It’s a new year and things are looking good. I say goodbye to the Petronella of yesterday, the Petronella who allowed people to walk all over her like she’s niks.

This year I’m going to demand respect and get a full-time job at the shop, not just casual work. This year I’m going to focus on being the best mother I can be for my kids. This year I’m ready for the good things in life.

“Where’s my school bag?” Angelo asks.

I don’t like this new tone he has been giving me. In fact, I hate it.

“Behind the kitchen door,” I say.

“What the hell is it doing there, huh? Jirre!”

Shocked emoji. Is this child shouting at me now? “Askies! Skel jy my nou?”

Nai, I’m shouting at the wall,” he says now, just as sarcastic.

“Listen here, child, pasop if you ever talk to me that way again, neh!” I shout at him.

I see the hate in his eyes. He doesn’t say anything. He takes his bag and walks out.

Ai! What, liewe God, did I do to be treated like this by my own child? Where, dear God, did I go wrong?

I think back to how Angelo was as a baby, ’n kyndjie, the sweetest smile and eyes and when he laughed you couldn’t help but fall in love. Hy’s my babatjie. But now he behaves like a bleddie skollie. I will not allow my child to grow up like his father. No ways, he’s not a skollie vannie Kaap. He’s not the by-product of a skollie, because his ma didn’t raise a skollie.

I hear someone at the door. Who’s this now? So early in the morning.

“Petronella? Are you home?” Jonathan comes in.

“Jonathan! What are you doing here, how are you? Als goed?” I’m suddenly shy. He is too wonderful. Oh my goodness, I think my legs are going to give in! Ag, wait now, Petronella, you’re too old for this!

Jonathan is a cricket coach at Angelo’s school. And also my neighbour. After the death of my first husband, Jonathan was always there. I didn’t think much of it, and avoided feelings. But there was always something about him that made me feel safe. He warned me about Kian’s father. I never listened. So I ended up with a baby and a broken heart. I thought he would tell me, “I warned you”, and give me the I-told-you-so look. But no, he comforted me.

“I’ll always be here for you,” he always said. A true friend. But deep in my heart I wanted to be more than a friend.

Ja, all good. I wanted to know if the boys needed anything. I know you are struggling with work and things are not going well. Well, I’m here and whatever you need, whatever the boys need, ek is hier.”

My heart! “Dankie, Jonathan, you are so kind to us, I don’t know how to thank you …”

He just smiled. My dream. My dream man.

“Do you want a bietjie tea or coffee?” I ask, shy again.

“No, I’m fine. I’m going again. But WhatsApp me what the children need and I’ll sort it out.”

Dankie. I really appreciate it. You are amazing …” It slipped out, sommer so.

“I wouldn’t say amazing, but thanks. It’s really nothing,” Jonathan smiles warmly.

I smile and nod. As he is about to leave, he turns around, smiles at me and says, “Petronella Adams, you are the amazing one.” And just like that, he’s gone.

I stand at the door, lost for words. The man of my dreams just called me amazing. I am amazing. I, Petronella Adams, am actually amazing.


Tell us: Do you think something romantic will happen between Petronella and Jonathan?