He woke up wearing a cheerful expression on his face, one of excitement mingled with anticipation. The mid-term break was over and he was finally going back to school. Like most students he dreaded the long and tedious hours they were subjected to but the thought of being re-united with Thembi seemed to make all else irrelevant. The mere fact that he would once again caress her tender skin, stroke her oily pitch-black hair or see her warm smile in the comfort of their secret place filled him with intense happiness. He removed himself from his bed and stood in an upright position in a bid to stretch his muscles all the while staring at the picture of a pretty girl on his mirror. He sheepishly blew the photograph a kiss and stared once more as if the kiss was visible in the cool morning air.
They were together again, in a place of safety and serene tranquility. She kissed him on the cheek, then his neck and whispered into his ear. He felt content; nothing could ruin it for him now. He kissed her back and she groaned with pleasure. In each other’s arms is where they belonged and the feeling was rather mutual.
A loud knock on his bedroom door woke him from his brief day dream. He was still standing in front of the mirror.
‘Segolo. SEGOLO.’ His mother shouted from the other side of the door.
‘Mma.’ He answered in a gradually maturing voice.
‘Wake up and start preparing for school or you will be late.’
He smiled involuntarily before dragging his lanky frame towards the bathroom, his thoughts totally parallel to his present surroundings. An hour later he was leaning against a telephone pole waiting on a makeshift bus stop for the school bus. The winter air brushed against bits of his exposed skin and he shifted uneasily cursing school as he did so. Every minute or so he would glance longingly towards the east only to see the same old dirt road that ran through the sleepy village showing no sign of accommodating the school bus. He gave up and started walking towards school even though he knew he would never make it on foot. It gave him a sense of satisfaction knowing he was doing something to get him one step closer to his goal that morning. He hummed her favourite tune out loud and smile weakly remembering just how much he hated it. After a twenty minute walk the bus finally caught up with him, Tshwaragano the driver greeted him in his usual booming voice. He sat next to Tom, a classmate of his who rambled on about a slick iPod his brother sent to him from abroad; Segolo hardly listened to him, his mind was somewhere else. The silent beast inside him was jumping in a jubilant manner for at last the impending reunion with Thembi was inevitable. His heart pounded with excitement as the roar of the engine ascended to unmeasured heights; the faster the beat down bus travelled the closer he got to his object of desire. He double checked his appearance on his pocket mirror and beamed to himself. He glanced at his wrist watch constantly, quite disappointed with their progress. The bus made a few more stops, this only served to fuel his impatience. He got lost in another fantasy as students around him chatted away the journey after a month long break from school.
The old bus came to a screeching halt forty minutes later on the premises of Morwamong Senior Secondary School and departed thirty minutes later empty. Segolo extracted himself from the group of students and searched his immediate surroundings for the familiar face of his girlfriend but was nowhere to be seen. He bypassed the masses of blue and white heading to the school assembly area and walked briskly towards their secret place behind the girl’s dormitories. He found her sitting on a boulder which they had engraved with their initials and sealed the bond with an amateurish drawing of a heart. She heard his footsteps and turned towards him, a faint smile spreading across her face. Segolo stood at a distance and stared silently at her, his heart racing. She was a sight to behold; her smile complimented her eyes and her body made him receive and electric shock down his spine. Today more than ever there was a mysterious radiant glow about her that made his knees wobble with weakness. He really adored her. She stood up and faced him, a concerned look overcoming her earlier smile. He did not see to notice it for he moved carelessly towards her arms outstretched anticipating a joyful embrace. She declined, slightly pushing him back into his former position. He looked at her questioningly and she stared at her feet.
‘We have to talk.’ She said abruptly.
‘Good morning to you too.’ He said sarcastically whilst folding his arms, something he did when annoyed.
‘Its quite serious Segolo.’ She continued looking graver than before. The use of his name brought him to a standstill. She never called him by his first name unless she was serious and he could now see it in her watery eyes. He sat down on their special boulder and gestured to her to sit down and she obeyed.
‘Shoot.’ He said, a giant iceberg falling into the pit of his stomach.
‘I love you. A lot.’ She began unnecessarily. ‘What we have is special and more importantly I know you feel the same way. I would do anything for you and this relationship. Since in a few weeks time we will be sitting for our final exams I feel we should give each other space.’ She completed in a rather abrupt and shell shocking manner. He stared at her incredulously feeling that what she said made no sense to him. Ever since they started dating she had recorded her best results so far and all because of the study regime he put her through. After a few minutes of awkward silence she stood and walked away, tears filling her eyes.
‘Thembi…’ he called out to her, his voice full of a silent yet painful plea. She did not even look back as she strode away from him, the anguish in the love of her life’s voice ripping apart her heart.
‘S.G what happened between you and Thembi mfana?’ bellowed Morwadi from across the classroom so that everybody could hear. It was three days since the break up and he still did not believe it had happened.
‘What do you mean?’ he asked trying to sound indifferent.
‘Saw her this morning being dropped off by King Simione and they did look a bit comfy.’ He said even more loudly ensuring everyone heard him. Segolo could hear his classmates break into whispers and naughty chuckles. He realized he was crying for his tattered notebook was getting wet. He slowly wiped his tears off and stared out of the window feeling deeply betrayed and hurt. Everyone knew Simione had a nasty reputation with young school girls and he was surprised she could stoop so low. How could she betray me like this after what we shared? I thought she loved me. Was I not good enough? He would ask himself the same questions over and over again but could not find a suitable answer. He felt helpless and trapped in limbo. He wished Simione would drop and die, the thought of another man with his Thembi devastated him.
‘Thembi I thought you said you needed time to study?’
‘What?’ she said clearly caught off guard. He had finally managed to corner her after her last lesson for the day for she had been ignoring and avoiding him all week.
‘I DID NOT KNOW SIMIONE WAS A QUALIFIED TUTOR. SIMIONE OF ALL PEOPLE THEMBI?!’ he shouted bringing the people around them oddly still, clearly eavesdropping on the argument.
‘Its not what you think Segolo and in any case what I do in my spare time is none of your business. We are not together anymore; I thought that was clear enough for you to understand.’ She turned and made to leave but he grabbed her by the arm, she crumpled under his gaze and they both cried. He held her and it felt right once again.
‘I love you Thembi without you I am nothing.’ He whispered in her ear.
‘I love you too but we cannot be together. You are just making this harder than it is, we will never be together again.’ She whispered back before breaking away from their embrace and walking away tears falling down her cheeks. Segolo sank to the pavement and sobbed hysterically much to the dismay of the onlookers who immediately cleared out in case an authoritative figure appeared and asked for an explanation.
It was a sunny afternoon accompanied by a cool winter breeze. The students were outdoors enjoying the moment before their afternoon study session commenced. Thembi and Gaokgakala were in each other’s company as usual and were embroiled in an argument.
‘I thought you loved him.’
‘I do Gao, but I have to do this.’
‘No you don’t.’
‘Yes I do.’
‘If it was what you were supposed to do you would not be so miserable, the both of you.’ Said Gaokgakala for what seemed like the thousandth time to Thembi. Every opportunity she had she would question her about the breakup; Gaokgakala failed to understand why her friend left Segolo while she was still in love with him so. Her friend was not handling it well and she could see it, she wondered why she was putting herself through such misery.
‘Sometimes love just is not enough Gao.’
‘Yeah right, you are eighteen-what else could you need that he is not giving you? A wedding ring, or a mansion in the suburbs?’
‘You do not understand, this was the right decision for everybody involved.’
‘Make me understand Thembi. I cannot stand to see you like this, you are hurting me too.’ She said sadly, tears in her eyes as she held her hand. Thembi started to cry.
‘Sorry…I did not mean to.’ She said apologetically now hugging her friend, a hug that spoke a lot unaccompanied by words.
‘I am pregnant.’ Thembi said hurriedly much to the amazement of her friend. ‘I am a month late.’
Gaokgakala remained quiet, obviously stunned by the news.
‘As much as I love Segolo and he loves me he is not ready to be a father. This could ruin his plans for university next year and I will not have that on my conscious.’
‘But he is the father Thembi, don’t you think he has the right to know? How does that good for nothing fit into all of this?’
Thembi already knew who she was talking about. ‘As much as he cannot keep his manhood in his pants Simione is not one to shy away from responsibility.’
‘Segolo is not one to shy away from responsibility also.’
‘That is exactly why I am doing this my friend. Segolo is one to give up his dreams for me and the baby and that cannot happen. Simione can take care of this baby if he believes it is his, Segolo would go to university and study as he and his family had planned. I can also be able to further my studies since I would not have to work to provide for the baby.’
‘I just hope you will realize just how wrong you are handling all of this before it backfires and leaves you all alone and in trouble.’
‘I will have you.’ Thembi said with a smile on her face.
‘Of course,’ the other said. ‘Let’s go to class Mr. Karambeu would kill us he found us here again.’ And they left for class, hand in hand.
He came to a halt a few metres from the unfenced yard he had come to know so well. He removed the five litre canteen from the oversized plastic bag and placed it on the ground. The moonlight gave away his position but he did not seem to mind. He picked up the canteen and marched forward with fierce intent and purpose. His footsteps echoed around him in the still night air as he journeyed towards the two bed-roomed house at the back of the yard. He recognized the emerald green BMW 350i parked in-front of the house, it belonged to Simione. He stopped next to the car for a few minutes whilst his earlier fierce intent was overcome by momentary doubt as he wondered if he was doing the right choice. The silent beast inside him dared him to go on and he sincerely obliged. He walked towards the door and knocked violently. The soft echo of the stereo on the opposite end of the door paused indefinitely. A minute later Thembi opened the door, her face registering an expression of shock as she saw Segolo standing on her doorstep.
‘Segolo what are you doing here and at this time of the night?’ she asked perplexed. He raised the heavy metal canteen he was holding and stuck her on the head with it and she tumbled head first to the floor. Simione who had been lying on the bed half naked jumped up off the bed overly shocked, the towel around his waist slipped and he stood next to the bed naked. The intruder moved over Thembi and moved menacingly towards him. Simione looked wildly around for something to use as protection but could not find any so he retreated backwards until he was completely boxed in. The intruder swung the canteen at him trying to knock him down. In his apparent haste to avoid being hit he tripped and fell, giving Segolo the opportunity to smash his pretty face with the metal canteen. Blood splattered onto the walls and continued to ooze gently from his head as he lay sprawled on the floor unconscious. He carried them one at a time to the bed and placed them side by side. He stared at Thembi’s angelic face and felt tears trickling down his cheeks. He knelt down on the edge of the bed, his head on her bosom and wept.
‘We will be together again my love. I promise.’
After a few minutes he stood up and gained composure yet again. He poured the contents of the canteen on the two unconscious people lying side by side on the bed and unceremoniously set them on fire. He stood there watching lost in thought and oblivious to the fact that he too was on fire. The panic filled voices a few minutes later brought him to attention; he opened the door and ran for safety before colliding with the parked car and collapsing as onlookers tried feebly to put the fire out.
For the weeks to follow the sleepy village of Maokana was to become infamously popular. The story circulated from household to household on how sweet Segolo had murdered Simione and Thembi, each time the facts becoming more and bleaker. The media had took the stories and ran with them nationally prompting a visit from the vice president, member of parliament for the constituency and talks of purging dating among students all in all. The victims were buried a week later to massive attendance whilst the murderer as he was dubbed nationally died after a month later at the Princess Marina Hospital to the dismay of many who were hoping he would have been given the death penalty. He was buried in his hometown in a less hearty ceremony.