I passed my Matric and I passed well. Naledi passed but only barely. She was off to a technical college in town, doing something with computers. I was off to Joburg to do a wildlife management degree at Wits. The dream for my life was starting.

But, I was going so far from home and I was scared and sad to be leaving my family and Naledi. The last few weeks before we left were painful. We’d never been apart before; we were scared about how it was going to be. How our lives would move on without each other. Though Naledi drove me crazy, I also loved her.

“You’ll write to me, isn’t it?” Naledi said at the airport.

“Sure, emails every day. Texting, phoning. It’ll be like I never left.” Naledi had a new boyfriend, Cyrus – someone she was serious about. “Besides, Cyrus will keep you busy.”

“Yeah sure, but he’s just a boyfriend. You’re my girl.” Tears were filling her eyes and I looked away before I cried too.

I hugged her goodbye. I hugged Pippa and my mom and I went through the gate, off to my new university life. Leaving everyone I loved behind.

I went through security and then got a coffee to help pass the time while I waited for my flight to board. I still had forty-five minutes. Just as I sat down and opened my book, I looked across to the next gate and there, like a strange kind of magic, was Baboloki. He looked up too as soon as I recognised him. He smiled his fabulous smile and then grabbed his bag and came rushing to me.

“I can’t believe it!” he said. He grabbed me up in his arms and hugged me and for a moment I wished the world would just stop. Stop spinning on its axis and time would stop and we’d just stay right there and never move forward again. He stepped back from me and I realised my wish had not been granted.

He looked bigger somehow. The research work must have been physical because he looked stronger and more solid. But no less beautiful.

“You look good. Where are you off to?” I asked.

“Rhodes in Grahamstown. I got accepted for entomology there,” he said.

“That’s great,” I said.

“And you?”

“Wits. I’m doing wildlife management. Hoping to do my research on birds, my beloved owls, if I can.”

“That’s great. Just what you wanted.” He sat smiling for a while. “That last time … when I saw you at the mall. I’m sorry if what I said made you feel uncomfortable. I got the feeling it did. After I left you, I thought you might have seen things another way, like a kind of stalker-ish way. It wasn’t like that…”

I laughed. “No … never. I understood. It was fine, actually.”

“I just … I just felt like there was something between us, but maybe I got it wrong.”

I hesitated. I couldn’t believe how time and distance had had no effect at all on how I felt about Baboloki. My attraction to him was as strong as ever.

“No … you didn’t,” I said. “There was. There was something between us. But it was all just bad timing. You and Naledi and everything, then you leaving … it just wasn’t going to work.”

“Yeah.” He looked at his watch. “I have another hour. Do you want to go and get a drink?”

We walked to the end of the hall where there was a bar looking out over the runway. We ordered wine and watched the planes take off and land. We talked about his time at Kruger, my time scooping ice cream. We talked about our hopes for university. It was all so easy between us, not like with any other guy I’d ever known. We just fitted together like two puzzle pieces. Perfectly. Like we were meant to have found each other and no-one else.

I finished the wine, something I wasn’t used to drinking, and now it seemed easier to say what I wanted to, what I needed to. “You know that first night … that night at that horrible club?”

“Sure I remember it,” he said.

“It was important to me. I mean … I think about it a lot. About meeting you that night. It was a big deal for me.”

“For me too.”

“We just have crappy timing. But maybe, if things had been different … I think maybe … I mean … I’m trying to say … I think if things had been different we might have had something really special.”

I didn’t expect it but he leaned forward and kissed me. He kissed me gently and it felt like the first time I’d ever been kissed. But despite how much I wished otherwise, it also felt like a goodbye kiss.

They called my flight.

“I need to go. Good luck, Baboloki. I know you’re going to do really well and be great.”


Tell us what you think: Do you believe in destiny? Can people be destined for each other? Could Baboloki and Keamogetse be destined for each other?