Her mother had been working abroad. Her high-powered job was with a multi-national company, and it kept her out of the country most of the time.

Her father, well, he did not even live in the country anymore. He visited when he could, which was not often. Kamvi was left alone, in a very expensive apartment, in a city which was far away from the school she attended, and where she did not know anyone at all.

This was the beginning of her Matric year, and Kamvi now had her own room in the hostel. She wondered about the new students coming in this year. She wondered about any new teachers. She knew that there would be a new English teacher. She hardly spared him a thought. She had read more books and studied more English than her last three English teachers combined.

In fact, during her Grade 11 year she had asked to be excused from her English Literature classes. She had read every one of the set texts a few times over before term began, and she found the comments of her fellow classmates to be boring and irritating. She always attained over 90% for her English and so the school accommodated her request.

Kamvi sat down on her bed.

No doubt her hostel friend, Nikita, would arrive any minute. Kamvi was not particularly looking forward to seeing her, but she smiled and jumped up when her door was flung open and sure enough, Nikita stood in her doorway, grinning from ear to ear.

“Darling Kamvi!” shrieked Nikita, throwing her arms around Kamvi, and then pulling back to scan her from head to foot. “Wow girl!” she continued. “You are just as gorgeous as ever! And so thin! How do you do it? Sitting around your flat all day, doing nothing but reading!”

Kamvi opened her mouth to protest, but Nikita put up a finger to silence her.

“Sssssh! I know you Kamvi. How many books have you read this holiday?” But before she could reply Nikita had flipped open the lid of Kamvi’s suitcase, revealing the remaining items which Kamvi had yet to unpack.

“Your Woollies stash!” shrieked Nikita with delight. “All my favourites!”

“Help yourself,” said Kamvi, indicating her supply of cellophane-wrapped cakes and biscuits, chocolates and cereals, as well as cooldrinks.

“Don’t mind if I do,” said Nikita, reaching in, pulling out a ginger beer and twisting the lid. She took a long glug from the bottle, pulled back and then burped loudly. “That feels better!” she said with a naughty grin and a wink. “I really mustn’t have all this sugar. I just spent a fortune on the best pair of embroidered jeans ever, and I can’t afford to put on a centimetre.”

Nikita stood up then, touching Kamvi’s head lightly with her fingers. “Still keeping it natural I see,” she said, and quickly swung her head. “My weave cost an absolute fortune. Real hair this time. Hope it lasts.”

And then Nikita swung out of her room. Kamvi could hear loud shrieks and laughter coming from the other rooms as more girls arrived. She got up and shut the door. After six weeks of solitude it was almost too much for her to bear.


Tell us: Do you think Kamvi has a life to envy? If not, what is lacking?