“He hit you with his elbow?” Rose asks in surprise as we get out the taxi at Du Noon and begin the walk up Dumasani Road. We’ve finished school for the day and finally have a chance to talk.
I nod as I take Rose’s smooth hand in mine and as we walk she squeezes it lightly before manoeuvring my arm around her waist.
I replay the moment in my memory, trying to figure it out.
“Weird,” Rose says, “I thought you and he were getting to be such good friends.”
“It’s soccer – everybody wants to win and the game gets a bit rough sometimes.”
“Hmm,” says Rose, “I think there might be something else going on with Henry. This new coach of yours sounds like he’s getting worse and worse.”
“He’s not the nicest guy, that’s for sure. But he doesn’t seem to hate me as much as he did at first.”
“Well I suppose that’s a good thing,” she says doubtfully.
“It is. If I don’t get along with Reinecker I don’t have much hope of staying on the team.”
We stop as we reach Rose’s mother’s shebeen.
“I know how important soccer is to you,” Rose says with a small smile, “but maybe you should go and speak to Henry.”
I shake my head. “If he wants to speak to me he knows where to find me.”
“Boys,” Rose sighs, “you’re all so full of pride it’s a wonder that there’s room for anything else.”
I wrap my arms around her and smile into her eyes.
“There’s definitely room for you.”
We kiss and then I watch her in awe as she walks slowly into the shebeen, turning to wink at me as she disappears through the door.
I walk the rest of the way home, noticing a silver sports car is parked outside my house when I get there. It’s incredible – so slick and shiny. I put my face against the window to get a look at the leather interior. Shew!
“Ma,” I call as I head inside the house, “whose car…”
And then I stop as I see who’s inside.
“Nathi,” says my mother in a pleased voice, “Mr. Reinecker has stopped by to have a word with you.”