As he was feasting on my virginity and stripping my soul into pieces, I was lying still, with my eyes tightly closed. The pain that I felt between my legs could not amount to the pain my heart was suffocating from. I felt the warmth of my tears as they streamed down. “Aaah!! Oooh!! Aaaah!! Sssshh!” He moaned intensely, holding me tight. A minute later, he let go of me and got off me to lay right next to me. I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling. “Wow, that was great” he said as he got out of bed. He hummed a happy song as he moved around the room, doing smething I didn’t care to know. “Mandy?” He called out. I wiped my tears and looked at him. “Are you okay?” He asked.

How could I be okay while I was naked on a stranger’s bed? I inwardly asked as I sat up, covering my breasts. “Mandy?” He called out again. “Leave me alone. Okay? You got what you wanted, give me my money and leave me the hell alone” I said. He silently got dressed. I got out of bed and got dressed too. When he was fully dressed, he reached for his wallet and took out some money. “Here. Two thousand rands” he said. I was in disbelief. My heart jumped for joy, because I was finally going to leave that place- for good.

Without a word, I took the money and placed it on the bed. “I have to go and open the shop now” he said. I ignored him and fixed myself up, looking at myself through the mirror. “Mandy, please say something” he said. “What’s  there to say?” I turned to look at him. “You can’t leave like this. Whatever it is that you are going through, maybe I can help” he said. “Help? You mean you want me to sleep with you some more?” I sarcastically asked. He sighed. “Okay, I deserve that” he came closer to me. “But I care about you, and I want to help you” he assured me.

There was no point in pushing him away, I needed him. “Its my life. Everything is just a mess” I said, fiddling with my fingers like a five year old. “What do you mean?” he asked. A tear escaped my eye as I unpacked my burden and layed my problems on his shoulders. What I told him must have gotten to him, because I saw a glitter of a tear in his eye. “Yho! I don’t know what to say” the glitter formed a tear that rolled down his cheek. “I have to leave, and never come back” I said. He nodded. “I understand, but where will you go? This money will not be enough” he said. I kept quiet, staring at him. “You said you have letters from your sister, right?” he asked. “Its one letter” I replied. “With an address?” he asked again. “There are envelopes here, with different addresses” I explained. “Look, its late, and you can’t leave now. Let me go and open the shop now, I will be back later” he suggested. “Okay” I said. “Please make yourself at home. There’s food in fridge” he said. I silently sat on his bed as he walked out.

Later, I went to make myself something to eat and went to watch TV. He walked in. “Hey” he greeted as he came to sit next to me. I greeted back. “People were already starting to complain, because the shop was closed” he said. “Mmhm” I mumbled, while staring at the TV screen. “Mandy, I’ve been thinking” he said. I didn’t care what he was thinking about, so I remained silent. “How about you stay here for a couple of days?” he asked. I looked at him. “Just  until you know where to go” he added.

“And your father?” I asked. “My father  is not here. I am” he said. I folded my arms. “I don’t know man, I don’t want to intrude” I politely said. Before he could respond to that, someone knocked on the door. “Excuse me, let me get that” he said as he got up and went to open. “Sibusiso” the voice from outside said. “Uuh, Mr Soldati. How are you?” the guy asked, in a very jumpy tone. It was after I slept with him that I knew his name, Sibusiso. I could not explain why I could not recognise Uncle Thabo’s voice though.

“I’m okay. And you?” Uncle Thabo responded. “I’m okay thanks, Sir” said Sibusiso. “Sibusiso, I am looking for my daughter,” Uncle Thabo sounded like a worried parent. “Uuh, your daughter?” Sibusiso asked. I got up went to hide behind the curtain. “Yes, Mandiphumle. MaDlamini says Mandiphumle was here earlier, with her luggage” Uncle Thabo explained. “I’m sorry, Sir, but I don’t know who Mandiphumle is and I don’t remember  seeing anyone with luggage here” Sibusiso said. I moved from behind the curtain, and went to hide behind the couch. “She was not here, she was at the shop. Think, Sibusiso, think” Uncle Thabo said. “Oooh, I remember that girl. Is she your daughter? Wow” Sibusiso sounded surprised. “Yes, she is my daughter. Don’t you know where she went?” Uncle Thabo asked. “No, I don’t know. I’m sorry, Sir” he sincerely replied. “Okay, thank you” Uncle Thabo said.

Sibusiso closed the door and clicked it locked. “Hello?” he said. I appeared from behind the couch. He smiled. “I thought you ran off” he playfully said. I silently sat on the couch. “He is looking for you, that means you are really not safe” he said. “I know, what am I going to do?” I asked, panicking. He sat next to me and rested my head on his chest.  “Don’t worry, we will work something out” he said. I removed my head from his chest. “We?” I asked. He smiled. “Relax, will you?”. I looked away.

He got up and went to the kitchen, to make himself something to eat. I told him not to make anything for me, and he didn’t. When he was done eating, he came to the lounge. “Hey, let’s go to my room” he suggested. “I’m still watching TV” I said. He held both my hands and pulled me up. “Come on man, we won’t be long” he said. I looked at him straight in the eye. I hated that I had to open my legs in order to get his money and protection.  “Its gonna be fun” he added, pulling me towards his room. We got there and he gently threw me on his bed and got on top of me. He kissed my neck and I uncomfortably stopped him. He continued, but I kept pushing him away. He stopped and looked at me.

“What?” he asked. “Please, stop” I begged. He got off from me. “Why? What’s wrong?” he asked. “You got what you wanted, and I got my money. The deal is off” I said, sitting up. “What? How can the deal be off when you still need a roof over your head and food in your stomach?” he asked. “The deal can not be off while you still need me and my money to take care of you, Mandiphumle” he added.

“Okay. I hear you” I said, looking at him. “Can we at least get to know each other? Its the only decent thing we can do in a situation like this” I said, ashamed. He shifted to face me. “So, what makes you think that you call the shots here?” he asked. I looked at him, confused. “No, seriously. What makes you think that I’m taking orders from you?” he asked again.

“Its not like you are taking orders from me” I said. “I’m just saying, since you and I are sharing sexual.. uhm..  sexual..” I paused to catch my breath. I could not even say it without feeling dirty and trashy. This wasn’t how I imagined my first sexual encounter. This wasn’t how I imagined my life.

“Mandy, don’t get it twisted. You are the one who needs me, not the other way around. I can snap my finger and get another desperate girl on my bed, which is more than I can say for you” he said, as he took off his clothes

He was right. I needed him more than he needed me. I had to quit my diva tendencies and give him what he wanted, for as long as he wanted it. That’s what my life was reduced to anyway, an object suitable for delivering sexual pleasures..