So it’s finally Red Eye night! AfroBollyMe looks awesome, even if we say so ourselves. 

Our parents all came early to have a look. Nomusa’s mom and dad especially took the afternoon off work so that they could come, and they brought her little brother and sister too. Mrs. Benghu works as a domestic worker at a big house up on the Ridge, and Mr. Benghu is a foreman in a factory in Umbilo. 

They are so obviously proud of Nomusa. The whole family beamed from ear to ear from the beginning to the end of their visit.

Deevya’s folks arrived straight from the airport, looking a bit jet lagged and world weary. But they really loved AfroBollyMe.

“Deevya, this is stunning Princess, stunning!” enthused her dad. “Some of these AfroBollyMe designs would look incredible on the right pair of shoes.”

“Genius girls!” exclaimed my mom. “You are so incredibly talented. And I consider myself lucky to be related to one of you so that I can enjoy some of these in my home for a while once the exhibition is closed!”  

It’s getting dark when they leave and the Indian Mynah birds are going nuts in the palm trees outside as they come home to roost. 

My thoughts turn to Simon who should be arriving soon. I don’t know how things will go tonight. I’m not totally sure how I even feel about him, but still, the tummy butterflies that arrived when visitors started to flock towards our AfroBollyMe exhibition get even more excited when I think about seeing Simon in just a few minutes. I sneak a peek at my reflection in a mirrored column in the gallery. My ‘fro is fluffed, my eyes are wide, my lips smiling and my funky blue mini dress looks good. I’ve got a feeling…woo hooh…that tonight’s gonna be a good night…

And then I frown as a voice inside of me asks, “But is Simon really The One?”

I sigh out loud. To be honest I know that every thought about Simon and I (if I’m allowed to even say our two names together like that after only one date) has a question mark dangling at the end of it. 

This is what I’m thinking all at the same time: What am I going to say when he arrives? How come I didn’t kiss him when I had the chance, but then was jealous when I imagined him at the movies with another girl? How come the butterflies in my tummy flap their wings when I think of being in the same room as him? 

I get distracted from my thoughts by loud laughter at our AfroBollyMe exhibition area. There are lots of people exhibiting at Red Eye tonight but amazingly our exhibit seems to be the most popular. It’s buzzing with people! The happy noise is coming from Nomusa, Lindi and Zack who are excitedly chatting away in the midst of the crowd over there. My heart fills with love and pride as I watch them. I’m so lucky to have such cool friends and to be a part of all of this tonight!

I notice that like me Deevya is also standing to one side. She keeps smoothing down her already smooth and glossy long black hair. And she too keeps looking towards the entrance door. She looks like she’s also waiting for somebody. I saw Prakesh’s name on the guest list and it was written in Deevya’s handwriting, so I’m pretty sure that she must have invited him to come tonight. 

I still don’t really know what’s going on with Deevya and Prakesh. And I haven’t asked her anything more about the strange comment she made about “doing what she thinks is best for me” when we were talking about Simon the other day.

But I can tell she’s feeling the same nervous anticipation that I am. And the vibe is good, so while Deevya and I kind of seem to be in the same boat, I figure this is as good a time as any to get things out in the open.

I walk over to her and crack a bit of a joke as an opener.

“So I keep looking towards the door because I’m waiting for Simon to arrive. I’m hoping that’s not the reason you keep looking towards the door too Deevya!”

Deevya laughs. “No, I’m waiting for Prakesh.”

“Oh, ok cool,” I smile “I thought as much.”

Deevya looks at me really closely.

“Oh dear,” she says “I can see you’ve still got that Simon bug in your system.”

I laugh out loud. Why deny it? But this time I’m going to ask Deevya why she really thinks that’s such a bad thing. And right after that I’m going to ask her about the Prakesh bug in her system.

“Hey Deevya,” I say “I know you’ve told me that Simon is trouble for me, but you’ve never actually told me why. So what’s the buzz dude? Shed some light for your clueless friend Hope?”

Deevya grins at my irony, and then she looks a little worried.

“If you’re brave enough to take it on the chin then I’m happy to tell you,” says Deevya.

“Hit me,” I say, with a show of bravado.

“Ok. Here goes,” says Deevya. “It’s really simple. Simon is a guy who really loves women … in general. He’s the kind of guy who’s led by his, um … lust. And he doesn’t even realise it. He thinks he’s falling in love for the first time, everytime.”

Hmm. That’s quite a judgement Deevya’s making. But that’s exactly what it is – a judgement. She doesn’t know anything about what I discovered about Simon on our date.

“Look, Deevya,” I say patiently “I know you have strong opinions on all things concerning romantic love, but I’ve been getting to know Simon slowly and I’m not convinced that you’re right this time. Maybe you’re judging him on first impressions? When Simon and I went on our date he showed me his photographs and there’s a depth and sensitivity to them that really touched me. That has to come from the heart.”

“Completely!” says Deevya, “I’m not disputing that. It’s just that I think you’re a one guy kind of girl and he’s a lots of girls kind of guy. And that’s never going to change.”

I shake my head doubtfully. Where does Deevya get all these ideas that she’s so certain about?

“Listen, Hope,” Deevya says, putting her hand on my arm “you and Simon aren’t really serious yet, are you? I mean you haven’t kissed yet have you?” 

She looks me in the eye as she leans in intently to hear my answer.

“No, we haven’t kissed,” I say quietly, looking around in case Simon arrives while we’re talking. I’d hate him to overhear this conversation.

“Ok, thank goodness!” says Deevya.

She looks so genuinely relieved that I feel totally off balance. My head is spinning.

“Listen Hope. If you’re not going to believe what I say then let me show you!” says Deevya.

“Err…and how exactly do you plan to do that Deevya? This is all sounding a little bit scary!” I say with wide eyes.

“Sometimes you just need to see a guy from a different perspective to get the measure of him. I’ve got a plan that might just give you another perspective on Simon,” Deevya says persuasively. 

I’m still not convinced. I raise my eyebrows at Deevya, as if to say “dude, what are you smoking?”

“Just go along with my plan Hope,” Deevya urges. “Once you’ve seen for yourself then you can decide if Simon is really The One for you. If I’m wrong, then maybe he is actually your guy. But if I’m right, I’ll save you from getting your heart broken.”