“Oh mntanasekhaya! My mother’s child! Look at you! Still as pretty as ever! I have missed you so much,” said Viola, standing by the kitchen door as her husband parked the car in the garage. Mila threw herself into her sister’s arms and they embraced tenderly. Viola wiped tears from her eyes.

“Don’t cry, Sis. Mama is fine,” Mila assured her.

“Is she? Really? I was very worried about you having to look after her while you were busy studying for your Matric exams,” she said, as they walked into the house together.

“I guess I will have to take the bags inside all by myself,” laughed Jack, then shouted for his two boys to come help him.

“The doctors say Mama had a mini stroke. Her left eye is affected and her left arm is weak as well,” explained Mila, sitting at the kitchen table and smelling the nice aroma of the bubbling pot of oats on the stove.

“I can’t thank you enough, my sister, for looking after our mother, as young as you are. Mila, you did a great job. I love you so much mntanasekhaya.”

“I am not that young, Sis. I am 19 this year, remember?” Mila laughed, rolling her eyes, and Viola laughed as well.

“I felt guilty for not being able to visit. It’s not easy for me to go, because of work. I hope Mama understands that.”

Viola and her husband were both teachers, at different local schools, and their work was demanding.

“No, Sis don’t stress. Mama is fine. The women from her church visit her often and cook for her and clean the house. At least now she is strong enough to bath herself, and uncle Jay checks up on her.”

They chatted some more and Mila told Viola about Monza from the bus, and they laughed together as Mila described how handsome he was.

“You must be tired,” said Viola, after they had chatted a while. “I have prepared a bedroom for you. The boys are sharing now.”

“I can barely keep my eyes open,” Mila yawned.

She slept for almost four hours. When she woke up Viola was already preparing dinner. Jack and the boys had gone for a run. Mila joined her sister in the kitchen, carrying a big file.

“I hope you had a good rest,” said Viola.

“Yep, I feel great. My feet were swollen but the Epsom salts you poured in my bath water helped.”

“I’m glad. While you were asleep I called Mama and told her that you arrived here safely. She just prays that you get a job soon.”

“Tell me Sis, how hard is it really to find a job here?”

“Mmm! I am the wrong person to ask. I haven’t had to look for work for a long time. You know, I’ve been working as a teacher for the past 20 years!”

“Aah! You are gloating now, right?” Mila laughed.

“To be honest, I can’t even remember how to draft a CV. You see I have had this one job all my life, in the same school, since I was 22. Now I am 44! You see!” she said laughing, while Mila stirred sugar into her coffee.

“I hear from friends that it’s not easy now, finding a job with the corona virus. Many people have lost their jobs. No income. Nothing. Some people did not even get the R350 Covid 19 grant promised by the government,” Viola told her as they drank coffee.

“Yhoo! But I need a job. I need to save money you know.”

“So you did not get the bursary you applied for?”

“No. I have to improve two of my Matric subjects so I can get the right percentage to be accepted. I can do that while working on the side.”

“Is that your CV?” Viola pointed to the file that Mila had in front of her on the kitchen table.

“Yes Sis, and a covering letter to go with it. Can you help me fill in the correct details and check my CV for errors?”

“Luckily I have a printer here. You must print out several CVs to distribute.”

“Here.” Mila took some pages out of the folder that she had printed out at home. “I looked online at the local library and found some adverts for cashiers in shops in the city centre.”

“That’s a good start,” said Viola.

After coffee Viola checked Mila’s letter and CV and took her to the study to print copies. The boys would accompany Mila to the police station to certify her Matric certificate. Mila was not happy with the symbols she got for Maths and English, but if she worked hard she could retake those subjects and improve her marks.

As she fell asleep that night Mila’s phone pinged. Her heart fluttered as she read the WhatsApp from Monza.

Sleep well princess
And don’t forget my offer


Tell us: Do you think it will be easy for Mila to get a job such as a cashier?