Money Matters 2/3

By Drum Digital
31 October 2013

“We’ll go in behind that woman,” I pointed to quite a large lady who was making her way up the steps. She had a baby swaddled on her back.

Themba puckered his lips. “What do we have to do to get them to give us some cash? I haven’t seen one child go into the bank.” He looked at the baby who was fast asleep on his mother’s back. He didn’t count as he was far too small. I must say that stumped me. I peered into the building and looked at the long queue in front of the tellers.

The people were all holding something in their hands but I had no idea where they got them from.

I thought about it for some moments, but I wasn’t able to come up with an answer. So we headed off home. I was still wondering how I was going to get the money out of the bank when I heard the jingling sound of the ice-cream man on his bicycle, coming down our street.

Perhaps I could ask my teacher at school. She was forever telling me I had a vivid imagination and a curious mind.

I’d pretend I was just being inquisitive again. She always encouraged me. I smiled as I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before.

“Can I have some money for ice cream, Mom?” Themba asked. The tinkle of the bell could be heard right outside our house. Mom shook her head but dug deep inside her bag to find some change. Today had been payday so she was feeling generous.

“You kids think that money grows on trees,” she said, handing the money to Themba with a smile. He disappeared outside.

“You just have to go to the bank, Mom,” I said, all innocent. I didn’t want her to know we had already been there. “The bank will give you the money you need. I’m not sure what you have to do but I’ll ask Mrs Mabuza on Monday to explain it all to me. I’ll write down everything she says so I won’t muddle it up,” I declared  in my innocence.

She just looked at me and burst out laughing. It was so rare to see my mom laugh like that. It was one of those laughs that come from deep inside. It made me so happy to see her laugh like that and I couldn’t help laughing with her. I was also glowing from the realisation that I had solved all our money problems.

Finally she stopped and seeing how serious I was she explained to me more or less how banks worked.

“Oh,” was all I could think to say as that mighty bubble was burst. I was too stunned to even cry.

When I told Themba he just shook his head and said, “I knew that all along. I just wanted to see what you would do.”

He told me years later that he hadn’t known at all and was just as eager to solve the money crisis as I was.

“You’re horrible,” I threw my pillow at him and we ended up having a pillow fight.

I think it was then that I decided I was going to work with money. I didn’t know what an accountant was then but I worked hard all through school and got a bursary to go to university.

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