Day six in hospital; I’m being discharged today. Part of me feels relieved, while a small part wishes I could stay here forever.
“Morning, Bhut Ollie. Ready to leave?”
Kitty’s voice startles me and I spin around. I’d begged her to stop with the ‘Mr Olivier’ because it makes me feel like an old toppie. She refuses to call me plain Ollie though.
“Why are you … what are you …?”
She’s been my only visitor; bringing me books and food every day.
“How did you know I’m being discharged today?”
There’s an excited look in her eyes. “I explained to the sister-in-charge about your situation and she promised to let me know when they’re kicking you out.”
That explains the change in Nurse Twala’s attitude. She couldn’t look me in the eye, and a few times when she thought I was sleeping, she slipped fruit and a chocolate in my bedside drawer. She’s not on duty today. I’ll come back and thank her.
“Let’s get out of here.” Kitty links her arm in mine. “I have something to tell you.”
“You’re getting married? Can I be the flower girl?”
Kitty laughs and punches me against the arm. “Hayi suka, wena, you make me laugh ugly. But when I get married, you will be MFG.”
“MFG? Don’t you mean MC?”
“Nope. I mean My Favourite Guest. Now let’s go. I can’t wait to tell you the good news.”
“How about you tell me right now?”
Discharge form in hand, she tugs at my arm. “Patience, Mr Olivier. Good things come to those who wait.”
At the exit, Kitty stops me. “Wait here while I bring the car around.”
When I get into the car, I can’t help asking, “Since when do you drive? Your mom always brought you to the hospital to visit me.”
“Since I got my license a few days ago.”
“So this is your good news? Congrats.”
“Dankie, Bhut Ollie, but no, this is old news. The good news is much better.”
She manoeuvres the car out of the parking area and onto the main road. At the four-way stop, she turns right.
“You’re going the wrong way. The mall is the other way.”
“I’m going the right way. Umonde.”
When we reach the shelter, Kitty’s already getting out of the car by the time I unbuckle my seatbelt. “Kom nou, Bhut Ollie, hurry up.” She’s skipping to the building’s door when I get out of the car.
Inside, she sits down in one of the visitors’ chairs and points to her chair behind the desk. “You sit there.”
She’s grinning from ear to ear.
“Sure.” I lean into the highbacked chair.
Kitty and I have spent many hours at her desk talking about our lives. She knows everything about my miserable experiences.
I know she’s an only child from a huge extended family from Cape Town to New Zealand, and she’s studying law. I know her parents live in the suburbs and are in business. I know there is enough money for them to live comfortably but that they also believe in hard work and not spoiling their daughter. That’s why they encouraged her to work at the shelter. I also know that they started the shelter to give back to the community.
“Do you think you could sit there and, like, do what I do?”
“No, I couldn’t.”
Her face drops. “I … you …”
“I’d never look as pretty as you, Kitty. Not even in heels and a skirt.”
“Hayi suka.” Her body rocks back and forth as she laughs. “Working here and studying is too much for me. I’m leaving soon, and I’ve recommended you for my job. You have an interview later, with my mother.”
Tell us: What do you think about Kitty, from a well-off family, being made to work in the shelter?