I hadn’t arrived yet but I could hear the noises and the song from a distance of where the festivity was taking place. It was a lot more crowded than I thought it would be. This Ntokozo guy was a real big shot. It was so flooded with people you’d think he was this high class celebrity who deserved this sort of attendance. I guess all the excitement from everyone was worth it after all. All of a sudden worry plagued me. I wondered what the ones who knew me would say when they saw me at the party. Wait, is that..Hazel? Hazel Nkadimrng? Is she lost or something?

I could imagine them saying that. Their prospect laugher haunted my head. The Piano tracks blasting under the marquee were the ones I knew, not that they were the type of stuff I listened to; they were just songs I’d hear almost every day outside. You’d never walk on township streets without hearing a piano song somewhere .

I’m at a party and I’m the only one standing still. Everyone’s hand is occupied with a bottle or a glass of a drink, dance moves and happy yelling all around me. I’ve never been in such a loud space before, felt like my ears were seconds away from bleeding or I was going to go deaf forever. People using all their voices’ might to sing along to this Piano song; lyrics sounding as dumb as the song itself. Everyone dancing and singing and drinking; some multi-tasking I couldn’t help but admire. The whole atmosphere felt like a New Year’s celebration and this current song is the one that immediately played after the …3,2,1 countdown.

To avoid looking like a granny I slowly moved my head to the beat. It felt so weird I had never done this before. That’s because I only dance in my imaginationβ€” I don’t move like that.

I looked around, saw some familiar faces but they never laughed at me because they didn’t see me; they were too busy partying. Once again, I felt invisible but I didn’t mind that. Instead I was glad; couldn’t afford to be seen in this super awkward position.

I tried to dance like this tall girl who moved beside me (I think she was already tipsy), instead I almost fell, almost broke my ankle. I quickly looked around to check if nobody saw that. I felt like I was going to cry. I stiffened in an effort to pull myself together. Maybe coming here was a mistake. I should’ve been at home, in the sweet comfort of my bed, reading a nice book.

A name was being called out behind me. I thought there was another Hazel at the party but it turned out there wasn’t. I turned around and that’s when I saw this girl. She looked like a slay queen. The short sparkling dress she wore held on to her too tight. Most of her yellow-bone thighs were exposed, if she bent down a little then all would be revealed behind and everyone would stop dancing.

She was so pretty I didn’t think it was fair on other girls, especially me. Burgundy long curly hair and matching lip-gloss, she was really slaying. Looking at her, I was stuck in that moment where you know you are not seeing this face for the first time yet you can’t recall where you first saw it. On Instagram, maybe? One of those girls who are only famous for their beauty and selfies.

“Hi,” I said to her, although I wasn’t sure whether she heard me because the Piano song was the loudest. I forced my lips to form a smile and I tried to look excited. How do excited girls look like?

“I didn’t think I’d see you here,” she said. It was an understabdable remark. Who would’ve thought that one day, or one night in this instance, Hazel Nkadimeng would be out at a party? Me and the girl shook hands and in that moment she never told me who she was and where did she know me from. It was then that I realised that I wasn’t as invisible and unknown as I made myself to be. Some people did notice me, even though most of the times they cease to acknowledge me. Hence this confrontation with this girl held me startled. She just offered me an unfinished bottle of Flying Fish. I shook my head then she just laughed at me. My eyes opened wider as I looked around. Was I missing something here?

“Eh, hello?” She snapped her fingers to my face as if to wake me up. “Look around. You not in a classroom. Come on, take it,” she shoved the bottle close to my nose, “or you want some juice?” A rhetoric question of sarcasm. “Why you so tight? You need to loosen up a bit. Just drink, it won’t hurt.”

Her previous imputation of me not being in a classroom meant that she knew me from school. So many pretty girls at school yet, unbelievably, it was my first time seeing this one. I took a sip of that Flying Fish and my face grimaced as immediate as when the liquid touched my tongue. It was so bad and unexpected, like when you dip inside some water and you find it’s a lot colder than you thought. I almost spit out the drink but I managed it down my throat all right. My first taste of alcohol and I already began to feel like a drunkard.

“Don’t be shy now, just finish it. It’s all yours ,” the girl said. For once I didn’t even pause to think that maybe this bottle was spiked with something. “It’s all yours,” she said again and started dancing. Where did she get the confidence to dress as little as showing most of her skin and dance so freely, let alone walk in public? Me I was dressed like it’s snowing outside. She insisted that I finish the drink and she was so gorgeous, I felt like I was disappointing her. So I drank the whole thing, feeling like my father. The taste became bearable. Minutes later I was drinking from a can she bought for me. It was Heineken this time. Each sip freed my legs from all the stiffness, and soon my whole body succumbed as well.

It didn’t take long for my brain to float out of my head. I drank way more than I could handle, even my intelligence got drowned by all the alcohol.

Tell us: do you relate?