I was young, adorable and promising. I really loved from the bottom of my heart, but I never understood what love was. All I experienced was just a puppy love, but it was so natural, so pure and so genuine. It was solid, glowing like a hell fire and warming my little heart.

This was merely the feeling that I had never felt before. Each time I saw Ts’epi, it was as if I was witnessing an angel. She really captivated my little brain and thoughts.

As young children (roughly eight to ten years), every one of us wanted Ts’epi. We madly “loved” her. Could “like” be a better word than “love” to describe this notion? How could young children enjoy one another? What did they know about love?

In our minds, we recognised that love was not for us, but for older people. We were still tiny, still learning to love from a young age. Only what we wanted was to grow up quickly so that we could also enjoy love like the adults.

We often envied older people when it came to love affairs because they knew how to propose love, but we didn’t. They knew how to make love, but we were inexperienced.

I was yet in the lower grade in primary school and still learning how to construct a mere sentence. My grammar was poor, but it became better with time.

Notwithstanding, I came to a point where I was able to draft short messages with a pencil or a pen. And so I had written a number of love messages on small pieces of papers and handed them to Ts’epi. She had taken her time to read a pile of small notes, of which I was simply telling her that I loved her.

I never knew how she thought of me, except that when we asked her to choose amongst us she just chose me. But we had never been an item. What I realised was that she had never appeared to be interested in me that much and every young boy who admired her. We confused her a great deal. Simply, she was always nice towards everybody.

Usually after school, in the village, my peers and I gathered together to contend. Everyone was claiming that they were going out with Ts’epi.

One boy would say: “I ran into her this afternoon and gave her my note. She accepted me.”

We would refute him and demand him to prove that he was really seeing Ts’epi, of which he would fail to do so.

Some other boy would say, “I proposed love to her and she’s now mine.”

And so when we asked Ts’epi about that, she usually denied everything frankly. We had seen that all the guys were telling lies. What a strange girl that Ts’epi was? She was the sweetest young person I had ever known, but a hard-to-get type of a girl. Thus, there was no one lucky enough to win her love.

Despite her, constantly declining our love proposals, we were never discouraged to send her a mess of love letters and telling her that we really loved her to bits. When one had had the opportunity to just talk to her, share a normal conversation, it felt so awful.

It was as if he had been speaking to a queen. Ts’epi was not a queen; she was merely an ordinary young Mosotho girl. Even so, she had a prestige. She definitely hada magic charm. She was not the only girl in the village, but she was capable of attracting a crowd of little boys.

These boys normally enjoyed claiming themselves about Ts’epi, but failed to make her theirs. I could never tell you exactly what made her so special. Possibly it was because of her good looks and fine personality.

I was actually sad when I learned that she would soon leave our village to stay with her aunt in another village. Where she would stay was not far from our village; together with my friends, we told ourselves that no matter what would occur, we would always be in touch with her. Afterwards, she left; we really paid her constant surprise visits.

We had circled around her new dwelling house, and when we saw her, we whistled and called her. She never got to us because she feared her aunt. Then we would come back home, satisfied by the mere fact that we saw her. And hence we often slept well.

It was even more baffling for me to find out that she had again relocated to Ficksburg, South Africa. For the fact that I knew that Ficksburg was not too far, I was hopeful that I would meet her again when she visited her grandma in our village. And even if she would not come again. I promised myself that I would pay her a visit in Ficksburg when I grew older. This truly showed how much I really cared about Ts’epi.

The years slipped by without me seeing her again. She was still in Ficksburg attending school. When I asked her cousin about her, after some years, she told me that she had moved to Durban. Then l lost hope of meeting her one more time. I was at present on a teenage stage. The bunch of my village mates had forgotten completely about Ts’epi. But, it was hard for me to forget her altogether. I kept praying to see her once more.

When Ts’epi left, I guessed she left a void in my heart. And I thought that seeing her again would heal my lonely heart. Nevertheless, she never came back and then I thought I would never ever meet her again.

After so many years of separation with Ts’epi, her grandfather passed away. And thus my hope came alive when her cousin told me that she was going to be attending the funeral. I was oddly looking forward to see her face once more.

The day that I had been expecting arrived. Then later her grandfather was laid to rest, Ts’epi’s cousin created a situation for us to meet. It was really an exciting moment for me. I couldn’t believe we had reunited with Ts’epi, since she left while I was still immature.

She was however the same gorgeous Ts’epi I knew from early childhood; she was still as cheerful as always. We were now grown up, and the spark inside of me wasn’t as strong as when I was the little innocent boy. A lot had gone on in the space between, which had gradually disturbed my heart beat and caused it to lose the rhythm of love.

It was easy for me to recognise her. Nonetheless, she was almost not recalling me and most of my childhood buddies; but still, she remembered some of the memories.

Encountering with Ts’epi once again was a dream that came true for me. It brought so much peace in my spirit, even though I knew that nothing big would happen between us. It was merely the acts of young love, immature love.