Katlego had already started his homework by the time she got home. Once, when their parents were away and they were alone for the weekend, Masego and Katlego had spent the time watching movies, listening to music and having heart to heart conversations. It was wonderful not to have to worry about their parents overhearing them and giving them a sermon, or a beating, for their confessions.

Katlego had told Masego that he felt warm all over whenever Mapadimeng, a boy in his class, stood next to him.

“Imagine if Mama and Papa knew! I remember Papa saying that if either of us came out as gay, God would be merciless. And so would he. I’m just counting down until I can go to varsity. And then I’m going to come out of my cocoon like a butterfly. And I bet God will be on my side.”

And the two siblings laughed into the night.

“Kat, thanks for the save yesterday, my darling,” she said, giving her brother a hug.

“No problem, Sego. I know you’ll do the same for me one day.”

Suddenly Masego’s phone vibrated. Odwa!

Why can’t I stop thinking
about you? [Wondering face]

Masego smiled and considered her reply.

“That boy is going to break your heart, Sego. I can just see that he is a heartbreaker,” Katlego said, not lifting his head from the books.

“Which boy?” said Masego, putting her phone face down on the table.

“The one you’re talking to, silly,” Katlego said, looking up at his sister with a grin.

“You just want him for yourself,” Masego joked and stuck her tongue out at Katlego.

“Eish, you’re onto me,” Katlego laughed.

Masego took her phone and began to type.

“Geez, eager beaver. Make him sweat a bit. Text after homework,” Katlego said, and winked at his sister.

Masego’s phone vibrated again.

I think I’m outside your house.

Before Masego could answer, Katlego called from the kitchen, “Our man is here,” and laughed.

Masego ran out to find Odwa waiting by the gate.

“I have really strict parents. The kind that might kill you and deliver your corpse to your parents if they find you here,” Masego said to Odwa, fixing her school skirt.

Odwa stepped closer and kissed her forehead, then her cheek. The, as she lifted her face, he kissed her on the mouth. Deep and long. When they both came up for air, Masego felt dizzy. Like she was in a dream. Her first kiss ever.

“I thought your parents were serious bazalwanes,” Odwa said, impressed with himself.

“They are,” Masego answered, as Odwa took her hand.

“The little I know about Christianity is that it is founded on love and that one of the Ten Commandments is, “Do not kill,” he said, as they walked down the street.

But then Masego stopped in her stride.

“Odwa, I want to do this, to take long walks with you like they do in the movies, and listen to your radio voice. But I have super strict parents and they won’t be happy if I don’t finish my chores,” she said.

“Come on, babe, just half an hour more,” Odwa pleaded.

“They’ll definitely ground me if they find me here with you,” Masego said. “Then there’ll be no way we can get together at your house to watch movies at the weekend.”

He tried to draw her closer again, but she pulled away quickly and blew him a kiss as he walked away. Then she turned to go back inside, feeling on top of the world.

After doing her chores she sat down next to Katlego on the couch and switched on the TV.

“So you’re not going to tell me anything about our man? I saw you kissing him. Come on, I want all the details!” he said.

“Well, he gets my juices flowing, that’s for sure!” she said.

“He kisses that well, huh?” Katlego joked.

After supper Masego swallowed nervously before asking her parents if she could work at Malebo’s place on Saturday.

“Will Malebo’s mother supervise?” said her mother.

“Yes, Mama, of course.”

“What time should I drop you off and pick you up?” her father asked.

“I was thinking that I could maybe walk there. It’s only 20 minutes from here. I mean, I always walk home from school,” Masego said, without thinking. “So what’s the difference?”

“Are you talking back when your father is talking to you? Who do you think you are?” her mother shouted.

Masego didn’t reply, regretting what she had said.

Katlego giggled. He couldn’t believe that Masego had managed to cause chaos two nights in a row. His mother flashed him a killer look and the giggling stopped.

“I’ll drop you off at 10:30 and I’ll pick you up at two. Make sure that you finish that assignment on time.”

Her father stood up to go to bed, reminding the siblings to pray before they went to sleep.

Masego went straight to her bedroom, changed into pyjamas and said the Lord’s Prayer before checking her phone.

I can’t stop thinking about your soft lips.
I think you’re sexy.
Is it too early to say I love you?
Will you please be my girlfriend?

She looked at the phone, not knowing how to reply.

Please say yes. Say yes, you will be my girlfriend.

Masego sat up on the bed, still clutching her phone.

She heard her mother opening her bedroom door and knew that it was lights out. She lay down quickly and pretended to be fast asleep. As soon as her mother was gone Masego texted back:


She pressed Send. Then she set the alarm and put her phone on silent.

 * * *

Tell us: Does anything about Odwa’s flirting make you suspicious of him? Or is this just normal texting between teenagers who are attracted?