Karabo groaned and looked down at her still untied shoes. She knelt down and carefully pulled the laces as hard as she could with one hand, then twisted them to try and shove the laces into the side of her shoe under her ankle bone. It looked OK. She did the same with the other shoe and decided it would have to do. She arrived at breakfast with both shoelaces undone and flapping. Every time she lifted her feet, there was a loud clump, followed by a sucking sound as her foot slipped back inside. Luckily, breakfast was in full swing, and the hall was loud enough to cover the worst of her noisy shoe entrance.

Karabo passed the post matric table, pretending not to see William and Mzi raising their heads from their plates to stare at her. As she neared her table, Isla turned and saw Karabo coming

towards her. Jumping up and out of her chair to help her invalid friend, Isla’s spoon flicked out of her bowl and splattered a white sticky, milky mess onto the table and Karabo’s chair. Isla swore in frustration – which caught the attention of the prefects at the opposite table.

‘Watch it Hepworth. Starting to sound like a day scholar. And Mavuso, tie up your shoes, you’re making a noise and it’s bothering me!’ shouted Tiff. Isla’s cheeks burned a bright shade of pink and she simply nodded. Karabo knew that if Isla opened her mouth to respond to Tiff, she wouldn’t be able to control what came out of it. Tiff had become a righteous power-mad freak since becoming a prefect; for a snobby rule-breaking brat (for most of her school career), she’d transformed into something far worse as a prefect. Karabo could see Isla grind her teeth and breathe deeply, as Janet offered some paper towels to wipe up the milk.

As soon as Isla had wiped the milk spots off the furniture, she pulled a chair out for Karabo to sit down on. Karabo slumped into the chair and looked down at her shoes. Isla sat back down and pushed her chair back so that she could bend over and tie Karabo’s shoelaces. As she did so, Karabo could hear Isla issuing a stream of foul swear words unfit for a lady. This made her smile, and as Isla sat up, Karabo noticed that her eyes were as wide as an owl’s. She frowned at Karabo. ‘What?’ she asked defiantly.

‘You,’ said Karabo, ‘You are so funny Isla. Swearing like a sailor. Looking like a princess. I just love that about you,’ smiled Karabo. Isla stood up and hugged Karabo, whispering into her ear. ‘Love you more my friend,’ she said, before sitting back down.

‘Right girlfriend, what’s for breakfast?’ asked Isla. Karabo’s heart sank. She hated Isla getting her food for her. ‘Let me try get it. OK?’ asked Karabo. ‘You’ve done enough today,’ she insisted. ‘Karabz! That’s nothing. I don’t mind helping you, you know that!’ stated Isla, slightly surprised by Karabo wanting to get her own breakfast.

‘I know, I know you don’t Isla. But I’m going crazy and I think it’s better if I try and do some stuff on my own. It’s not as sore anymore. Let me try. I’ll call you if I can’t manage. Or maybe I’ll call Tiff over there. She’s so helpful,’ said Karabo, sarcastically as she rolled her eyes in Tiff’s direction. Isla smiled and chuckled at the thought.

Karabo stood up carefully and made her way to the cereals. She managed to dish up cereal and milk and felt as if she’d won a gold medal in breakfast self-helpery. Making her way back to the table was tricky, but she got there and had such a broad grin across her face that Isla couldn’t help giggling at her.


Question: What do you think of Tiff?