Pholisa dreamt she was at home sweeping. Then suddenly the broom turned into a snake. It grew large and surrounded her. She tried to run, but it blocked her way with its body. When the snake had completely wrapped itself around her, she screamed for help. But her voice wouldn’t come out.
She tried and tried, but nothing … And then she saw Gogo at the door. She was saying something, but Pholisa couldn’t hear. And then the snake sank its fangs into her. The pain travelled from her leg straight to her heart. It stung, like her heart was being stabbed by spikes, pins and needles.
As she collapsed, she heard Gogo’s voice very faintly, and could just about make out what she was saying. “Don’t let the snakes get to the family,” Gogo warned. “Don’t let the snakes get to the family.”
Pholisa woke up with a start. She had fallen asleep happy, but the horrible dream had felt so real. What was Gogo trying to say?
She got up and rushed around getting ready for school. She couldn’t let the dream fill her mind today – they had a Maths quiz she had to be sharp for.
At the entrance to the school she saw Lelethu and Lazola standing with a group of other kids. They were talking and laughing, and there was some dancing going on too. Lazola saw her first and walked up to her.
“You didn’t come yesterday,” he said, walking with her towards the group. She didn’t know what to say.
“Pholi, you missed out,” Lelethu said. “It was fun.”
“Not for me,” Lazola cut in. “I need a leading lady in my life to enjoy these things with.” He turned and held Pholisa’s right hand and brought it to his lips. The group ooh-ed and whistled at his dramatic gesture. Pholisa laughed and pulled her hand away, blushing.
Later that day, on their way home, Lelethu was telling Pholisa all about the outing.
“Haibo sana, are you even listening to me?” Lelethu playfully pushed Pholisa, who hadn’t heard a word of her friend’s chatter. “There was this cute guy, Andile, he is a prefect at Masiphumelele High,” Lelethu carried on, “and he asked me for a dance, a slow dance.”
And then without warning Lelethu grabbed Pholisa’s hands and started dancing around in a circle. It made Pholisa laugh. But then suddenly Lelethu went flying to the ground. She had tripped over the wires along the road that reached from the RDP houses to the shacks across the street.
For a moment she didn’t move. Pholisa’s heart stopped.
But then Lelethu started shouting, “I’m fine, I’m fine,” and she rolled over to get up. She was even giggling.
“You could’ve been hurt,” Pholisa kept saying as they walked on. Her dream of last night came flooding back to her. “There’s so much danger in the world. You’ve always got to look where you’re going.”
“Yitsho. What’s going on?” Lelethu asked. “What’s worrying you?”
Pholisa took a deep breath and told her about her dream.
“Oh, chommie, it was just a dream. It didn’t mean anything,” Lelethu comforted her. But Pholisa wasn’t convinced. She was from the village and, even though she wasn’t superstitious herself, she did not take these things lightly.
“Look, snakes represent enemies, right?” asked Lelethu. Pholisa nodded. “So who are those enemies threatening your family? You don’t have any enemies, do you?” Pholisa shook her head. “So, you have nothing to worry about then.”
“But, Lelethu, maybe it is Masi who has enemies,” Pholisa said.
“Masi is a man. And right now he is just stressed about work. Uyamaz’ubhuti wakho unjani – you know how he is. He doesn’t make enemies, he handles them,” Lelethu said playing stick-fighting in the air with an imaginary stick. A small smile travelled to the corner of Pholisa’s lips to see Lelethu jumping about. “Remember, Masi is a proud Xhosa man. He won’t let anything happen to your family – to you.”
They had arrived at Pholisa’s house without another word being said. Pholisa could see that Lelethu expected to stay – they had discussed doing their homework together. She hoped Masi would be in a good mood if he came home early.
Pholisa put the kettle on for tea.
“Gosh, women and tea,” Lelethu joked. “Women think tea can fix everything,” she said, imitating her new drama teacher’s accent. William was a volunteer teacher from England, and was very funny. They sat outside drinking tea and then Lelethu did impressions of him – his accent and his dramatic body language. By the time they had finished their tea Pholisa was in stitches, her worries a distant memory. Lelethu was a great actress.
“But you know my first love is dancing,” she said, when Pholisa complimented her on her acting skills.
Lelethu started playing a song by Beyoncé on her phone. She pulled Pholisa up and started showing her the moves. They danced and danced till the end of the song, laughing throughout.
“You should be a professional dancer.” Masi’s deep voice startled them. He was leaning on the gate, watching them. How long had he been standing there, Pholisa wondered.
“Molo, bhuti,” both girls sang in unison, embarrassed that they had been caught out. Masi nodded and walked past the girls into the house.
“What about the maths homework, chommie? We didn’t do it,” Pholisa whispered.
“K’sasa, in the morning,” Lelethu said, and went inside to fetch her bag. Pholisa followed her.
“You helping Pholisa cook tonight?” Masixole asked her. Pholisa was surprised. Masixole had just asked Lelethu to stay for dinner.
“Enkosi, bhuti. I’ll have to ask my aunt,” Lelethu said. “Maybe tomorrow.”
Pholisa felt a wave of relief. Lelethu knew that Masi was a wild boy, but she didn’t want Lelethu to see just how moody he had become, and how rude he could be to her.
But what had happened to make him friendly to Lelethu? Maybe God had answered Pholisa’s prayers and Masi had got a permanent job. Pholisa smiled at the thought.
Tell us: Do you believe that dreams can hold special messages?