“Hello, Tino,” I say into the phone.

I had eventually worked up the courage to give Tino a call after months of ghosting him.

“Hello, Tino is taking a shower,” a feminine voice responds.

Wait it’s Paida’s voice, my best friend.

“Who am I speaking to?” I enquire, eagerly hoping that suspicions are discarded.

“It’s Paidamoyo, Tino’s girlfriend.”

My heartbeat stops and I drop the call. What is happening? I don’t speak to either of them for three months only and they seek solace in each other’s arms?

“Rufaro is not feeling well. Can you please come back another time,” I overhear Lerato say as she is standing at the door looking outside.

“Who is there?” I enquire.

No one has come looking for me since I decided to not attend classes for a week. I’ve received countless emails from Aisha asking about the organization. That’s all that matters to her. That organization and nothing else.

“It’s Aisha. Should I let her in?”

“Let her in.”

“Hi Rufaro, I have been trying to reach you. Are you okay?”

“She knows about your engagement,” Lerato explains.

“Please give us some space, Lerato.”

She nods her head and grabs a book from the study table.

Aisha moves in closer and sits beside the bed.

“Tell me everything, please.”

The truth is a hard pill to swallow but I’m prepared for whatever it might be.

“I am sorry that I didn’t tell you about the engagement. I didn’t know how you would react,” she says.

“Why were you worried about my reaction? We are friends, aren’t we?”

“We are more than friends Rufaro, and you know it. The past months with you have filled a void that I have carried all my life,” she takes my hand into hers, it’s warm, “I am from a conservative Muslim family. In my family girls are not deserving of an education and not least are allowed to be in relationships with girls. Going to university was the greatest gift that my family ever gave me, however, there were strings attached to this gift. I had to get married as soon as I graduated.”

I listen intently as Aisha tells me everything.

“Do you know the man?” I ask.

“Ebrahim. He is a childhood friend of mine. He doesn’t make me feel the same way that you do.”

“How do I make you feel?”

“I love you Rufaro. I love every emotion that you evoke in me. I wish the circumstances were different.”
“I love you, Aisha.”

We lean in closer to each other and a release comes to my body as our lips touch.


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