“Grace, girlfriend! Just wait till you hear the news!”

I smiled as I sat next to my best friend, Lucy. We were on lunch break from our jobs as bank tellers. At the only bank in our town. It is a very small town!

“So tell me, Luce,” I said. But I knew it wouldn’t be so simple. Lucy likes to keep the suspense going. Well, not much happens in our small town. So we have to make the most of it.

“I heard this from Matron de Wet. So it must be true,” said Lucy. She is always having long chats with customers over the counter. It drives our bank manager crazy.

“Heard what?”

“Not just one, but two, Grace!”

“Two what, Luce?”

Sometimes Lucy drives me a bit crazy too. But she’s been my best friend since Grade One. So you have to take the good with the bad.

Lucy decided the suspense had gone on long enough. “Two doctors, Grace! Imagine! Two new, young intern doctors are coming to work at the clinic here. BK Maphane and Shadrack Dube. One for me and one for you! I tell you what, you can have first pick: do you want BK or Shadrack?”

I shook my head at my friend. “Keep it real, Luce! Maybe they are leaving girlfriends behind. Maybe they are married. Maybe they are very fat and ugly.”

But when Lucy is on a roll, nothing slows her down. “There are ways of finding out for sure. Like from your Mom.”

My mother is the social worker attached to the clinic. Within a day of the intern doctors arriving in town, Lucy was at our house.

“Good evening, Mma Katse. Is your knee better?” she asked my Mom.

But Mom wasn’t fooled. She knows Lucy almost as well as she knows me. “Alright Lucy, let me tell you all about Dr BK Maphane and Dr Shadrack Dube. Very nice young men, both of them. Very courteous. They have both moved into the single quarters, so that’s good news for you.”

“Good looking?” asked Lucy.

Mom laughed. “I’ll leave that for you and Grace to judge.”

Lucy was keen to make an appointment at the clinic. Right away. “What shall we pretend to have? I’ll say I have a stomach ache and you can have a headache, Grace. Or do you want the stomach ache?”

But there was no way I wanted to meet BK or Shadrack as a patient! What kind of start would that be to a relationship? Lucy took some convincing but in the end she saw my point.

Just as well! That first week, every other young woman in town made an appointment at the clinic! Every young woman – except Lucy and me. Mom said the queue went right out to the clinic fence!

Still, Lucy got to hear all the gossip about the new doctors over her bank counter. (Our bank manager was away in Joburg for a few days.)

We sat down to our lunch break.

“Right. Are you concentrating, Grace? It seems BK Maphane is tall and very good looking. He’s very confident and funny and he can charm the birds out of the trees. Shadrack is not quite so good looking and a lot quieter. But he has gentle eyes and a gentle voice and the gentlest hands ever. So come on, girlfriend. Which one do you choose? I hope you realise how generous I am, giving you first choice!”


Tell us what you think: Which doctor would suit Grace best?