It is English and the sun streams through the window, making me feel sleepier than I am already. Mr Kani talks about the wild moors of Yorkshire and how some dude called Heathcliff hung a puppy to get his crush’s attention. Seriously? I’m not really listening; I’m staring at tall, muscular and handsome Andile.

“Concentrate, Nothando! You can’t afford to daydream in this class.” Mr Kani glares at me. I’m not the teacher’s pet.

As he turns back to the board, a piece of crumpled-up paper hits me on the side of my eye. I swing round and frown at Lerato. She’s my best friend, so she should seriously not be laughing at me. She nods her head and I turn to look in that direction. Urggh – Figo! I glare at him, and he looks away. He’s okay, if you like short guys with glasses. Not that glasses can’t be hip, but Figo’s are seriously unhip.

Finally the class ends and Lerato and I are in the taxi back to Alex. One day I’m getting out of here. I’m just not so sure when. Lerato and I made a promise to each other: the first one out takes the other one with her.

I say goodbye to her at the end of Main Road. I turn and head up dusty Fourth Street. My mom and I live in a shack behind Mrs Mokoena’s house. I unlock the door and go inside, and am surprised to see my mother at home. It’s only half past three.

“I’m home to pack our stuff. We’re moving!” she tells me, smiling widely.

“Where to?”

“Sandton. Mrs Simons’ tenant moved out of her cottage. She said we could move in. Well?”

I am lost for words. I knew I’d be getting out of Alex – I just didn’t know it would be today. I thought it would be when I get that scholarship to become … well … something. I know Mrs Simons’ cottage. It’s cute, with two small rooms, a lounge/kitchen and a bathroom, shower only. Who cares when it’s running water, right? Then why do I feel so … not that excited?

My mother is very proud. “Mrs Simons said she’ll even teach you to swim.” I’m not so sure about that.

I help my mother pack. It doesn’t take us long. That very night I’m getting into a new bed, in a freshly-painted cottage, at the end of a mansion’s garden. Helloooo Sandton. No one warned me it would be too quiet to sleep.

When I get to school, Lerato drags me to the end of the field. “Where were you, chommie? I waited and waited at the taxi rank. You hitch a ride to school?”

“Sorry, chommie, but we moved. And I didn’t have any airtime.” Lerato’s mouth hangs open, almost to the ground.

“Seriously? Your Ma win the lotto?” I grimace.

“I wish. Her boss said we could move into the cottage, so we did.” Lerato begins to laugh. “It’s not funny!” I’m angry. This makes her laugh even harder.

“You live in Sandton? You gonna start hanging out at ZAR with Kenny Kunene now?”

Figo walks past. “Howzit Thando.”

I spin around: “My name’s Nothando, okay.” He keeps on walking. Lerato eyeballs me.

“You gonna become a bitch because you live in Sandton now?”

Why is she being so hectic about all this? “Hey, it’s just another ʾburb,” I say. I move off, and slide into Geography, feeling like a weirdo, with no good reason.


Tell us what you think: Is Nothando going to get it together with Andile?