Khona lapho esajabulela lokhu uzwa u-Avile ekhala embhedeni. Ujikisa ikhanda abone ukuthi basele naye kulo mlilo. Uzihudula noma umzimba ungavumi ezama ukusondela ku-Avile. Ilangabi selilikhulu manje. Uyazihudula angafiki ku-Avile. Nekhanda seliyazula manje, akasaboni nakahle ngoba intuthu igcwele indlu yonke.

“Avile? Avile?” uThandi uzama ukusukuma kodwa akwenzeki. Uzama ukuphakamisa ikhanda alizwe limsinda, ubona sengathi umhlabathi uza kuyena kanti nguyena owela kuwona ngobuso. Aquleke.

Amehlo kaThandi avuleka abone ubuso bukaNomsa. Izinyembezi ezehla ebusweni bukaNomsa zimnyama ngenxa yentuthu nomsizi wokusha kwendlu. Uzwa ukukhala kwengane, nakanjani le ngane ekhalayo u-Avile. UThandi akaze akujabulele kangaka ukukhala kuka-Avile. UThandi uzithola ehleka ekhala kanye kanye ngoba lokhu kusho ukuthi u-Avile usindile, uyaphila.

“Ngiyaxolisa,” kusho Thandi. “Ngiyaxolisa.”

“Unenhlanhla yokuba nodadewenu onesibindi kangaka. Ukwaze ukusindisa u-Avile emlilweni. Uphume ezihudula emphethe. Uyiqhawekazi uThandi,” kusho uPinky ebaphathele amanzi okuphuza nebhodlela lika-Avile. Umoya ugcwele intuthu yokusha.UThandi ujojwa izinhlungu umzimba wonke uma enyakaza.

“Uyeza ngetekisi u-Mr Yola uzonihambisa esibhedlela,” kusho uPinky.

“Umama yena?”

“Sesimtshelile, uzohlangana nani esibhedlela.”

UThandi ubheka umjondolo obungumuzi wakubo abone ingqumbi yezinkuni ezishunqayo. Abantu basawubhula umlilo ngo-blanket. Umqondo uyabuya kancane. Uyakhumbula kuvutha umlilo, u-Avile ekhala, uThemba eshiswa umlilo egaqa ebaleka.

“Ukuphi uThemba?” uThandi ubuza kuNomsa.

Kuyathuleka. UThandi ubuka konke okwenzakalayo – ukusha, intuthu, ingqumbi yezinkuni – angazi ukuthi kumele azizwe enjani enhliziyweni.Unokuphatheka kabi ngoba kungenzeka ukuthi uThemba ushile, washona. Kodwa futhi inhliziyo inokukhululeka ngoba uma kunjalo kusho ukuthi ngeke aphinde abuye azomhlukumeza. Nokuthukuthela kukhona lapho ngoba nguye uThemba odale yonke le nto eyenzekile.

“UThemba uhambile,” kusho uNomsa.

“Siyathemba njengoba ehambile nje ukuthi ngeke aphinde abuye,” kusho uPinky, “Ubaleke wehla ngomgwaqo, ibhantshi belivutha emhlane. Akundoda yalutho leya. Nakanjani ubaleke waya kuleya girlfriend yakhe ehlala ngase-spaza.”

Girlfriend? Unenye i-girlfriend?” Izinyembezi zigcwele amehlo kuNomsa.

“Kanti awazi?” kusho Pinky. “Bengithi wonke umuntu uyazi. Unenqwaba yama-girlfriends. UThemba uyisoka lamanyala.”

UNomsa usula izinyembezi, anikine ikhanda. “Uyazi angisanendaba nalowo. Angifuni ukuphinde ngizwe lutho ngaye. Ubaba onjani ophuma abaleke angazami ukusiza ingane yakhe!”

UThandi, uNomsa no-Avile phakathi kwabo babambana isikhathi eside bejabulelana.

“Ama-forms ami e-scholarship! Ashile nawo,” kumemeza uThandi ekhumbula i-eseyi emthathe isikhathi eside ukuyibhala. Kodwa akukho angakwenza, konke sekungumlotha manje. Amaphupho aseshiswe umlilo.

“Singawathola amanye ama-forms,” kusho uNomsa. “Uma sesiyitholile enye indawo yokuhlala ngizofuna umuntu ozomgada u-Avile ngezikhathi zantambama. Angisafuni lutho oluzokuphazamisa ezifundweni zakho, ngifuna uphumelele”

UThandi uyabona ukuthi udadewabo uqinisile ngalokhu.

“Ne-essay usengayibhala futhi. Angithi kufanele ubhale ngempilo yakho. Ubhale ngawe. Bhala ngakho konke lokhu okwenzekile ngoba iyona impilo yakho le. Kuzoba i-eseyi emnandi kunawo wonke abake bawafunda. Uzongena undiza kulesi sikole.”

UThandi ubuka udadewabo nomshana wakhe. Umzimba wonke, kodwa kakhulukazi umlenze, usaqaqamba. Ikhanda lisagcwele intuthu. Balahlekelwe yikho konke emlilweni kodwa kukhona abakuzuzile. Bazuze ukubuyelana babe umndeni othandanayo ohlangene. Bazoqhubeka nempilo bebambene kanjalo. Impilo engenakho ukwesaba. Impilo engamsondezi uThemba eduze kwabo. Usehambile futhi ngeke aphinde abuye.

Iyaphela