The Boy Next Door

Gogo introduces me to her neighbour, Mrs Zondo. They’ve been friends for years and have laughed and cried together. Mrs Zondo is also excited to meet me. I wonder what these two grandmothers, firm friends for so many years, have been planning.

Gogo sends me to make tea. Not because she really wants tea, but because she wants Mrs Zondo to see how dutiful her granddaughter is. I decide it will be best to comply while the old friends chat together.

When I get back to the sitting room, Gogo says, “Mrs Zondo has been telling me about her grandson, Michael. He has come to stay with her while he trains to be a mechanic at his uncle’s garage.” There is a little sparkle in her eyes.

“Yes, Zoe. Michael is staying with me and we think that the two of you could get to know each other,” says Mrs Zondo, looking intently at me.

Clearly the two grandmothers have been hatching plans, each as sure as the other that her grandchild is the best in the whole wide world.

I nod while they speak, and look out ofthe window to see a tall, good-looking boy standing on the veranda next door at Mrs Zondo’s house. He is talking to someone on his cell phone. He has no idea he is the topic of conversation here.

“You know, it is Youth Club on Friday. Perhaps you two young people could go there together,” says Mrs Zondo, as if the idea has just popped into her head.

“What a clever idea, Sylvia,” says my Gogo to her friend.

I suspect the two old dears have been hatching this plan all day!

I look out towards the house next door. Michael is looking across towards this veranda. He waves at us. He is tall, and I like the way he stands casually against the poles that hold up the corrugated iron roof.

“I’ll send Michael over to meet you later my dear. Well, I must go now,” Mrs Zondo says, and she departs looking very pleased with herself.

I rush to my room and start my homework.

There’s a knock at the door. Michael!

When I walk through to open the door, I find that Gogo has got there before me and Michael is in the lounge. He stands up and reaches out his hand. Gogo introduces us, then leaves the room. I hear the sound of her breathing, just outside the door. I chuckle to myself. Gogo is very protective, and curious too.

“Would you like to come to Youth Club with me this Friday?” he asks.

“That would be great. I’d really enjoy that. Thanks, Michael.”

“Call me Mike. I’ll pick you up at 7 p.m. tomorrow. It’s casual,” he replies, and walks out the door.


Tell us what you think: Will Zoe have an enjoyable date with a partner chosen by her grandmother?