In the morning I’m bursting with energy. Must be Lilly’s soup that has worked magic. Maybe I should buy her flowers to thank her. Maybe I should ask her out to dinner instead.

But I don’t see Lilly at the cafeteria in the morning and my mood dampens. I hold on to the hope that I’ll see her on Friday. That makes me feel better.

Then my phone rings. It’s a number I don’t know.

“Hello?” I answer.

“Hey, Tumie. It’s Zandile,”

It takes a minute to remember who Zandile is.

“Hey,” I respond.

“Listen, is Dave with you? I can’t get hold of him and he’s not responding to my WhatsApp messages,”

“No. No, he’s not. I haven’t seen him today,”

“Please, Tumie. I need to speak to him. We had a fight and I think he’s avoiding me.”

“I’m sorry, Zandile. I can’t help you.”

Why don’t you try your friend, Joyce? I think to myself.

“If you see him, please tell him I’m not angry with him. I just wanna talk.” She hangs up.

I know what this means: Dave has broken up with her already. He does this all the time and he always gets away with it. He’ll pick a fight with a girl and then ignore her, saying he needs space to think about things.

What I hate is him giving them my number. I’ve asked him to stop, but he says girls feel a sense of security when they have the best friend’s number. They trust more. Classic Dave. He’ll use anyone just to get what he wants. Oh, I hate that about the guy.

I see Dave at lunchtime and tell him about the call I received earlier.

“Ugh, the chick needs to get over it. It’s over,” he says.

“Well, she doesn’t seem to think so,”

“Well, I don’t care. I can’t be bothered by little girls who don’t know what they want. All she talks about is herself and her hair and her clothes and the stupid people she goes to school with. She has no ambition. So unattractive.”

Then you two should be perfect together, I think.

“She’s got a great rack and she’s cute,” I remind him.

“That’s all she has. I need more than just looks, Tumie. I need a woman who thinks about life and wants more from life. Someone ambitious. Someone mature. Someone like Lilly.”

“What? Wait… Lilly?”

“Yes, Lillian. My boss. She’s the whole package. And I deserve someone who has just as much to offer as I do.”

I’m shaking my head, but words are not coming out of my mouth. I want to scream and punch Dave.

“But … But …” I thought you said she was plain, I want to shout. You said she wasn’t your type, I want to remind him. But I just sit there and stutter.

“I’ve been spending time with her and she’s interesting. She’s a woman, Tumie, not a girl.”

I don’t know what to say. My hands are shaking with rage.

“I know you had a crush on her. I saw how you reacted the other day. But you didn’t think you had a chance with her, did you? C’mon guy, she’s way out of your league.”

He gets up and takes his coffee with him.

“Look, don’t ruin a friendship over a girl. We’re family. You’ll find someone right for you,” he says, and gives me a patronising pat on the back. Then he walks away.


Question: Have you ever had your friend steal your crush? If yes, what did you do about it?