Saturday morning and we were having breakfast, like families do on TV. Everybody sitting around the table. Everybody had a cloth serviette. Everybody had a plate, no elbows on the table, and passing things, “Yes, please, no thank you, would you like…”

Ja, it was nice. Jade gets to do stuff like this too when she’s at her friend’s grandma’s. But our family just eats whenever, and at night it is in front of the DSTV. Except Fridays, where, as you know, Jade and I need to look after ourselves.

Tjo, but there we were, sitting around the table. There was fruit, yogurt, all this other stuff, and a glass jug of juice and a glass jug of milk. I don’t understand this, I have to be honest. Why pour juice or milk out of the carton into a jug when you are just going to have pour what is left back into the carton? All that does is create more dishes, hey?

Ja, it did look nice. Everything at Lazola’s house always looks nice. Their home is the same size as ours, not counting the workshop where her daddy runs his business. All those bikes!

Ja, ja, getting distracted. Point – the house looked nice. Homey. A bit like a magazine, but enough other stuff that you can tell people live here and their stuff has a story. Our house’s story is: Mr. Price had a sale after my parents got a bonus. Everything matched, and now some of it is tatty and broken, thanks to Friday night jols.

There is no real story to the stuff.

Where Lazola’s mommy has drawings on her fridge that some of her young patients at the hospital drew for her. Lazola and her older brothers’ pictures are on the walls. There are awards on a shelf.

My netball awards? They are in a box under my bed. Nice, eh?

Ja, so I was staring and staring at all of this nice stuff in their house when Lazola’s mother says, “Ayesha, please eat.”

She said it nicely. But her eyes –Tjo!– if I ever have children, I’m getting lessons from her, because yes, once again, The Look.

Ja, and you know I stuffed that food right into my face, hey? I HAD to. The Look cannot be argued with.

But the moment the final bites were eaten, the final sips of drinks were taken, it happened.

“Would one of you like to explain what happened last night?” her mother said.

I. Could. Have. Died.


Tell us: Do you know adults who can do The Look? How does it work? How does it make you feel? Why do you think people respond to it?