Ntombi looked at her watch; ten
minutes had passed. It was time to
go back into the party. When she
reached the bar Mzi was all smiles.
He put his arms around her in front
of Thumi, who was chatting to
another boy, and pulled her onto
the dance floor.
“It’s only you,” he whispered into
her ear as he pressed her against
him. “Hop on my feet,” he said.
“Get on my feet, I’ll take you for a
ride.” Ntombi stepped up onto
Mzi’s shoes. Luckily she wasn’t
wearing high heels, but pumps.
She laughed. He moved around
slowly. She felt his lips against her
neck, and closed her eyes. Perhaps
he was right. She could forget
everything that had happened
before. She could start again, in
this moment, in his arms. When
the song ended he took her head
in his hands and looked deeply
into her eyes. “I love dancing with
you,” he said. “Now let’s get out of
here, shall we?” She nodded.
* * *
On the way out she felt a hand
pulling her back. Mzi was ahead of
her making for the door, with a
sudden urgency. Ntombi turned
back. It was Lettie. “Hey chommie,”
she said. “Come and dance with us.
We’ve asked the DJ to play one of
our old favourites. Everyone will be
It was their favourite song, and
they had even rehearsed their
moves to it. They started taking
over the dance floor, moving
across it like they owned it. They
would definitely be noticed. Mzi
would think she was cool and he
would be even prouder of her. But
Mzi was already out of the door.
Ntombi pulled away from them.
“I can’t,” she called. “I’ve got to
“Where?” asked Lettie. “The fun’s
only just starting.”
“Mzi is taking me home.”
“So early?” Ntombi saw the look of
alarm on Lettie’s face. “That’s not
“How do you know?” Ntombi
didn’t hear the answer, as Mzi
reappeared in the exit and
beckoned to her to join him. Lettie
was lost in the crowd, so Ntombi
joined Mzi and was steered quickly
to his car. They got in, in silence.
But he didn’t start the car
immediately. He put a CD in the
player. It was Lira, singing Ngiyazi
“That’s going to be you one day
soon,” said Mzi, and he put his arm
around Ntombi. So he had listened
when she told him about the
auditions. There was obviously just
a lot on his mind at the moment.
She shouldn’t judge him. There
could be problems at home that
she knew nothing about – she
knew what that was like, how it
He started the car and wove his
way between the jam of traffic to
get out onto the open road. She
was tired now. It had been a wild
evening and she had felt out of her
depth, she just needed some time
alone in her room. Perhaps her
sister would be asleep, and her
mother would be out when they
got back. She just needed some
time to think things through and
make sense of what had happened
at the party. But instead of turning
left to take the road back to her
house, Mzi turned right and they
were soon spinning down a road
Ntombi didn’t know.