. I must’ve applied too much foundation, which created darker spots. I reached for my foundation sponge, dipped it in a brown foundation powder, and applied it to my face with care, slow and correct. I observed the result in my reflection. A smile crept to my lips, soon spreading all over my face. I put everything back in my bag and listened to music.
The train stopped. Passengers boarded as quickly as possible, many occupying the compartments surrounding me. One guy caught my eye, as he always did when he boarded the train. I watched him closely as he scanned for an empty seat. He was tall with thick, tousled black hair, flawless brown skin, and deep, ocean-blue eyes. His distinct cheek bones balanced his face and I noticed he had the faint shadow of a beard on his upper-cheeks. He was muscular, his grasp on the loop above him highlighting his prominent veins. He was a sight for sore eyes!
He approached where I was seated. My heart skipped a beat! I felt the temperature of my face rising each second. I took deep breaths so as not to spoil my make-up. The man plugged his buttocks on the seat not a centimetre away from me. He smelled nice, and confidence was written all over his face.
He had a newspaper in his hands. How I wished I could be that newspaper!
He closed the distraction in his hands and checked the time. He then opened his manly bag and tucked in the paper.
Is he going to talk to me? I wondered, quite out of breath. Breathe Sihle, breathe, I kept telling myself silently as I tried to calm down.
“Hi,” said the man confidently.
“Hello,” I responded politely, trying to look disinterested.
“How are you?” he continued, smiling at me with those lovely blue eyes.
“I am well, thanks, and you?” I asked hesitantly, wishing I had something more interesting to say.
“I am well too,” he replied eyes twinkling, “Now that my wish has been granted.”
“Pardon me?” I stuttered, not quite understanding what he’d said.
“Never mind, what are you doing this evening?”
“Excuse me!” I retorted, taken aback, “It’s the first time I’m seeing and talking to you, and you ask me that question. What’s with men?” I shook my head and frowned.
“I’m sorry. I thought you knew me already,” he said with a laugh. “Everyone who boards this train regularly does.”
“Duuuuh, except me!” I blushed.
“You look amazing, Sihle. I am Thabani,” he brazenly responded, looking into my eyes.
Duuuh I know, I thought to myself, glad I’d taken extra time with my makeup.
“How do you know my name, Thabani?” I asked.
“As your stalker, I have to know your name. You look breath-taking, as always. Can I kiss you already?” he asked expectantly, his eyes lighting up.
“No! What do you think am I?” I snapped, trying to look offended while my heart sped up once more.
“A beautiful girl from the township who is independent, smart, quiet, and lastly gorgeous,” he replied succinctly.
“Why, thank you, if that’s a compliment. But seriously, I am not as beautiful as you say,” I countered, again feeling blood rush to my cheeks.
“Please do me this favour tonight, seeing that you don’t believe me.”
“Stand in front of your mirror holding 11 roses; you will see 12 of the most beautiful things in this word.”
“Hey, are you flirting with me?” I giggled, trying hard to keep a straight face.
“I’m not flirting. I’m just being extra nice to someone who is extra attractive,” he winked.
“Look, Thabani, just stop talking, okay? I don’t have nice words to shower you with,” I muttered haughtily.
“That’s funny, because I don’t remember asking you to shower me with sweet words,” he said smoothly, knowing he had a good comeback.
“I don’t know what to say,” I answered truthfully.
“But I know what I want you to do,” he whispered, again fixing me with those eyes so intensely that I couldn’t look away.
“What?” I asked, my breath catching as I tried to resist his gaze.
“I want you to kiss my lips.”
“Why? I am nothing to you,” I sighed unconvincingly.
“Yet,” he replied, lips beckoning me closer.
“At all!” I cried, trying to convince myself I wasn’t interested.
“Yet,” he repeated, “I can’t feel my lips. I think they are numb. They need to be smashed with yours to revitalize them.”
“I am not going to do that! If you continue talking, I’ll find a new seat,” I exclaimed, preparing to stand up.
“Before that, you might want to remove the fly on your eyelash.”
“Close your eyes, and let me help you. It’ll be quick,” he coaxed, motioning for me to trust him.
I closed my eyes. And the bastard stole my kiss!
“I’ll see you this evening.”
“What’s with you? I am going to report you.”
“To your heart?” he joked, winking at me once more.
He stood up as the train stopped. I couldn’t finish my sentence. He turned from me and stepped off the train just like that. A piece of my heart went with him and suddenly I felt sad and empty. I always wanted him, despite what I’d tried to tell myself.
Now, I think I’ve got him.
Tell us: Do you think Thabani’s behaviour was acceptable? What would you have done if you were Sihle?