Rose and I hastily pull apart as we hear footsteps coming down the corridor. We’ve snuck into the art room at lunchtime to steal a little time alone.

“Quick!” I say, opening a supply cupboard and we squeeze in and close the door just as Ms. Mqulo the old art teacher strolls into the room, singing quietly to herself.¬†

I feel Rose’s body pressed up against mine as Ms. Mqulo begins to sing more loudly. We can see through a crack in the door that she’s begun to dance, clapping her hands together and swinging her hips wildly. Rose giggles and Ms. Mqulo stops dancing and looks around. I stifle a laugh and put my fingers to my lips.

Ms. Mqulo shrugs and then continues to sing as she leaves the classroom. 

The coast is clear, but neither of us moves. As I look at my girlfriend, a single ray of light from the crack in the door makes her large brown eyes shine. For the thousandth time I think how beautiful she is, with her brown curly hair falling down about her shoulders and her perfectly formed nose dusted with freckles.

Rose’s mother, Ma Lettie, still isn’t happy with our relationship, but I can’t let that worry me. I would put up with the whole of Du Noon being upset with me, just to be with Rose.

“Are you nervous about tonight?” Rose asks, stroking my neck.

I shrug, trying to pretend I’m totally cool about it, but Rose isn’t fooled. Tonight is the night my mother and I are invited to the first information session with Mr. Naidoo. Not only will Mr. Naidoo reveal what’s in stall for his carefully selected Streetskillz team, but I’m going to get to meet the rest of the team and see the training facilities for the first time too.¬†

“Good luck,” she smiles, sneaking in one last kiss in the cramped cupboard, “you’re going to shine.”

Later that day as I trudge back home from the taxi rank, my mind is on fire with thoughts of both Rose and street soccer. I know I have a silly grin on my face as I alternate between daydreaming about her and scoring the winning goal in the street soccer league.

As I reach the small wooden house that I share with my mother, my little dog Ronaldo scampers out from his makeshift kennel wagging his tail. I bend down and scratch behind his ears.

“Hey boy, did you have a good day?”

He barks back, happy to have me home.

“Is that you Nathi?” The door to the little house opens and my mother peers out.

“Nathi!” she cries, “hurry and get dressed, or we’ll be late.”

I pat Ronaldo one last time and give my mom a kiss on her cheek as I go inside and start to get ready. I’m so excited I can hardly change into the smart new clothes my mother has especially bought for me. I’m going to be part of a real street soccer team!