Five days later…

Ntombi stepped out onto the hall stage and walked over to the microphone. She looked beautiful in the simple clothes she felt comfortable in. No high heels, wigs, or over-tight dresses she couldn’t breathe in. The judges sat in a row in the front. Ntombi took a deep breath as she looked out into the crowd. There was her mother, waving at her and blowing kisses, and there by her side wasn’t Zakes, but Olwethu’s granny and his brother and sister. Zinzi on the other side was bouncing up and down in her seat with excitement.

Where was Olwethu himself? How could he miss her performance? Was he tired of her and her dramas? But she couldn’t think about that now.

“My first song will be Respect by Aretha Franklin,” she said clearly into the mike. The piano started and she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then she was lost in the words and the music. When she became aware again, it was of the crazy clapping from the audience, who were all on their feet cheering and whistling. When the cheering died down one person remained standing, and clapping. Ntombi looked up. He must have come in while she was singing. There in the aisle stood Olwethu, with the biggest smile on his face. He blew her a kiss. Ntombi looked at him, looked at her mother and sister, and felt the tears in her eyes. From now on she knew there would be no more broken promises.

The End