I want to stay away, far away from the breathless, star struck Anela of yesterday. But I’m her friend, I’ve got to support her every effort. I stop at the house later. She’s doing her hair in her room. She’s going early to the club to warm up. “Warm up with Raynard,” I think miserably. Anela pushes the door open with her foot. She’s in a brown stretch dress with gold glitter. It makes her skin sparkle like it’s lit with magic lights. She’s busy with her braids.

‘Hey, Mzi, you coming later?” she asks.

“For sure. Do you think I would miss it?”

“Thanks, my brother!”

That’s the problem. I don’t want to be her brother.

We’re nearly at the taxi rank when Khuzani’s phone beeps. He reads Anela’s sms: “There’s been a change of schedule.” Khuzani tells me. He SMSes Anela back asking when she’s singing. There’s no reply. He tries to call, but Anela’s phone just rings. Khuzani shrugs, “It must be loud in the club.”

We take Ma Makwena home. Khuzani says to me, “Let’s wait at Rawson’s down the road. Remember those girls I met on the beach? They’re visiting …”

“Haai,” I say. “I’ll be at home, okay?”

‘What’s wrong with you, chommie?” But I know that Khuzani doesn’t really want the answer. He’s one of those guys who can’t handle too much sadness.

My big brother, Lindela’s also out having fun. I take my shirt off and hang it on a chair. I want to look smart at the club, not crumpled and weak. I watch a funny reality show, some silly suckers falling in the mud. Despite my heavy heart, I can’t help laughing.

There’s a knock at the door. I get up, still laughing. Anela stumbles in. “He lied!” She collapses on the couch, her face tear-stained. Her dress still glitters, but the girl inside has lost her shine. Her story tumbles out in a rush. “I got there and he’s like, ‘Hello Sweetie, nice to see you. I’m not so sure about tonight.” Anela starts to sob. I pat her back, but she shifts out of the way. “I can’t believe I gave him…”

“Your body,” I whisper.

“I thought he meant it when he said we were perfect, I was his discovery …” I don’t want to hear this stuff.

“So what happened next?”

“This white girl walks in and gives him this huge kiss. She starts plugging in, testing the mike. Suddenly she sees me.” Anela gets up to show me. “She stands with her hands on her hips. She asks, ‘Who the hell are you?’ She’s wearing this red dress, like nearly nothing and a horrible red wig.” Anela slumps down on the couch. “Sorry. I mustn’t be bitchy. It’s not her fault.” Now this is why I love Anela Makwena.

“Raynard says, ‘She’s no-one, my love. Just a little singer. How about you let her do a Siphokazi song, later.’ That’s when I SMSed you guys and left. But I couldn’t face going home. Ah, Mzingisi, I’m so stupid. So dumb.”

The cheeky girl I used to know seems to have given up. I stroke her head, “Cool it, kid.” Anela flinches like she’s got some thing about being touched. She looks around.

“Can I sleep on your floor?”

I give her my bed. I put the couch cushions on the ground. They separate in the night. I wake up with a broken back and my bum on the hard floor. My brother’s snoring in his bed.

Anela’s gone.


Tell us what you think: What do you think happened to Anela?Do you her brother, Khuzani, is clever to stay away from sadness?