Njabulo saw something in me. What is it? I’m standing naked in front of the bathroom mirror. I look at myself. What is it about me that makes him think I am … different?

I touch my body. Feel the soft beard stubble. The hair on my chest. The ridges of my six-pack. Then further down.  

I wish I knew how I could make right what he saw in me.

Where is the otherness?


That’s what he thinks. He thinks I am isitabani [gay].

Does he see it in my eyes?

I look and look and look.

But all I see is myself. At the back of my head I know there is more to me than what can be seen from the outside.

“Is something wrong?” my mother asks at breakfast.

“No, nothing. I’m okay,” I reply.

“Were you sick last night?” my father also asks now. “You came home earlier than you said you would.”

“I felt nauseous. Nothing serious.’

My father puts down his knife and fork in his plate. “Did you chaps drink?”

“Only cooldrinks, Dad. It was an under-18s party.”

“Should I take you to the doctor?” asks my mother. Her hand is cool on my forehead.

A doctor won’t be any help, Mom, I want to say. Maybe a psychologist. But I wonder if he’d want to scratch through the jumble in my head.

“No, Mom. I’m fine,” I say.

I lie.

WHAT DO YOU THINK: Nathi doesn’t need a psychologist; he needs to accept himself for who he is. Or what do you think?