My cheeks and my neck are itching. It must be the sweat. I’m truly panicking now, and this tiny office isn’t making things any better. It feels like an oven. It’s obvious now that only a miracle will set us free from this.

It’s raining outside when the second security guy comes running in. “Haibo Ace, what did these boys do?”

Ace quickly answers his partner, whose name is apparently Shuta. Ace clearly doesn’t want Shuta thinking that he hasn’t got a good reason for arresting us. “These boys were carrying a knife and I suspect that they attacked that Msindisi kid at Lover’s Spot.”

With these words he’s convincing me that he’s the smartest security guard in South Africa. First of all, how the hell did he find out about the attack so quickly? Secondly, how did he put it together that we’re the ones who attacked Msindisi at Lovers’ Spot?

“I don’t think these kids did it, man. On my radio they said it was four kids, not two.”

“Maybe the four of them separated into two groups so we wouldn’t catch them.”

“C’mon bra, these are just kids, not movie bad guys. And you forget that I also carry a knife to protect myself.”

I can’t believe that the guy is defending us. Ace has nothing more to say. He walks over to me and grabs my arm to unlock the handcuffs.

“Yho, dankie bra!” Bandile exclaims when his hands break free from his handcuffs. For me, though, thank you is not enough. I need to make them a speech.

“There are no words that I can come up with that would thank you enough for your understanding. Thank you so much!” I tell him. Then we walk as fast as we can, without running away, from the guard’s office. Back to freedom.


It’s Monday, but I can’t stop thinking about what happened on Friday. About the blood on that guy’s head, and the security guards who arrested us. My phone has been silent all weekend. A silence that has had my stomach in a knot with worry. You see I haven’t heard from Noluvuyo. What can she be thinking of me?

The taxi is pulling into the bus stop outside the campus main gate. It’s already 12 o’clock midday. First on my list is seeing Noluvuyo. Second is seeing Dr McNamara.

I’ve thought of all the things I can say to my kasi princess. Firstly, I’ll pick a rose from the super-flowery campus garden. Secondly, I’ll wear the biggest smile she’s ever seen. Thirdly, I’ll lean against one of the trees there, clear my throat like they do in the movies, look deeply in her eyes and ask: “Madam, can you help me please?”

“Just talk to the hand hey – it’s got more answers for you than I do,” is what I know she’ll say to me.

I’m used to her talking to me like that, so I’ll just continue talking. “I’m struggling to find a chick that’s more gorgeous than the one that’s standing in front of me right now.” That is the line that’ll probably knock her off her feet – I just know it! We’ll even kiss afterward – at least I hope so.

Our first date still replays in my mind.

“Mzi, this food is cold,” was how she rated a two-hundred-rand plate of Cape Town’s finest foods. Even the chef had no real answer. All he could say was:

“Ma’am, it’ll lose its taste if we heat it again.”

I don’t think any girl has ever given me a bigger challenge. But I love her for it. I call her my kasi Beyoncé.

My phone is buzzing. It’s Doctor McNamara.

“Hello, Mzimasi?”

“Yes Doctor, it’s me.”

“Listen, I expected you on Friday.”

“I’m sorry. I … I…” I stutter.

“I have an opening today. In fact in ten minutes. Can you make it?”

“Sure Doc, I’m on my way,” I say, without even telling her about the plans I had. This is supposed to be Noluvuyo’s time right now!

She puts down the phone and I charge through the Law Faculty. I’m heading to the middle of campus, but I can’t even focus on its beauty. I can only focus on how I will explain to her why I missed the last appointment.

I glance at the time – shit! My watch has a huge crack on its face. It must be from the fight. Perhaps I can tell her I couldn’t see the time properly. But that’s a pathetic excuse. Maybe I should just come clean.

I finally reach the set of offices where she works. This lift is taking forever to get to her level, but I’m not complaining about it today. When I get to reception, Michelle, smiling as usual, offers me tea or coffee.

“So, are you excited about the new treatment today?”

“Yes sure,” I say. But I have forgotten what the treatment is. All I remember is that Doctor McNamara wanted to try something new.

Michelle accompanies me until we reach the Doc’s office and then gives me a thumbs-up as I enter the doctor’s room.

“Afternoon Doc.”

“Well, hello to you too.” She smiles and I know she’s forgiven me for the missed appointment.

“So, what are we doing this afternoon?”

“Mzi, we need to help you remember all those bad memories from high school that your brain has hidden away. This is so that we can work with them to help you heal, to lessen your anxiety and turmoil,” she says. I’m listening to her intently. The only other time I have listened this closely is when I first asked Noluvuyo for a date and I waited for the answer. Apparently, only the best psychologists can get their clients to actually listen.

“So how are you going to do that?”

“I’ll be using a science called hypnosis. It’s about getting into your mind and making you focus on a place, a person or picture. Once your mind is focussed, the memories will play out like a movie in front of you and you’ll believe that you’re still in that movie. Does that make sense to you?”

“I think so.”

“OK. Let’s begin with you taking a deep breath and slowly resting your head back against the couch.”

I feel instantly relaxed. This couch is heaven! My eyes are shut. All I have is darkness and the Doc’s soothing voice.

“Your mind is drifting away peacefully to a place it remembers. It is 2010, at school. There are people there that you know. Some frightening things happen. Take me to this place and tell me what you see.”

And then I am back there at school. I’m walking up to the front gate. A group of guys see me and start laughing and calling me names.

My heart is beating faster now. I walk up to them and I start greeting each and every one. One of them, called Selby, reaches into his backpack and hands me a red water bottle. I have a feeling that they’ve tricked me before; I don’t trust what’s in it, but I still drink. It burns my tongue and my lips. It’s bitter!

“Yi Randy lena sani,” he says. I think he means ‘brandy’, but he doesn’t stop talking there. He tells me: “Yek’unyaba man, sel’into zamadoda,” which probably means I should stop acting like a girl and drink real men’s stuff. I want to say ‘fuck you’, but I hold back and I continue drinking his poison. I have a bad feeling about this guy, but I still drink.

I’m going to prove him wrong – I’m a man too!


Tell us what you think: What bad memory has Mzi suppressed in his mind?