The second half of the year flies by. I am enjoying my studies and am not tempted to repeat that clubbing outing. We are already heading for final exams. I’m taking a study break on the campus lawns when a guy approaches me.
“Hi, Siziwe,” he greets me.
“Hi?” I greet back hesitantly, wondering how he knows my name.
“I’m Justin. We attend–”
“Yes, I know,” I say, not letting on that I have no idea who he is.
“Cool. I wonder … could you go over some stuff from yesterday’s lecture with me? Being a top student and all…”
I hesitate, then say, “Sure. When? Where?” I’m flattered by his request.
“Whatever works for you.”
“Half past four in the library?” I suggest.
“OK, see you then,” he says, and turns to leave, just as my girlfriends approach.
“What was the hunk saying to you?” Katlie asks.
“How do you know Justin?” says Pelo. They seem far too excited over a small conversation.
“He just asked me to help him with yesterday’s lecture. Do you remember the lecture Mrs De Wet gave?”
“He definitely likes you,” Katlie says, rolling her eyes.
“Come to think of it, he always looks at you when you pass him, and when your name is called for excellent marks, he claps more than everybody,” Pelo adds, positive she is onto something.
“Mhm, you guys like to see things,” I say sceptically, dismissing their stories, and text Bantu, telling him to pick me up a few hours later than usual.
“You are good at this thing. You should consider tutoring next year,” Justin compliments as we leave the library.
“Oh, come on. You were not that bad; you just mixed up the calculations.”
“Don’t be modest. Thank you so much for nailing the lecture into my thick skull,” he says with a smile, as he takes off his coat to drape over my shoulders. “I can take you home if you want. You don’t have to wait.”
“Nah, he must be on his way now. I made it clear that he was to come at half past six.”
As we wait it gets colder and Justin keeps his arm around me, to help stay warm. When Bantu finally shows up I know he’s going to think that something is happening between us. I quickly get up and hand Justin his jacket before walking to the car. Bantu won’t even look at me. I don’t bother explaining myself. Nothing had happened.
“Your mother called…” he finally says as we pull into our garage.
“Oh? What did she say?” I ask innocently.
“That you haven’t been answering her calls,” he says seriously.
“I was busy,” I say brushing it off.
“I’m sure you were.” He glares at me. “Too busy to even spare a minute for your own mother?”
“Don’t you start with me, Bantu.”
“I’m not starting anything. You’re leaving right after your exams. Get your head right.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Say what you want to say, Bantu. It will do you good,” I say sweetly.
“What was that, Siziwe? What are you doing?”
“Don’t give me that. You saw two friends hugging.”
“Why did you change the time I usually pick you up?” he asks, as if he is accusing me of something.
“I was helping Justin with varsity work.”
“That’s how it starts. Be careful, Siziwe.”
“Just leave me alone, Bantu. Stop telling me what to do. Stop treating me like a child!” I yell at him.
I hate it when he speaks to me like he knows more than I do. I don’t understand how he can’t tell that I’m different than the person I once was. I’m not village pumpkin. I change weaves like crazy. I am Miss Fierce. But deep down in my heart I still remain true to myself. I do well at my studies. I’m the whole package, not just a pretty face.
“I wish you could see that I’m trying to protect you. I’m not trying to make you feel like a prisoner,” Bantu pleads.
“I know, but sometimes I feel like being free. OK? I’m trying to forget that I’m hurting,” I say, before going upstairs, not giving him the chance to give me a lecture.
I take a long bath and think about Lizo. I hope the king has fulfilled his promise and is actually taking good care of him. Bantu should know that my head won’t be turned by the first guy who comes along. Justin means nothing to me. I love Lizo. Then my thoughts drift to my parents. They are the reason I am living this life, studying. I am not about to put them to shame. I know I need to work hard to fulfil their wishes.
I look at myself in the mirror. I admire my Brazilian weave. I guess there are some perks that are the nicer part of waiting to marry the old man. The good life.
“Siz! I’m going out for a little while. Are you going to be OK on your own?” Bantu asks at the door.
“Ja, I’ll be OK, Bantu,” I answer, as I look for an outfit to rock the next day.
How was da little get 2geda with Justin?
Katlie’s text comes in as I’m getting into bed for the night.
He kept asking about u. I hope he doesn’t
get frightened by ur bubbly self.
I text back, obviously pulling her leg, trying to get her to leave me alone.
Really, girl? OMW, I better get a goodnight’s rest
then so I look ravishing tomorrow.
I’m pulling your leg, geez! YOU are so OBSESSED!
Don’t play like that girl…lol
Lol serves you right. See you tomorrow, girl. I’m dozing off now.
Tell us: What would you think and do if you were in Bantu’s position?