“Hey, Tazmin, I’ve got the video footage here,” Max calls out. He strolls across the grounds, not looking as if he cares that everyone within half a kilometre probably heard him.

I give him a small wave, and nibble at my butter and bread. I already ate the apple. It was soft and mushy, which I can’t stand. I like them hard and crisp. But when I told Ma they were disgusting all she said was, “Checkers had them on a two for one special.” Easy to know why, because nobody would have bought such crappy apples at full price.

“Hey, howzit,” Max says, sliding the bag from his shoulder, all smooth. He moves with that confidence people have when they don’t have to worry about much.

“Good thanks,” I say. “You?”

“Looking forward to the surf this afternoon,” he says, all easy, as he lowers himself down next to me on the grass.

“Yeah,” I say, wondering if he is going to move. He’s sitting pretty close. In fact, he’s sitting on the hem of my uniform. But he stays where he is, sliding the laptop out and booting it up.

While we wait for it, he pulls out his lunch. Sushi. And there is the price, right there on the pack from Spar, R105. For lunch. I could feed Gab, Ma and I dinner for less than that, and do. He glances over and notices me looking at it. “Want some?” and he holds the tray out.

I shake my head. “I’m good.”

“Really, there is so much here, have a rainbow roll, they’re the best.”

“I’m overloaded on fish right now, have to eat it all the time.”

Max smiles. “Sounds good to me, I love calamari.”

“Well you’re welcome to eat my share any night, although it isn’t always calamari.”

Max’s smile deepens, and I realise what I’ve just said. Great, now he thinks I’m into him and he’s going to be telling all his buddies and

“That sounds nice,” he says. “Maybe I will, sometime.”

And I take a large bite of my bread, because then he can’t expect me to say anything more, my mouth being full and all.

His laptop makes some cheerful beeps and he turns to it. “Ah, here we go,” and he inserts the memory stick and click-click. Screen swirls, and there we are, in the water.

I swallow. “You don’t have to watch with me. I could bring your laptop back to you at the end of the break.”

He glances at me. “I’m good here, got company, food, surfing footage, what more could I want?”

Your real friends, I don’t say.


Tell us: Do you think R105 is too much to spend on lunch?