Kago realised then that you really can’t understand another person. Here was Moloi, beautiful, popular, tall – and shaving- and here was him. And Mpho was taking Kago’s side against Moloi? Did the world stop turning?
“I didn’t see you at the dance last Saturday,” Mpho said.
“Yes, well, I had something to do.” He hoped she wouldn’t dig for that something. He didn’t want to lie about nonexistent cars again.
“I saw your friend there. What’s his name?
“Shashank. Yeah, he had a date.”
Mpho looked at him. Then she smiled. “I wanted to show you something.”
She dug around in her bag and pulled out a paper. It was her most recent biology quiz.
“Wow, 62%, that’s a big improvement,” Kago said. “Maybe we can start today by going through the questions you got wrong.”
She took the paper out of his hand and pushed it back into her book bag. “Nope! Today we celebrate. I’m taking you out for ice cream as a thank you.”
Kago assumed when she meant ice cream she meant to the hidden general dealer around the corner from the school. The one that had a machine that spit out pink fluorescent ice cream into thin wafer cones that always leaked at the bottom. But no, she meant the mall- the mall where everyone hung out after school. Where they would be seen together.
She got them both banana splits. After setting Kago’s down in front of him she gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, Mr Kago Oaitse! I never ever thought I could pass biology.”
Kago was still in dreamland over the kiss but managed, “You’re welcome.”
They ate in silence for a few minutes while he tried to understand how everything had taken a complete U-turn in such a short time. In the morning, he was sure he had no chance with Mpho. And now she had kissed him and they were eating ice cream at the mall – together. A group of Mpho’s friends passed by and she waved at them but then turned back to Kago.
“Do you remember that time in junior school? When you took so many prizes at prize giving they couldn’t fit in your mother’s car?” she asked.
“Do you remember that?” Kago asked confused.
“Of course. It was amazing. Your mother must have been so proud of you.”
“Yeah, I guess. She’s more concerned about other things right now.”
“Things like what?”
He wondered if he should tell her. She seemed to be sincere, like she was really interested in what he had to say. So he decided to take a chance. “Well, I think you’ve noticed. I’m sort of short.”
“Yeah, so what?”
“Well my mother spends most of her time, when she’s not at work, trying to fix that.”
“Fix that? How?”
Kago mumbled into his ice cream. “By feeding me. Lots and lots of food.”
Mpho laughed. “Serious?”
“Kind of.” Kago wasn’t sure if he found it all so funny anymore. Was it really so terrible if he never grew big and tall?
Mpho stopped laughing. “Parents are crazy. Well …I like you just how you are.”
Tell us what you think: Do you like Mpho? Why or why not?