As the ice thawed from her heart, Sipho and Amanda talked late into the night. As the hours passed the night grew quiet. Other groups who had been fooling around had gone off to sleep, leaving Amanda and Sipho sitting side by side on the bench outside.
They laughed, and teased each other until the mist started to set in. Soon the night air grew very cold for continuing to sit outside. They began to shiver. By 2am, even cuddling closer under the stars could not keep the cold at bay. But they stayed.
Amanda suddenly, unsuccessfully, stifled a laugh. Sipho watched her struggle and giggled. The pair looked at each other and burst into a round of raucous laughter. The noise unsettled the quiet winter night, their warm breath creating mist clouds in the air.
“This is crazy!” Amanda exclaimed.
“Shush!” said Sipho, alarmed. “We are going to wake up the guests,” he added. “We need to keep it down.”
“They should give us a break,” Amanda said. “They too were young once, mos.”
“If my uncle hears about this I could get in trouble,” Sipho said.
Amanda laughed softly and muttered gently, “H for Hectic, but okay. And we are going to freeze out here.”
Sipho rubbed his hands together and stood up. He whirled around to stare close-up, face to face, with a shivering Amanda. He extended his hand and waited for her to take it.
“My hand is yours, my lady,” said Sipho sarcastically. They burst out laughing, again breaking the quiet of the night.
He looked at the gorgeous girl in front of him; could not take his eyes away.
Without realizing it his face broke into a sweet smile.
The girl looked at him and blushed; her cheeks hot. She was a beautiful black girl, smart, witty and full of life. Most importantly she was alive, not just existing, but alive.
As she looked up at the young man who stood smiling in front of her, she decided that she was going to live in this moment, here and now. After all, she had been dreaming of it for months, since she had first met Sipho.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Amanda asked Sipho, a breath of hot air escaping her lips. It twirled around in the air like smoke before it disappeared into nothing. Sipho laughed and responded, “I was just listening to the sound of your laughter.”
“So, what are you actually doing here?” Amanda finally thought to ask.
“I am trying to earn some extra money.”
“That doesn’t answer my question,” Amanda shot back.
“Well,” Sipho began, “I spend some of my semester breaks helping my uncle run this place.”
“Your uncle owns this place?” Amanda asked.
“Sort of … he and his friend bought it together.”
“And you are sneaking around with his guests at night?” Amanda joked.
“If he finds out, he will fire me,” Sipho murmured. “But … you are mesmerizingly beautiful you know…” he continued, with calculated flattery.
“Here we go again,” Amanda said, rolling her eyes sarcastically, as she braced herself for another one of Sipho’s now-familiar compliments. “Typical player!”
Sipho clutched his chest. “Eish! You’re cold as ice, you know!”
“So rude!” Amanda laughed, pretending to be insulted, as she got up and threw a light kick in Sipho’s direction. Sipho took off running, trying not to laugh too loudly, aware of the sleeping guests and staff not too far away. Amanda followed close behind, also suppressing laughter. It did not take long for Amanda to catch up and tackle Sipho to the ground.
“Owww!” Sipho cried as the cold, wet grass came into contact with his skin. “Not fair!” he said.
“That’s what you get for acting up,” Amanda whispered, with a zany smile on her face.
“You’re going to regret this,” Sipho said, whispering to her, gently nibbling her ear. He tried to sit up, but Amanda had him overpowered. His efforts were futile because Amanda had locked his feet with hers. She looked down at him as she intertwined her fingers with his. Sipho smiled back.
Then Amanda wiped the smile off her face as if it had never been there, and briskly pinned his hands firmly to the ground.
“What are you doing?” Asked a shivering Sipho.
“Stop struggling, tiger,” Amanda responded with a soft whisper, as she landed a featherlight kiss on his forehead, and then slowly brushed her lips against his.
Just as Sipho lifted his lips to meet hers she withdrew, and whispered, “If you want a hook-up for the night, go and buy one. I am not one; you gotta earn it.”
She stood up and walked away, leaving him lying on the damp grass.
Sipho rose abruptly from the ground and ran after her. Their thick hoodies sheltered them against the morning mist as they both made their way back to their rooms.
Amanda’s expression was calm and collected as Sipho walked behind her. She smiled in secret delight as she imagined how confused he must be at this moment.
Sipho’s mind had gone into hyperdrive from the entire experience. He was confused about the kiss that had almost happened. He rubbed his hands against each other as he caught up with Amanda. The pair tiptoed past the reception hall as they made their way back to their rooms, sneaking past the sleeping security guard there. They did not want to be discovered in case he ratted to Sipho’s uncle.
“I guess this is goodnight,” Amanda said as they reached the passageway leading to their rooms. A sombre silence descended. Each did not want the other to leave. What was sleep compared to the promise of rediscovered love … or dreamlike moments … like the ones they had just had?
Sipho felt that this night had been one long dream. It had felt real, but some dreams do that. He wondered if she would still be here when he had to wake up for his morning shift. He imagined a waking reality without her. I would much rather stay asleep, he concluded.
“It’s actually morning now … haha,” Sipho said, attempting to sound lighthearted as he turned and prepared to walk to his room. He tried to hide his long face but failed dismally.
“Sipho…” Amanda started.
“Yes?” Sipho inquired, turning back.
“I read this poem once, called, Forever in a Minute,” continued Amanda.
A puzzled look began to form on Sipho’s face. But he listened as Amanda continued.
“It said something along the lines of:
A line of extraordinary events explodes
like fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
In the distance two smiles cross two faces,
a stranger who became a muse,
and an eternity that did not last long enough, echoes.
They each grasp with anticipation,
their forever in a minute is slipping out of reach –
and they barely have enough time
to kiss just once more ….”
Sipho smiled uncertainly, confused. “I don’t know what that is supposed to mean.”
Amanda edged closer to him, rested both her hands on his cheeks, and said softly: “I lost you once because I let you slip out of reach. I cannot let it happen twice.”
Sipho smiled and looked down at the ground and began to nervously draw with his sneakers. He blushed and looked up at Amanda again. “What do you really desire, Amanda?” he asked.
“I want you to share this ‘forever in a minute’ with me, tonight,” Amanda whispered. She shyly twirled one of her braids with her index finger and then without warning planted a kiss on Sipho’s lips.
Sipho reached his hands down to her waist and embraced her, gently caressing her back. “My room or yours?” Sipho asked, with that cunning smile on his face. Amanda hated loving that smile. She hated how it influenced her worst, and maybe her best, decisions.
“Aelin is sleeping,” Amanda sighed, and she gripped Sipho’s hands in hers.
“Right,” Sipho chuckled, “my room it is then!” And they ran up the stairs, heading to the west wing, where all the staff bedrooms were.
Sipho’s mind began to wander off as they laid there on the bed. Just before he dozed off to sleep, he found himself asking a strange question.
If the sun is in space, why is there light on earth but not in space? He wondered as his eyelids grew heavier, until finally his world went dark and he fell asleep … with the girl of his wildest dreams in his arms. Amanda lay with her head on Sipho’s chest. She listened to his heartbeats, and realized that his heart beat almost at the same rhythm as hers, his heartbeats were just a split second too late to match hers.. She fell asleep, with her hands around him, and his hands around her. For a moment, their world was perfect and tranquil as they lay cuddling in Sipho’s room.
Tell us: Do you think Sipho and Amanda have a future, or is this another brief moment before they part ways?