Just then, the two bullies looked up and saw Thandi and Mpho looking in the window. They jeered at them; their laughter mean and ugly.

The next moment, a police van pulled up outside the cafe. Two police officers jumped out and walked quickly towards the door. Then they noticed Thandi and Mpho standing by the window.

“Are you two okay?” the taller of the policemen asked. He looked straight at Thandi as he spoke. Thandi knew he must have noticed her bruised face. He walked over and put his hand on Thandi’s shoulder. She was just about to blurt everything out when she saw Babalwa walking towards her.

“Oh, there you are, sis,” Babalwa said. “I was looking everywhere for you.”

Thandi stared at her sister. She wondered where she had got the clothes she was wearing. Babalwa was dressed up in a pair of new, dark blue jeans. She wore a pale pink T-shirt under a designer shirt of an even darker shade of a blue. On her feet she wore a brand new pair of trainers. She looked much older than her fifteen years. Thandi also noticed that Babalwa was wearing make-up. She had applied lots of glittery eye shadow, and pale pink lipstick.

“Are you sisters?” the police officer asked.

“Twins actually,” Babalwa said to the officer in a flirty voice.

Thandi could not believe how her sister was behaving.

“What happened to your face?” the policeman asked Thandi.

“I tripped and fell,” Thandi muttered. There was no way she was going to say anything in front of her sister. The policeman nodded his head, and joined his partner in the cafe.

When Thandi turned around, she noticed that Mpho had gone. She had never noticed him leaving.

“I need to buy milk and bread,” Thandi said to her sister.

“It’s okay. You stay here and I’ll go and get the milk and bread. I’ve got some money.”

Thandi nodded and leaned back against the wall. Suddenly she felt exhausted. The events of the morning caught up with her. She felt tears welling up in her eyes. All she wanted to do was go home and climb into bed. She wondered what was keeping Babalwa so long in the shop. When she turned around and looked in the window she saw Babalwa talking animatedly − to the two bullies.

Thandi wondered what they were talking about. Had Babalwa somehow found out they had punched her in the stomach and knocked her down? Was her sister trying to protect her?

That night after the sisters had arrived home Babalwa told Thandi to go straight to bed to rest. It was like having the old Babalwa back. She fretted over Thandi and even made her some tea. Then she went out and bought some fish and chips for supper. She was even kind to Gogo who had woken up and looked much better after her long nap.

Thandi slept well that night, but something woke her at about midnight. She had sensed her sister standing over her bed. Babalwa looked sad and very lonely.

“What’s wrong, Babalwa?” she asked softly. “Are you in trouble? I found the money this morning when I was cleaning up.”


Tell us what you think: Why was Babalwa sad?