“Bye, Ayanda. Thank you for walking me home,” Sima said when we arrived at her house. I could see that she was as hungover as me.

“Sima, can I meet you at the shop this afternoon. I need to talk to you,” I said, pleading with her.

“No. Bye, Ayanda. It’s Sunday, I need to rest,” Sima said, struggling to open the lock.

“Let me help you with that,” I said. She gave me the key without hesitation and stood behind me with her arms crossed over her chest.

It wasn’t much of a struggle for me to open the lock. Sima snatched her key from me and thanked me as she went inside.

“Wait a moment Sima, I forgot to take your new number yesterday,” I said, taking out my cellphone ready to punch in the numbers.

“We will talk tomorrow at school, Ayanda. My mother will be here any moment,” Sima said.

I watched Sima walking inside her house but she didn’t look back. I ran on my way home because my mother was also going to be back at any time. I didn’t know what I would tell my mother if she came back from work before I was home.

When I got home I went straight to my bedroom and spread my textbooks on the desk that my mother had bought me a few weeks back to use when I was studying. My mother didn’t want me to use the coffee table in the living room because I’d end up spending more time watching TV than studying.

I took my clothes off and slid back into my bed. I was starting to fall asleep when I heard my mother entering the house.

“Ayanda! Ayanda! Are you still sleeping my son?” my mother called as she stood at my bedroom door.

“I was about to get up, Mama. You can come in,” I said, yawning and stretching my arms.

My mother opened the door slightly and stuck her head in. “How did you sleep my son?”

“I slept well, Mama and you? How was work?” I asked. I was surprised and confused by my mother’s sudden concern.

On other mornings, when she had worked a night shift, my mother would enter the house and go straight to her bedroom if I was still sleeping. I feared maybe someone had told her that I was at the party yesterday.

“I had a busy night my son. The things the kids your age do these days. Come let’s talk in the living room,” my mother said, closing the door.

After dressing, I went to the bathroom. I washed my face and brushed my teeth. When I was satisfied with my appearance and how my breath smelled, I joined my mother in the living room. I thanked the Lord that she had got back after I had taken Sima home.

“A boy about your age was admitted to the hospital with a stab wound in the chest last night,” my mother said.

“Do you know what happened, Mama?” I asked.

“Apparently he was drinking at a tavern with his friends when he was stabbed. He lost a lot of blood because he was drunk. I felt sorry for his mother who was crying for him as the doctors were doing their best to save his life,” my mother said, looking sad. “Promise me, Ayanda my son that you will never drink alcohol. Promise me that you will put your studies first. Just promise to keep making me a proud mother.”

I felt guilty for drinking at the party while my mother was out working so hard on her night shift. My mother was my everything and I didn’t want to do anything that would hurt her.

“I promise never to drink and I promise to put my studies first, Mama,” I said and I meant it.


Tell us: What do you think about Ayanda lying to his mother?