The bomb explodes on Monday, before school.

“You and me. Behind the gym!” hisses Musa. 

“What’s this? What’s going on?” asks Kebone. She runs after me.

Now I know. It’s not about the game we lost. It was him – Musa. It was him that I heard on the veranda.

“I’ll show you what I do to you little gay boys!” He spits out the words one by one. A circle is forming around us.

“What do you mean?” I stutter. “I’m not isitabani [gay]!” I hate the word. I hate myself. I hate it that I can’t be honest.

The first punch hits me in the stomach. I bend over double. Instant tears well up in my eyes.

Musa is impintshi yami [my pal/oke].

Another punch. This time on the chin. My teeth clack together.

I hear the guys laughing.

My hands become fists. I hit back. Three quick punches. Two miss their mark. The third brings blood streaming from Musa’s nose.

“So you sit holding hands with a guy after the game,” he hisses as he wipes away the blood. “That’s probably why you couldn’t score that last goal. You were thinking of your boyfriend.”

For a long moment there is silence on the school grounds. I see Kebone. She looks at me inquiringly, turns around and walks off.

Then there are more blows. Lots more.