“Thabo, get out of bed this instant.” Mom stood beside his bed. She looked annoyed. “I’m not waking you again.”

“But Mom,” Thabo moaned, “I’m not feeling well. I want to stay in bed.” He pulled the duvet around him.

“You’re not sick, Thabo,” she said in a gentler voice. “You’ve just had a few nights of restless sleep. Last night you cried out in your sleep again. Maybe you should cut back on your soccer practices? I’ll speak to the coach if you want.”

“No, that won’t be necessary, Mom.” Thabo’s heart started pounding. That was all he needed. He was planning on cutting as many practices as he could. That way he would be able to see more and more of Sindi, and his mom would never suspect.

Ten minutes later Thabo was running out of the door towards the school. He ignored his mother’s voice calling him to stop and take his lunch pack. He had already skipped breakfast.

Thabo hadn’t walked very far when suddenly Sindi jumped out in front of him. She must have been waiting for him on this patch of road. She kissed him on the mouth.

“Why don’t we skip school today and go to my aunt’s house? We can be alone there for the whole day.”

Thabo hesitated. Then he thought of his mother nagging him all this morning. He betted other mothers weren’t so overprotective.

“You’re very special to me, Thabo,” Sindi said as soon as they reached her aunt’s house. “Sit down. I’ll be back in a moment.”

Thabo leaned back into the couch. He felt very tired. He closed his eyes.

“Hey you, open your eyes, sleepy head.” Sindi stood next to him. “What do you think? Is this sexy enough for you?”

Thabo’s eyes shot open. His breath caught in his throat. Sindi was now bending over him. She wore only a very thin nightdress. It was clear she wore nothing underneath it.

“What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?” Sindi teased.

“I think you should get dressed, Sindi,” he said, without taking his eyes off her. There was no doubt she was beautiful. It was also clear that she wanted Thabo to have sex with her.

“I’d better be going,” said Thabo, beginning to get up. He had a funny feeling in his stomach. He also knew that he was in way, way over his head.

Sindi put her hands out and pushed him back down.

“Don’t be such a chicken,” she scowled at him. “Would you rather I’d chosen Kitso?”

Thabo knew now he had made a huge mistake in coming here.

“We’ll have a smoke first and then we’ll play. It will relax you.”

“I don’t smoke,” Thabo said.

“It’s not a cigarette silly,” said Sindi, and began lightening the joint.

“It’s drugs!” Thabo was amazed, despite himself.

She sat down beside him and took a puff of the joint. Next she handed the joint to Thabo. He pushed it away.

Then he jumped up from the couch. He didn’t listen to what Sindi was saying as he opened the door. He just knew he had to get out of there. He didn’t care what vile names she called him.

He just ran like the wind through the town. He didn’t stop until he reached his house.

When he burst in through the back door he heard his mother talking on the telephone in the hallway. A moment later she walked into the kitchen, and startled when she saw him.

“That was the Principal on the phone. He said you were not at school today. I’d like you to tell me what is going on, son. No more lies, please.”

“I’m so sorry, mom,” Thabo said, and slumped down into a chair. He put his head in his hands and began to cry. Then he told his mother everything that had happened to him over the last few days.


Later that same day Thabo sat in a chair facing his Principal. He had told him the same story he had told his mother.

“Joe is a drug dealer. The police have been trying to catch up with him, find evidence against him, for some time.”

“And Sindi?” Thabo asked in a small voice.

“Sindi is a very troubled young lady. Joe was using her to get as many pupils as she could to start using drugs.”

Thabo nodded his head. “She singled me out then. She was using me to try and influence the other kids.”

“Her parents are not dead. Her aunt took her in when her mother wasn’t able to cope with her any more. The aunt is a good and decent person who has tried her best to help Sindi.”

Thabo was stunned by all the lies he had been told.

“What happens to Sindi now?” Thabo asked.

“She can’t come back to this school. The social worker is with her now. Plus her aunt is on her way. I phoned her at work and she has dropped everything so she can be with her niece.

“I’m sorry to have to say you were easily influenced, Thabo. But you’re not the first boy who has been taken in by a pretty face. I just hope that you’ve learned your lesson.”

“Yes Sir,” Thabo said.

“I expect to see you in school tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Thabo said, nodding his head. He knew he was lucky to have such wonderful parents and an understanding school principal. Things could have turned out much worse for him.

“You may not have acted very wisely over the last few days but you proved to me today that you’ve learned from your mistakes,” his mom said later as she put a plate of food down for her oldest child.

“How long are you going to ground me for, Mom? I’d like to play in the soccer match on Saturday.”

His mother shook her head and smiled. “I’ve decided not to ground you.”

“Thanks Mom. You’re the best!” Thabo jumped up and hugged her.

He went to bed early that night and fell into an easy sleep. Thabo did not dream about Sindi.


Tell us: Have you ever been in a situation like Thabo, being used by someone else?