I’m so nervous my palms are sweating and my heart is pounding like a drum. I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but it’s too late to back out now. I fix my eyes on a point in the distance and stride purposefully through the door of the night club without a sideways glance. I’m waiting for the looming bouncers to grab me by the arm, demand to see my ID and then shout out for the entire queue to hear, “What are you thinking trying to sneak in here Hope L’Amour? You’re only 16 and you don’t look a day older than that! Out!” 

My cheeks are already burning at my anticipated walk of shame past the watching crowd waiting to get in. But – miraculously – I walk uninterrupted through the entrance hall and out onto the edge of the heaving dancefloor. It would appear that confidence is a door opener. And I obviously don’t mean my confidence because I’m quaking in my heels right now, but rather the bold nonchalance of my best friends Deevya and Nomusa who walked in next to me. They’re the ones who’ve talked me into crashing the New Year’s Eve party at Nigiro despite the fact that it’s an over 18 club and we’re all just 16. And all credit for our successful illegal entry goes to Deevya’s heart-melting smile and Nomusa’s brain-frying catwalk strut. I should have known that those beefcakes guarding the door couldn’t say no to them.

To be quite accurate it was actually Deevya who managed to persuade me to leave the house party my mom thinks I’m at right now.

“Trust me, you’re going to love it when you get there Hope! You keep telling us you haven’t kissed anyone yet because you’re waiting for ‘The One’, but we’ve known all the guys at this party for years and none of them seem to be your Romeo. If you really want to live your life you have to learn to take a risk every now and again. C’mon Hope! Follow your destiny. You know you want to!”

So here I am putting my life in fate’s hands and high-fiving my friends the moment we’re all inside the club and out of sight of the muscle men.

“Nice work Hope!” laughs Deevya triumphantly ‘I knew you had it in you”. 

I breath a sigh of relief and fluff out my ‘fro in a show of false confidence. 

“Everybody knows it’s a bad idea to get in the way of a woman with big hair,” I joke.

“You said it!” grins Nomusa, already swaying to the beat. “Which means you’re the one who’s going to lead the way right into the middle.” She runs her hand over her barely there Alek Wek shave cut to emphasise the point and nods towards the mass of party animals getting down to the beat. 

As I set off into the crowd I find myself thinking that my two best friends have pushed me into surprising myself many times since the day we first met in art class in Grade Eight at Glenwood Girls’ High, our school in Durban. We have totally different personalities, and if we weren’t all mad about sketching and cartooning I don’t know if we would ever have even gotten to know each other.  But drawing comes as naturally as breathing to each of us ­- and it’s pretty cool to have friends who breathe the same air, if you know what I mean. We all want to study illustration and animation when we finish school, and in the meantime we’re constantly dreaming up creative projects together.  

We call our collaborative trio ‘The Awesomes’. Deevya came up with the name, of course. Nomusa was totally cool with it, as she usually is. And I needed a little persuading, but they managed to win me over. Strange that.

I’m smiling as the DJ slides the volume button heavenwards just as I reach the heart of the dancefloor. I swing around to face my friends and instead collide spectacularly with the most agonizingly gorgeous guy I’ve ever laid eyes on in my whole entire life. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Do you believe in meant-to-be love? Have you found it?