Kago looked at his watch, ten minutes to leave.  He still had half a plate of bacon and eggs, two slices of toast and a glass of orange juice he could easily drown in if he wasn’t careful.

“Shashank! Tsena – Come in!” he shouted to his friend at the back door.

Kago had a body that would be perfect for a ten year old, the only problem being that Kago was 17. Shashank, on the other hand, looked exactly like a perfect rugby player. The only problem was that he had no athletic ability. Also he was so  short sighted he ran into walls without his glasses.  Still, they were best friends. They met in primary school when Shashank’s parents moved from India to Gaborone. Since they both loved science and maths, they soon became good friends.

“Good morning, Shashank,” Kago’s mother said, setting a massive bowl of porridge down in front of Kago. “Are you hungry?”

“No, thank you, MmaKago, I ate at home.” Shashank sat down at the table, pushing the empty plates out of his way.

Once Kago’s mother was out of the room, he pushed his bowl of porridge towards Shashank.

“Help me, please, or she’ll never let us leave,” Kago said like he did most mornings.

Kago had always been small. Once all his friends went through puberty and grew tall and then taller again, and Kago stayed almost where he started, his mother got worried. Now he had to get his school uniforms specially made because they didn’t come in such a small size.  To solve the problem,  his mother began her “Programme”. Kago called it: “Kill Him With Food”. He did his best, but so far he’d only grown by 13 centimetres which was not enough to satisfy his mother.

“Tomorrow, you get the porridge, I haven’t had eggs and bacon for a week now,” Shashank whispered. He put the emptied bowl down in front of Kago just as his mother came back, in her nurse uniform, ready for work.

“All finished? Great,” she said collecting the dishes. “Let’s get going boys.”


As they got out of the car, Kago spotted Mpho passing, but so did Shashank. “Bye Mum!” Kago said as the car drove away.

“There’s mosadi wa gago – your woman,” Shashank teased.

“Stop it!” Kago hissed. “I mean it.” He watched Mpho pass by with her group of friends. She was by far the most beautiful. She didn’t look his way, but he didn’t care. It felt good just seeing her.

They were still a bit early for the first lesson. Shashank took out his additional maths notebook. “Hey, Mr Romeo, if you can tear your eyes from your Juliet, can you take a look at this?”

Kago turned away from Mpho and sat down with Shashank and his trigonometry problem. He tried to concentrate on the maths but his thoughts still followed her, as they almost always did. Shashank could say what he wanted. Although it didn’t look like it now, one day Mpho would be his girlfriend. He knew it would happen one day, even if no one else did.

Tell us what you think: How do you think Kago feels about being so short?