‘University of the Western Cape’. The massive sign greets me as I walk unenthusiastically through the main entrance onto campus. It’s my second term, in first year. I’m still nervous on campus. I still check out everything around me, like I’m seeing stuff for the first time: the taxis that line up on the road like bricks at a construction site, the plush green grass lining the roads that stretch from the main entrance into the rest of the campus.
It is 3.30 p.m. on a beautiful Friday afternoon and I’m meant to be meeting my doctor – well my therapist really – at Student Health. Yes, the start of second term and already I’m in need of help.
This campus still confuses me. I am so busy staring at everything around me I almost walk into a flagpole.
“Be careful, dude! Do you wanna look like you lost a fight to Mike Tyson?” I know that voice. I would recognise it anywhere. When I turn my head Tyrone is standing right there behind me. Now there is a guy who wouldn’t feel lost anywhere. Tyrone can make sense of any situation.
“Didn’t you say you had a doctor’s appointment at four? So dude, why are you headed for Lover’s Spot? Student Health is that way,” he says, pointing in the opposite direction. Before I can shoot a quick come-back line, he says, “Oh, I see you’d rather …”
Like any good liar, I come up with a quick excuse, “My man, you must understand. Time spent meeting my girlfriend is just as important as a doctor’s appointment.”
“Well, good luck with that Noluvuyo of yours, but I have an appointment of my own – with my books!” he says.
“Sure man, I’ll catch you later,” I call after him, but he’s already half way to the library and can’t hear me.
I am struggling up the endless steps to the Main Hall, the sun beaming down on me, when I run into Michelle, my therapist’s assistant. I swear that chick does not look like she only left High School last year. “Weren’t we seeing you today?” she asks loudly, with the widest smile she can manage. A couple of students look my way.
“Me? No,” I answer quickly. The last thing I want is my fellow classmates knowing that I’m seeing a shrink. Michelle simply nods and walks on.
“Hey, bhuti,” one of the students in my class greets me as she rushes down past with a pile of books. That feels good. I’m still getting used to the respect that comes with my newfound ‘manhood’. Newfound as it was only six months ago that I was an initiate. I love being called bhuti. It beats all those stupid names they called me in High School, during that terrible, terrible time – the time that my therapist says I am blocking out to protect myself.
I like Dr McNamara. I like the African décor in her office; I like the monstrous brown leather seats, and the gold-plated letters on the walls that scream out:
LOVE WILL HEAL ALL BROKEN SPIRITS!
“You’ve shoved the memories into a deep, dark part of your brain – a mental cave of some sort,” she told me the first time I saw her. I thought she was insightful and amazing, until just last week, when she asked me if I was sure that Noluvuyo was the girl for me.
I just sat there staring at her. And when I left I was angry – and I still am – that I couldn’t answer her. Why couldn’t I talk about how cool Noluvuyo is; how much I love her; and how she turns me on at just the right moments?
I can see the grassy patch below me at the bottom of the stairs, with park benches and really tall trees that cast shadows across all corners of the ground. Lover’s Spot, they call it and why wouldn’t they? It’s beautiful. A perfect place to meet your sweetheart.
I try to think of a good line to greet my beloved with.
“I was looking forward to seeing you, babe.” That’s what I said last time. I thought it was sweet and would bring a blush to her cheeks. But she replied, rolling her eyes:
“Normal guys don’t say they’re looking forward to seeing a girl. It sounds way too eager.”
So what shall I say today, I wonder.
But greetings fly out of my mind when I see Noluvuyo under the trees –with another dude! Then I just see red.
What the hell is going on with those two? My heart speeds up and my palms itch as I run the last few steps. All I can think about is their smiles, and the way he’s leaning in, and the arm he is wrapping around her.
I want to klap him. The way I see it, the guy she’s with right now deserves to be dealt with. He’s much too close to her! His hand is resting on her shoulder. No normal guy – boyfriend – would allow him to get away with that.
I run towards him. I open my mouth to shout, but nothing comes out. And then I’m right next to him and he’s standing up. Before I know it I have smacked him right on his left ear and almost pushed his face into the ground. He wriggles away, turns around, leaps up, ready to face me.
But then three of my buddies are running towards us. Where have they come from, so quickly? Were they here all the time?
I lose focus. This guy sees his chance and knocks my wind out with a kick to my stomach. He moves swiftly and wraps a scarf tightly around my neck until I black out.
I regain consciousness and all I see is red. Noluvuyo is crying. Blood is sprayed all over her hands and shirt. This guy is lying there, bleeding. It all happened so fast. Too fast. What the fuck have I done?
Tell us what you think: What has just happened?