It’s Monday again and I’m sitting on my own. Clinton deserves a break. One thing to walk me home every day, but totally different matter to have me hanging around with his real friends.
I poke at my lunch. It’s leftover dinner from last night: sweet potato stew with mushrooms, spinach, and chickpeas. I thought it tasted pretty good. My father asked if I was trying to kill him.
“It’s a low GI meal,” I’d explained.
“If GI stands for gemsbok and insect food, then yes,” he’d said.
I’d already explained the glycaemic index to him, as had the clinic. So all I said was, “But you like sweet potatoes.”
“Yes, I liked them the way your mother made them.”
Mama’s were delicious. She baked them in a mixture of oil and honey. That is not low GI.
Footsteps approach. “That looks tasty.”
I look up to see Clinton smiling down at me, then he joins me on the grass. The rest of his friends do the same.
“You upset with us, Wiki?” Baka asks.
I shake my head.
“Then why you blowing us off?” Renée says. “I was just about to tell everyone about the guy I met at Kim’s party when we realised you were missing.”
“Maybe because she finds your stories boring,” Clinton says.
“Clinton,” she says. “I’m going to forgive you for that comment because I’m nice like that. I saw the way you mooned over that fine young woman in the tight red dress, and she didn’t give you a glance. Felt bad for you, I really did.”
“There was no woman in a tight red dress,” Clinton says to me.
I shrug. Nobody invites me to these things anyway, so I don’t care. On weekends I’m either with Senamile or at home making my father healthy food he doesn’t like. Maybe Senamile is right, I should just cook what he enjoys. But would that make me an accessory to murder? I should look that–
“Wiki, where’d you go?”
I realise Baka is waving a hand in my face.
“Leave her alone,” Clinton says, shoving Baka back.
Baka tuts. “You just checked out. What were you thinking about.”
“Nothing,” I mutter.
Renée snorts. “Now that’s a lie. But no problem, if you don’t want to tell us, then you don’t have to. I can amuse everyone with my fantastic sex life, now that I’ve got one again.”
“Please,” Baka says, hands clasped in mock prayer. “Spare us from her tales and tell us something that’s actually interesting.”
“Amen,” Nomhle says, and Robyn hi-fives her.
“See,” Baka says. “We want to know.”
I shrug. “I was only thinking about food.”
Clinton looks down at his sandwich, which is really only buttered bread. “Nothing gross, I hope. I’m eating.”
“Okay,” I say.
He smiles. “I’m kidding, tell us anything you want.”
“Yes,” Baka says. “Something I don’t know.”
“That could be anything, given your shallow depth of knowledge,” Renée snorts.
Enrico laughs, pulling a mealie out of his bag.
“Okay,” I say, “mealies almost never have an odd number of rows.”
“What?” Baka exclaims.
“You know, the kernels of mealies are in rows, and there is usually an even number of them, averaging sixteen.”
Enrico starts counting his mealie. “Fourteen.”
I nod. “That is below average, yet a common amount.”
Nomhle looks at Enrico’s mealie and says, “I wonder why that is?”
“Breeding,” I say.
“Now I’m interested,” Renée says.
“Of course you are,” Robyn says, rolling her eyes.
Clinton leans close, whispering, “I’m wondering if we should get new friends.”
Tell us: Researchers say that over 840 000 South Africans have diabetes type 2, although most of them don’t even know it. Diabetics must limit starch and sugar. What cheap foods could they eat or eat more of instead, to help them be more healthy?