Hi. This is so cool. Ok. So here’s what happened…
I am 12 years old. I live with my mother in an outside room in Chiawelo, ext 3, hala Mangalani. Before we moved here, we shared another room with my father at the SAPS barracks in Protea. Propriety was relative, privacy a simple turn of the back, and minimalism was the child of poverty before it’s curation by pious elitists. My father, a village boy, longs for the bellowing of cattle and the rough rustle of bush wind. He transfers to Giyani SAPS and effectively ends all our residential privileges. It’s strange, or perhaps a form of unresolved trauma from leaving without understanding, that even at this age, I still have dreams of me running in the corridors and playing between the flats. A few years into marriage and three children later, my mother graduates with a degree in Education. She, unlike my father loves the city but also needs a job, so we are staying. I am in grade 6 at a public school in Lenasia, I am almost done, why move me?
Our new neighbours have 3 sons and their daughter, Priscilla, 2 years older than me, is my best friend. She has a cousin. We will call him Leonardo, which isn’t much of a disguise but anyway. After months of stolen looks, shared apricots from the garden tree, and Priscilla’s insistence, Leonardo becomes my first boyfriend. Don’t ask where my mother is, that is another blog. I love him, he is a douchebag, its finally happening. I am with the brown eyed, thick browed, chocolate skin, curly haired, Leonardo. Things are going great, we smile at each other and play a little closer when he and his family visit on Sundays, a visit always too short. The only problem is I played it big on the streets. I’ve been acting grown, I hang out with my very grown Priscilla, everybody thinks I’m grown. But I’m an imposter and my cover is blowing up as soon as I kiss Leonardo because that’s when the whole world (the street) will find out that I can’t kiss at all and that I’ve been fake grown all this time. Mxm. I sit on it. I practice with the mirror. I ask Priscilla to teach me, but this was before ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it’. Eventually I forget, for 2 seconds. In that 2 seconds, on a Sunday afternoon, I am standing at the door of our backroom, holding a PS ‘I Love You’ chocolate, trying to work up the courage to declare my undying love to my De Caprio. At that moment, he appears, see’s the chocolate in my hand, and grabs it from me. He then runs into the main house. In a panic, I run after him and find him in one of the bedrooms. It takes me a sec, and then it lands. Damn, this ni&&er got me into a room! Yho, yho, yho!!! There is no way out. Chickening and leaving would be an obvious admission to a lack of knowledge and skill. The cards have been dealt, a baby girl’s gotta play. What I do not know at my tender age is that I want this, but I wish it was vulnerable and honest and true. His brown smouldering eyes are looking into mine, the room is dimly lit from late afternoon sunlight, he leans in, our lips touch. Wait, jiki-jiki I push him back and say, ‘Omg, you can’t kiss!!!’ and I run out of the room, leaving a bewildered, chocolate thief.
Ahh man, touch down! I played the game like a G! Don’t need to tell you that our ‘Takalani Sesame’ love fizzled after that. I don’t know if he ever saw through my bluff, my street cred stayed tight. I wonder though if his version of the story is that of an ego so scarred, he got kissing anxiety (eix), or if he remembers it at all (lol) . In retrospect, as an actual grown, skilful woman (wink), I wish my mother and I had spoken about first kisses and about not giving them to boys I feared would shame me.