Grandpa had been telling Mfundo to profess his love to this Mampho girl whom he shares the fourth grade class with. But the boy had always shied, not even brave enough to lie and say that he indeed told the girl he loves her. But what does a ten year old know about love? Grandpa, remembering the time he had his first girlfriend at thirteen, knows that it’s not a matter of knowing but a matter of feeling. Matters of the heart. Attraction never lies, no matter the age. Or else why was Mfundo’s book filled with hearts and the name Mampho? It all spoke of young love.

“Listen, boy. Just tell her you love her. Simple. Or show her that book,” grandpa had told Mfundo.

So there he sat in his rocking chair, teaching his grandson the tips and skills. To demonstrate, he yelled for Tryphina the maid, who came running as if the summoning is of extreme emergency. To grandpa it was.

Tryphina, chubby in a pink and white maid attire facing the old man with a dishcloth in hand, asked, “what is it, mkhulu?”

The old man just smiled, looked at Mfundo then looked up at Tryphina and told her how godly, gracious and gorgeous she was. Mkhulu’s voice was opposite his appearance and age; he sounded a poet rendering an ode to his love interest, voice sounding so feminine, gone was the hoarseness; the squint of his eyes held the glimmer caused by the sun’s reflection, his sweet words flying up from his dancing mouth, his dancing mouth making different shapes of smile.

It’s like the weed smell on him was replaced by an aromatic scent, only to Mfundo it wasn’t because he didn’t understand some of the words mkhulu was saying but whatever they were, they had an effect on Tryphina because when Mfundo looked up at her, he saw the brightest smile ever, accentuated by the beam of the sun. He too ended up smiling.

When grandpa was done, Tryphina laid both her chubby hands on her big chest, her face was all bright with blushes and smiles. “Mkhulu,” she said, running out of breath. She then wrapped her hands around him for a warm hug, he raised a thumb to Mfundo above her shoulder during the hug. She offered to make mkhulu his favourite food, then she walked back inside the house with that massive smile.

“Words. You see what they can do? Only if you pick the proper ones and say them right,” grandpa said to Mfundo. Grandpa was to further teach the boy how to be as convincing as possible towards girls, how to be calm and smooth, how to get inside their heads, which will eventually allow him to get into their hearts. “And when that happens, mfana’ wam’, you can get inside of them anywhere you want to, know what I mean?” Mkhulu winked at Mfundo and they both giggled.

But the lessons would have to continue for the following days because grandpa said they were many and he needed his daily rest on the chair. Then he kindly dismissed the boy to go play in the field as usual.

Tell us: do you remember how old you were when you first fell in love? Who gave you advice?