Reunion with Thandi 2

By Drum Digital
03 May 2014

Thandi had a horror of growing fat like her aunties.

Sometimes Thandi would grill me: “What’s wrong with you, Sipho? Don’t you have any dreams? Any drive? Any ambition? Are you happy to spend the rest of your life counting other people’s money?”

She always pulled at her left ear when she went on like this. It was a habit of hers, tugging at her left ear whenever she felt impatient or irritable. And that was quite often, I have to admit. Sometimes there would be little smears of blood beneath her diamond stud.

“And besides, she’s much too thin, Sipho,” my mother carried on. “How is she going to bear you strong healthy sons one day with no meat on her bones?”

That was true, too. It was painful being at a restaurant with her. She would eat only  salads or boiled chicken, and even then only if the skin had been removed.

My youngest sister was Thandi’s biggest critic. “She’s not the girl for you, Sips! She never has any fun. She doesn’t understand how to relax and enjoy life at all. She hardly ever smiles. How can you stand it?”

And what my sister said was also true. But once in a while Thandi would smile just for me. And it was the most wonderful, most beautiful sight in the world. Those deep dimples would appear in her cheeks, cute and lovable. For that moment she looked like a little girl, like the whole world was a delightful, amazing place.

In those four years we were together, I spent a lot of time trying to make her smile.Now and then I succeeded. But one hot January day – Tuesday, the 15th, to be exact – she broke my heart.

“Sorry, Sipho,” she said, tugging at her left ear impatiently, “I just need a man who’s as ambitious and driven as I am. And anyway, I’ve been offered a new job up in Jozi with a fantastic salary and great prospects. Now don’t get upset and make a scene. It’s for the best. You’ll see.”

I couldn’t bear the thought of losing her.

“Maybe I could come along and look for a job up in Joburg too?” I asked. She shook her head coldly. “No, it wouldn’t work.” Tug, tug, tug went her fingers at her left ear.

AND now, 12 years later, I was about to see her again. How would that feel? I couldn’t do any more work that morning, even though I had some really urgent cases on my desk. All I could think about was Thandi. Was she still so uptight and driven?

Was she still so thin, her hair still so tightly braided, or had the years changed her? After all, time can work miracles – I’m proof of that. I’m no longer the young man she left behind, purposeless and plodding through the days without ambition.

To be continued...

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