I took my school jersey off and wrapped it around my waist. The sun was hectic. It had been murder trying to stay awake during history. I moved into the shade of a nearby tree and waited for my friend Fiona, who was always late.

“Hey Kagiso,” Pearl said.

I looked at Pearl. She’d been flashing her new Blackberry around so everyone could see it. She was doing the same thing to me now. I knew that with three younger brothers and a mother who worked as a cleaner at the mine office, Pearl couldn’t have afforded that phone on her own. But I wasn’t about to ask her where she got it.

“Hey Pearl,” I said with no enthusiasm, and then looked away so as not to encourage her. Even before all of the new clothes and her fancy phone, Pearl was not someone I liked much. She’s always wanting attention, wanting people to notice her, but for stupid things, not anything important. Pearl has never been my type.

Still, she made her way to my patch of shade. “So d’ya see my new phone?” she asked, handing the phone to me.

I held it for a minute, moving it around in my hand to give it the attention I was sure Pearl felt it needed. “It’s nice. You’re lucky. You must watch out though; I heard the Denver Boys specialise in taking Blackberries.” The Denver Boys are a local gang that terrorise people in our village. Picking pockets, taking cellphones.

Pearl took the phone back and stuck it inside her school blouse, under her bra. “Don’t worry. No-one is getting this from me.”

“Best keep it safe.”

Fiona pitched up. “This sun is crazy,” she said, wiping her hand across her wet brow. She noticed Pearl and looked her up and down with her “Fiona-stare”. Fiona didn’t mess around – always straight, my friend Fiona. And she didn’t like Pearl. “You best get on your way, Pearl.”

“Mxm!” Pearl clicked in irritation. She turned to me before leaving: “I’m not sure why a nice girl like you, Kagiso, keeps company with a cow like her.”

Fiona, much bigger and stronger than Pearl, made as if she was about to grab her. Pearl let out a squeal and ran off down the dusty lane. Fiona laughed. “Like I’d run after that one in this heat. Not worth my time.”

Fiona dropped her book bag and sat on a nearby rock. She dug around in the bag looking for her water bottle. She took a drink and handed it to me. “What’s she want, anyway?”

“Showing off her phone. What else?” I said. I sat down on the ground next to Fiona. I knew some people thought Fiona was too much of a tomboy and that I shouldn’t hang around with her like I do. That people would start getting ideas. But I didn’t care. I liked Fiona. She knew things. She understood things; things I didn’t.

“You know where she got that phone, right?”

“No. I could tell she wanted me to ask, so I didn’t.”

Fiona looked out down the dust road shimmering in the heat. “Mr Phaladi.”

“The English teacher?!”


“Why’d he buy her a Blackberry?”

“Why do you think, Kagiso? She’s sleeping with him.”

I couldn’t believe it! I knew Pearl was a bit free with boys, but a teacher? That must be where she got all her new clothes too.

Fiona stood up and put her water bottle back in her bag, put the bag on her back and headed out of the cool shade. I followed her. “It’s gonna bring trouble. Mark my words, Kagiso. This will come to no good.”


Tell us what you think: What do you think of what Pearl is doing?