Olwethu's manager, David, had come up with an interesting proposition...
A panicking Olwethu was back in Joburg, in her flat with Teresa. She needed to knuckle down and get some work done. It worried her that she was so behind on her school work, considering exams were near.
"So how was everything back home, Olz?" An excited Teresa asked her, helping her unpack. "Are your loved ones good?"
Olz had no clue of which 'loved ones' she was referring to. She also didn't care at that point, as she unpacked her suitcase. "Everyone's fine back home, thanks T."
"And you didn't … slip up, right?" Teresa asked carefully, as she placed Olz's clothes neatly in her wardrobe.
"Yeah. You didn't do anything that the Lord wouldn't be proud of?"
"No, I didn't drink or smoke or have sex or anything," Olwethu replied without batting an eyelid. “I was on my angelic holy game,” she joked.
"Good, great stuff. I'm so proud of you, Olwethu. I even told my Pastor about you. We'll go meet him when he's available. He’s a cool guy – young too."
"Awesome. So how were things on this side of the world? Anything new I missed?"
"Not really, beside Mandisa and Craig. They're going through a bit of a rough patch, but I'll let her fill you in. It's not really any of my business."
"Oh shame, man. I hope they sort it out," Olz uttered, fitting the last of her travel closed in her wardrobe.
Teresa sat on Olz’s bed, looking up proudly at her friend. "There's a prayer session tonight at Melville - some students from my school and others from surrounding areas. I'd love it if you could join us."
Olwethu's phone rang, interrupting. She pulled it out of her jeans. It was David.
She suddenly got a cold chill, nervous a bit. She let it ring.
"You aren't gonna get that?" asked T.
"Nope. It's one of my clothing accounts. I don't feel like speaking to debt collectors right now. I have bigger problems. I’m behind with my school fees. I gotta do something to get the cash."
Teresa giggled lightly. "I understand. So, can I count you in tonight?"
Olz really didn't want to go. She'd just arrived from home. She pulled a face. "I'm a little tired ..."
"It's just 45 minutes, please. I told everyone that you'd come. Everyone wants to see the new 'woman of God'. I told them quite a mouthful about you… please, please, please."
An sms alert came in on Olz's phone. It was from David:
Olz, I have the stuf wit me, and I've arranged a couple of boyz 2 help me move it. Everything is going according to plan. Just wanted 2 let u know. Call me bac. Dave
Olwethu turned to Teresa, forcing a plastic smile. "You say it'll be just 45 minutes ... count me in, T. Might be nice, making new friends."
"Yes, awesome stuff," Teresa responded, excited. "They're great peeps, Olz, you'll see. There's one girl who also only recently got saved. She's just as determined as you are."
"Okay, great. At least I'll have someone to relate to, in regards to the teachings and stuff," Olz explained, discreetly deleting the David's text." She had to delete any trace that she was back to peddling drugs. All evidence had to be destroyed.
"Exactly what I thought. You two can share notes, liaise and study together. Studying the word of God is even more important than getting a degree, Olwethu. In fact there's no comparison. It's by far more important."
"I'm sure it is," Olz responded, a little jittery. "Please walk me to campus quickly. I have to make a little payment towards my fees, before they kick me out."
"Cool, let’s go," T responded, standing. "I'm also a little behind on my tuition fees, but I know God will provide. He always does."
"I'm sure he does," Olz responded, hoping to change the subject.
Teresa was making her feel terrible. “Let’s rush girl, before admin closes.”
It was late in the afternoon. Mandi was at res, downstairs at the security guard’s desk.
There was a big parcel for her. A furniture store truck waited to be let in, for a drop-off.
“What’s this about, Mkhulu?” Mandi asked the elderly security guard. The truck driver also stood with them, looking highly annoyed.
“Apparently there’s new furniture for you, Mandz,” Mkhulu responded. “Did you ask your mom for a study desk, Blue Ray DVD and a small fridge? He asked, reading the delivery note. “Is it your birthday or something?”
“Guys, please be considerate,” the driver hissed. “I’ve been waiting to offload this furniture for about an hour now. C’mon, let’s do this.”
“I’m sorry for the inconvenience, bhuti, but who’s this all from?” Mandi enquired from the driver.
He handed Mandisa the invoice. “It doesn’t say. It’s anonymous.”
Mkhulu also gave Mandi the delivery note, which also didn’t indicate who’d bought the goods.
The driver couldn’t be more frustrated. "I told you, it doesn't have sender details. It just has the receiver, which is you, Ms Mandisa Thambo."
Mandi thought a while. It stank of Craig.
As she pulled her phone out of her pocket, to call him, Craig's car pulled up and parked beside the furniture truck.
"Oh my Lord," Mandi squealed, rolling her eyes. She handed the invoice and delivery note back to the driver. "Please take the furniture back, Sir. I don't want it," she emphasized, walking off back to her room.
Craig came running, ducking under the security boom gate. "MANDI PLEASE WAIT! WAIT MANDZ. I'm not trying anything. I know you need a proper study desk and a fridge." He ran right up to her, blocking her from going forward, pleading. "Please don't send the stuff back, Mandz, it’s a gift."
"What, do I have a 'for sale' sign stuck to my forehead, Craig. Just go away and take the stuff with you. What’s your problem?"
"I'm not trying to buy you back, babes ..."
"Don't call me that. I'm Mandisa. You're Craig now."
Girls at the res observed the drama from their rooms. It’d become a movie at the security gates, staring Mandi, with students from all floors staring down, watching.
Craig was still catching his breath. "Okay cool, I got it. It's more of an apology, Mandisa, rather than an attempt to win you back. Please take the furniture. It’s just me saying sorry to you."
"And you got your mom to call me ... what are you smoking? It's over, Craig. I can't even look at you. I don’t trust you, dude."
"I knew it. You're still upset about what you saw. I'm so sorry, babes. I don't know what to say, okay. I don't wanna lie to you anymore. But you have to believe me when I tell you those chicks don't mean a thing to me. I can't even remember their names. They’re skanks."
"You're a spoilt brat, Craig. And you reckon you can take whatever you want, whenever you want. You've proven it over and over again. We're done."
The truck driver reversed. He had grown tired of the fighting teenagers.
"HEY STOP, WHERE YOU GOING, IDIOT?" Craig yelled out.
"Let him go. I wasn't gonna take the furniture anyways. Cheers, bye. Chat later," she concluded, walking around him.
Craig dropped to his knees. "I’m sorry Mandi. I’m sorry babes.”
She turned to him, still walking slowly backwards. “You’re embarrassing yourself. Go home dude.”
He stood. “Okay, but can we at least talk over the phone, as friends or whatever? The silence is killing me."
Mandi made sure to hold her tears back. She couldn't risk being seen vulnerable, and besides, there was an audience. She'd cried too many tears for Craig Moore. "I think we should keep our distances, for now. Let's let the break-up take its course, naturally. Cheers Craig, I'm sorry," she concluded, choking up, on the verge of wailing. She quickly turned away and walked off.
Craig wanted to die. He felt the weight of the world as turned around, wiping tears off his face. He couldn’t be bothered about the onlookers. He walked back to his car, injured. She’d broken his heart unimaginably.
Has Olwethu fallen off her religious path? Will Craig quit his relentless quests to get Mandi back?