It has been two weeks since I arrived at UCT. I’ve established a solid friendship with Lerato. I had thought that it would be difficult because of her smoking habits, but her vibrant personality is enough compensation.
Lerato and Reabetswe have offered to be my unpaid tour guides. Today we are at the nearest mall from the university.
“What happened between you and Tshepo?” I’d asked Lerato that afternoon as we stepped out of Edgars.
I took my aunt’s advice to go shopping. Dresses, short and long. I bought them all. Jeans, skinny, and bootleg, Reabetswe shoved them in my hands.
“He cheated on me, so I broke up with him,” she responded careful not to make eye contact.
“I’m so sorry, Lerato,” Reabetswe and I say simultaneously.
“I am so sorry for showing up late. I lost track of time while at the mosque.”
A tall figure rushes into the store gasping for her. She is grasping a headscarf in her palm. Her hair is coral black and it’s flowing slightly above her shoulders. She looks Indian.
“You’re here at last. Too bad we’re done shopping,” Lerato says as she heads for the door.
“Rato, wait! She said she is sorry,” Reabetswe says reaching for Lerato’s hand and pulling her back into the store.
“She is always sorry. Why does she think that her time is more important than ours?”
“That’s not what I think, but please understand. I have a lot to deal with, lectures, prayers, and volunteering at the orphanage,” the girl has a sympathetic look in her eyes. They are huge and light brown.
“It’s okay Aisha, don’t mind Rato You know how she is.”
Aisha. That’s her name. It’s as beautiful as she is.
“Who is she?” Aisha enquires directing her gaze to me. My heart sprints a few kilometres before it comes to a halt. I’m voiceless.
“Aisha, this Rufaro,” Reabetswe introduces, “Rufaro, this is Aisha. You’ve never met her before because she is always busy trying to save the world.”
“Hello Rufaro,” her lips curve into a smile as she reaches for a handshake.
“Hello!” I pull out my hand from my pocket and shake hers.
“Your name is beautiful.” she compliments.
“Okay, that’s enough for now,” Reabetswe jumps in. “Can we go to Burger King? I am starving.”
In less than 10 minutes, we are all seated at Burger King.
“Hello, what are you guys having?” a waitress saunters to our table.
“I will have a double cheeseburger.” Reabetswe goes first, not bothering to look at the menu,
“a double chicken deluxe for me please,” Lerato follows.
“Please bring the usual, a chili cheeseburger,” Aisha says, “what are you having Rufaro?”
“I will have the same that you’re having,” I utter nervously.
“I didn’t know that you were a chili fan as well Rufaro,” Reabetswe says.
The burgers arrive shortly. Reabetswe and Lerato’s arrive first, they are huge and look appetizing.
“Let me have a taste of heaven while you two wait for yours.”
Reabetswe takes a huge bite from her burger. I swallow hard.
“Enjoy!” I manage to say.
“Rufaro, do you do any volunteer work?” Aisha asks.
“Ummm not really. “
I have never volunteered anywhere because I don’t like being exploited by organizations that make loads of money and in turn expect people to work for free. To me, volunteer work is no different from slavery. I don’t tell Aisha this.
“Would you like to volunteer at my organization? We focus on preserving mother earth. Every month we have awareness demonstrations on campus and the streets.”
“Sounds interesting. I would like to get involved.”
What am I getting myself into? I have taken an interest in the environment.
“What is your Instagram handle?”
“Perfect. I’ll send you a follow request and you can have a look at my page. I posted a lot of pictures of the organization. If you like what you see then you can DM for more information,” her lips curve into a smile as she puts away the piece of paper where she scribbled my Instagram handle.
“These burgers are a true piece of heaven,” Rea exclaims as she shoves the last piece of the burger into her mouth.
“I’ll go and see what’s taking them so long,” as Aisha is about to stand up from her chair, the waitress arrives with our burgers.
“What took you so long?” Aisha asks, her eyebrows raised.
“I am so sorry miss. We had a misunderstanding in the kitchen, someone took the wrong order so the chef had to make your burgers from scratch.” the waitress has an apologetic look in her eyes.
“It’s okay, please pack this in a takeaway box, I need to rush to campus I have a class in a few minutes.”
“Okay miss, what about you?” the waitress looks at me.
“I will have my burger at home.”
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