“What? That’s impossible!” I retort in disbelief. “My mother would have told me about something like that.”
Nails shakes his head with a sad sigh.
“You must remember that your father spent most of his time working on the mines. He used to visit your mother whenever he could, but he had another life up in Gauteng. When he was injured in the mineshaft fire and taken to hospital, your mother wasn’t there at his deathbed. I was. That’s when he asked me.”
“I…I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t need to say anything,” Nails says, “I know it’s a lot to take in right now. But I brought you something I know you’ll be able to trust.”
He reaches into the pocket of his leather jacket and pulls out an envelope.
“It’s a note your father wrote to you when he was in hospital” Nails says as he hands it to me “He asked me to give it you.”
My name is written on the front of the envelope. The handwriting is familiar – I recognize it from the letters my mother has shown me over the years. There’s no mistaking my dad’s handwriting.
The taxi that takes us to school pulls up at the taxi rank and the driver hoots loudly.
“You need to get to school,” Shorty says with a smile.
“Yes,” Nails says, “what kind of a godfather would I be if I made you late?”
I try to smile but I’m still feeling so stunned by this unexpected news that I can only manage to slightly lift the corners of my mouth.
“One more thing,” Nails says, “I’d appreciate it if you don’t tell your mother about me yet. Silver never told her about our friendship and I’d like to have a chance to talk to her myself.”
I nod slowly, clutching the note from my father in my hand.
“He’s really his father’s son, isn’t he Shorty?” Nails says.
Shorty nods. “Silver would be proud.”
“Come Nathi,” Rose says, pulling me by the hand, “we need to get to school.”
As we get into the taxi my head is spinning.
“I don’t trust them,” Rose says with a frown.
I look at the letter in my hands. What will it say? Will it explain everything?