I don’t see the white girl for three weeks. As I said, we study in different buildings and I don’t hang out in the music school café, because it will definitely blow my budget.
I try not to look out for Lisa but flashes of her green eyes keep hijacking my mind – short, sudden memories of her pride, then her shame.
My good friend, Bonani, asks me to play guitar for a recording of his main Marabi piece. The two of us are specialising in the rebel township jazz of the sort that Hugh Masekela and those old guys gave us. We are clattering towards the studio with our instruments when I see Lisa on a bench, jiggling her feet, looking pale and haunted.
A weird jolt of current courses through my system. She is in no better condition than when I saw her last, but this time biting her nails so violently that she doesn’t even see us.
“Don’t you need those nails to play classical?”
She jerks her fingers from her mouth. Her face lights up when she sees me.
“I do.” She points at a closed door. “I’m doing a prac exam in there.”
“How’s your hip?”
“So, so slow.”
“When do you go in?”
She checks her watch, groans, “Twenty-five minutes.”
Something in me refuses to walk away.
“Come and hang with us for a bit. We’re recording.” The sun breaks through the clouds as she smiles.
Lisa sits quietly in the corner as we play, shining with appreciation. She is beautiful, really. I play fluidly, somehow at ease, a strange happiness singing through me. Bonani is on form, his timing with his sax humorous, yet suffering. I don’t know how he does it. Lisa claps at the end of the track, her green eyes bright with emotion.
“Wow. Beautiful. I would stop classical right now if I could play like that.”
Bonani raises his eyebrows. “Ooh classical. Oh so colonial.”
It’s an old taunt between the two schools of music. She takes the insult graciously, smiles with her slightly crooked, sweet teeth.
“It’s boring me to tears.” She touches my sleeve. “I’ve got to go. Thank you.”
Electricity zips between us, like we got caught between two amps. She blushes red while I hold my breath, try to act casual.
“Good luck for your exam,” I say. She limps out, and I notice her bum’s not as skinny as I would have expected. She stops at the door.
“Can we maybe jam some time?”
Now it’s like I swallowed an amp.
“I’ll find you on Facebook.” I manage to sound calm and detached but some strange music is plucking through my system.
Tell us: What do you think the ‘electricity’ the two feel is all about? Have you ever had this feeling?