When I walked to school on Monday, I found Kaya waiting at the corner. She was crying.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“We broke up. Matlho and I broke up.”
I hugged her. “I’m sorry. What happened?”
“I don’t know really. He just said it wasn’t working for him.”
“Oh Kaya, I’m sorry.” I really was. I hated seeing her so upset.
Kaya wiped her eyes. “Anyway, I suspected it was coming. Matlho never was for me.”
“What do you mean? He liked you.”
“Yeah we had fun, but I didn’t love him first, did I?” She smiled. “I know you’ve tried to deny it. I know you didn’t want to risk your friendship with me, for him. But you love him. Anyone who sees you knows it.”
“No… we’re friends, I love him, of course, but we’re friends.”
Kaya shook her head. “I don’t blame this break-up on you. I never would. I knew it would come. But please, for me, and for you too … and for Matlho most of all, be honest with yourself. It’s time to be honest.”
I spent the day thinking about what Kaya had said. Maybe it was time to be honest. I needed to tell Matlho the truth.
After school I went by his house, but he wasn’t there. I tried calling him on his cell but he never picked up. I supposed he was still nursing his wounds. Breaking up was not easy on anyone, I guessed.
I lay in bed that night thinking about everything, about all that I would risk by telling Matlho the truth. But also, all I might gain. I was scared, but Kaya was right. I needed to do it for me. I needed to at least be honest with myself.
I heard a knock on my window and there was Matlho. I opened it. “Hi, I tried to call you. I heard about what happened. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah… well.” He looked tired, but he held up a torch, smiling his naughty little-boy smile. “I heard there are some elephants that need rounding up at the park.”
I climbed out and followed him down to the park. It was a cool night, the clouds threatening rain. Matlho led me to the bench under the jacaranda at the end.
“So how are you feeling about Kaya and everything?” I asked.
He sat with his legs stretched out in front of him. He stared across the park as if elephants might be out there. “I liked Kaya, I really did.”
We sat quietly. “The other night I began to understand things,” he started. He turned to me. “It has changed between us hasn’t it?”
“And I don’t think we can go back.” He leaned forward and kissed me gently on the lips. “I don’t love Kaya and you don’t love Michael. We can’t − because we love each other, don’t we?
“Yes,” I said softly.
Matlho pulled me to him. He kissed me and I was no longer scared. I wasn’t going to lose him, ever. Yes, he was my friend, my best friend. But I loved him too. And best of all − he loved me back.
Tell us what you think: Would you risk losing a friendship by telling the friend you had fallen in love with him or her?