“You’re … aren’t you?” Njabulo’s words at the nightclub haunt me. What does he think of me?

I feel nauseous.

I am outside the club. My breath feels thick in my throat. Kebone is with me. “Hey, Nathi, what’s going on?” She puts her hand on my shoulder. I shake my head. “I’m phoning my mom to come and fetch us,” she says. “You really don’t look well.” 

My head is a whirlpool. I feel I am not in my own skin. This hasn’t happened. Not to me.

Njabulo wanted to kiss me. What if I had let him? Something in me wanted to. Something didn’t.

“You’re … aren’t you?” he asked.

Yes, I am …

No, I am not! 

I am Nathi Ndebele. I have a girlfriend. Sort of. My body is tough from soccer. One muscle on top of the other. I am a real man. That’s also what Musa said. That’s what I am. I love sport. I swear. I like beer. I don’t swing my hips when I walk. I don’t bat my eyelids. I don’t flap my hands around in the air.

I am a man!

And yet.

“You’re … aren’t you?” Njabulo had asked.

QUESTION: What does a “real man” look like? How does a “real man” behave?