Thabo stood still as he saw the ball coming slowly up the field towards him. His football team, Loafers, were playing the Stallions in the first game of the season.

The Stallion’s wing was dribbling the ball, but Ben tackled him and passed to Thabo. It was just seconds to full time – if Loafers got a goal now, they would win the game.

Thabo pounded the ball in the direction of the goal post. The goalie prepared his body for a save, but the ball was too fast for him, flashing past his outstretched arms and through the goalmouth. Just then the referee blew his whistle: Loafers had won the first game and the home crowd roared.

“High five!” yelled the team, gathering around Thabo. They were all grinning and very excited.

“What a goal you scored there, man!” Ben exclaimed, jumping up and down.

“You really saved the match,” Marcus added. “It could easily have gone the other way.”

“Loafers! Loafers! Loafers!” chanted the supporters. “Yippee. Three cheers for our winners!”

“Woh! Will you just look at the crowd of girls who have come to cheer us on,” Kitso grinned. Kitso was fifteen and liked girls very much. He talked about them non-stop.

“Does anybody know who that girl, the one wearing the red shiny top, who keeps looking over here, is? Have any of you guys ever seen her before?”

“No. Never seen her before,” Marcus shook his head. “Maybe she’s a friend or cousin of one of our girls. Most likely she doesn’t even go to our school.” The rest of the team agreed with Marcus.

“I don’t know her yet but I’m sure going to change that pretty quickly. She’s going to be eating out of my hand before the night is over,” Kitso said. “I’d better not go easy on the cologne this evening.”

“What do you mean?” Jimmy asked. A few more boys nodded their heads. Most of them were more than a little in awe of the way Kitso always managed to get the best-looking girls when they were all out on the town.

“Are you guys blind or what? She’s totally hot.”

The crowd of boys looked across to the stands where the group of girls was cheering them on. They knew all of them, with the one exception.

Thabo looked too. Up to now he hadn’t spent very much time thinking about girls. There wasn’t any special girl in his life. He worked hard at school and after school he played lots of soccer.

Most of his group of friends never stopped talking about girls. But more often than not it was just talk. They seemed fascinated with everything girls did, but not Thabo. It wasn’t that he was shy, or wary of girls. There were a couple of girls in his class that he got on really well with. He felt comfortable around them. He just never singled one out for special treatment.

Kitso was right though. The girl standing alone by the stands was beautiful. She had her hair bound up in tight plaits, tied together with red and yellow ribbons. She was smiling in the direction of the boys. Her smile lit up her whole face.

Thabo had a moment of misgiving. Why did Kitso always have to hit on the pretty girls? As soon as one was spotted Kitso was in there like a dog with a bone. He wouldn’t give up until he had the girl on his arm. None of them lasted very long.

The boys rushed off the playing field and into the changing rooms. They needed to shower off the sweat of the game and get dressed in clean clothes as quickly as possible. They were going to the pizza place to celebrate their win with the girls from their year.

As soon as they were showered, dressed and out of the changing rooms Thabo noticed Kitso looking around for the pretty girl.

When he couldn’t see her, he shrugged his shoulders and sauntered off with two other girls, one on each arm. Thabo was amazed at the easy way he had with the girls. He always seemed to know the right thing to say to them.

Thabo and a few other boys were the last to walk off the school grounds.

“Hello.” The girl in the shiny top came sliding up next to Thabo.

“Uh … hi,” Thabo was taken aback. It looked like she was singling him out. He looked into her face. She was even more beautiful up close. Her skin was dark and smooth. There wasn’t a mark on it. Her eyelashes were also long and dark.

Thabo doubted if he had ever seen such a gorgeous girl. She was perfect in every way.

“I’m Sindi Grootbooi, the new girl on the block,” she said, fluttering her eyelashes at Thabo. He gazed back at her and smiled.

“That was some goal you scored for your team. You’re a great soccer player – one of the best I’ve ever seen anyway.” She giggled then, and moved closer to Thabo’s side.

“Thanks Sindi. That is nice of you to say so but really, I’m not the best player on the team.” If anything, Thabo was modest.

“Well in my mind you’re not only the best player, you’re also the cutest guy too,” Sindi flirted with him.

If any other girl had said those exact same words to Thabo he would have laughed and run off.

But with Sindi it was different. Thabo had no idea what was happening to himself. All of a sudden he felt very funny in his body.

He wasn’t sure if he liked the way Sindi was looking at him, or not. It seemed as if her eyes could see right through to him, the real him.


Tell us: What’s your first impression of Sindi? What do you think she was thinking when she looked at Thabo?