Kago knew Moloi. Everyone knew Moloi. He was the best striker on the school’s football team. He was tall and muscular and handsome. With dark eyes and sideburns shaped into thin perfect rectangles, which alerted the world to the fact that he shaved. Something Kago envied more than the other things with his own still smooth face.

From the look of things, the dance had gone well. From Monday, whenever Kago saw Mpho, Moloi was around. Leaning on the wall talking to her, carrying her book bag, eating lunch with her.

Kago got to the lab early for the tutoring session and waited for Mpho. There was no longer a need to act like he wasn’t what he really was- a nerd. Like Shashank said, a nerd with nothing but school in his life. Why pretend otherwise? Mpho was a beautiful girl who needed help with biology- that’s all. She would never be interested in Kago. He understood that now. He accepted it.

“Hey Kago,” Mpho said coming into the lab.

“Dumela Mpho.” His head was down so he didn’t see Moloi until he was already in the lab.

Wa reng – what’s up, Shorty?” Moloi said hitting Kago on the top of his head.

“Don’t do that, Moloi!” Mpho said.

Moloi put his heavy arm around Kago’s shoulders. “Ah, he doesn’t mind do ya Shorty? Ke tsala ya me – he’s my friend, eh?”

“Okay,” Kago said squeezing out from under Moloi’s big arm.

“How about when you’re done teaching Mpho, you teach me? I bet you could help me pass a few subjects,” Moloi said.

“Maybe,” Kago said. But in his head his answer was more like- When the Kgalagadi grows tomatoes. Why on earth would he want to help Moloi do anything?

“You know what Moloi? We have a lot of work to do here. So maybe you can go, and I’ll see you tomorrow,” Mpho said.

“Okay, baby, whatever you want.” Moloi bent down to kiss her on the mouth and she turned. The kiss landed on her cheek. Kago looked away so no one saw him smiling.

“Later, Shorty, don’t make no moves on my lady.” Kago could hear him laughing as he walked down the path outside. Apparently he thought he’d made a joke.

Mpho got her books out without speaking. Kago asked her what she thought they should start with and she turned to him. “Listen, Kago, I’m really sorry about Moloi and how he spoke to you. He’s a jerk.”

“No, it’s okay. He’s always like that. I’m used to it.” Which was, sadly, true.

“Maybe, but I’m still sorry. He comes and talks to you like that…it’s just too much! I’d rather spend hours with you than any more minutes with that clown!”

Kago smiled. He looked out the window to see if the clouds had parted. Suddenly everything seemed much brighter.

Tell us what you think: Why do you think Kago is feeling better?