Khotso and Modi had agreed to go directly from Mabalingwe to work in the morning. They knew how hectic traffic from Limpopo to Gauteng could get on the last evening of a long weekend. In the morning it would be quicker.
However, other people must have had the same idea, because it was slow going, not helped by the fact that the N1 Carousel toll plaza near Hammanskraal had only a few booths open.
“So here we are, at a standstill,” Khotso said as they joined the long line of vehicles. “We’re going to be late for work.”
“I’ll be in trouble with my boss,” Modi joked.
“I think he might let you off, just this once.” Smiling, Khotso turned in the driver’s seat. “Anyway, it gives us time for talking. We didn’t get much talking done last night, did we?”
“Too busy with other things.” Modi gave him a mischievous look, and his slow smile told her he too was remembering the sensual night they’d shared.
“You’re so special, Modiegi.” Khotso’s eyes were deep, dark wells of feeling, drawing her in. “That’s part of what I want to tell you. I thought it would take me longer than this to know for sure that I’d found … her. It’s you, Modi. You’re the one. I’m serious about you.”
Shock held Modi silent. No! This was a disaster. She couldn’t let Khotso love her. It would only lead to disappointment and pain for him in the end. She couldn’t do that to this wonderful young man.
She had to end this at once. Better to hurt him now, than to let him in for the deep grief that would come if they stayed together.
Oh, it was going to be hard to give him up, so soon after they had found each other!
But for his sake …
She swallowed hard, praying that her eyes would stay dry.
“I’m sorry, Khotso.” She wished her voice sounded firmer. “I was going to tell you … This weekend, it was awesome. But that’s all there can be between us. It’s over.”
He jerked back as if she had hit him. “What are you telling me? Modi?”
Her nails bit into the smooth palms of her hands as she struggled to stay strong.
“Exactly what I’m saying. It’s over between us, Khotso.” Modi pulled in a steadying breath. “I’m breaking up with you.”
“But we’ve been so happy. You’ve been so happy.”
Khotso’s eyebrows had drawn together, his tone was bewildered. And his face, oh his face – he looked so wounded.
“Yes, but I’ve had all I want now.”
She felt as if her heart was being squeezed and mangled, as she watched him struggling to accept what she was saying. She remembered a saying about being cruel to be kind. She couldn’t relent. This was for him, for Khotso.
He was shaking his head. “I don’t believe you.”
“You have to.”
And she saw that he was beginning to. Khotso, her love! It was tearing her apart to witness his pain.
She wondered which of them was hurting most.
Tell us what you think: To echo what Modi is wondering, who is hurting most, her or Khotso, and why?