Simon calls me again at five.

“Hey Hope. I just realised there’s an I Heart Durban party on tonight. I’m sure it’s going to be amazing. Do you want to go?”

Oh dear. That’s an over 18 blast in case you didn’t know. It’s the hottest thing to do in Durban and I’d love to go, but on the other hand I know I’d have to run the under-age gauntlet again and frankly I’d rather not. I think I’m permanently scarred by my clubbing experience – well until I’m 18 that is, when it won’t be an issue anymore. 

I decide to keep it simple and just tell Simon straight.

“Simon, that sounds so cool, but to be honest I can’t bear the thought of even risking going through all that under-age trauma again. You saw how bad things got last time!”

I hear Simon chuckle on the other end of the phone as he remembers all the drama at Nigiro.

I continue. “If you want to cancel our plan so that you can go to the party that’s fine. I can understand that you wouldn’t want to miss it.”

“No way,” says Simon straight away. “I’m looking forward to seeing you.”

My heart skips a beat.

“Thanks for you sms with your address by the way,” Simon says. Since you live in Davenport Centre why don’t we grab a burger at Deluxe then as it’s practically on your doorstep?”

“Sounds great. Thanks Simon. See you later.”

A little after seven Simon rings our buzzer and comes up to say hello to my mom before we stroll through Davenport Centre shopping centre on our way to Deluxe Burger Bar. 

When we get there we order burgers and fries and chat easily while we eat.

Once we’ve finished and they’ve cleared our plates Simon pulls his old laptop out of his satchel.

“I thought you might want to see some of my photos?” he offers.

“Fab. I’d love to!” I exclaim.

He takes me on a virtual tour of Durban through his eyes: into the shops in Grey Street; looking up into the huge old trees in the Botanical Gardens; up close to all the Art Deco buildings on the Berea; and through the shack lands of KwaMashu. It’s epic. And I’m fascinated. This is a guy with an artist’s eye, and I can relate to that!

We each have a cup of coffee and then he walks me home.

At the doors to the lift Simon pulls me into his arms. He feels so strong and masculine. His cheek touches lightly against mine, and then he turns his face to kiss me.