Kamvi was glad to be back at school. She had never been able to relate to all the other students who got so excited about the holidays. She had always dreaded them.

Opening her suitcase onto her bed, she took out her toiletries and packed them neatly onto her top shelf. Then she packed out her clothes and her school uniform and set them down in neat rows in the wardrobe. Lastly, she made her bed, covering her duvet and pillows with the crisp cotton covers that her mother had sent her to buy from Woolworths.

Her mothers’ Woolworths card had been her best friend over the holidays. The flat had been empty of other people most of the time, but at least the cupboard shelves had not been empty.

Woolworths, to Kamvi, was a place of beauty. A place that Shoprite, Checkers or even Pick n Pay was not. She would wander down to the mall at the bottom of her apartment building and spend a couple of hours in the shops each day. And she always ended up in Woolworths, where she would spray some perfume from one of the tester bottles onto her wrist, sample a little of whatever was being cooked and demonstrated that day, and then spend some time trying on an item or two of clothing. Just for fun.

Most of the time Kamvi chose clothes that were totally unsuitable for her. She had always felt and behaved much older than her age. She was eighteen, but she could hardly relate to her peers.

But Kamvi spent most of her holiday time reading. Really reading. If she had lived a few decades earlier, she supposed that she would have spent a good part of her holidays in a library. Maybe then an Exclusive Book’s credit card might have been totting up the rands, instead of her Kindle account.

Kamvi did also love a book that she could hold in her hand. She agreed with the argument that valued paper and the smell of glue – or whatever it was that gave books that particular smell – above the cold, backlit screen of a computer. But it was just easier, and quicker, to order online.

Now Kamvi packed out a small pile of books and put them on her bedside table. She glanced over them. Siddhartha: she had only a few pages left of the Herman Hesse classic about the Buddha. Kamvi loved to explore different streams of thought. Her latest interest was different religions.

She sighed and shook her head. She had even explored being a vegetarian during the last holiday, simply because she wanted to experience what it was like. Kamvi wondered what the other students would think if they ever found out about some of the stuff she got up to when she was all alone.

She smiled again, and salivated slightly as she remembered the delicious vegetarian curries she had bought from Woollies, and had heated up for herself while she sat and daydreamed over her book.

“But what is a girl to do when she is alone all summer vac?” she asked herself.


Tell us: Do you feel sorry for Kamvi, or do you think she likes being alone?