UThandi ubuka ngaphandle abone umoya uphephula izintuli. Isicabha sikamakhelwane wabo uPinky sesivaliwe. Baqashile kulo mjondolo osegcekeni kwaPinky. Uyabona kukhanya ugesi endlini kaPinky, awezwe namanzi egeleza kusinki. UThandi uthatha ibhodwe aqonde empompini ongaphandle akhe amanzi azopheka ngawo ipapa.

Ukhathele, wonke umsebenzi ubheke yena. Ugada ingane, uyapheka futhi kumele afunde. Uyazibuza ukuthi kungani athwale umthwalo ongaka eseyingane kwayena.

Endlini uzama ukupheka ipapa ebe efunda. Phela ubhala i-test kusasa, kumele aphase nakanjani. Incwadi ayifundayo uyitshekisela ngasekukhanyeni kwelambu likapharafini agoqoze ipapa ngesinye isandla. Ngoba usehlale isikhathi eside no-Avile uyazi ukuthi usezovuka elambile adinge ukwenzelwa ibhodlela ashintshwe nenabukeni.

Ukungena kukaNomsa kuhambisana nokuvuka kuka-Avile.

Thank God usubuyile,” kusho uThandi.

“Ngicela umthathe,” kushouNomsa eziphonsa esihlalweni ekhumula izicathulo.“Ngidinga just one minute to catch my breath. Lwaze lwanzima usuku lwami namhlanje. Ungikhathaze amathambo umsebenzi.”

UThandi uqukula u-Avile. Uyambukisisa udadewabo njengoba ekhala ngokukhathala ehleli isihlalweni. Ukhala ngokukhathala kwakhe sengathi uyena yedwa okade esebenza kanti naye phela uThandi ukhathele, futhi ubesebenza ngaphezu kukaNomsa. Akudlali ukuphatha ingane, ufunde, upheke, nali negumbi labo kumele lihlale lihlanzekile. “Ngizomthatha kodwa ngeke ngimshintshe inabukeni,” kusho uThandi, “Uyazi ukuthi njengoba umkhokhela imali engaka uPinky akayishintshi ingane inabukeni. Oh shit! He stinks! Igcwele manje inabukeni.”

UNomsa uyasukuma ukucasuka kugcwele ubuso. “Great! Thanks a lot Thandi!” usho ethatha u-Avile sakumhlwitha, okwenza akhale u-Avile. “Buka-ke manje ukuthi usuwenzeni. Ukhalisa ingane yami!”

“Mina?” kusho uThandi. Akafuni nokumbuka emehlweni udadewabo ngendlela athukuthele ngayo. Ubona kahle ukuthi uzoqhuma. Uzizwa ebila sengathi ileli papa aliphekayo eselibila, “Ukhuluma kanjalo nami ngibe ngikusiza kangaka ngo-Avile? Awukwazi ukubonga wena.”

Ipapa liyasha njengoba bethethisana nje, ukusha kwalo kugcwala egumbini. “Shit, shit, shit!!” uThandi ucima i-gas plate. “Ngiyayizonda le mpilo ongiphilisa yona. I hate all of this! Kwamitha wena kwahlupheka mina. Wamithelani nawe, Nomsa?”

UNomsa usemshintshile u-Avile inabukeni wamenzela ne-Formula yebhodlela. Uhleli naye umgonile, uyamshushuzela amsule izinyembezi amqabule esihlathini.

UThandi uyayazi impendulo yalo mbuzo awubuzayo. UNomsa wayeyi-A student engakakhulelwa. Wadidwa ubusoka bukaThemba nama-pizza ayewaphatha. Wabona ukuthi uyathandwa, balala bangayisebenzisa ikhondomu. Ucasuka kakhulu uThandi ecabanga ngalokhu.

For God’s sake nawe Nomsa,” uzithola esho ephendukela kuNomsa, “uzoyiqeda nini le nto yakho naleya useless bastard enguThemba?”

“Ungakhulumi kanjalo ngobaba ka-Avile.”

He’s a no good… a…” uhluleka nokuthola igama lokumchaza uThemba.

He’s not! Uyayithengela ingane. Uyayithanda, nami futhi usangithanda.”

“Kusukela nini ethengela ingane? Ngisho esasebenza endiza ngesithuthuthwana sakhe wayengayithengeli lutho ingane. Wayekulethela ama-pizza kuphela.”

“Noma ungathini uyangithanda.”

Uyazithulela uThandi. Uyafuna ukumtshela uNomsa ngale ndlela uThemba ambuka ngayo emenza angakhululeki. Nangezigameko lapho azame ukumthinta amathanga nokumqabula. Cha, ngeke amtshele manje ngoba nangu uthi ukhathele futhi usefuna nokukhala. Kodwa kuzomele amazise ngalolu daba.