Ekuseni ngiphumela ngaphandle, ngibuka egcekeni lakwaChino. Kukhona intombazane ewasha izingubo namhlanje. Igqoke ingutshana yokulala emfushane eyiveza amathanga nemilenze emide. Izinwele izishuqule nge-pantyhose. Angiwezwa kahle amagama amaningi ale ngoma eyiculayo, ngibamba amathathu kuphela, athi, “…like a natural woman”.

Hi, igama lami nginguNana.” Iyama ukucula, ingibukisise.

“Mina ngingu-Agnes. Wena uthe unguNana?” Yesula izandla ngendwangu.

“Yebo,” ngisho ngimbuka u-Agnes njengoba esondela othangweni nje.

“Ezinsukwini ezedlule ngike ngakhuluma nensizwa okuthiwa uChino. Ngabe uyamazi?”

“Ngimazi kakhulu lowo muntu. UChino ungumfowethu,” u-Agnes uyamamatheka kuvele uthotho lwamazinyo. “Usemsebenzini okwamanje.”

“Agcine emdedele amaphoyisa?”

“Amdedela. Amaphepha akhe abekimina.” Uyasondela u-Agnes. “Nana. Angikaze ngilizwe leli gama. Lihle futhi kumnandi nokulisho. Uvelaphi Nana? Angikaze ngikubone kule ndawo.”

Ngaso leso sikhathi ngazibonela ukuthi u-Agnes akafani namanye amantombazane. Yena akangibuzanga ngamacici, ufuna ukwazi mina uqobo.

“Ukuthanda kanjani lapha eMasi?” kubuza u-Agnes.

“Angazi kahle.” Ngimxoxela ngabangani abasha engihlangane nabo esikoleni, nomncintiswano wozime engiwungenele. “Kufanele ngihambe ngendlela ethile, ngiziphathe sengathi nginguzime. Bafuna ngibhoboze izindlebe ngifake amacici. Uthisha uthi, ‘Isimanga ukuthi ungafuni ukubhoboza izindlebe? Yonke intombazane kufanele ifake amacici.’”

Uyangihleka u-Agnes. “Lo thisha wakho kusho ukuthi naye akasile ekhanda,” ungibuka ngendlela ehlukile, sengathi wazi konke engikuzwayo nengikucabangayo.

“Angiziboni ngifana namanye amantombazane esikoleni.”

“Ngempela?” U-Agnes uvumelana nami enqekuzisa ikhanda.

“Ukuthi nje, angiyena umuntu ocabanga njengabanye,” ngiyaqhubeka ngixoxele u-Agnes. “Amanye amantombazane aphilela ukubukwa abafana. Mina anginjalo, futhi angiboni ukuthi ngiyoke ngibe njalo.”

“Wena uzibona uphila impilo enjani?” Ungibuza engibuka emehlweni. Anginayo impendulo yombuzo wakhe.

Sibukana isikhashana, sihleke sobabili.

“Woza ngapha, Nana. Ikhona into engicabanga ukuthi izokusiza kulo mncintiswano owungenele. Likhona icebo enginalo,” ugijima angene emjondolo wakhe, abuye namacici.

“Uyawabona la macici? Wona awadingi ubhoboze izindlebe ukuze uwagqoke. Lawa uyawabeka ezindlebeni, anamathele. Uma usuqedile ngawo uyawasusa.”

“Kuzokwenzekani uma ewa phansi ngiwagqokile?”

“Lapho uzobatshela abangani bakho ukuthi awukafuni ukubhoboza izindlebe zakho.”

“Sengathi sizozwana nawe, Agnes.”

“Ngeke ngikudicilelele phansi,” kusho u-Agnes. “Ngiyazi ukuthi kunjani ukungazizwa wamukelekile endaweni. Ungethembela kimina.”

Ngimbona emehlweni njengoba ekhuluma ukuthi ungitshela iqiniso lodwa.