If there was ever going to be a kiss, it should’ve happened that evening under the lush cover of the grape tree leaves. The kiss could’ve defined the course of my life, I’m sure. I had walked about ten kilometres from Babopane to Block 10 section of Soshanguve Township to be with her. She lived with her cousin who was there that night. As a result, my date and I stepped outside the house for privacy and were met by soothing fresh air. Pretoria can be hot any day.

We eased ourselves under the canopy of the grape tree in their yard and allowed an innocent gap between us. The beam of the Apollo streetlamp that brightened the area filtered down through the woven grape leaves and its luminescence made her face appear as if she were a discovery under the searchlight of a treasure hunter. She was the most beautiful lady I had seen in my twenty-two years of life.

For a long, silent moment, she gazed keenly at me. I couldn’t believe my luck. I should’ve kissed her after she had shrugged and whispered, “Maybe we should just be friends,” said so acquiescently even a bhari could tell she was daring me to read between the lines.

There was so much I liked about her, she could’ve been the character I wrote into my story. She had smooth skin and a dark complexion like Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi. Her height was ideal, I’m not tall so she was perfect. Striking were her eyes, they were incredible like Ariel’s in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Above all I liked the way her face broke into a smile every time she saw me.

I first noticed her one morning, inside an overloaded commuter train on my way to Technikon Pretoria, where I was studying. I was sitting on the train’s hard bench crammed between some people. She had got on the train at the station after mine, and the train was full already, which was the reason she stood against the upright metal bar in the middle of the aisle.

I could’ve easily missed her standing alongside that group of passengers, had I not noticed her eyes locking onto mine. A small duffel bag was hung over her shoulder. My skin burned from her peering eyes; I was not used to ladies making a pass at me. I glanced at the two men on my flanks thinking maybe I was stuck next to a hunk or two.

It turned out I was the hunk.

Sometimes we underrate ourselves, thinking: I can’t possibly be the right choice for this particular person. My nerves shot up. I become like that whenever I think a lady has the hots for me. I’m not athletic, so occasionally confidence is not my thing. However, with maturity, I’ve come to realise that people look for different things in a partner; it’s not always about looks. Still, there must be something that makes you stand out.

Her eyes left me only for a few seconds and in no time I had forgotten about the choking smoke of the burning tobacco and the smell of home-roasted peanuts that I was beginning to crave. I found myself drawn to her, and slowly my confidence returned as I checked her small mkhombatsotsi breasts that stood eager underneath her light-material blouse. I did not dwell on them though; I did not wish to embarrass my ancestors.


Tell us: Would you approach a stranger if you liked them? Why or why not?