Amahle groans and squints. The sun is blasting in through the window. It feels like a saw is cutting through her skull. She feels dazed and disoriented as she looks around the room. It’s her bedroom. How did she get back here? She can’t remember. Her bed is made and she’s been sleeping across it with her clothes and shoes on.

“No!” she quickly pats her pockets, finds her phone and takes it out to check the time.

It’s an hour and a half before Ningi returns from work. Amahle puts the phone back in her pocket, pauses for a second and then she pulls it out again. She quickly calls the number Sizwe used to call her yesterday. It goes directly to voicemail. Amahle checks Sizwe’s Facebook and finds that he has blocked her. She calls Ziyanda and it rings but Ziyanda doesn’t answer. She calls a few more times until Ziyanda finally answers.

“Zee,” Amahle says. “What happened?”

“You don’t remember?” Ziyanda sounds sleepy and in pain, like she has a bad headache too.

“Remember what?” Amahle asks.

“Your boyfriend’s party,” Ziyanda says. “Is he answering your calls? The way they chased us out makes me suspect they were just using us.”

“My boyfriend, Zee? I only met the guy yeste …” Amahle trails off as the realization hits her. She met Sizwe yesterday and she gave him everything that same day.

Memories flood her mind. She decided to go to the mall, she gave Sizwe her Facebook name, she agreed to go to the party, she let Sizwe touch her, she decided to start drinking, she let him kiss her, she gave him her first “yes”. Amahle remembers herself being in bed with Sizwe and allowing him to do all he wanted with her. She remembers him waking her up a few minutes after cuddling with her.

“Quick, get dressed, my uncle is coming and he’s going to kill you if he finds you here,” Sizwe said. “The Uber is parked outside.”

Amahle was too drunk to question anything then. But it all makes sense now.

“Amahle, Amahle, are you there?” Ziyanda asks, but Amahle is lost in thought.

Ziyanda ends the call. Then she calls Amahle herself. When Amahle hears her phone ring, she throws it across the room and it crashes to pieces when it hits the wall. Amahle digs the nails of both her hands on her skull, clenches her teeth and lets out a muffled but razor-sharp scream.

An hour before Ningi returns from work, Amahle is pacing around her room talking to herself. “I did this to myself. But why would I hurt myself like this? I love him … No! I don’t even know him. I’m stupid! I’m probably sick. What will I say to Mom? I won’t say anything. But she was right. I didn’t listen. Mom will know soon. Everyone will know. It’s my fault. I said yes. Am I pregnant? What am I even doing? I don’t know how to live. I’m brainless. I’m useless.”

Half an hour before Ningi returns from work, Amahle is standing in front of her dressing table mirror looking at herself. Her face is emotionless. She suddenly clicks her tongue and smirks as if she’s disgusted with herself. She goes to her mother’s bedroom, clears all the drawers of everything that is a pill and returns to her bedroom with them.


Ningi returns from work. The gate, the kitchen burglar guard and the kitchen door locked as usual. But when she enters her bedroom and sees the mess Amahle left when she took the pills, Ningi’s eyes snap wide open and she staggers back from shock.

“Amahle!” Ningi turns and runs to Amahle’s door. She knocks a few times by hammering the door with her closed fist, and then shoulders the door until it flies open.

She rushes into the room. Amahle is lying on her bed surrounded by empty pill containers, white bubbles coming from her mouth.

Tell us: What would you do in this situation?