I loooove Saturday. Seriously.
I had a good sleep-in this morning until my mom woke me up with cup of tea. Sweet. I propped myself up on my pillows and looked out the window at the building across the way. I couldn’t see any of Zoom’s handiwork in the light of day, but I realised I had a ridiculous grin on my face when I even thought about it.
The rest of the night had been cool. More than cool actually. AMAZING. Zack played DJ and got some tunes going on the sound system, pumped up the volume, and before you knew it we’d renamed the living room Club Lounge. Rocking. And we all were. Every now and then someone would flick the light switch on and off really fast to get a bit of a strobe effect going. All that we needed to complete the picture was a mirror ball. But then again we did have a glow-in-the-dark artwork beaming through the open balcony door, so maybe that was enough.
Zoom and his friends are really cool. Snappy dressers and dancers – and they were loving Deevya. Birds of a feather, I guess. Nomusa and Lindi were totally on form, ruling the dance floor. And Zack was the best. He’s my guy. Sometimes you just need a dance floor and some beats to know you’re totally made for each other. Magic. What a feeling. My tummy flips even thinking about him.
And so tonight is the big ‘first’ date. Officially.
Zack and I have had such an amazing time over the last few days that I thought that one of those moments probably counted as ‘the date’. When I said that right after Zack asked if tonight could be the ‘big date’ night, he looked horrified.
“Hope – this date is a big deal! I remember everything you said that day when we started patching things up – that we’re still so young and just discovering ourselves and each other. And these last days have been so much better than ever before that I don’t think we should ever forget to be open to that sense of discovery. I’m not taking anything for granted. I would never have forgotten my promise to take you on another ‘first date’. It was my idea after all. And I could never resist the chance of spending time alone with you.”
After a speech like that from the hottest guy on earth, it’s not really that surprising that I’m feeling like $999 million dollars.
So, after a quiet day at home, I’m dressing up for the occasion. I’ve got my radio on and I’m happily humming away to the tunes as I get dressed. A blue denim mini over black leggings, a cool top with a sparkle of sequins that Deevya made for me, and big, thin silver hoop earrings. I remember that Zack says he has a surprise for me, and that it involves a bit of walking, so I opt for flat sandals with pretty straps that twist up around my ankles.
I’ve just finished putting on a light slick of lipgloss when the doorbell rings. I take one last look at myself in the mirror and notice that my eyes are sparkling, and my skin is glowing. Could it be that I’m in love?
I open the front door and I can’t see the dude for the huge bunch of flowers he’s holding in front of him.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” I hear Zack’s voice say behind the masses of roses.
Hooray! After I’ve fussed with finding a vase and putting the flowers in water, stolen a few delectable kisses in the kitchen, and forgotten and then remembered my bag, we’re on our way.
“You look beautiful,” says Zack quietly, holding my hand as we stroll down the road.
The sun is close to slipping behind the hills behind us, and in the trees above us the Indian Mynah birds are shouting their goodbyes to the day.
I feel quite shy. A proper date is just so different to…well, just being together normally. Zack squeezes my hand and shoots me a look as if to tell me that he knows, and it’s fine.
I don’t know where we’re going but I’m happy to just go with it. Zack’s pretty quiet too as we wonder through a maze of back streets, past old blocks of flats and little houses with red-tiled rooftops and overgrown patches of tropical garden out front. I glance at Zack from time to time and for a moment I think he looks terribly sad, but then he notices my gaze and his face melts into the most heart-warming smile I’ve ever seen in my life.
Umbilo Road is quiet and sun dappled when we get there. The usual thrum of roaring pantechnicon trucks, blaring taxis and normal cars acting like racing cars, has dulled to a very gentle trickle of unhurried weekend traffic.
I think Zack must have chosen this route because it goes right past my street art. The way things worked out on Valentine’s Day, we’ve never actually looked at it together. Even though he’s here this time, and holding my hand, I still can’t help my heart from beating faster when we get there. Bad memories have a way of hanging about in the body, even when life has moved on. I can even feel my hand get sweaty as I remember the terrible feeling of that day, and I think Zack notices too because as we cross Umbilo Road towards that bench, he raises it to his lips and gives it a tender kiss.
Zack sits first, and then I tuck in next to him. He puts his arm around my shoulders and pulls me in really close. I put my cheek against his heart and I can feel his heart is beating really fast too.
“So I know I didn’t give you a Valentine’s card,” he smiles down at me, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “but I just want you to know that your Valentine’s surprise was one of the best things that’s ever, ever happened to me. And I’m sorry I fluffed it up so badly on the day.”
“Zack… it’s all over and done with,” I say softly, “it’s totally fine.” But in my heart I feel so touched that he still worries about the sore spots that day left behind.
We both look up at that huge painted wall and I get such a surprise that I burst out laughing, and then I burst into tears, and then I throw my arms around Zack’s neck and hold him tight.
There’s a new addition to The Awesomes street art. Somehow, sometime – I don’t know when – Zack has been doing some painting. The original picture is still the same – me leaning out of my bedroom window looking down at Zack. Zack leaning out of his bedroom window, looking at me. My paper aeroplane with ‘Happy Valentine’s Day Zack! Kiss Me Now! Love Hope.’ is still there, eternally floating down to him.
But now there’s another paper aeroplane that he’s throwing up to me. And on it’s side, in Zack’s handwriting it says, “Hope L’Amour, you’re the girl of my dreams. Love always. Zack”.
I’m lost in the moment, happier than I’ve ever been, cradled in Zack’s arms. I pull back to look at him with a huge smile on my face, and I see that same deeply sad look in his eye. My heart flips again – in a bad way.
“What’s wrong Zack?” I ask anxiously, “What’s going on?”
He shakes his head. “I’ll tell you another time Hope. Lets just enjoy right now. Really, it’s nothing.”
But I know it’s not nothing. I have this terrible feeling in my stomach all of a sudden and I know that whatever’s going on I need to know right now.
“Zack – you have to tell me,” I say, and my voice is both stern and scared all at the same time.
“Hope…” he says, and trails off. I can tell he’s trying to think of a way to get out of this situation.
“NOW Zack,” I insist.
“Ok…I really didn’t want to do this here. I was going to tell you tomorrow, once we’d had our date. I only found out myself this afternoon, so I’m still trying to take it all in…”
I’m staring at him with wide eyes, afraid of what he’s going to say next.
He sighs, runs his hands through his hair, smiles at me and strokes my cheek.
“You know my mom went to Cape Town on a business trip yesterday?” he begins.
I nod. Of course I know. That’s how we all ended up partying at Zack’s place last night.
“Well apparently it was more than just a business trip. When she got back home today she told me that part of the reason she went to Cape Town was to have dinner with someone – a man called Fred that she’s apparently been Internet dating for the last year. I haven’t known anything about this until today.”
I keep nodding, urging Zack to go on.
His forehead furrows with worry as he speaks, “Anyway, she say’s she’s always had a good feeling about him, but when they met each other in person it felt like they were meant to be… And apparently he feels the same way about her.”
He looks away down the street and then takes a deep breath before he finishes.
“Hope, I know this sounds totally crazy. It is crazy… But they’ve decided they want to be together. And so my mom has decided that we’re going to move to Cape Town. Soon. Like next week. She says he’s going to support us until she finds another job. And there’s a really good school nearby that will take me.”
I can’t think of a single thing to say.
Zack carries on. “I’ve never known her like this. My mom hasn’t had a man in her life since my dad left her before I was born. But she’s glowing. And totally certain. And I can’t tell her she’s wrong, because I know that feeling. Because that’s exactly the same way I feel about you Hope.