The shop sparkled with jewellery and Zakhele didn’t know which piece to choose. He looked around and Lutho was nowhere to be seen. He stood and waited. His work clothes didn’t inspire the assistants to jump to help him, probably thinking he was just a window-shopper. But just as he was about to walk out, one approached him.
“Can I help you?” the shop assistant asked.
“I need to get a present,” Zakhele said, without looking at the woman.
“Ahh. What’s the occasion?”
“I want to surprise my girlfriend with something,” Zakhele said scratching his head.
“Okay, is it a birthday or maybe something bigger?”
“Oh no, no,” Zakhele laughed. “Not yet,” he said, looking up at the lady for the first time. He was struck by how beautiful she was. He hadn’t really looked at other women since he got together with Lucia. She didn’t like it when he did it, even for a split second.
And now, feeling conscious and aware that he had been staring for far too long, he smiled awkwardly at her.
“It’s just a gift.” He didn’t want to tell the assistant about the five-month anniversary. She might laugh at him too.
She smiled. “Here, how about this?” the assistant said and pointed to a necklace from the display. Zakhele followed her hand with his eyes.
“This is nice,” he said, looking more closely at the item in the window. His throat started itching when he saw the price.
“Not really her kind of taste, is it?” The woman obviously felt his discomfort and shock, but was really nice about it. “Tell me, what kind of woman is she? What does she like? Maybe we can find something better suited to her.”
“She’s beautiful, and she loves … things …”
Nobody had ever asked Zakhele that, and for the first time he realised that he didn’t really know Lucia that well. Even though she did most of the talking, most of the time Zakhele had no clue who or what she was talking about.
“Come with me,” she said, walking away towards a cabinet on the other side. “Maybe some earrings instead? Here, I’m sure she’ll love these,” she said and opened the display case and handed him the earrings. They were beautiful, and less pricey than the necklace.
Zakhele smiled. “She’ll love these, yes.”
He paid and the woman put his package in a box and gift-wrapped it.
“She’s a lucky woman,” she said, handing the package over. Zakhele smiled.
“I’m the lucky one, thank you,” he said, and walked out of the store, proud and happy about his purchase.
He couldn’t wait to see the look on his Lucia’s face when he presented it to her.
Tell us: Do you think Lucia will like the gift?