Today my mom did let me take the day off school. Yesterday was hard enough. And yesterday evening’s newspaper article took the situation into a whole new league. But it was last night’s phone call and today’s early morning newspaper that really was the cherry on the top.
The follow-up article wasn’t very big, but it still made the front page this morning. Apparently my heartbreaking blunder is newsworthy, for there it is, described in black and white, for the entire world to see.
“HEARTBREAK FOR HOPE
The Awesomes new street artwork on Umbilo Road has attracted incredible local attention. Yesterday The Daily News published a photograph of 16-year-old Hope L’Amour’s Valentine’s message to her boyfriend, Zack Black (17).
Hope wrote the words “Happy Valentines Day Zack! Kiss Me Now! Love Hope” on a paper aeroplane she’d drawn as part of the enormous artwork painted on the side of an abandoned building. According to one of her classmates, Hope allegedly received a letter from Zack telling her the relationship was over while she was waiting to surprise him with her public Valentine’s message. Hope was unavailable for comment when the newspaper telephoned her home last night.”
And let me tell you that I’m still unavailable for comment.
“I brought you these sunglasses,” says Deevya, when she arrives later that day, once school is over.
She hands me the hugest pair of shades I’ve ever seen in my life. But as I put them on and see my face disappear behind them I see where this is going. And I like it. I’ve got something to hide behind.
“There’s big trouble going down at school. Nobody’s owning up to calling the newspaper, but the teachers are furious,” says Nomusa. “And everyone sends their love to you.”
Next up Nomusa tames my ‘fro with her impressive braiding skills and then jams a hat on top of my head.
“Do you want to go out for a chocolate milkshake sweetie?” says Deevya kindly. “My treat. Nobody will recognize you with your new look.”
“Not a chance,” I reply immediately. “I’m not going anywhere for a while. Lets just have some tea here in my flat.”
Deevya doesn’t argue, bless her, she just turns on the kettle and once she’s made tea we all sit on the bed in my room, sipping away quietly. I think I must be in shock, because it feels totally normal for us all to sit here and not say a word, which isn’t really our usual style.
I look across at my reflection in the mirror on my dressing table opposite my bed. I hardly recognize myself. I take the hat off and stare at this sleek-haired girl with huge sunglasses steamed up a little from the hot tea.
“Who am I?” I say out loud.
Deevya and Nomusa look at each other. Deevya raises an eyebrow as if to say “get a grip baby”. And Nomusa looks like she’s gathering her thoughts on how to tell me who I am when there’s a loud knock at the front door.
And then we hear Zack’s husky voice.
“Hope? Are you there?”
We all sit in dead silence. The tick of my bedside clock suddenly seems so loud.
None of us move to let him in.
“Hope?” he calls again. “I know you’re there. Please let me in. I really need to talk to you.”