After hesitating, Peter shook his head. “I can’t do it,” he said, “I can’t, guys. This stuff is poison.” He stood up then. “Gotta go.”

Peter walked out of Tshepo’s yard; his legs felt heavy. Tears blurred his path, but he kept walking. He could hear laughter behind him. He knew his friends were laughing at him.
All the way home he heard that word in his ear. Wimp. He thought of returning to Tshepo’s house but he kept walking. He knew he had made the right decision.

He found his mother in the kitchen. “How was your day, Pete-Pete?”

“Mama, ke kopa gore o lese go mpitsa jalo. I wish you’d stop calling me that.” He stormed past his mother on his way to his room. He slammed the door shut and lay on his bed.

He had to study for his physics exam but struggled to memorise equations, to calculate speed and acceleration. Thoughts of what had happened at Tshepo’s house covered the page he was reading. What would have happened if he’d said yes? Nothing. Nothing bad anyway. He closed his textbook and lay on his back with his head on his hands. He would not give in.

The test to prove himself came a few days later. It was just after sunset on Saturday. Peter was closing the windows and curtains when his phone rang.

“Everything still alright?” It was his mother calling.

“Everything’s fine, Mama.”

“Windows closed and curtains close, Pete-Pete?”

“Mama…Stop calling me that. Please.”

In the background he heard his father admonishing his mother. “You need to stop treating him like he’s a little boy.”

“We’ll see you tomorrow,” said his father.

An hour or so later, Peter heard the ring-ring-ring of his phone. It was probably his mother again. He walked slowly to it, hoping she would give up before he answered.


“Peter. Wassup?” It was Tshepo.

“Nothing much.”

“How about coming over?”

“I can’t leave the house. O’lady le thaema ga ba yo. My mother and father are away.” Peter wanted to grab his words back as soon as they were out of his mouth, but it was too late.

“Your folks are away? Damn! Why didn’t you say? We’re on our way. David’s around. We’ll bring Busie and Thato along too, yeah? Have some fun.”

Peter looked at himself in the mirror. It would be different this time. He went to his room and exchanged his shorts for the longest, baggiest pants he owned. He put them on without a belt so they sat below his waist.

“Hey! Open up, dude.” Peter went to the front door and let in his five visitors.

Tell us what you think: What’s going through Peter’s mind right now as he opens the door?