“Khotso?” Modi’s heart was fluttering as she approached Khotso. “What are you doing here?”

He had stopped when he saw her, waiting for her to come to him, not striding to meet her halfway. That told her how much their relationship had changed.

“Finding out how much of a fool I’ve been.” Anger had him in its grip. “Unbelievable! You know, Modiegi, I was so sure of your feelings that I convinced myself there must be some other reason you ended things – something too painful to tell me, or that you were afraid to tell me … So I thought maybe your family could give me a clue, and we’d be able to put things right.”

“Khotso …” Modi breathed his name helplessly.

“Well, your cousin Omphile was happy to give me more than a clue,” Khotso swept on furiously. “It was just a game to you, wasn’t it? Fine, it was stupid of me to assume the girl I love would automatically love me back. But the things you said about me – boasting that I was just for fun, for fooling around with. And you know something, Modi? I might not have believed her, because it’s clear your cousin is full of spite towards you. But guess what? That little boy Phenyo, in his innocence, backed her up. Yes, that’s what you said; he heard you.”

“Yes, I said it,” Modi agreed, somehow finding the strength not to fall apart.

“How could I have been so wrong about you?”

Khotso sounded so bitter, she wanted to weep – for him, for herself. But it was better if he went away thinking badly of her. He’d get over her faster.

So she laughed, one of the hardest things she’d ever done.

“I know, thinking I had some sad, secret reason for breaking up with you,” she mocked, and saw him flinch.

And oh, he’d been so right, he knew her so well. But there was no point in telling him the truth; it wouldn’t fix anything. So why share something so painful and private, even if it was something that would make him glad to walk away? It was bad enough that her entire family, including Omphile, knew the truth.

Khotso didn’t say anything more. He just got into his car, and sat for a few moments.

Then he started the engine, and Modi watched him drive slowly away.

Tears came, blinding her.

There was nothing left for her – except what she’d had before Khotso. She needed to be strong, and focus on the career she had planned for herself once she’d saved enough money for the training.

She would have that, doing something she had always wanted, and it would see her through many lonely years. Once, she had imagined that an airline cabin crew job was a short-term thing, but by now she knew of men and women still working in the air in middle age. Not many, admittedly, but some.

She would have that.

But for now, the pain of losing Khotso was too much to bear. Modi dropped to her knees at the side of the road, sobbing, scaring a little girl passing by into crossing the road and running away.

Modi’s whole body shook with grief, and her face was in her hands. She heard nothing, saw nothing, until a hand touched her shoulder.

“Modi? You do love me after all, don’t you?” Khotso said. “Or you wouldn’t be crying like this.”


Tell us what you think: Do Modi and Khotso still have a chance of happiness, and what will it take?