“So how long have you guys been together?” Omphile asked when Modi re-entered the house after seeing Khotso off.

Modi could hear Jonase and Reabiloe in the kitchen. She felt reluctant to discuss Khotso with her cousin, so she just said, “Hardly any time. Those are my shoes you’re wearing, aren’t they?”

“I didn’t think you’d mind.” Omphile looked down at her feet. “I want to wear them for my first day on the course tomorrow, so I’m using this evening to get used to them.”

“What if I want them for tomorrow?”

Modi knew she shouldn’t make an issue of it. They were only shoes, and there were worse things in the world than someone helping themselves to your property, but honestly, Omphile was a pain.

“But do you mind?” Omphile was smiling, like she knew Modi would let it go. “So are you serious about your Khotso?”

“Hardly. And he’s not mine.”

Modi thought about how Omphile coveted anyone and anything that belonged to her. She had flirted relentlessly with Neo the whole time Modi was with him.

“Does he know you’re not … you know, complete?” Omphile was watching her too intently. “Not a proper woman?”

Modi flinched inwardly, but steeled herself so as not to show what the words did to her.

“He doesn’t need to,” she said as lightly as she could manage, just as Phenyo came in. “He’s just … for fun, fooling around. We’ll enjoy each other while it lasts, but we’ll definitely be moving on at some point.”

“You hear that, Phenyo?” Omphile gave a tinkling laugh. “Your Auntie Modi says Uncle Khotso is just for fun and fooling around with.”

“Uncle Khotso, he is fun.” Phenyo was in no doubt about that.

Modi laughed and sat down, determined to change the subject. “What news from home, Omphile?”

“Of course your parents send love and want to know when you’ll visit … No Phenyo, don’t touch me, your hands look all dirty. Oh, and your friend Phetisi, Modi? She’s pregnant.”

Modi sighed. This was going the wrong way.

“So that boyfriend of hers got his way again,” she said. “I think he saw having a child as another way of controlling her. He’s so insecure.”

“Or maybe he and Phetisi just want a family,” Omphile suggested. “Most people do. I have to say, cousin, it sounded to me like Khotso will want to make a family before long.”

“Yes, but not with me,” Modi snapped. “When he meets the right woman. He’s already admitted to me that, until that happens, he’s playing the field.”

“I guess that’s for the best. I mean, then he’s not in for a big disappointment, and you won’t end up feeling … guilty for depriving him, letting him down. Hey Modi, can you organise a job for me at the Excellence Convention Centre when my course is over?”

“You can apply the usual way, same as I did, if they’re advertising positions.”

Modi stood up and walked out of the room. Omphile had trashed her lovely day.


Tell us what you think: What is Omphile playing at?