The beginning is not always the beginning, but every story must start somewhere. Our story starts at a relative moment of innocence, in that both our protagonists were still in high school, and their knowledge of the world was still theoretical. Although every teenager likes to believe that they have a full knowledge of the world, and can effectively act out the part of the jaded world weary citizen, in reality they are full of fears and uncertainty, because the world is so big and so much that is new is yet to come, and not all of it will be pleasant, the teenager quickly learns that the world is not all fun and games as it were, and those who refuse to grow up have a much harder time of it.
We start off the story in an old kitchen. In the kitchen there is an old coal stove which still provides warmth in cold days, even though there are not much of those in the summer months of the sub-Saharan region, and this was the time when the people were ignorant of the quickly deteriorating infrastructure of the country’s electricity provider, so the coal stove had little occasion for use back then. In the kitchen there is also an unsteady table balanced against the wall. There is a two plate electric stove on top of the coal stove. There are three chairs in the kitchen, hardwood chairs that belong in the dining room but now find themselves in the kitchen. Two of those chairs are occupied by two young people, two teenagers, both sixteen years old. One is a boy and the other is a girl. The two young people sit facing each other, but the boy has his face down, and finds it hard to look the girl in the eyes. He has not yet outgrown his shyness, and the girl is at times fond of reminding him.
“Why wont you look me in the eyes.” she says to him
He looks up momentarily, before once again bringing down his eyes.
The girl is beautiful, if only a bit overweight. Maybe more than a bit. Which makes the contrast between the two young people more stark. The boy likes to think that he grew up underfed, which may be true but does that mean that the girl was overfed? It may be genetic because most of her family is overweight, her mother, her grandmother, her uncle. Or it may be that the girls family is well off, and can afford more food than they need. While he on the other hand knows of days when there was barely enough to eat. But that is not what he is thinking about at the moment. He is looking down at the girl’s thighs. Her skirt is not too short but it rides up quite significantly when she sits, which gives his imagination a lot of room to roam. And he knows that this image will feed his imagination even further later on when he is alone, when he does things to her that he would not have the courage to do in real life, not even to suggest. He does not really know what their relationship is, or if they can became something else, or even if she wants anything to happen. Right now he simply accepts her presence, her random visits, and sometimes, her uncomfortable questions about girls that do not exist.
‘So what do you say, are you taking me to your matric dance or what?” she says.
“Do you really want to come with me?” he says.
“Of course, I wouldn’t ask otherwise.”
He does not know if he should tell her that he cannot afford to go to the matric dance. He has no one to pay for him, to buy him the clothes, and he also has the feeling that she expect him to buy her the dress as well. Besides, a matric dance is one of those events that he does not need to put himself through the discomfort of attending, not even for the pleasure of spending time with a girl. He wonders what will happen if she found all this out. Will she stop coming to visit him. And if she did, will he miss her coming? Will he miss the attention that she gives him? He has a feeling that it is only for the pleasure of being taken to a matric dance that she shows him any attention at all. Having already failed her grade eleven, he has a feeling that she may not make it to her matric at all. Another obstacle was that she attended an all girls school. Perhaps boys were not allowed even during their matric dance, and in her eyes that was no fun at all. But in either case the girl was using him. And he did not like the idea of being used. Little did he know that the world of adult relationships was all about men and woman using each other. And that if you have nothing to offer, no one finds you interesting. The girl would soon find out that he had nothing to offer, and move on to other people who had something else to offer. Little did she also know, that those people would also move on once what she had to offer them was used up, or they found something, or someone better than her.
It did not take long for him to find out that the girl had moved on, but not completely, because throughout the periods of their life the girl would come to ask something of him, if he could offer it, and he was always ready to offer it, because he loved her.
Thabo was a friend of his. He came not at the beginning of the year but almost at the end of the first term and the two boys found themselves sitting next to each other. And not because he was a particularly nice person, he helped Thabo catch up with his school work for the whole term, although admittedly not many people would have taken on that kind of commitment for a stranger. Later on he found out that Thabo stayed on the same street as he did. And as more time went on, Thabo told him of the full figured girl who came to visit him, and the kind of sexual adventures they had with each other. He didn’t know if Thabo was telling the truth, he had never seen them together, although he suspected that the reason for that was perhaps because Thabo was ashamed of her, and did not want to be seen in the streets with her, or it might have been that she was ashamed of him, and did not want to be seen in the street with him. Although, the boy also recalled that when the girl came to visit him, she would often refuse to be accompanied home, as if she was afraid to be seen on the street with him. The true reason, however, could have been that she did not want to be seen on the street with any boy, in case any of her lovers and potential lovers were to see her. But she didn’t know that Thabo and the boy were friends, and that Thabo was a bit too fond of showing off. He told him all he did with the girl. He told his stories in such detail that the boy could not help getting a bit of an erection each time, as if he was there in the room with them, watching them, feeling jealous that it was not him who was touching, exploring her nakedness, turning her in all manner of positions, but at the same time being glad that he was given the exclusive priviledge to watch, or at the very least, listen in on them.
“But she does not smell good though,” Thabo always ended by saying “her thighs rub together the whole day because she is so fat, and she is always sweating down there. She needs to wash it at least five times a day. But she never washes it. But I don’t mind it that much though.”
So each time the girl came to visit the boy, it may not entirely have been his shyness which caused him to lower his eyes. And even though he could not look at the girl without thinking of Thabo taking her from behind, or imagine the sweat that accumulated between her thighs when she walked, it did not stop him from thinking about her when he was alone.