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For Love and friendship chapter 2 and 3..

Chapter 2

We sat on the bus next to each other, me and Matlho. We were heading for the chess match in Joburg. “Did you see how they’ve arranged this match?” I asked, showing him the programme. “Once we’re through the first round, we’ll have an easy ride to the finals.”

“Yeah, I saw it.” He didn’t look at the programme. He was looking out of the window at passing traffic. He’d been funny lately. Closed, distant. He’d hardly talked at all since we had left.

“So what is it? Did something happen at home?” I eventually asked. I had heard my mother saying his parents had been fighting. I hadn’t asked Matlho about it because I thought he’d bring it up. His father was a long-distance truck driver and often only came home after weeks on the road. This caused problems in the house. Especially because he was a jealous man, and Matlho’s mother was a beautiful woman.

“You know how they go at it. Nothing new. It’s not that.”

“Then what? The last week or so I have seen something’s been bothering you.”

He turned to look at me. He looked like he wanted to apologise, like he was guilty. “It’s about that night, the night of the HHP concert.”

We had had a lot of fun that night. When we got to the gig at Rollers, some of Kaya’s friends were already there. They’d kept seats for us at the front and they were drinking. We don’t drink – not even Kaya – but we had fun anyway. It really was a great night, though I had a lot of explaining to do to the chess team the next day. “Yeah, what about that night?”

“After we dropped you at home, Kaya and I sat up, at the park. The whole night.”

“Really?” That was odd, I thought, because Kaya had not mentioned anything to me. “What were you doing?”

“Talking mostly. She’s cool, you know. Interesting.”

“I know, she’s my friend remember?”

“Yeah, okay.” He went quiet again. He was not telling everything.

“So? Then what happened. Something’s going on.” I wanted to know, but I was scared of what he was going to tell me.

Matlho suddenly got very serious. “We kissed. It’s kind of like, I mean … it’s like we’re sort of dating now.”

I sat back in my seat. I tried to control my emotions. Why did I feel like someone had punched me in the stomach? Like I wanted to cry? Matlho was my buddy, my best friend. That was all. We were friends. And Kaya was my friend too. I should be happy for them, right? But why had they kept it a secret from me?

“Okay,” I started, “that’s nice. I think you two make a nice couple.”

Matlho smiled. “Really? We, sort of, thought you might freak. That’s why we put off telling you until we were sure it was something that might stick.”

“Really? Me? Freak? Why?”

“I don’t know, like we’re both your friends … I don’t know, I thought maybe you wouldn’t like it.”

I patted his hand. “No, Matlho, I’m fine with it. Really.”

Chapter 3

“Is everything okay?” my mother asked me, as she poured herself some coffee. It was just her and I living together, and she liked to be on top of everything in my life. Sometimes too much.

“Sure, why?”

“I don’t know. You just seem quiet. And Daisy says Matlho’s dating someone. You never said anything about that.”

“Well it’s his business. I thought he’d tell you if he wanted you to know.”

“Who is it?” My mother is nosey. I knew it was best to give in; it would save time. In any case, Matlho and Kaya were not keeping it a secret, so why should I?“It’s Kaya.”

“Kaya your friend? How do you feel about that?”

“It’s fine. I’m happy for them. But listen, I need to go or I’ll be late for school.”

I gathered up my stuff and dashed out of the door. I was tired of everyone asking me how I felt about Kaya and Matlho. I didn’t want to think about them. It didn’t matter what I thought anyway. They were together; that’s just how it was. How would I seem if I wasn’t happy for them? What kind of friend would I be? I wished people would stop being so weird about it.

I got to school and Kaya was waiting for me. She held out her hand. “Look what Matlho bought me.”

I looked down at the bracelet on her wrist. It was silver with a black onyx, pretty. “Nice.”

We walked together toward our first class. “Do you think things are going too fast with us? I really like him,” Kaya said. I could hear in her voice that she was scared.

“He’s a great guy. I think you guys are fine. I’m sure it’ll be okay.”

“You two really have a long history together.”

“He’s like a brother to me. That’s all. He’s just always been there. Nothing for you to worry about. We’re friends.”

Kaya walked some more and then stopped and turned to me. “Dineo, you’re my friend. I care about you. You need to speak up if I’m stepping in where I don’t belong. If that’s the case, I’d rather end it now before I get in any further.”

I shook my head. I told her no. I told her it wasn’t like that.

But I was pretty sure I was lying. I couldn’t say it though. I couldn’t say ‘I don’t like you being together’. Does it mean I’m jealous? Does it mean that I actually love Matlho? I thought to myself. I didn’t know; it was all confusing. And besides, what did it matter? I knew Matlho liked Kaya.

To him I’m his friend, a good friend, an important friend, but nothing more. I’d never risk losing that by falling in love with him. His friendship meant too much to me. I just needed to sort my head out about the new situation, that was all.

“Listen Kaya, I love Matlho and I want him to be happy. You make him happy.”

Kaya smiled, pleased, then changed the subject: “How’d the chess match go?”

“We won,” I said, smiling. I veered off toward my English literature class. I was looking forward to thinking about something else. For a while.

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