The next day I head down to the Streetskillz pitch to watch the trick-shot championships – not least of all because Rose is competing. I’m in a good mood. I’m in the top three for the Streestkillz scoring competition, and Chippa has given me a place on the team for the final against the Leopards! Woohooh!
Tricksta and some of the other players show amazing tricking skills, but when Rose’s turn comes around, things get off to a rocky start.
“Chippa,” Rose says, “you said you’d help me!”
“Hayi, no ways,” Chippa says, “you’re not kicking a ball off the top of my head.”
Rose’s main trick is difficult and a maybe just a little bit crazy. She wants Chippa to balance a ball on top of his head, which she’ll then bicycle kick off into the goal. But Chippa isn’t having any of it.
“I’ll do it,” I say, stepping out from the crowd and standing next to Rose.
“Be my guest,” Chippa says handing me the ball.
I balance the ball on the top of my head and stand waiting for the kick, praying that it will hit the ball, rather than my face! Rose smiles fiercely, steps back, aims and thunders a perfect kick into the goal! The crowd goes wild and I breathe a sigh of relief.
We’ve barely celebrated when one of the large cooks from the shebeen sticks her head out of a window and gestures towards us.
“You two!” she bellows, “You’re late for your shift at the shebeen and Ma Lettie is on the warpath! Khawulezisa! Hurry!”
We both know what Rose’s mother’s like when she gets cross, so we quickly walk across to the shebeen to start our shift.
“Sorry you didn’t win,” I console Rose as we tie on our aprons.
Rose shrugs, “Tricksta deserved it. It’s really cool that you helped me though.”
“No problem.” I wish I could tell her that I’d do pretty much anything for her.
Rose brushes her curly hair out of her eyes. “So, how are things going with Ayanda?”
I’m totally puzzled. I haven’t seen Ayanda since that one practice on the field.
“What do you mean?”
“She’s pretty cool,” Rose says, “you guys make a good couple.”
“A couple?” I almost drop the plates I’m carrying. “We’re not a couple!”
“Oh, but I saw you dancing with her?” Rose says, “I thought…”
“That was part of my practice with the Professor,” I laugh, “and I’m a terrible dancer!”
“You’re right,” says Rose, “you’re probably the worst dancer I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“I know. And I don’t like Ayanda. I like someone else.”
“Oh, who?” says Rose, suddenly quiet and looking at me intently.
“You,” I say quietly.
Rose moves towards me.
“Really?” she says.
I nod and then suddenly, without knowing how it’s happened Rose is in my arms and we’re kissing.
“What’s going on here?” a voice booms behind us. Rose’s mother is glaring furiously at us, hands on her hips.
“I’m not paying you to take advantage of my daughter,” she scolds, pointing a thick finger at me.
“Get into the kitchen,” she says harshly to Rose. She turns to me, “And you – you’re fired!”
Image: Bob Fornal, CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0