“I hate to tell you this, Lesedi, but someone in the contemporary class called you a serial girlfriend. You get into relationships, and then you end them,” Zotha says.
Lesedi shrugs. “I got the same, only in cruder language, from Bheka that one time I’ve seen him since I broke up with Siboniso.”
“When you found him waiting outside the Academy building,” Zotha recalls. “You know, if he does that too often, maybe you can get a restraining order.”
“Yes,” Lesedi says hopelessly, “but I’d still need to keep Siboniso safe from him…was Siboniso there when they were talking about me? What did he say?”
“Nothing, just shook his head, like he didn’t believe it.”
Because he knows she loves him.
The hollow feeling never leaves her. She keeps trying every mental trick she knows to get back to something like the dancer she was before she had to give Siboniso up, even if she can’t be the happy person she was with him. She misses that self.
Ma’am’s disappointment in her dancing troubles her. She’s also aware of puzzled looks from Tibuyile as the rehearse their pas de deux.
This won’t do, she decides at the end of another flat rehearsal. She’s ruining her dancing career along with her life. She hates the helpless, hopeless person she has become. There must be some action she can take—
“Tibuyile!” Grabbing her towel, she remembers something. “Can I ask you something?”
“When we were talking about Bheka that time? You said something like — you’d got him to stop harassing you. What did you do?”
Tibuyile’s laugh is embarrassed. “I…told on him. To his parents. They admitted they’d often had trouble with his obsessiveness and wild schemes as they called them, and promised to make him stop. The way I understood it, they threatened to cut off his allowance if he didn’t leave me alone.”
Lesedi stares at her, a splinter of hope piercing her. Could something so simple work again? Would it? And most importantly, would it work to keep Siboniso safe?
“Lesedi?” Tibuyile prompts. “You having trouble with Bheka again? I can give you his family’s contact details.”
“I have them, from that time he went missing, remember? Thank you so much, Tibuyile, you might just have helped me in a big way.”
With a plan, a purpose, Lesedi is filled with energy.
It really is that simple in the end, because Bheka is just a spoiled almost-rich kid whose parents control the money.
“We indulged him too much,” his mother sighs, having insisted on coming to see Lesedi when she called. “Sorry for what he’s done, child. This time, we’ve decided we won’t just threaten to cancel his allowance. We are doing it, plus we’re sending him to work — very hard, we’ve been promised — for my husband’s people in KZN. He needs to learn what the real world is like.”
“Please, please will you let me know when it’s done and he’s there?” Lesedi begs, afraid of something stopping this plan.
“We will, but we’re leaving tonight, driving him down ourselves so that he can’t slip away and hide out with friends.”
Still, Lesedi waits until she knows Bheka is in KZN. The call comes at the end of her last morning class the next day.
Her feet are light again as she hurries to the contemporary dance studio where Siboniso’s class hasn’t yet been released. She has done something, acted to make things right for herself and her love.
“Lesedi?” Siboniso’s face was serious as he left the studio, but now it lights up. “Or…are you looking for Zotha?”
“You, Siboniso.” She steps right up to him. “Oh Siboniso, I have a story to tell you so you’ll understand why I did what I did, and why I can undo it now — if you’ll let me, if you’ll forgive me.”
She doesn’t have much doubt that he will. His love for her is there in his face, for her and all the world to see.
“Over coffee at our usual place?” He has put an arm round her shoulders. “I’ve missed that, Lesedi. Missed you. Missed us. Missed it all.”
His words free her to tell her story without fear of criticism or rejection.
All the same—
“I’m sorry,” she says, for about the tenth time after telling him about Bheka’s threats and her suspicions.
“Don’t be, Lesedi. I’m incredibly honoured that my safety was so important to you.” Siboniso takes her hand and raises it to the warmth of his smiling mouth, his kiss tender.
“But what does it say about me?” she wonders. “My judgement, that I could have been attracted to Bheka, dated him, and never really guessed what he was like?”
“No, it wasn’t an error of judgement, girl. We’re good people, decent people; we want to believe the best of others, not the worst…now, let’s not talk about Bheka any more. Let’s talk about us.”
As they do, and walking back to the Academy, her hand in Siboniso’s, Lesedi’s heart is light, and she knows that her feet will be too when she dances this afternoon.
Happiness suits her.
Tell us: Is the feeling of wellbeing when we’re happily in love just a chemical reaction, or something deeper?