I stop my shouting, but now everything has gone quiet. Quiet but not silent; I hear voices muttering urgently, inside the house now.

Then one of the voices is raised. “Zami, keep calling so we can find you.”

Kayise. I’m sure of it.

“Here!” I yell. “In one of the bedrooms.”

I try to move towards the door to be ready to escape, but I feel so floppy, I can’t get there. I shout again instead.

The key turning. The door opening. Kayise and Jacky stand there, Kayise holding my bag.

“Come on, Zami, we need to move,” he says quickly. “We’ve done something illegal here, forcing our way in.”

“Not to mention hitting that guy,” Jacky adds.

“Sandile did something illegal first,” I gasp, moving again, and they see I need help and take my arms, leading me out of the room. “He drugged me and locked me in here.”

“I knew it,” Kayise says. “He was telling people back there at Ma Sunny’s that you were drunk, but I was sure you wouldn’t drink alcohol, being in training for Emalahleni. We even talked about it earlier.”

“Where … Sandile?” I look round as they guide me down the passage and into the hallway where the front door stands open to the night.

“He’s had a bit of a … blow, so we’ve locked him in his shiny new kitchen to recover,” Kayise says.

“Thank God you came. He was going to keep me here and get a pastor to come and marry us … But how … how did you find me?” I ask as we go outside and Jacky lets go of my left arm to close the front door and security gate.

I see Sandile’s BMW still parked where he dragged me out of it and into the house. But the garage is standing open now, as if he was about to put the car away. Another car stands in the street.

“When he drove off with you, we ran after you, but of course there was no chance of catching a car,” Kayise explains as Jacky takes my other arm again. “But we saw he was headed for this part of Numbi where all the big new houses are being built, so we rushed to get my car and drove here.”

“Then we stopped to ask anyone we saw if they knew a guy called Sandile with a BMW,” Jacky takes up the story as we reach the street and Kayise unlocks the car. “You’ve never told us his other name, so no-one could help us.”

“But we had some luck.” Kayise helps me into the front passenger seat and gives me my bag. “We turned into this street and saw the BMW parked outside, with the street gate still open – and your … your ex? … coming out and opening the garage with his remote. That was the real luck, because he’d never have let us in if we’d knocked, but he’d left the door wide open.”

“I think he thought we were hijackers at first.” Jacky jumps in the back seat. “Go, Kayise.”

“So you … what?” Relief is making me want to laugh at their story. “Used your boxing skills?”

“Because he pretended to know nothing when we asked where you were.” Kayise starts the car and we take off. “Do you need medical attention, Zami? Where should we take you?”

“Just home,” I say. “God, how can I ever thank you? I’ve been so stupid, letting Sandile and my parents put pressure on me to get engaged. I wanted to please them, but it was like I was losing part of me, trying to be the person Sandile wanted.”

“But now you’ve got the missing part back. Found it again.”

There’s warmth in Kayise’s voice, and I think how much I like him. I like his car too: old and small and noisy, the inside a mess of boxing boots and belts, gum guards, hand wraps and gloves. My kind of mess.

I give directions to my house, and when we get there, I let Kayise and Jacky do the talking. Mama is shocked to hear what happened, and keeps hugging me. I can see Papa isn’t so sure, that maybe he thinks Sandile didn’t do anything so wrong. He’ll have to get over that, and I’ll have to forgive him.

“Will we see you at the gym tomorrow, or do you need some time off?” Kayise asks as he and Jacky start to leave.

“I’m feeling better already,” I tell him. “Hungry and thirsty and tired is all. So yes, see you tomorrow.”

His smile makes me feel even better. He’s right. I may have lost part of myself for a while, but now I’ve found it again.


Tell us: Is it always a mistake to try and be the person others want us to be instead of the person we really are, or are there exceptions?