By Ayanda Xaba, South Africa
It hasn’t even been a week since I ran away from home and I already miss my family. Don’t get me wrong; I love Kagi and living with him is such an adventure, but I can’t enjoy myself knowing my mother is probably going crazy worrying about me. I speak to Poni almost everyday and she tells me that everything is under control. I’m scared of what will become of that girl when she’s a teenager, she’s too naughty for her own good.
Kagiso is such a sport! He is not lazy and I love that about him. He helps with the chores around the house and is a great cook. I’ll thank Ayanda one day for raising such a good man–that’s if she ever accepts me. We’ve been going out a lot these past few days, you wouldn’t say we ran away from home.
Today I’m visiting Mbali at her office. I know it’s risky but she assured me that Ayanda will not be in. Mbali has been going through a rough time since breaking up with Sibonelo and I’ve been so caught up with my relationship. I’m trying to be a good friend today, hoping to lift her spirits a bit.
“Wow! Miss Mvelase, come on in,” Mbali says as I appear at the office door. She is using her famous British accent which always makes me laugh.
“To what do I owe this pleasure?” She continues sounding more like Coach Baxter.
I sit on the chair opposite her and say; “I have an exclusive story about a certain soccer player.” I attempt a Nigerian accent, failing dismally at it.
“Sorry Miss, we are no longer interested in soccer players. However; we would very much appreciate any juice story on our Springboks and Proteas.”
Mbali is really getting good at this British thing. I just laugh; she’ll never lose interest in soccer players. After a lot of fooling around and role playing, I finally ask how she’s doing after the break up. As expected; she lies and says she’s okay but she is evidently not. Mbali never gets out of the house looking anything less than perfect. Today her hair is uncombed and is that alcohol I’m smelling?
“Have you at least tried talking to Daddy?” I ask.
She shrugs as she says; “He chose to leave Thabi. If that was so easy for him then we were not meant to be anyway.”
I’m cut off by her phone ringing. She swiftly answers and hangs up just as quickly.
“Boss is here,” she says in a panic.
Kagiso’s mother cannot find me here, what am I going to do? Mbali suggests to go to her boss before she comes into her office. This is actually a shared office, it’s just that the other journalists are out for lunch. You know how newsrooms look like, the horrible open office policy! It’s particularly bad today because I don’t have a place to hide.
“Mbali, she’ll come in here anyway!” I protest just before Mbali leaves the office.
“Okay then go hide in the boardroom,” she says and shoves me out the door.
We run to the boardroom across the hall and I hide under the table. I silently curse–how stupid do I look right now? I am trying to relax as I take a couple of deep breathes and I hear a beep from my phone. I lie on the side so I can pull it out of my pants without bumping my head on the table. It’s a text from Mbali telling me that they are coming here. Why are they coming to the boardroom? Why? The universe is punishing me I swear. I hear voices coming closer so I try to breath as quietly as humanly possible.
“Mbali you’re a mess! Do you want Sibonelo and Styles to celebrate? Pick yourself up man…”
“I’m trying ma’am..”
“Stop trying and sort yourself out!”
Ayanda’s is speaking softly but her words are sharp. I hear Mbali muttering an apology. And then the question:
“Where is your friend? Mbaliyethu don’t lie to me!”
Mbali stutters! What is she doing? What happened to journalists being good liars? Speak Mbali, Speak!
“If you know where they are Mbali please tell me. It’s important.”
Ayanda sounds desperate. I think she’s just trying to manipulate Mbali, and it’s working.
Mbali; “I really don’t know where she is.”
I’m proud of how natural she sounds when saying this. But Ayanda doesn’t give up… my future mother in-law.
“Mbali it’s very inportant that we find them. They need to be separated…”
Mbali interrupts; “Why won’t you just let Kagiso be with the love of his life?”
“Because she’s his sister man!” Ayanda shouts.
The shout startles me before I realize just what she said. I am Kagi’s sister? That’s bullshit!
“Wait… what?!” Mbali exclaims.
Her boss grabs a seat and softly pours out details of her young life. I am just lying here with tears carelessly pouring from my eyes. I’m determined to remain hidden more than ever, I’m so ashamed. I’ve been sleeping with my own brother? How disgusting!
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