‘So, what are you studying at Wits?’ asked Karabo.
‘Electrical engineering,’ said Buzz. ‘It’s OK. It’s a bursary from one of the mining companies, so ya. It works, I guess,’ he explained. Karabo nodded but said nothing, and they carried on walking.
‘My grandparents paid half my school fees, my mom about a quarter, and then the school gave me the rest as a bursary. My dad died when I was in Grade 7, and my mom is just a PA. So she works like a dog for this… guy, and that’s how I got through a fancy school like Dayeton College,’ said Buzz, his head hanging as they ambled slowly through the mall. Karabo felt his sadness seep into her. She stopped walking and took his hand. Buzz, who she thought she’d known pretty well, didn’t have a dad. Buzz looked down at her, and all the people in the mall — in fact the whole world — seemed to disappear around them. Gently she pulled Buzz towards her and kissed him. Her heart knocked heavily and slowly in her chest as they stood there, breathing each other in.
The rest of the afternoon passed in a daze. Holding hands, Karabo and Buzz meandered through the mall until they returned to the open-air square, where they realised it was getting dark. The
dusky Highveld sky was turning purple and pink with streaks of orange, and the temperature had dropped. Karabo checked her phone and saw that her mom was already on her way home with sushi, their favourite.
‘My mom’s got dinner waiting… and it’s sushi, so we have to go,’ said Karabo. Buzz smiled at her. ‘Still think with your stomach, Karabz?’ he taunted her.
‘How else do people think?’ asked Karabo, and Buzz laughed at her.
When they pulled up in front of her house in the complex, Karabo asked Buzz if he wanted to come in to meet her mom. Buzz hesitated. ‘Come on. She’s awesome,’ said Karabo. Buzz looked nervous, but he switched off the car and followed Karabo into the house.
As Karabo opened the door she heard her mother’s voice. She was on the phone,
‘Great, you like the idea then? Absolutely Cedric, hmm hmm…. yes, ok great, yes, I’ll get things in motion, and then we can set up some dates and book the flights. OK, yes… that’s great. Thanks, thanks. OK, bye,’ she said, before turning to see Karabo and Buzz watching her.
Anathi’s usual cool demeanour slipped for a second as she realised Karabo had heard her, and there was a tall red-headed young man standing next to her daughter. Anathi’s eyes widened and her mouth opened slightly, before she quickly looked down at her phone, turned it off and looked back up at them again, completely composed.
‘Mom… this is Buzz. Remember, we were at school together? Buzz matriculated last year, and is at Wits now,’ said Karabo, as Buzz leaned forward and shook Anathi’s hand. He towered over
her, as she had left her heels at the door when she walked in. Her suit was also creased from a day of wear.
‘Hello Buzz, I recognise you from the matric dance photos,’ said Anathi, looking at Buzz carefully, her eyes friendly. ‘I’m so glad you got Karabo out of the house. She has been wearing her pjs day in and day out, rather miserable about the arm story,’ said Anathi. Karabo glared at her mother. Why did she have to tell everyone what she did at home? Surely this was a safe space, where you could wear your pjs as much as you liked? It wasn’t as though she met Anathi’s colleagues and told them that Anathi walked around the house with a face mask on, in her underwear at weekends!
Buzz just smiled, his cheeks reddening. ‘Well, we had a good time Ms Mavuso. Um… I must get home too. Very nice to meet you Ms…’
‘Anathi, please,’ interrupted Anathi.
‘Sure, thanks Anathi, well, cheers,’ said Buzz, before turning to Karabo.
‘I’ll walk you to your car,’ offered Karabo, following him out the door, and throwing her mother a death stare behind Buzz’s back.
Buzz leaned against his car. ‘So, see you again sometime? Like tomorrow?’ he asked nervously.
Karabo smiled so broadly she felt her cheeks close her eyes. ‘Definitely,’ she said, before standing on her tip toes and giving Buzz a kiss on the cheek. His arms were around her before her heels touched the ground and he hugged her tightly. ‘I do really miss you Karabz,’ he whispered into her ear, before letting her go. She blinked up at him, before he smiled down at her and got into his creaky little car. Karabo felt unable to move. Buzz rolled down his window. It squeaked and jerked as it opened. ‘Wear your trainers and shorts tomorrow. We have some hoops to catch
up on. Even with that arm!’ said Buzz, a naughty smile across his face. He waved and pulled off and Karabo still couldn’t move. Her body was trying to catch up with the day. She felt mentally, physically and emotionally stunned.
‘Are you going to come inside and tell me about the mystery boyfriend, or do I have to bring the sushi to you in the driveway?’ shouted Anathi from inside the house.
Question: Do you think Buzz could be Karabo’s ‘boyfriend’?