She reached the playground and looked for a spot to sit in the warm winter sun. Her daughter ran off to play on the jungle gyms. She laid out her blanket and sat down. She had brought with her the new issue of Time magazine. On the cover were some of the main actors from game of thrones, they had made the cover at last. She loved the show and was eager to find out what it said. She sat crossed legged and quickly putting her head up and scanned the playground to see where her daughter was. Everything was well. She had a few minutes to herself to read. As she started to read, she heard a loud hello! Looking up she saw Anele waving wildly at another woman across the park. She sank lower to the ground and hid her face behind the magazine. Too late, Anele had already seen her.
Anele was a rambunctious woman. She was an au pair and they often saw each other at the park or walking in the neighbourhood. She talked so much that you could not get a word in even if you wanted to. Lately her conversations always turned to men. She was looking for a boyfriend and had put herself on Tinder. She said she hated it but she seemed very animated when she talked about the men she met there.
She looked up over the magazine and saw Anele face just inches away from hers. She jumped and moved back.
“Hello you. Did you not see me waving at you? You always have a book in your face” she laughed and slapped her hard on the shoulder.
“Hi Anele. No I did not see you. How are you?”
“Oooh I am fine. Move up l will sit with you and tell you all about it. But I also have a few questions for you.”
“What is going on?” her heart sank. She was going to have to wait until she got home to have a good read. This looked like it might take a while.
“You know I am looking for a man, right? Well I think I have found the right person. Is that not exciting?”
“Yes, it is. Who is he?” she really should not encourage her.
“He is a white man” Anele’s face lit up and she giggled like a little girl. “just like you, I am going to have beautiful babies. Don’t you think?
She braced herself. This is a conversation that they had had before. Anele had asked her once how she had managed to ‘find’ as she put it, a white man to marry. She had wanted all the information about how they had met and what he was like. She never liked talking about it, her marriage. She had learnt to change the subject. Today though she run the risk of being very rude if she did not engage in conversation.
“Have you met this person yet?”
“Well no. not yet anyway. But he is very interested. He has my number and everything. We are going to make a time to meet.” She laughed.
“That’s great Anele.”
“You have to give me some tips on how I can make myself interesting. Should I say I read a lot? Music? Food? I don’t want to be like some ignorant locion girl”
“Just be yourself. I am sure he will appreciate that.”
She scanned the playground to see where her daughter was. She was chatting with another little girl.
“He seems rich too. I mean can you believe it. These white boys know how to keep their money. You will always have what you want.”
“It is not really like that.”
She ignored the comment and continued, “I think he said he would take me out to a fancy restaurant. And do you know I will not feel like I have to sleep with him. With black boys, you must show the goods first. And I hear white boys do not even mind if you make money. Like with a business or something. Is that true?”
“I would not know.”
“Anyway, I am very excited. Oh, look at your daughter she is so beautiful.”
One of Aneles charges started screaming and running towards her.
“Hey love love. What’s wrong now?”
“Jeffrey hit me.”
“It ok I will talk to him. Come. Jeffrey!” she turned to face her, “Look, don’t leave I will be right back.”
Anele bounded off to go and have a word with Jeffrey. She scanned the playground again. she sank back into the ground.
“Mam. Hello. Sorry to disturb you”
She sat up shielding her eyes from the sun with her hand. y she had seen this young man walking around in their neighbourhood. He was always begging at people’s houses. Up close, he looked tired, his eyes were sunken and his hair was dirty.
“I need some help. Do you have any change for me. Me and my wife are living off the streets and we do not have any money. I lost my job last month. She is pregnant. We just need some money for bread and milk.”
She had not noticed that Anele was back and she was giving the young man a hard stare.
“Hey look. We have no money for a white boy ok”
“No really I don’t understand how these white boys can come to us and ask us for money.”
She looked back at the young man. He looked like he was about to cry. He started walking away.
“I do not have any money for you. I am sorry.”
She started packing her things. She was not going to sit any longer and listen to this conversation. It was getting too weird for her now.
“Are you leaving already?”
“Uh yes. Sorry I must go now. We have someone coming over to visit.”
“That is fine. We live so close together I can come by with the boys for tea? We can talk some more.”
“I am not sure right now. I have a lot to do. I will let you know.”
She packed quickly. She walked towards the jungle gyms to find her daughter. The further she got away from Anele, the better. Behind her she could hear her had already talking with some other poor person.