“You’re doing contemporary dance, Zotha,” Lesedi says to her flatmate. “What is Siboniso like?”
“Friendly. Helpful. But cool with it, not some saintly type.” Zotha slaps three packets of 2-minute noodles down on the scarred kitchen counter. “Lots of girls and maybe some of the guys think he’s hot. I might have been one of those girls before the carpenter entered my life.”
Zotha’s romance with Nails had begun when he was hired to build the set for a big performance the Academy was giving.
“So he was probably just being friendly and helpful then, walking with me to the taxi rank because it was getting dark?” Lesedi says.
“Is that disappointment I hear, girl?” her other flatmate, Mariel, teases.
“Don’t be so negative, Lesedi,” Zotha adds. “The rumour in contemporary is that he’s got his eye on a ballet girl.”
“And the way he so often pitches for the end of our late class suggests the rumour might be right,” Mariel says.
“Just as likely he comes to look at you, or one of the other girls.” Lesedi doesn’t want to get her hopes up.
“Then how come the one time he talks to you and walks with you is the one time I’m not there with you at the end of class?” Mariel asks.
“The dentist fixed your tooth?” Lesedi remembers the reason for Mariel’s absence.
“Yep, but my mouth is freakin’ sore. At least noodles are soft, about their only virtue.”
“Honestly, with our parents already sharing our rent, and part-time jobs that keep folding, what else can we afford?” Zotha shrugs. “Hayi, why are you staring into the distance like that, Sedi?”
“I’ve just had a thought,” Lesedi admits. “Siboniso noticed Bheka wasn’t in class, and it was one of the first things he asked about. Maybe he’s gay and Bheka is the reason he’s been coming to watch the end of class?”
“You really are overdoing the negativity tonight, chommie.” Mariel tears open the packets of noodles. “Believe in yourself.”
“I do. I believe in myself as a dancer.”
“As someone Siboniso would be interested in. That’s why he asked about Bheka — probably wanted to check that he really is off the scene.”
“What’s the story with you and Bheka anyway?” Zotha asks.
“That disappearing stunt of his? Remember how worried I was? It was meant to get me to leave the Academy with him.”
“As if! So you dumped him.” Mariel is nodding. “How did he take it?”
“He won’t accept that I mean it — keeps calling and messaging.” Lesedi pulls a face. “So I finally blocked him earlier this evening. Let’s hope that’s the end of it.”
As if to mock her, there’s a knock at the flat door, and when she goes to answer it, leaving the other two busy with the noodles, she finds Bheka outside.
“Have you blocked me, Lesedi?” He sounds and looks hurt, and she knows he’s trying to make her feel guilty.
“Yes.” Honesty is best, she thinks. “You were acting like a stalker, calling and messaging. We’re done, Bheka.”
He shakes his head. “You don’t mean it, babe. I won’t accept it.”
Tell us: How can Lesedi convince Bheka that they’re through?