Friday went like a breeze. Masego daydreamed through the classes and at break time Malebo pulled her into a toilet stall.

“What is going on?” Masego asked, both intrigued and annoyed.

Malebo rummaged in her backpack and brought out a pack of three banana-flavoured condoms.

“Hey, what is this?!” Masego shrieked. “What if these fall out of my bag? Also, I won’t need them. We’re just going to watch movies.”

“Shh,” Malebo said, putting the condoms into Masego’s hand.

“Girl, please just take them. You will thank me later. Boys can be so tricky; you must be ready. I know how you feel about Odwa and strange things can happen when you’re alone with a boy,” Malebo pleaded.

“Strange things, you say?” Masego asked, teasing.

“Mxm, just use these and you will be safe,” Malebo said, opening the toilet door and leading the way out.

At last the final school bell rang. Masego found Odwa waiting for her next to the school reception. Odwa took the opportunity to plant a kiss on Masego’s lips and she didn’t resist. The watching girls all shouted at once, and then Kele started a song:

“Masego and Odwa under the tree, K – I – S – S – I – N – G.”

The other girls joined in, singing like a group of pre-schoolers.

Odwa took Masego’s hand and led her away from the immature eyes towards the school gate, where Malebo was laughing with Boikago.

“Hello, lovebirds,” Odwa said, giving Boikago a handshake.

“So, I’ll see you tomorrow then?” he said to Masego, winked and walked away.

“So, what is the plan for tomorrow?” Malebo asked, sliding her fingers through her bestie’s, as they began to walk home.

“Movies,” Masego said, looking away.

“And what if one thing leads to another?” Malebo asked, digging.

“Then one thing leads to the other,” Masego said, bluntly.

Malebo stopped walking. “Hey, why are you being like this?” she asked.

“Because I feel terrible for being so full of lust. All I want is to sleep with Odwa. There’s a fire inside me. It’s burning me up. You know how that feels, right?!” Masego exclaimed, almost sobbing.

“Yes, I know how that feels and it’s a beautiful feeling if you just accept it. But promise me that you’re doing this for yourself, not because you want to somehow keep Odwa,” Malebo cautioned.

Tears started rolling down Masego’s cheeks. She wanted this for herself, but she was ashamed to admit it out loud.

The two girls stood in silence. Minutes passed and Masego finally rummaged in her backpack for tissues. Instead she came across the condoms Malebo had given to her earlier.

“Please take these. I won’t be needing them,” she said, handing the condoms back to Malebo.

Malebo said nothing and put the packet in her own backpack. Masego blew her nose and the two girls walked home in silence.

* * * * *

When she had done her chores, Masego’s father dropped her off in front of Malebo’s house. Malebo was waiting outside and greeted politely. The two girls watched as the car drove off. Then Masego texted Odwa.

Hey, I’ll see you at 11.

I can’t w8.

The girls went into the house and drank some Oros.

“Male,” Masego said awkwardly, looking down as she spoke, “can I please have that packet from yesterday back?”

“That’s my girl,” said Malebo, jumping off the kitchen chair. She headed towards her bedroom and Masego followed.

“It doesn’t have to happen today,” Malebo said, handing the packet of condoms to Masego.

“But it might happen,” Masego said, doing a special victory dance that she only used when she got high marks for history, her favourite subject.

“You’re right. It might happen, girl,” Malebo said, joining in the dancing.

“Okay, we need to start going to Odwa’s house,” Malebo said and the two girls headed out, walking slowly and enjoying the time.

“Masego, I’m gonna come past Odwa’s house around one o’clock. Please, as soon as you see my message, come out. I don’t want your dad to not find us at home,” Malebo pleaded.

“Thanks, Male. You really have my back, girl,” Masego said.

By now they were standing outside Odwa’s house.

“Practise safe sex, Grade 11s,” Malebo teased, mimicking their LO teacher.

“Ah, Ma’am, what is sex?” Masego said, imitating Thato, the boy who always sat at the back of the LO class and was the subject commentator.

They laughed and hugged one another.

Masego watched Malebo walk away and then knocked on Odwa’s door.

* * *

Tell us: Are girls and boys brought up differently in how they view sex? What do you think of Masego feeling ‘lustful and ashamed’?