Koketso was seated on her bed. Dressed in silky pink nighties, she looked like a black Barbie doll, a black beauty. Her eyes were round, chocolate-brown coloured marbles. She tried to look as calm and peaceful as the night skies outside, but her mind was all balled up and undecided.

She was thinking of how gentle and patient Andile had been with her for the six months they had known each other. She wasn’t sure of what was happening between them. Sure, she liked him and there wasn’t a dull moment when they were together. It was also obvious that he liked her too, but he had never told her. And now things were entangled, there was the new boy and there was Andile, and there was her in the middle of them.

Things were better then – when it was only me and Andile, she thought. But things changed when the pressures of university sprung on her without mercy: the university was threatening to deregister her because she had outstanding fees. Unlike Andile, she hadn’t qualified for a bursary.

Her uncle, who had promised to pay for her fees, had been murdered in connection with the on-going taxing wars in KZN; his widow and daughter were still battling in court over the little inheritance he had left behind.

She had cried bitterly that night when news came that he was no more. She understood very well the consequences she would suffer. Her aunt had kids and all of them had quit school, why would she invest in her education, she asked herself. Her mother was unemployed and thus couldn’t pay her fees.

“It’s all done and over with me,” she had cried. “What am I going to do?” she had asked her roommate, Cleopatra, after telling her the whole story. Cleo was studying Psychology and so Koketso had hoped for sound advice.

“You can always get yourself a sugar-daddy, that’s what most girls around campus do,” Cleopatra had said dispassionately, busy pressing her phone, sending BBM texts.

“If you have nothing better to say you better shut up,” Koketso was disappointed by her roommate’s response. “What has the world come to kanti?” she murmured.

“You asked for advice and that’s what I gave you,” she was smiling with her phone.

“Uhg! Why did I even bother,” she said throwing her hands up in defeat. “I should’ve known that you are one of those who are most comfortable when speaking with their fingertips,”

“Hahaha!” Cleopatra laughed as Koketso slammed the door and didn’t hear Cleopatra say: “Don’t worry friend, Clee, will sort you out soon-soon,”

And like Cupid, Cleo had set Koketso up with a ‘real catch’. Within a week she had spoken to her, Richard had approached Koketso. She was in an emotional state and didn’t even think about it.

“It’s not every day that one is approached by the White boys, you did good,” Cleopatra said later when Koketso was relating the incident to her. Cleo knew that when you played match maker, especially with these village girls, you had to do it under cover, in case things don’t pan out well.

It wasn’t ‘good’ and now Koketso was regretting it. She had betrayed Andile and their… their whatever-was-happening-between-them for selfish reasons, she thought.

She was thinking of the times she had spent with Andile in the past six months; they were blissful times. She looked back at them with a mixture of pride and pain. She thought of the day when they first met and how she had trusted him.

She thought of Andile’s voice and how he always spoke softly to her, explaining and making sure she understood. She laughed as the memories warmed her heart and made her feel loved and appreciated. The memories made her smile smiles that came from deep within her heart and her eyes smiled brightly too. How could she let it all go to dust, she questioned herself.

She took out her phone under the pillow. It was a brand new Blackberry Z10 that Richard had bought for her. It was beautiful and expensive. As she remembered the day when Richard had bought it for her tears welled up in her eyes. They were not tears of joy but tears of regret. Richard had bought her the phone as a means of apologising for forcefully sleeping with her and taking her virginity.

“We were drunk. Hennessey owned us that night,” she justified. Suddenly, tears fell from her glassy eyes at anger rose from her chest. For a split second, she loathed him and detested the gifts he bought her every time she hurt her.

Koketso and Richard were dating for three months now but they have broken and mended for more than five times already. He was from some rich Cape Town suburb. His father was an accountant and the mother was a designer for an international company.

Richard was a third year Law student. He drove a nice sport car and drank a lot. But he refused to acknowledge the fact that he had a drinking problem. Every time he was drunk he would act like a beast wanting to touch Koketso in places she did not feel comfortable being touched in, even in public.

He had the money to spoil Koketso, take her out to dinners and buy her presents. On top of that he was paying her fees. “Is it for the money or the love,’ Koketso asked Cleopatra whilst preparing for a date with Richard, dressed in a stunning purple dress that Richard had bought her.

“It’s for a bright future that is guaranteed. Your parents cannot give you that neither can Andile.” Cleopatra said, brushing some make-up into Koketso’s face. “I don t know what you want in life, it’s life first and love after… life is what Richard is offering you and love is what you think Andile is giving you.” She added bumptiously, in a voice that asked for no opposition.

With that, the conversation was ended.

What do you think: What do you think of Cleo’s advice?