I couldn’t believe it! There was Tshepo – cruising up outside my block of flats in a bright red, brand new Range Rover. His favourite rap artist pumped from all four speakers.
“So what d’you reckon, dude? Sharp or what?”
I felt sick. “How? Did you steal it?”
He told me how. For his birthday the previous month, his brother had given him four weeks’ worth of lottery tickets. And he’d just hit the jackpot: a huge, fat, cash pay out!
“Hey come on, dude! This is the best thing ever in my whole life! Feel happy for me!”
“Of course I do,” I lied. I told myself it was just blind coincidence. Luck and blind coincidence. Of course Tshepo would buy a Range Rover if he suddenly got lucky. He’d wanted one since he was a kid. This proved nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Joy phoned then, as excited as Tshepo. “Daniel, I passed! Every single subject! Now we can plan the wedding. We need to set a date.”
I suppose she expected me to sound excited too. Excited and joyful and enthusiastic. But I was still feeling sick and panicky.
“What’s the matter, Daniel? Are you having second thoughts? Don’t you want to marry me any more? Have you fallen for some hot new chick at your newspaper?”
Almost, I was tempted to explain. It would have been a load off my mind to tell her the truth. Almost, I began to confess about my visit to the sangoma, about the vision.
I didn’t though. Instead I tried to sound enthusiastic about the wedding. “I can’t wait,” I lied. But Joy knew me too well.
“You’d better make up your mind, Daniel Dlamini! Don’t mess with me. I’m not marrying someone who isn’t one hundred per cent sure. If you don’t love me any more, just say so.”
“I love you more than life itself, Joy. More than my own happiness,” I said. And that was not a lie.
Tshepo was collecting plenty of hot dates with his new wealth. He had a new girl each week, sitting there in the passenger seat of his Range Rover. Beautiful girls, classy uptown girls. But never Lola.
That eased my mind. A little. I took Joy out to our favourite jazz café, where we had first met.
I said: “September first. The first day of spring. That will be the perfect date for our wedding. And enough time to plan things.”
She looked at me with those beautiful eyes of hers. And I knew without a shadow of doubt: nothing on this earth could ever cause me to harm her. No way! The flames might be partly right about Tshepo’s future. But they were wrong, wrong, wrong about mine.
Happily we drove away from the café, still talking wedding details. For the first time in ages, I felt at peace. Almost.
I stopped at a red robot. And there was Tshepo, stopped beside me. Even under the dim streetlights I recognised the woman beside him with her hand on his shoulder.
Tell us what you think: Should Daniel explain to Joy about his vision? What do you think she would say about it?