It’s going on a month now since Zine stopped working. Every day she wakes up and goes out looking for a job. She has printed so many CVs she has run out of money.
It is month-end in three days’ time. Zine needs to have rent money as well as money to contribute to the groceries at the flat. She also needs to send money back home. Worry eats away at her when she thinks about her money problems.
“Zine, it is month-end in a few days. We need to buy groceries. We can even go today because there is no food in the cupboards and the fridge,” says Khanya.
“I’ll try to get some money. But I don’t know where I’ll get it because I don’t have a job,” says Zine.
“I know that, but food needs to be bought and the landlord needs to be paid his rent money. I don’t know how you are going to do it but it needs to be done,” says Khanya.
“Please can you lend me the money? I’ll pay you back.”
“I only have enough money for my needs. And how will you pay me back because you don’t work?”
“There is no need to ask me that question. If I say I will pay it back it means I will do exactly that. You know I’m not a crook,” says Zine.
“I didn’t say you are a crook. Why are you so agitated? So it’s true that when a woman doesn’t have money she gets agitated?”
“Please don’t make light of my situation. My problems are not a joke.”
“I was always short of money when I first arrived in Jozi. But since I decided to sell my body for sex I no longer run out of money,” says Khanya.
Zine’s cell phone rings. She raises her eyebrows when she sees the name on the screen. It is Mr Buthelezi.
“Yes, hello,” says Zine.
“Zine, I’m sorry about how things ended with us. I really didn’t know Luyanda was coming home in the middle of the day,” says Mr Buthelezi.
“Your apology won’t bring my job back. Your wife fired me but I don’t blame her. I would have done the same if I were in her shoes,” says Zine.
“I have a plan. I really need to see you. How about we meet at a hotel? I’ll pay you as usual.”
“I’m afraid of your wife,” says Zine.
“She won’t find out, I promise. Please say yes, my princess. I miss you,” pleads Mr Buthelezi.
“I don’t know. I have to think about it,” says Zine.
Khanya can see that Zine is in deep thought after ending the call.
“Was that him? Was it Mr Buthelezi?” asks Khanya.
“Yes, it was him. He wants us to carry on sleeping together.”
“So what did you say? Did you agree?”
“No, I didn’t agree. I felt so ashamed when I slept with him. I will never sleep with a married man again. It felt like I was breaking up his marriage. I felt like a homewrecker.”
“Shame, Zine. In a world as tough as this you have the luxury of considering other people’s feelings. Did that woman consider your feelings when she fired you?”
“But she had to fire me because she caught me in bed with her husband. In their marital bed, on top of that.”
“But it was her husband who seduced you to that bed. You didn’t jump into that bed. If she has a problem with that, she needs to take it up with her husband.
“I hear you, but I still feel guilty. My conscience is not at peace.”
“But if you let go of this opportunity to make money, where else will you get it?”
“I’ll make a plan.”
“Open your eyes, Zine. This is Jozi! If you fail to use your brain, no one else will think for you. Next you will see yourself living on the street because if you fail to pay rent, I’ll have to look for someone else who can pay rent.”
Zine lets out a deep sigh. “It’s obvious I have to provide for myself and my kids.”
“It’s a tough world, Zine. We do what we have to do,” Khanya nods.
Khanya pays for the Bolt that takes Zine to the hotel where she will meet Mr Buthelezi. Zine has never seen such opulence. The beauty of the hotel is evident even from outside. The garden next to the entrance is dotted with different flowers.
Zine takes a lift to the room Mr Buthelezi has booked. He opens the door, welcoming Zine with a hug.
“It is so beautiful,’ says Zine, when she sees red flower petals scattered on the floor.
“I wanted to make you happy because I know you are going through hard times,” says Mr Buthelezi.
“Thank you, this is beautiful,” Zine smiles.
“Can I pour you some wine?”
“Yes, please,” says Zine.
“Thank you for agreeing to see me. I love spending time with you. You make me happy, something that my wife fails to do,” says Mr Buthelezi.
“But aren’t you happy when you are with your wife?” asks Zine.
“She is always complaining. Nothing I do makes her happy.”
“I’m so sad to hear that,” says Zine.
Tell us: What do you think will happen next?