There is a saying: “Be careful what you wish for – it might come true!”
Well, I was not careful. And now I must suffer the consequences. Day after day. Maybe you think I deserve my fate. But I beg you, try to find a little compassion in your heart for me.
Yes, my deepest, darkest wishes came true – thanks to Jeremy.
I met him at the lake one dull Saturday afternoon. I often used to sit at the lake over the weekend, when I wasn’t working. The lapping water calmed my troubled spirits.
Jeremy walked up to me out of nowhere. One minute I was alone. The next minute there he was, blocking out the afternoon sun.
“Why are you all alone, kiddo?” he asked. “A girl as lovely as you shouldn’t be alone.”
I looked up at this stranger. He was short and squat, almost dwarf-like. His eyes had a blankness to them, like the eyes of a dying lake fish. His lips were rubbery and protruding, like the lips of that same fish.
He sat down close beside me as though that was his rightful place. I didn’t tell him to go away and leave me alone. I didn’t get up and run. I should have got up and run. I wish I had now!
“And why so sad? Eyes as beautiful as yours should be shining with laughter, kiddo.”
“My name is Neo,” I said. I didn’t like being called ‘kiddo’.
“And my name is Jeremy, kiddo.”
We sat side by side, staring out at the lake.
“Funny thing happened here once,” Jeremy told me. “My friend TP was out in the middle, diving, showing off. Next thing he disappeared. The police divers found his body at the bottom three days later. Trapped, entangled in the springs of an old bed someone had dumped. Funny that.”
“What do you mean, ‘funny’?”
Jeremy smiled his fish-lip smile. “Well, TP had been sleeping with my girlfriend, you see. Yeah, my first girlfriend ever. We were dating about six months by then. But TP took her from me. He betrayed me.”
I thought: there can’t be many girls who want to date this dwarf!
Then I thought: and what am I doing, sitting here talking to him as if we are together? What if one of the Seboni sisters walks by? Boineelo or Keletso or Farai? They would see what a loser I still am! I would die of shame!
“I must go,” I said. I tried to get up, but he gripped my arm.
“Stay, kiddo. Let me explain to you about my secret gift. Well, my secret power. You will want to hear this, trust me. Come on. It can’t hurt.”
So yes, I stayed.
For one thing: no-one has ever called me lovely before. No-one has ever said my eyes were beautiful. Not even my ex-boyfriend Tsheps, back when we were dating.
But also I wanted to know about this gift of his, this secret power he said he had. Because I believed him. He was so strange and creepy looking, it seemed possible.
I stayed even though a cold wind was blowing now, off the lake.
Tell us what you think: Does Jeremy really have a secret power?