A crush in the township
There is this girl in the township who had a crush on me when I was at high school. A black girl with clearly defined, beautiful features that said – look at me. What was I to do? The first thing a guy should do when approached by such a girl, is ask her if she has a boyfriend. Honesty on the part of the girl would be good too. Why look for love elsewhere if you are already in a relationship? But often if I, or my friends, asked a girl if she had a boyfriend she would go, “Mmm, I can’t say,” and look up at the clouds as if they knew the answer. I ask you, what kind of an answer is that?
Anyway this vision of beauty told me about her boyfriend after I got the courage to ask her. I proved Sbu wrong and it felt good. He was always teasing me, saying, “Lungile, you haven’t had a girlfriend for seven months – you must be becoming rusty at the dating game. I don’t even think you still remember how to approach a chick.”
This girl said that she and her boyfriend were, “taking a break.” At the time I was very interested in getting close and spending more time with her. All I wanted to do was to use this “break” and make my mark to see if I could become a permanent candidate.
A few days went by and I learned of her boyfriend through a friend of a friend. The boyfriend did not stay very far from where I stayed. But hey, I did not care much about that. I have nothing to say in my defense. Man, I was in my last year at high school when I had this crush. I shouldn’t have gone there, but I did.
My friends and I had a party coming up that weekend. You know, one of those spur of the moment ones. I invited my new catch to the party and – “Yes, yes, yes” – she agreed to come.
“Lungile, remember I told you that I do have a boyfriend – it is just that we are having break,” she reminded me. She told me this as we sat together in her house on the Thursday evening.
“Yeah, I remember,” I said as a thought flashed through my mind – was this cheating? No – I convinced myself.
“I am looking forward to the party,” she told me as I poured her some juice.
“Yeah, me too, I am sure my friends will be pleased to meet you.” As I said this I was thinking of Sbu.
“Are you going to have plenty of this at the party?” she asked flirtatiously, lifting her glass.
“Yeah, juice – there will be a lot of that.” I was thinking that I would be pleased if she didn’t drink alcohol. But then she said.
“Lungile, make sure there is plenty of ciders there.” When she said that I hoped she would be able to control the amount she drank. “Oh, so you would like some of that too?” I asked nervously.
“I guess so, if you are calling it a party, Lungile,” she winked at me. When she left we agreed to meet at the party.
The night of the party I was so nervous and excited. It was after midnight and I was dancing with Ntombentle. That was her name. It means a beautiful girl and all I can say is that her parents got her name right. Anyway, we were dancing and after a few drinks we kissed for the first time. I was being cheered on by my friends who could not hide their excitement. I expected this girl to melt in my arms after the kiss, but instead she burst into tears. I was left standing there in the middle of the dance floor, confused and embarrassed. I didn’t know why she was crying, nor did my friends. All I managed to make out, between her sobs was: “This was a mistake…”
“Have you any idea how embarrassed I am?” I hissed. She looked at me like she was making up her mind. Then she said.
“I am sorry Lungile, let us carry on – it is just that I do not know what to feel at this moment.”
“I would rather have you tell me straight if you don’t want to do this.” I said. “I can live with that you know, Ntombentle.” After I said this she pulled me towards her and carried on kissing me – her tears went on my cheeks and my eyelashes.
“Lungile, as much as I love you, I am afraid I am going to have to let you go very soon.” She said softly, pulling away again.
“I understand this does not feel right to you.”
“Yes, and I am sorry that you had to be the one when I found out.”
“Are you saying that we should stop now?”
“I’m beginning to enjoy being with you,” she said, “but I feel very guilty.”
I am not sure if it was her words, or my feeling of disappointment and confusion but the spirit of the party was dying. “It is best I accompany you and your friend home.” I said. She looked at me then and clung on to me. I wasn’t sure in that moment whether I could go along with all this ‘hot, cold’ stuff anymore.
“I do not know if my friend will want to leave now,” she said, “I think she is still having a good time.”
“You are welcome to stay too you know.” I said, looking around for Sbu.
“I’d rather you take me to your place. I don’t think my parents will open the door for me, it’s too late,” she said.
“That is a big no, Ntosh,” I said, suddenly terrified of what I might be getting myself into. “I don’t know if I can put myself through anymore of this.” After a few minutes Ntombentle agreed that I should take her to her place.
We walked away from the party in the direction of her street. We were nearly there when – about a hundred meters from her house – she just sat down on the tar road, just like that.
“Lungile, why is it that you won’t take me to your house, just for tonight?” She pleaded.
“I would love to, you know,” I said, “but what you did to me at the party is still aching inside. I do not want to have sex with you and then you wake up the next morning and tell me it was a mistake – how do I live with myself after that?” As I told her this I was trying to pick her up off the tar, I was getting nervous, because she wouldn’t move.
Just then two guys came out of the shadows. “Brother, we are together and I am not forcing her to do anything.” I said quickly, when I saw the look on the one’s face. But he came right over and slapped me on the face hard. I staggered back then came forward and punched him back. He went down. He wasn’t expecting it. “Brother, I told you not to worry, I have not done anything she did not want.” I said again, as he got up. I knew then, by the way that they looked at each other that he knew Ntombentle.
Then I saw a shadow in front of me. The other guy was behind me and the shadow was from a stick raised in his hand, high above my head. As he was about to strike I heard a cry in the distance, getting closer. “Hayi, hayi, hayi, ungambulali – no, no, no don’t kill him.” Then,“Lungsta ndikhona – I am here.”
“Sbu, is that you?” I spun around and so did they guy behind me. Sbu was running towards us. I saw, with fear, that it wasn’t a stick the guy was holding, but a thick baton. It would have cracked my skull open. The other guy was screaming now, “This is my girlfriend. You know that. Sidenge senkwenkwe, ndakukubulala ngezandla – mad boy, I will kill you with my bare hands.”
At that point Ntombentle got up and clung onto me. “Please let go of me right now.” I said, gently pushing her away. This was when the two guys drew knives. I wanted to talk things through, but they were circling around me and Sbu. The screaming must have attracted attention because another man was suddenly there, I recognised him as the owner of a shebeen close by. He grabbed both my arms and held them behind my back. The boyfriend came closer, he was jabbing the knife at me. I took a breath, closed my eyes, and ducked, saying a prayer. I saw the blade slice. I felt my heart racing. I whispered to the man holding me. “You are going to get me killed.” He let me go after Sbu shouted. But the other guy was coming for me now. He rushed at me flailing his knife. Sbu pulled me back away from the blade and then we ran.
That was when I knew I would live to tell the tale. The boys were shouting after us, cursing and saying that the next time they saw us we would die. When we got around the corner we stopped, out of breath. “Sbu, I think he stabbed me, but there is no pain yet.” Sbu felt my stomach for stab wounds, but there were none. But when I got home I saw eight stab holes in my jersey. There wasn’t a mark on my skin. The tip of the knife had just ripped the wool.
Very early the next morning I heard a knock on the door. Without even thinking I shouted, “Come in,” thinking it was Sbu. But Ntombentle’s boyfriend swaggered in. I thought to myself, Oh boy, you better get ready it’s time to fight. I have never seen someone with such nerve before; coming in to my house to ask for his girlfriend that he had supposedly ‘taken a break’ from. I had to tell him twice that his girlfriend was not at my place, before he would leave.
I followed him outside. A group of about five or six boys were hanging around. Some had golf sticks in their hands and the boyfriend I realized had never taken his hand out of his pocket. This meant one thing, that he was armed. I quickly ducked back in the house and locked the door. I waited for what seemed like forever before there was another knock. This time I didn’t answer until I heard my friend’s voice: “Vula, Lungsta, ndim. Open, Lungsta, it’s me.”
“Sbu, I should be saying speak of the devil but you are such an angel my friend.” Sbu laughed as I opened for him. The boys had gone.
“It is good to hear that you still have a sense of humor after that near death experience.” Sbu looked at me. I could see that he was replaying the events of the night before. “I heard from a reliable source, Lungile, that these boys said the next time they catch you with this girl you and I are dead.”
“Sbu, these boys were here this morning looking for her you know. I thought you were one of them knocking.”
“I get the feeling she will want to continue with you after this you.” He must be mad to think this after what had happened to me.
“Why are you saying that, Sbu?”
“I don’t think she sees a boyfriend in him anymore.”
“Well I am ready to forget her after the potential death scene at my house this morning. Sbu, I will tell you that much.” A relationship that lasted for a whole two weeks almost got me killed.
Yes, I took his girl – but how is that punishable by death amongst the youth of today? I thought we were meant to be united?
Brave Sbu went and had a meeting with those boys the next day, some of whom were already regretting what had happened. They came to an agreement. If I stayed away from Ntombentle they would leave me alone. It wasn’t the only time Sbu saved my life. He has a strange knack of appearing just when I need him most.
Thanks Sbu! As for the girl Ntombentle, she has four kids by different fathers. When I last spoke to her she told me that she was undecided about which one to marry. “They are all dogs,” she said.
I felt the need to get closer, only to give advice this time but remembered that this ‘undecided’ state of mind of some ladies could mean danger for us guys. She needs to be given time and at this point I opted to leave her alone – and give her that time.
Tell us what you think: Do you think a crush is true love?