At first Nandi didn’t want to hear anything that Beauty wanted to tell her. Nandi kicked off her school shoes and pulled off the rest of her school uniform. She got into bed, pulled up her blanket and curled up into a ball right under it.
Beauty came and sat down next to her and pulled back the blanket so that she could see her face. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but just listen to what I have to tell you.”
Nandi opened her eyes and looked at Beauty, who was grinning from ear to ear. “Check this out!” said Beauty, as she pulled a pile of bank notes out of her pocket with a flourish and waved them in the air. Despite herself, Nandi’s eyes opened wide.
“Where did you get that?” she asked, sitting up. “How much is it?”
“It’s five hundred bucks!” said Beauty proudly. Then she started giggling. “I worked for it! I tried to tell you last night, but you weren’t interested!” she added.
“I remember you said something about cellphones and some guy called Fernando,” said Nandi, suddenly feeling guilty for not having listened to Beauty at all.
“Yes,” said Beauty, “Fernando makes movies!” She stood up and twirled again, before waving the money in front of Nandi’s face, “And I am going to be the star! Fernando told me he has big plans for me!”
“What do you mean?” asked Nandi, interested now.
“Fernando has a little place in town that I’ve known about for ages. He spotted me nearby last week and told me to swing by.”
“This doesn’t sound good,” said Nandi nervously.
“Well, I was a little worried at first, but then I spoke to Nomvu about it. She told me it was cool. So I paid Fernando a visit.”
“Nomvu?” asked Nandi. “What’s Nomvu got to do with it?”
“Nomvu worked for Fernando for a while, until Sipho found out.”
“Sipho found out what?” Nandi was even more concerned, vaguely remembering one of Beauty’s stories about how Sipho had given Nomvu a beating for something she had done.
“Oh, Sipho is just so old-fashioned. He doesn’t understand,” Beauty had said.
Nandi took Beauty by the shoulders and looked her squarely in the face. “Tell me, Beauty,” she said seriously, “exactly what kind of work have you been doing?”
When Beauty had finished telling her story Nandi sat back and covered her face with her hands. “Beauty!” she said, shocked. “What you are talking about is pornography! What were you thinking?”
“It’s not porn,” said Beauty, very irritated. “It’s acting! You’re just like Sipho. You just don’t understand! You’re so old-fashioned.”
“Acting!” said Nandi, raising her voice. “But you took your clothes off!”
“Not all of them!” said Beauty defensively. “You’re just jealous! You think you’re the big deal actress in this house! But you’re not! I’ve already made a movie and I’ve been paid for it! And I’m going to be rich and famous long before you!”
Beauty stood up angrily and moved towards the door. Then she hesitated, came back towards Nandi, bent down and hissed into her face: “And if you tell my mother I’ll bloody well kill you!”
Beauty slammed the door as she left the room. Nandi lay down and pulled the blanket back over her head. She closed her eyes and eventually fell asleep after crying hard and silently. The weekend lay ahead. At least she would not have to see Luyanda for two whole days.
Tell us what you think: Is what Beauty is doing a good idea? Do you think that Fernando sounds trustworthy?