That evening, the Jansens are eating while watching TV.

MRS JANSEN: Joseph, have you found a date for your matric dance yet?

Joseph chokes on his food and Benjamin laughs.

BENJAMIN: Can’t you chew your food properly, like a normal person?

MRS JANSEN: (to Benjamin) Don’t talk to your brother like that. (turning to Joseph) Honey, are you OK?

Joseph nods slowly. He’s still coughing.

MRS JANSEN: So, who are you taking?

There is still no answer from Joseph.

BENJAMIN: Ma, of course he doesn’t have a date. Have you ever seen him with a meisie?

MRS JANSEN: B-E-N-J-A-M-I-N! Ek gannie vir jou weer waarskie!

BENJAMIN: Jammer, Ma. I’m just saying, Joseph doesn’t even have friends. He’s a moffie, man.

MRS JANSEN: (turning to Joseph) That’s not true – is it, honey?

JOSEPH: Of course not! How could you even ask me that?

MRS JANSEN: It’s OK if you are, you know. We’d love you just the same.

Benjamin laughs and Mrs Jansen whacks him on the back of his head.

MRS JANSEN: Honey, if you’re struggling to talk to girls, or boys, I can always ask …

JOSEPH: Ma, I don’t need your help.

MRS JANSEN: There’s no shame in asking for help. I just want you to partake in something.

JOSEPH: Yeah, like you made me “partake” in soccer – a sport I hate, by the way. But you wouldn’t know that.

MRS JANSEN: Watch your tone, young man! You watch – you’ll thank me later!

There is a knock at the door.

MRS JANSEN: Who’s coming this late? Open the door, Joseph.

Athi appears at the door.

ATHI: Sorry, Mrs J, I just wanted to bring Joseph’s maths book to him – I forgot to return it and he’ll need it. (He hands over the book, and speaks quietly to Joseph) Weren’t you going to swing by my place on the way home?

JOSEPH: You know I had soccer practice after school.

ATHI: I don’t know why you bother. You hate soccer. And you’re always on the bench anyway.

JOSEPH: (shrugs, nods to his mother) Keeps my mother happy.

ATHI: So, you gonna tell me, or do I have to ask?

JOSEPH: Tell you what?

ATHI: I saw the way you looked at the bookworm when she dropped her books. You know, the librarian with the cute glasses.

JOSEPH: Her name is Nozi, you know.

ATHI: Why don’t you ask her out to the dance?

JOSEPH: (panicking) No, I can’t.

ATHI: Dude, you only have a few days. The dance is this Friday.

JOSEPH: She’s not going. And even if she were, she wouldn’t go with a jerk like me.

ATHI: Jerk! What’s going on? Did something happen that you’re not telling me about?

JOSEPH: I walked home with her today. Everything came out the wrong way. She’ll probably never speak to me ever again anyway. She thinks I think she’s weird.

JOSEPH: Well, you’re weird too, so there shouldn’t be a problem!

Tell us: do you think Joseph has a chance with Nozi?