“Would you like to say a few words to the class, Thabo, maybe tell us where you came from and a little about the school you went to?” Thabo shook his head, smiled and looked down at his desk, embarrassed. “It’s okay, you will get used to us.” Mrs Shandu clapped her hands as a sign of welcome and the entire class followed suit. Some of the girls started to giggle shyly.

Pearl leaned over and whispered to Busi, “Are you okay? You’re sweating.”

“I’m fine, it’s too hot in here,” Busi responded, fanning herself with her notebook.

Pearl raised a hand and asked if they could open the door. Mrs Shandu agreed but warned that if the outside noise got to be too much, they would have to close it again.

Busi could hardly hear anything coming out of their teacher’s mouth. Her heartbeat was returning to normal at last. She couldn’t explain what was happening to her, she had never felt like this before. She couldn’t wait for lunch break to tell Thuli and Lolo about her episode.


“Okay, show me the boy,” Thuli said as they moved around the school looking for Thabo.

“Don’t worry, you will see him,” Busi said. “He’s tall, dark and totally handsome.”

“Busi’s in loooove,” quipped Lolo playfully.

“Am not.”

“Yes, you are.”

“There!” Busi almost screamed as she pointed at a group of boys standing by the soccer field. Most were in the school’s soccer team and naturally revered by everyone, especially the girls.

“I see him,” Thuli said scrutinising Thabo as if he were a specimen under the microscope. “He’s definitively hot.”

“Agreed,” Lolo concurred.

“So what are you going to do about Thabo?” Thuli turned to Busi.

“I’m not going to do anything,” Busi brushed her off.

“Come on, you obviously like him. You better make a move before the other girls do,” Thuli warned.

“I didn’t say I like him,” Busi protested.

“Thuli, leave her alone,” Lolo jumped in. “Gosh, she just wanted to show you a cute boy from her class.”

“Fine, all I’m saying is if she likes the boy, she must let him know before it’s too late.”

The school bell rang signalling the end of the break. As she was walking towards her classroom Busi thought about what Thuli had said. The truth was she wasn’t sure what she felt about Thabo. Did her morning palpitations mean she liked him?

The rest of the day went by very fast. At the end of the last period Busi picked up her bag and hurriedly left without waiting for her friends. She wanted to have a deep conversation with herself about the situation she found herself in. Whether she liked the new boy or not really didn’t matter: there was no way Thabo was going to want a fat girl like her for a girlfriend. No way.

For as long as she could remember she has always been bigger than other children her age. She was fat as a child, fat through her primary school, and now at fourteen, she was still fat. She had been called many names, including Fattie, Fatso and Biggie, even her family called her Sdudla. But her weight had never bothered her; no one was perfect. Take her friends for example, Thuli was as skinny as a mosquito and had acquired the nickname, Anorexia. And Lolo, the brainy one had skewed eyes and as a result had to wear extra thick glasses that made her look like an old woman. She too had a nickname, Four-Eyes.

Yet, Busi felt she was only kidding herself to think Thabo would accept her weight. She told herself she needed to forget about Thabo and concentrate on getting good grades if she really wanted that cellphone.

Tell us what you think: Should Busi forget about Thabo?