Amahle unlocks the gate, the burglar guard and the kitchen door as quietly as possible. She sneaks through the house to her bedroom, careful not to wake Ningi, who is asleep in her bedroom. Amahle puts the plastic bag with snacks under her bed. She lies on her back on the bed and stretches her arms wide with a big smile on her face. Her hand dips into the pocket of her jeans and she pulls out her phone. She sends a WhatsApp text to Ziyanda.

Mission complete! I’m home.

Amahle waits a few moments and then her phone vibrates with Ziyanda’s reply.

That’s great, babe, tell me all about it. How did it feel?

It was awesome, Zee. It felt like I was there for the first time in my life. I felt so alive.

Yaas girl, that’s how it should be from now on. Your mom should chill and let you live.

Amahle’s phone vibrates twice and two Facebook notifications pop up. It’s a friend request and an inbox from a “Sizwe Alex Hlophe.” Amahle didn’t memorize Sizwe’s name. She also didn’t expect Sizwe to search for her down the long list of girls named Amahle Zondi on Facebook when she told him her name. She opens the message.

Hey, Amahle. I still can’t believe you treated me like that on my birthday. I’m hoping I just caught you in a bad mood and you’re a nicer person than that.

Amahle doesn’t reply to the message. She goes to Sizwe’s profile, finds out that it’s the guy who approached her at Boxer earlier and it’s really his birthday. She starts looking at his pictures. Amongst the many pictures on his gallery, there’s one of him on a boat, one of him on a hiking trail, and another one of him on a helicopter. Sizwe sends Amahle another message.

I have a party tonight and the best birthday gift would be seeing your face there. Let me know if you could possibly come.

Amahle smiles and shakes her head. “This guy never quits,” she says to herself as she leaves Facebook and switches to WhatsApp. She sends a text to Ziyanda.

There’s spicier news, Zee. I met a guy at Boxer, gave him my FB name and now he’s inviting me to his birthday party.

Lol even in my dreams I don’t see that happening.

I’m serious. Look.

Amahle returns to Facebook, takes a snapshot of Sizwe’s texts and sends them to Ziyanda. She sees the blue ticks and waits for Ziyanda’s response. Ziyanda takes too long to respond. Amahle texts her.

Zee, are you still there?

Oh my God, Amahle, this guy is so handsome. I’m on FB right now looking at his pictures.

Lol you should hear his voice and smell his cologne.

So you actually said yes to him?

No, not really. I told him my name to get rid of him but he found me on FB. He’s very lucky to have caught me on a good day, any other day he wouldn’t have gotten a single word out of me.

He’s super lucky indeed. And yoh! This guy is living the good life shem. If only you could surprise me and tell me we’re going to his party.

That’s too much, Z, I’ve already done too much stuff that’s out of my comfort zone. If I attend this guy’s party then what about Musa?

This is your chance to get some life experience before you go to university, don’t tell me you’re going to let it slip by. I’m not telling you to date this guy, we’re just going to have a little fun at his party and leave. A great party is a perfect way for you to start living life.

Ziyanda’s text makes Amahle put her phone down and think. She looks up at the ceiling, bites her lower lip and stays like that for a long moment. Finally, she shrugs and picks up her phone. She replies to Ziyanda’s text.

Mom is working nightshift today. If you promise that you won’t give me problems when I want to come back home early, we can go to the party.

Tell us: What do you think about Ziyanda’s argument? Should Amahle get some life experience?