There on that blanket up on the hill summit, I sat silent and numb. It felt as if my heart had stopped altogether.
My eyes were fixed on this man who was surely, surely my soulmate.
Then I looked across at my friend. She and BK were still up on the rock, teasing each other. If only Lucy would suddenly fall in love with BK. That would be the perfect ending. Then the four of us truly would be the Awesome Foursome.
But I knew I was hoping in vain. I was dreaming, and this was the real world full of harsh facts. Even now, as Lucy looked across at Shadrack, I could see the love and happiness in her eyes.
“Please Grace,” Shadrack said again. “You have to tell me how you feel.”
But how could I betray my best friend? No, I would never forgive myself. So I didn’t answer Shadrack. I just shook my head slowly.
There was only one answer. I knew it. I couldn’t bear to see Shadrack and Lucy together any longer. The pain was too much to bear.
So I asked the bank manager for a transfer.
“I’ll be sad to see you go, Ms Katse,” he said. “You are the only one that can keep Ms Molefe under control. But there’s an opening at one of our Joburg branches.”
Then I had to tell BK. “You are a great guy. But this is just not working between us. I’m sorry.”
BK was quite mean. “It’s your loss, babe. I shouldn’t have wasted my time on you. You aren’t that amazing. Plenty more fish in the sea.”
Lucy was devastated. “Leaving? How can you leave me, Grace? What will I do without you? I wanted you to be my bridesmaid.”
Even now, my heart shuddered with shock. Would Shadrack marry Lucy even though he had feelings for me? Maybe he was taking the advice of my Mom’s song too: ‘If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with’.
“Bridesmaid!” I shrieked out the word. “Has Shadrack asked you to marry him?”
Lucy shook her head. “Not yet. But I’m expecting it, any day now. He’s been spending a lot of time chatting to my dad. I tell you, Grace, you’ll hear me shouting yes all the way in Joburg!”
I knew then that I had made the right decision. How could I possibly walk up the aisle as a bridesmaid when it was Shadrack standing there at the altar? That would be agony beyond bearing. I couldn’t manage that, not even for the sake of my friend. No, I needed to get away. Fast!
Only my mom came to see me off at the bus stop. No-one else knew my departure time.
“I hope you find what you’re looking for, my girlie,” she said.
As the bus pulled away and headed towards the bright lights of Joburg, I tried to tell myself: “It’s okay, Grace. Maybe there is a soulmate waiting for you there in the city.”
Then I burst into tears, because I knew: only once in your life are you lucky enough to find a soulmate. Only once.
Tell us what you think: Do you believe there is a soulmate for each one of us? Will Grace find someone special in Joburg?