I knock on Ndi’s door for the fifth time. There is no answer. Finally giving up, I decide to go back to my place. The walk is long and lonely. With no rush, I leisurely stroll through the streets with a heavy heart. This whole time I thought I was a great friend when all I was was a parasite. Ndi has always been there for me through all my rubbish but I have never thought that she needs me as much as I need her. She is the strongest one between the two of us. She has helped me get through a whole lot, why did she not speak up when I needed to be there for her?
“Hey.” Thandeka, my flatmate, says as I come in. She is studying at the table. I don’t really see much of her because she is always at the library studying, coming back here only to sleep. However it seems today she did not follow her routine. I close and lock the door and walk to the couch that always reminds me of my mistake. While forcing a smile, I sit down and turn my attention to her.
“Hey Thandi, I didn’t expect to see you home so early.” I respond. She chuckles, puts her pen down and gets up. She remarks how she needed a change of scenery while walking to the kitchen. She asks how my day was and I just say it was ok. Coming back with two mugs of coffee, she hands me one as she sits cross legged on the sofa. With her whole body facing me, she stares at me with a smile. It’s obvious that she can see that something is wrong. I ignore her and take a sip.
“Well, let it out.” She says, I just look at her like a child who got into trouble but did not want to admit it. “Angela, I know you. Now out with it, what’s wrong baby girl?”
“It’s James isn’t it? You were crying the other day because of him. I thought I’d give you space but now I want to know what’s going on.” She continues. She always had this amazing ability to notice things others failed to take note of. That is actually how she found out about James. Apparently I glowed right after spending time with him. This is all out of my control so telling her will not change anything.
“James took my virginity.” I say quietly. She almost spills her coffee as she is taken back by my words. She gasps with eyes wide open. I nod my head slowly, disintegrating any doubt she might have had about not hearing me correctly.
“Oh my gosh. What happened to waiting for marriage? Keeping yourself pure?” She enquires. Thandeka is a Christian. The most sincere I have ever come across. When I got to varsity, I was desperate to lose my virginity. It made me an outcast in high school and I did not want to repeat that with varsity until she became my flatmate.
At first I was skeptical when I realised that she was into this church stuff more than the average person. I thought she was a “thou shall not” person and want to dictate my life but she proved me wrong. Even when it came to the virginity thing, she was the one that encouraged me to wait until marriage, that the opinion of others did not matter. Sometimes I wish my life was as simple as her’s. She seems to have it all figured out.
Without waiting for an answer, she continues talking. “Did he seduce you? Why didn’t you tell me? When was this?” I just gently shake my head. She is asking too many questions. I remain silent for a minute as I process all her questions.
“No, he didn’t seduce me. It was consensual. It’s just that a lot happened afterwards. He has a history with Ndi.” I start off, “After we had sex. I found out that he had dated Ndi before. That just messed up everything.” I say in disappointment.
“Do you love him?” She asks without missing a beat. I confusingly raise my eyes to her. She knowingly nods her head. Do I love him? That’s a strange question to ask. But then again, I got angry when I found out that he spoke to Ndi. Yeah, I liked him. I think I still like him. It was nice to have someone to comfort me when I was crying the other day but still…
“No?…” I say unsure of myself as I turn my head sideways waiting for confirmation from Thandeka. “It doesn’t matter anyway, I’ve just made a mess of everything. I just hate myself right now.” She smiles. Puts her mug on the floor, takes mine and places it next to her’s then takes a hold of my hands. Her hands are warm from the mug.
“Sweetheart, your worth is not determined by what you do or who you are with. I know you really wanted it to work out with him but it didn’t. So what? Don’t let your mistakes trap you in the past.” I pull my hands back, and look at the floor. She does not understand the magnitude of my mistake and I do not have the courage to tell her the whole story. She gets up and takes the mugs to the kitchen. A few seconds later she emerges with a twenty rand note in her hands. Without saying anything, she crumbles it up, throws it on the floor then stamps on it several times. This girl has lost her mind.
“What are you doing?” I ask, getting to my feet. Maybe she needs to see the psychologist as well. Picking up the twenty rand, she quietly uncrumbles it and hands it to me. I take it and look at it. It’s out of form but overall still usable.
“Did it lose its value?” She asks breaking the silence. I look up at her realising what she is trying to teach me. I chuckle. I fold it and put it in my pocket. Taking a step closer to her, I smile and give her a hug.
“I’m keeping this.” I say as I break free from her embrace. She smiles back at me.
“You’re welcome. You should get some rest. I think you have some thinking to do.” She says. I nod in agreement and head to my room. A slight headache forces me to sleep. Thandeka did teach me something but she did not necessarily make my situation easier. I do not blame her though because I was not completely honest with her. I collapse onto the bed and get comfortable.
Waking up to a noisy alarm, I get up and get ready for campus. I only have lectures until the early afternoon today. When my last lecture ends, I decide to go see Ndi. I was harsh on her and I think I’m ready to apologise. In addition, Thandeka’s question about James made me realise that I might still like him. If Ndi is willing to forgive him, why can’t I? Reaching Ndi’s commune I hope she is here. I knock on her door, James opens.