Kago told himself no matter what, the next tutoring session he was going to ask Mpho to the dance. He promised he wouldn’t chicken out. And here it was, an hour nearly gone of the hour and half session and all he’d been talking about was osmosis. Is osmosis going to get him a date for the school dance? No! He needed to take control of things. He needed to be a man.

“So I don’t get it. How is diffusion different from osmosis?” Mpho asked. Kago explained again, feeling more time slipping away. “You really are super smart. It must be nice when things like this come so easy to you.”

“I don’t know, I guess so,” Kago said, trying to find a way to turn the conversation to the dance.

“I always admire how smart you are. I know people like teasing you for being so small and everything, but what does that matter? In the end you’re going to be some famous scientist not a football player,” she said.

Kago smiled. He’d been right! She is one of those girls! Just like Stephen Hawking’s beautiful wives. She cared about his brain! This was his opportunity. This was it- either he was going to take the bull by the horns or he was going to regret it for the rest of his life.

“I wondered, Mpho,…”

“Yes, Kago?” She looked up from where she’d been packing her books.

For a moment he lost his nerve. All he could hear were Shashank’s words, about how he was chasing Mpho Rabosigo Rainbows. He nearly walked away from his chance. But then he said- NO! No! Today was the day!

He stood up and squared his shoulders. “I wanted to ask you, Mpho,…I wanted to ask you if maybe…if you have the time…and if you haven’t made other plans….you might come with me to …the school dance on Saturday.”

She was already standing, towering quite a distance above him, with her school bag on her shoulder. “Oh, I’m sorry, Kago. I already told Moloi I’d go with him. See you next week!”

She was already out the door and gone by the time Kago was able to take a breath again.


“Listen, Kago, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed about. You took a chance,” Shashank said on the phone that night. “You got shot down, but at least you took a chance. That’s something.”

“But how am I going to continue tutoring her now? I feel so stupid! She was never going to say yes to me! I was a fool to have ever asked her.”

“Listen, she’s a beautiful woman. She’s used to men like you asking her out. It’s nothing to her. She says no to at least 97% of them. You’re in the 97%, just like most of the people. No big deal. You need to just go in there like- okay fine, this happened I’ve moved on.”

“Do you think so?”

“Yes, I know these things, Kago.” He wasn’t sure why he trusted him because he knew for a fact Shashank had the same amount of experience with girls as he did which was none. But somehow it made him feel better. “Listen, do you want me to ask Annah if she has a friend for you on Saturday?”

“No, that’s okay. I think I’d rather just stay at home. No use torturing myself seeing her with Moloi.”

Kago hung up. He wondered- did this mean after four years of dreaming, he needed to finally accept that Mpho would never be interested in him? He thought maybe that was exactly what it meant.

Tell us what you think: Should Kago give up his dreams?