In the middle of the night, naked- that was the worst thing that I ever had to go through. I didn’t know which part to hide, whether to hide my breats or the pubic area. I was completely naked, with absolutely nothing on. I started running. Imagine, running to nowhere, in the middle of a very cold night. As I was running, I saw car lights flashing on my back. I knew it was probably a horny bastard who wanted to feast on my vulnerability. I didn’t stop running, until the car got to me.

The driver slowed down, and I was already out of breath. Upon realizing that I had no energy left in me to run, the driver stepped out of his car. I didn’t stop, I tried running away, but my energy failed me. He ran after me and caught up with me. “Hey, please cover up” he said, handing me his jacket. He had this weird accent, which made it difficult for me to hear him. “Sisi, please cover up” he said again. “Leave me alone” I yelled, wiping the tears that were flowing down my cheeks. “I just want to help” he politely said. I stopped walking and looked at him. “Help me? You? Wanna help me?” I asked. Without a word, he used his jacket to cover my body up. I pushed him back and took his jacket off, throwing it at his face. “Leave me alone. I’m tired of you people, walking into my life, pretending to care while you want to rob me off” I said. “I am just worried about you, sisi. There are boys around here who are drug addicts. If they see you, they will rape you and killed you” he explained. “So you’d rather rape me yourself?” I asked, folding my arms. “Okay, I was only trying to help you. If you don’t want my help then, its fine” he walked away. “Uuh, wait!” I shouted. The guy stopped on his tracks, but didn’t look at me. “I do need your help” I said. He turned to look at me. “Here, cover up” he said, giving me his jacket again. I took the jacket and placed it over my shoulders. His jacket almost reached my knees, and I zipped it up. “Thank you” I said.

“What’s going on? Why are you walking around naked?” he asked. “I just quit my job, a few minutes ago, and the dress I had on belonged to my employer, so she asked for it back” I explained. He smiled, trying so hard not to laugh. He looked really familiar, but I didn’t know where I knew him from. “So, where are you going now?” he asked. I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know where I’m going” I said. “Where’s home? Why is a child your age an employee?” he asked again. I was getting uncomfortable with the questions, but I was patient enough to tell him everything. We stood there, for about 30 minutes. After telling him everything, he just pulled me closer and gave me a warm hug.

Uncomfortably, I broke the hug and stepped back a little. “Can I take you to my place? You need to…” I knew it. I knew he wanted to get me into his bed. “No, I’m not going to your place” I said. He tried convincing me, telling how much I was in danger in that area and how much I needed to be in a safe place. He was right, but how was I going to know that I was going to be safe when I was with him? Exactly.

I was shivering, because it was really cold, and I could see that he was cold too as  he was left with only a T-shirt. He reached for his pocket and took his phone out. He then dialed a number and put the phone on loud speaker. It rang for a while, then someone picked up. “Baby?” a lady responded. “My love, I’m on my way. I got held up somewhere, but I’ll tell you all about it when I get home” the guy said. “Okay baby, I’ll wait up” the lady said. They hung up. He put his phone back into his pocket. “See? I’m taking you to a safe place. There is a woman, waiting up” he said. I felt a little sense of relief, but I didn’t want to show it. “Please, let me take you to my place. I’ll never be able to sleep, knowing that I left a little girl alone in these dangerous streets” he said. “What if you rape me on the way?” I asked. “What if I don’t?” he asked too. I smiled. “Okay fine, let’s go. If you kill me, I will haunt you for the rest of your life” I said. He laughed as he went to open the passanger’s door for me. I got into the car. He went over to his side, and we drove off.. “Anyway, I’m Chukwudi” he said. “I’m Mandiphumle” I said. “Mand..Mandi.. What?”.. I laughed, “Mandiphumle” I said. He laughed too. “I’ll get it right, just not now” he said, and we both laughed.

It was a jolly ride to his place. I was amazed when I saw the car swinging down the suburb streets. “What? You’re from the suburbs?” I randomly asked, looking at him. He nodded. “Then what were you doing in the dusty township?” I asked again. “I go there to unwind. I love that atmosphere, its raw” he explained. I nodded, not sure whether I understood or not. “I have a very busy life, so going there helps me relax” he explained further, but I still didn’t understand. We finally arrived at his place, and he drove his car in. He safely parked his car in his garage, and we both stepped out of the car.

We walked into the house, through the garage door that led into the house. “Honey, I’m home” he playfully shouted. We heard foot steps of someone running down the passage. She appeared from the passage, into the dining room. Her smile faded away when our eyes met. “Chukwudi, what is this?” she asked, pointing at me. “Baby, this is Manda.. uhm, Mando..” I decided to save him from twisting his tongue, “Its Mandiphumle” I said. She didn’t even look at me. “Chukwudi?? Why is this girl in our house?” she asked again. “I was…” she stopped me, while I was trying to explain. “Is anybody talking to you?” she asked. I pressed my lips tightly together and looked away. “Baby, can I have a word with you?” Chukwudi sincerely asked. The lady folded her arms. “What is going on here? I’m not having any private conversations with you” she said. “Zizo!” Chukwudi pulled an authoritive tone. The lady looked at him. “Can I have a word with you?” he asked again. Without a word, she walked down the passage and he followed after her. I stood there, not knowing what to do. After a while, they walked back into the room.

Zizo looked a little calmer. “Hey, I’m sorry about my reaction earlier. Its not everyday that your man gets home with a naked woman” she said. I didn’t know whether to smile or not, so I just maintained a straight face. “Oh, Chukwudi told you I had nothing on but his jacket?” I shyly asked.”I told her everything about you” Chukwudi said. Great, another person, added to the list of people who felt sorry for me. I nodded. “Aren’t you hungry?” she asked. “I’m hungry” I replied. “Let me warm you some food then” she said. “Honey, will you please get her something to wear first?” Chukwudi asked. “Ofcourse” Zizo said, bouncing out of the room. “Thank you” I turned to look at Chukwudi. “Don’t thank me just yet, maybe I’m still going to kill you and braai you for breakfast” he jokingly said. I laughed. Zizo walked in, with a Black coat. “Here, wear that” she said. “Thank you” I said, taking the coat, and putting on, over Chukwudi’s jacket.

“Wait a minute, I know you” Chukwudi said, looking at me. “Oh yeah, the shebeen, earlier?” I said. “Yeah, you served me a delicious plate of samp and beans” he said. I proudly nodded. “Guys, hello? I’m still in the room” Zizo said, playfully hitting her man. Chukwudi laughed. “I’m sorry baby, I just realized that I’ve seen her before” Chukwudi explained. Zizo didn’t really seem interested in the explanation, so she asked us to go to the kitchen where she dished up for us. Chukwudi and I sat down and ate, while Zizo stood by the doorway, watching us. I was so hungry, I was practically throwing myself at the food like someone was going to take it away. When we were done, I offered to do the dishes. “No man, don’t worry.” Chukwudi said, but I insisted. He asked Zizo to show me the spare room, as he was going to bed.

The minute he walked out of the room, Zizo pulled a chair and sat down. I washed the dishes in silence. “Can I trust this story that Chukwudi just told me?” she asked. I stopped what I was doing and looked at her. “About my life?” I asked. She nodded. “If he told you about how I lost my mother and how I ended up here, yes, you can trust it” I replied. “Okay. My man is a very caring man, and I respect him for that. He loves me, and we have a future together, and I believe you need to know that” she said. I silently nodded. “If I notice any signs of dishonesty from this little setup, both of you will be sorry. I may love him with all my heart, but I’m not stupid” she added, and I nodded again. “Relax. Your man just offered to help me, and it ends there” I explained. “As long as you know that Chukwudi is taken and never to be shared, I’m cool” she said. I finished doing the dishes and she showed me where I was going to sleep.

It was the biggest bedroom I’ve ever slept in. Wow, even the bed was a queen bed. “Thank you, Zizo” I said, looking at how big and nicely decorated the room was. “Its a pleasure” she said. She said her “goodnights” and walked out. I closed the door behind her and threw myself on the bed. I could not believe I was sleeping in a comfortable bed, in a warm home. Whoever was looking out  for me did a great job that night..