My face becomes hot, then cold. I’m angry, but then confused. Do they … does it mean …?

I feel like I have a fever. I’m scared right now, to be honest. I’m scared for Levi. If they’ve killed him … No, it’s not true. It can’t be. These guys are all bark. No bite.

Or are they?

I don’t know what to think. I read the note over and over, feeling nauseous. I hold my hand up.

“Yes, David?”

“May I be excused?”

“Why?” asks Mrs Tshinga.

“I feel sick.”

“So do I,” she retorts. “I have a headache.”

“I think I need to throw up,” I say, and it’s half true.

She nods, looking bemused. I half sprint to the door.

Once I am in the corridor I go to the guy’s bathroom. It’s empty.

I look in the mirror.

Who are you? I think. I am David. I am a man.

What do men do? I ask. They … they defend those in need.

Levi … I can’t believe it.

I start to cry. The pressure of this … it’s so intense. They always say men don’t cry, but they do. You know they do. If you’re a man, and you’re reading this, you’ve cried. All humans cry. We need to. From sadness, from pain, for joy, for loss.

We cry.

I cry now. Not for long. About a minute. Then I splash cold water on my face. I leave the bathroom.

I need to find Ncumisa. She knows Levi well. I find her filling up her water bottle at the water cooler at the end of the corridor.

“Is it true?”

“What?” she asks, after taking a sip.

“Levi,” I say. “Is he …”

She looks at me closely.

“Is he dead?” I ask.

She blinks. “David, no, he’s alive.”

I can breathe. I close my eyes. A tear runs down my cheek. She hugs me and I let her.

“He ran away this morning.”

“Where to?”

“Into the city, I think. He said something about a triangle. Triangle House, I think he called it.”

I ponder this. “Have you spoken to him since?” I ask.

“His phone’s off. I’m worried about him, David.”

“Me too.”

“You like him, don’t you?” she asks.

I pause. “I care about his safety.”

“Do you have a crush on him?” she asks, giving me a side eye.

“Does it matter if I do?”

Her smile fades. “I’m sorry … you’re right.”

I nod. I feel very grave. I feel … so many things right now. Tenderness. Strength. Weakness. Care. Worry.

“Find him, David. Find him.”

“I will,” I say.

Ncumisa leans in and gives me a kiss on the cheek.

“You’re one of the good guys,” she says with a shy smile. “You should be a superhero.”

I smile even though I feel worried. Ncumisa is pretty.


Tell us: Should all boys/men cry? Do all boys/men cry, even if they deny it?