Cape Town Central

It’s been a month since I met Nwabisa at my friend Ridwaan’s birthday party. I spent most of that night staring at her across the dance floor, in awe of her beauty, terrified she’d look down her nose at me if I so much as greeted her. It was only at the end of the party, when I managed to say hello, that I realized she was actually shy, not stuck up.

We’ve spoken on the phone a few times since then. But today is our first date. I’m so nervous. I have no idea if she’s even attracted to me. Maybe she will say that line that every guy dreads, “I just wanna be friends.” And I guess that’s Ok. I’ve been preparing for it, but honestly, it will break my heart.

I start practicing what I’ll say to her. Hi Nwabisa, so nice to see you again – too formal,
Hey you, how you doin? – too casual, Remember me? – just plain stupid.

My phone rings. It’s Nwabisa. “Just letting you know I’m at the station. Where shall I meet you?”

“At the Pie King near the ticket sales windows,” I answer quickly.

“Ok!” she says and hangs up. Will she recognize me? I text her quickly

Wearing blu jeans, blck t-shirt

Then I look up. There are at least five guys wearing black t- shirts and jeans. One of them is very good looking. I am worried she will mistake him for me, and I nearly turn and run. But it’s too late, here she comes.

“Nwabisa, hello,” I shout. She looks relieved and walks towards me with a growing smile.

“Hi Khaya,” she gives me a gentle, friendly hug. A whole string of questions follow. “Have you been waiting long? What are we doing? Are you expecting anyone else? Where are we going?” I am stunned, like a prince under a spell. Then she bursts out laughing, “Sorry, so sorry.” And I realize that she is nervous too. “But seriously, where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise,” I say trying to sound mysterious.

“A surprise – I like surprises.” But she sounds unsure suddenly, like suddenly she doesn’t trust me.

“It’s actually a concert – on Rondebosch Common.” I blurt out. So much for the surprise!

“I love concerts.” She looks relieved and I wonder what she thought I had in mind. I could hug her right now.

“Two metro tickets to Rondebosch please,” I pick up the tickets and we move towards the platforms. I am so very nervous in this brightly lit station. It’s like the lights are showing up all my faults and flaws.

Nwabisa now seems so calm and confident. “Platform 3,” she says looking up at the timetable. “Our train leaves from Platform 3.” We swipe our tickets and move through the turnstile. I wonder to myself – do pretty girls worry about the same things as everyone else – weight, zits, old shoes, bitten nails, bad hair, failing a grade?”

As the train jerks and slowly pulls out of the station Nwabisa says, “So, have you see Ridwaan since the party?”

“Yes, I see him most days. We go to the same school. Have you seen his sister?” Nwabisa and Ridwaan’s sister go to the same dance company. This is great, we have something to talk about!

“I wish…” she looks out of the window. “But I can’t always afford to go to dance practice. It’s expensive you know. And my mom can’t always meet the fees. It’s just her and me at home. I guess it’s a different world for Ridwaan and Amina.” She flashes me a shy smiles and I feel my knees go weak. “By the way, you can call me Nwabi,” she says, “all my friends do.”

Tell us what you think: Do you think Nwabi will want Khaya as more than a friend?