Reunion with Thandi 1

By Drum Digital
02 May 2014

Sipho was meeting the woman who had broken his heart 12 years earlier and was dreading having to face up to his past.

The phone on my desk rang among the piles of folders. “Sipho Jili,” I answered.“Can I help you?” “Sipho? Is that you?” I recognised the woman’s voice at once. Memories came flooding into my mind, memories from 12 long years ago. But still I asked, “Who’s speaking?”

“It’s me, Sipho – Nomthandazo. I got your phone number from your sister. Listen, I’ve just flown down from Jozi for a conference.

Maybe we could meet up again? Just for old times’ sake?”

For a few moments I didn’t reply. Did I really want to see Thandi again? Did I really want to reopen all those old wounds? It had taken me years to get over our break-up.

Sometimes I felt like my heart still hadn’t properly healed. “Please, Sipho?” Thandi said. It sounded almost like she was begging. And that was a change. In the four years we spent together – four-and-a-half, to be exact – I never once heard her beg for anything.

So maybe it was time to meet her again, face to face. Maybe this was the chance finally to put all my years of longing and regret to rest. This time round though, I’d make sure I was the one calling the shots.

I tried to keep my voice casual and steady. “Fine. Why don’t we meet down at that restaurant at Laguna Beach? It’s close to my  office. how about one o’clock? I have an hour free then.”

Thandi always hated the beach; hated the sea. It was all too messy and unpredictable for her. But she quickly agreed. “Wonderful, see you there,” she said.

And this was also a change for the better. Back when we were together, back when we were younger, she was always the one who

made the arrangements. I was always the one who agreed.

How can I explain Thandi and me? We met when we were both just 20 and both working at our local bank. She smiled at me once. I saw those beautiful dimples in her cheeks and instantly fell in love. My family was never happy about the relationship.

“She’s not the girl for you, Sipho,” said my mother. “She’s too fussy, tense and bossy.

She makes me nervous, the way she wants everything to be perfect.”

And that was true. Thandi was always perfectly dressed, her hair always highly styled and tightly braided. She would wear only small gold studs in her ears. No fancy, playful earrings for her!

I saved up for months and bought her a pair of diamond studs for her twenty-first     birthday, just tiny diamonds. After all, my salary as a bank clerk was pretty small.

Thandi, meanwhile, got promotion after promotion, climbing the corporate ladder two rungs at a time. She went on courses, took bank exams and worked a lot of overtime. Our bank manager called her his “star employee” and predicted that shewould go far. “The sky’s the limit for you, Nomthandazo,” he often said.

To be continued...

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