Okay, let’s not overreact here. McBurney is not such an uncommon surname, is it? It’s not my surname. I’ve only ever used my mom’s name – Rampele. But there must be plenty of McBurneys in Joburg. There’s no reason to think this one is even related to me, never mind my actual sister.
And, yes, the girl I’ve seen on my snooping expeditions is also blonde … and tall … and slim … and … I swallow hard. I think I need to talk to my mom.
I barely make it through the rest of the day. My mind is going round in circles, trying to trace a resemblance between the blonde daughter whose face I’ve never seen properly and the Evil Amanda who’s out to destroy me.
As netball practice ends, I speed-walk up Grayston Drive to catch a taxi home. I can’t help glancing back at the lush quietness of Strathavon, to where another girl is living my life … with my father.
It’s always a slight adjustment to walk into our little home on the border of Wynberg and Alex after the big, rolling grounds of school. It’s a 15-year-old RDP house. There’s a room for me, a room for my mom, and a kitchen where I watch TV and do my homework.
The moment my mom gets back from work, I pounce on her, demanding to know whether Amanda McBurney might be my sister. I can see the shock in her face. It’s been years since we spoke openly about my father. But I also see I’m right – and that she’s been expecting this question.
“It’s the recession,” Mom explains, pulling pots out of the cupboard. “Apparently, he lost his job three months ago and has only just managed to find another one, at a much lower salary. He couldn’t afford to keep his kids in private school so he moved them to Innesfree.
“Why Innesfree?” I wail. “Why my school?”
“They’re zoned for it. They live there in Strathavon, like I told you years ago. It’s really close to your school.”
“But Mom, you can’t believe how mean Amanda is being to me! Do you think she might know? About me, I mean?”
“It’s possible,” Mom admits. “I ran into his wife in Checkers once. The way she looked at me made me think she knew something. And if she knows, her daughter might know. But of course your father still thinks it’s a deep, dark secret.”
I sit down at the table, trying to process all this. An SMS beeps on my cell. It’s from Jayden Depaul. I memorised his number ages ago, even though he’s never actually called me before.
Do u still want 2 b in pop idols concert? Jydn