The rest of the drive back to Pretoria was agony for Modi. She thought it was agony for Khotso too.

At first, he kept asking questions. He couldn’t understand why she was ending things between them. She didn’t blame him, after the way she’d been with him, so happy and responsive.

But it had to be done. She couldn’t weaken.

After a time, his questioning grew angry, but the anger seemed directed more at himself than at her.

As if he was deciding he had been a fool.

It saddened Modi, but she knew it was selfish of her to want him to go on loving her, go on thinking well of her, when there could never be anything more between them. Best he got over her quickly.

Silence fell, tense and unhappy. Only when they reached the Excellence Conference Centre did Khotso speak again.

“Did I really get you so wrong, Modi?” he asked after parking the Audi.

Modi looked at him, with her heart breaking all over again.

“I’m sorry, Khotso!” she cried desperately.

Then she got out of the car and rushed away. If she had to see his hurt, angry expression any longer, she would cry.

The day was an ordeal. Some people hadn’t come back from the long weekend, so Modi was kept extra busy. She didn’t have a moment to herself. It didn’t help that Lebo kept asking about her weekend.

Modi couldn’t bring herself to tell her how it had ended. It was too soon, she still felt too raw. So she just smiled – and how that hurt – and murmured that it had been a good time.

A good time, never to be repeated.

Even back home at Jonase’s, there was nowhere she could be alone. She was sharing her room since Omphile had come, and Omphile was busy there, trying on some of Modi’s clothes.

“And I needed your Rihanna fragrance over the weekend, but you’d taken it with you,” Omphile complained.

Modi couldn’t bring herself to react. Worse things than a thick-skinned thief of a cousin had happened to her – a life-threatening illness years ago, its ongoing impact on her life, and now heartbreak.

After the evening meal, she took herself off outside. Sitting on the back step, she looked up at the sky. There was too much city light for the stars to show themselves as brightly as they had at Mabalingwe.

Mabalingwe. Was that to be the entire sum of her happiness?

Slow tears slid down her cheeks.

The rest of the week didn’t get any easier. The ache of her separation from Khotso was a weight in her heart.

On Saturday morning, she took a taxi to her usual swimming lesson, in the hope that the pleasure of being in the water would soothe her. Instead, she kept remembering the times she had swum with Khotso, at Mabalingwe, and before that at his friends Andrew and Yonayona’s place.

The taxi dropped her off some distance from Jonase’s house and her steps dragged as she walked back. Turning the last corner before home, she stopped.

An Audi was parked in the narrow road, and Khotso was coming out of the house.


Tell us what you think: Has Khotso come to try and win Modi back, or does he have another reason for being there?