Andisiwe packed her bags wearily. It was morning and she knew she should have done it the night before, instead of going out partying with Siya. She felt tired, and her body hurt from all the dancing, but it had been worth it to spend the last night in PE with her best friend.
Andisiwe felt sad. It was time for her to leave and she was suddenly doubting her decision.
“Maybe I should stay,” she told Siya. “Or better still, you could come with me.”
Suddenly everything felt overwhelming. Siya hugged Andisiwe tightly.
“I don’t want to let you go either,” she said, as tears flooded her eyes and began to run down her cheeks.
“Stop it now Siya,” said Andisiwe. “You’re making me cry too. We’re going to video chat. I’ll call you. We’ll voice chat on BBM if I don’t have airtime, vha?”
On the bus, Andisiwe spent most of the journey napping. She hadn’t had enough sleep for days. When she woke up from her last nap, she was in Cape Town Central Bus Station. She sat up in her seat and wiped her eyes. She put on her sunglasses, looked out of the window, and scanned the car park. Her aunt had told her she would be driving a red BMW convertible. Andisiwe spotted the car easily as she got off the bus. She was so excited!
As she approached the car she saw that her aunt was not alone, but with another woman. Andisiwe felt a twinge of disappointment. She wanted her aunt all to herself. That’s how she had imagined her arrival – just the two of them driving around Cape Town together, with the convertible top down, catching up on all the news.
Wonderful Aunt Mimi was a career woman. She was also very beautiful and glamorous. She had worked really hard to get where she was, and Andisiwe admired her and wanted to be like her one day. She was also so understanding and open.
“Siwe,” said Mimi as she greeted Andisiwe with a big hug. “Pam, this is my niece Andisiwe,” she told her friend, proudly.
“Nice meeting you young lady.” Pamela squeezed Andisiwe’s hand. “You’re just as pretty as your aunt.”
And then they were whizzing through town in Mimi’s BMW, and on towards Camps Bay. Andisiwe felt so excited and so enchanted by the beauty of Table Mountain that towered above the city. When she saw a huge advertising billboard next to the road she smiled even more. At last she felt close to living her dream of working in advertising. She had completed her studies. There was nothing to stop her now.
Andisiwe’s mouth dropped open when they pulled up outside the giant gates of Mimi’s house. “OMG, this house is huge! It’s like in the movies…” she gasped.
Inside the marble entrance hall they were met by a young woman called Maria, who worked for her aunt. She took Andisiwe to her bedroom.
“Miss, if there’s anything you need just call me.” She smiled at Andisiwe as she put her bag down on a huge double bed.
“Please call me Siwe,” said Andisiwe, feeling a little awkward. She wasn’t used to having someone waiting on her like this.
“See you later darling,” said Mimi as Andisiwe joined her aunt and Pamela in the kitchen.
Mimi gave her a kiss. “Business…” she said. “Pam and I have to get back to work to pay for all of this…” she said, gesturing around her. “Have fun.” And with that they were gone.
“Siwe, in about an hour we have to go shopping for a dress,” said Maria, bringing her a coffee while she unpacked in her new room.
“But I don’t have money,” said Andisiwe, a little confused. Then she added, “And I do have dresses.”
Maria chuckled. “Your aunt deposited five thousand rand into your account to keep you going for the month. And we are going shopping for a party dress.” Maria shook her head, clicked her tongue, and said, “Your aunt, she always finds excuses to throw a party, that one.”
At the V&A Waterfront Andisiwe found the dress of her dreams at Topshop. She had seen it in a magazine. She couldn’t believe her luck: it was the last dress and it was in her size.
When they got home Andisiwe disappeared into her room to freshen up and get changed for the party. When she emerged she found the house empty. “Where’s my aunt?” she asked Maria. “Where are all the people?”
“The party isn’t here,” said Maria. “Pamela is going to fetch you in ten minutes and take you to Shimmy’s Beach Club at the Waterfront.”
“You look gorgeous darling,” said Pam as they drove to the Waterfront. “I see you are into fashion, just like your aunt.”
They arrived at Shimmy’s, and the first thing Andisiwe noticed as she walked in was a red carpet. Mimi had booked the cocktail lounge with an open bar. Still stunned by the red carpet, Andisiwe sat down on the nearest chair. She looked around for a moment and sighed deeply. It was all so beautiful, and to top it all, from where she sat she had a perfect view of the setting sun.
The waiter served platters and cocktails. Andisiwe made her way to the bar to order a Sky vodka with lemonade.
“It’s obvious that you must be the ‘Party Girl’.”
Andisiwe spun around. A young man was smiling at her. “Here, this must be your drink …” he said, handing her the drink the barman had poured. He was handsome, and Andisiwe could instantly feel the electricity between them.
“Why must I obviously be the ‘Party Girl’?” she said cheekily, with her head cocked to one side.
“Well, ‘Party Girl’, my name is Thabo, and…” the young man paused to run his eyes over her, from head to toe, “for starters, those shoes you’re wearing are from Aldo, your aunt’s favourite shoe brand. Besides, there’s a picture of you on the invitation.”
Andisiwe’s eyes widened. “Impressive. But how do you know so much about my aunt?”
“She is a very important person in the fashion industry,” said Thabo. “I might have read it in a thing called a ‘magazine’.”
Andisiwe looked away, frowning slightly as she replied, “Are you trying to be funny, Mr…um, Thabo?”
Andisiwe excused herself to go to the ladies room. There she ran into Pam.
“Are you enjoying the party?” Pam asked Andisiwe as they reapplied their lip gloss. “As always, your auntie has invited some of the most attractive men in town.”
“It’s raining men!” said Andisiwe.
“Alleluia,” said Pam, and they burst out laughing.
“I couldn’t help noticing you talking to a certain young man at the bar,” said Pam, as they rejoined the party. She leaned close to Andisiwe’s ear. “Just be careful, darling. A man’s suit says a lot about him, but some suits are rented.”
* * *
Tell us what you think: What did Pam mean by the comment she made about Thabo?