As the years passed we became closer and closer. Kylie liked coming over to my house and my mother liked having her.
“Hi Kylie,” my mother said when she answered the door this day. “Gosego’s in her room.”
“Thanks Mrs Kereng.”
She came in and sat on my bed. We were already sixteen, but Kylie was still as small as when I met her. She’d grown a few centimetres, I guess, but she was still so thin. My mother was forever pushing food on her but it made no difference.
We were in Grade 10 now and in the same class. It was nice like that. I handed her half of the sandwich I was eating. She took it, but only nibbled. “Did you finish your maths?” I said from the floor, where I lay going through my CDs. I put one in the player and stood up.
“Yeah, I finished. Do you need help?” Kylie knew I struggled with maths.
“Sure.” I pulled out my maths book and sat down next to her. But then I could see there was something she wanted to say. “What is it?”
“Do you know Kago in Grade 11B?” she said, smiling at me; her shy little smile.
“Is he the one on the softball team?”
“Yes, that one.”
“OK, yes, I know him. What’s up?”
“He asked me to the movies.” Kylie covered her mouth but I could see her big smile underneath.
“Really?” I wondered, because boys at school never cared about either one of us. We were the misfits. “Did you say yes?” She nodded. “That’s good then. Do you like him?”
“Maybe. I don’t really know him. He just came up to me out of the blue, after school.” She paged through my maths book to get to the homework. “It will be my first date.”
“Yes I know. I’m happy for you.”
I had had a boyfriend for a little while the summer holiday before. His name was Mompati. He was visiting his aunt who lived next door to us. He was from Cape Town. He didn’t mind that I was fat and plain. He just liked talking to me and I liked talking to him. He sometimes sent me letters from Cape Town. Sometimes they had dried rose petals inside. The letters made me happy for days.
“So when’s the date?” I asked her.
“Next Saturday. I have a bit of money, so I’m going to buy a new dress.” She looked so excited about it all. “I feel like a real girl now Gosego. A pretty girl that boys can like.”
“You were always a pretty girl everyone could like.”
“Will you come with me to buy the dress?” she asked.
The next day we went to the shops to look for a dress. Kylie was so nervous. She tried on a pink lacy dress. “What do you think?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Why don’t you get jeans and a nice top?” I suggested. We’d struggled to find clothes she could fit in. Everything was too big – the opposite of my problem. I had even thought we might do better going through the kids’ sizes.
Kylie sat down on the chair next to me and began to cry. “I’m horrible. Nothing looks good on me. Everything is always big and baggy. Maybe I should just cancel the date.”
She cried into her hands and I gently rubbed her back. “Don’t worry, we’ll find something. You mustn’t cancel the date. Everything will be fine. We’ll find a nice outfit for you and you’ll have a great time on your date.”
Tell us what you think: How does it feel to wear sizes that are out of the norm? How does the attitude of society affect you?