Candice Maluleke put her tin of cola down angrily and stared at her friend. “I truly hope that you aren’t serious, Mary,” she said.

For a moment Mary looked uncomfortable. Then, “Please do this for me, Candice. Just this once. Please!”

Candice was surprised to hear Mary begging.
“Why me, Mary?” she asked, watching her friend closely.

“Majozi says he thinks you and William will like each other.” Majozi was Mary’s boyfriend. He was also their athletics team captain. Candice and Mary were both sprinters, and in the girl’s relay team.

Candice sighed. “Well, you can tell Majozi from me that I’m not interested,” she said. “I don’t like people telling me what I should do. And there’s no way that you and Majozi are going to tell me who I’m going to spend time with.

Candice was really upset. These days, Majozi always told Mary what to do. It was all ‘Majozi this. Majozi that.’ It was beginning to annoy Candice.

“Candice!”’ Mary exclaimed. “You’ve already promised to come and watch the boys four by 100 metres relay tomorrow.” She looked at Mercy and Dianne, the other two girls who were sitting with them. All four were good friends and were in the same year at school. “Isn’t that right?” she asked. “You heard Candice say she’d come with me.”

Mercy looked sternly at Mary. “Mary,” she said, “that was before you said anything about Candice pairing up with a guy she’s never met.”

Mary rolled her eyes heavenwards. “Don’t make such a fuss, Mercy. Majozi just happened to say he thought Candice and William would like each other. What’s wrong with that?”

“It doesn’t matter what you say, Mary,” Candice insisted. “I’m not going with you.”

Mary was not to be put off. “I’m only asking you to meet William. Nothing else.”

Every Friday afternoon, the four girls got together outside the blue spaza. They sat on a low wall with tins of cooldrink, catching up with all the gossip. All week long, Candice looked forward to Friday afternoon. But now she was worried. The thought of Mary and Majozi making arrangements for her to meet some unknown guy made her feel sick.

“Why not Candice? Why?” Mary asked.

“Don’t you ever give up, Mary?” Candice couldn’t help smiling at her friend. “You’re like a dog with a bone.”

“Is that a yes or a no?” teased Mary, her pretty brown eyes lighting up with hope.

Candice hesitated, and then heard herself saying, “I’m not sure. We’ll see.” At once she regretted wavering. She could have kicked herself.

Mary grinned: “I know the two of you will hit it off.”

“Why does he need Majozi to find a girl for him?” Mercy then asked suspiciously.

“Oh, Mercy, give it up! Stop interfering.”

Mary turned to Candice. “Give William a chance. He’s new here. It must be hard for him to settle into a new school, especially when everyone’s so nosy.” She added, with a giggle, “He’s very good-looking: tall, with huge brown eyes.”

“Isn’t he the guy from Port Elizabeth?” Dianne asked. “He’s very athletic and not bad looking either.”

“A guy like that should have lots of friends,” said Mercy. “Why does he need your help?”

Mary shrugged her shoulders. “Maybe he’s shy,” she said. “He’s only been here a short time. He hasn’t had a chance to get to know any girls yet.”

“That sounds good to me,” said Candice, beginning to feel a little curious about this William.


What do you think about blind dates? Do you think Candice should go out with William?