Zizo and Chukwudi left for work, like they said they would. After lazing around for a while, I decided to get up and find something to do. It was a very beautiful day. I smiled to myself, as the sun rays softly kissed my cheeks, as I opened the windows and curtains. The birds sweetly sang their beautiful melodies as they flew to and from each tree that surrounded “our” house. It was indeed a very beautiful day.

I then went to make my bed and tidied up around the room. I knew I had no toiletries or anything, but I felt the need to get myself freshened up. After making my bed, I went to the bathroom. Zizo neatly packed towels, with a piece of paper, written my name on it. “Zizo, man” I silently mumbled under my breath. I quickly ran myself a hot bath.

When I was done, I used the provided toiletries to lotion my body. As I was busy, I heard a soft whistle, as though someone was passing by.. I stopped what I was doing, and paid extra attention. Slowly, the whistle faded away. I quickly wrapped a towel around my body and tip toed out of the bathroom.

I assumed it was all up in my mind, because I couldn’t hear the whistle anymore, and no sign of having anyone else in the house.

I got the shock of a lifetime as I saw a man, appearing from one of the rooms, down the passage. I screamed at the top of my voice and ran back to the bathroom. Unfortunately for me, the bathroom door could not be locked. The door was broken.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you” the man said. “Go away!! Get away from me” I yelled. “I’m sorry, I really didn’t mean to scare you” he politely said. I didn’t want to listen to anything that man had to say. “Okay, okay.. I’m going” he said, with his footsteps clearing making a statement that he was indeed walking away. I sat down, on the floor, scared out of my mind. I felt like my suspicions were confirmed, that Chukwudi wasn’t to be trusted, because he wasn’t South African. I thought the man was there to kill me, so they could use my body parts to perform their rituals.

I slowly reached my senses, sitting on that bathroom floor. The man had no danger signs, none whatsoever. I mean, he took my word when I chased him away. He didn’t even try to force himself in. Maybe, just maybe, not every man is a dog, as I thought they are.

After several moments, I finally gathered the courage to get up, and face my fears. I got up and walked out of the bathroom. The man was sitting on the floor, in the passage, obviously waiting for me to come to my “senses”. He jumped up, the minute he saw me coming out of the bathroom. ” Finally!” he exclaimed, as he got up. I stopped on my tracks and stared at him. “Hi. I’m Alex” he said, stretching his hand out. I swallowed, looking away. “Hi” I said.. “Oh-okay” he said, as he pulled his hand away upon realizing that I wasn’t prepared to shake his hand. “Anyway, I’m Alex, Chukwudi’s younger brother” he said. I felt a sense of relief. “I’m Uuh.. I’m Mandiphumle, but you can call me Mandy” I said. He smiled politely. “Pleased to meet you, Mandy”, I nodded just as he uttered those words.

” Pleased to meet you too” I said, not sure whether I meant it or not. After saying that, I took a few steps away, walking towards my room. “So, are you friends with Zizo?” he asked. I stopped on my tracks and turned to look at him. “Oh, no.” I said, smiling. “You’re Chukwudi’s friend?” he asked again, with a very confused expression. “Uhm, I’m just someone Chukwudi found on the streets” I said, folding my arms. “Someone?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. i cleared my throat..

“He found me on the streets, last night. He then brought me here” I shrugged my shoulders. “Oh, wow. I didn’t realize we have a guest. I’m even surprised that they never mentioned me” he said. I laughed. “Maybe it slipped their minds” I said. “I slipped their minds? Thank you very much, now I feel better” he dramatically said, and I laughed some more.

After that, we found ourselves on the couch, chatting up a storm. Alex was an intern doctor, at a local hospital. He was young, but very smart and ambitious. He was in a relationship, with a South African woman. who was carrying his child. His life was very simple, yet very interesting.

“So, tell me more about yourself.” he said, with his eyes fixed on mine. “There is really nothing to tell” I said. He shook his head. “Come on man, there must be something to tell” he insisted. I smiled. “Really, there is nothing to tell” I said. In my eyes, my life story wasn’t worth telling. “Okay, how did you end up on the streets? Let’s start there” he suggested. My smile faded away. I really didn’t want to go back there. I looked down as tears threatened my eyes. “Hey, are you okay?” he asked, moving closer to me. I looked at him, sniffing. “I’d rather not talk about it” I said. He nodded. “I understand” he said. I sniffed again. “Thanks” I silently for responded. “You know, Mandy, talking helps. I know its never going to be easy, but the trick lies in trying. Talking helps, take it from me” he then tried convincing me. “I’m trying to move on from this, Alex” I said. “Trust me, you will never feel better until you talk about it” he said.

He was right. Bottling things up, for me, was my downfall. The more I kept things bottled up, the more they wanted to come out and play. Maybe I was in denial of the fact that my life was slowly taking a turn down homelessness and helplessness. I was not ready to admit to myself that things were the way they were, and were never going back to the state I was used to. I had to accept it, as difficult as it was.

“You must be hungry, let me fix you something to eat” he said, getting up. “Thanks” I said in greatest gratitude.

Later, Zizo and Chukwudi arrived. Alex and I were still chatting up a storm, facing each other on the couch. They walked in and greeted. “Oh hey, guess who I found in the house” Alex sarcastically said. “We couldn’t tell you about her, because you were not around when she arrived” Chukwudi explained. “And my phone was off?” Alex asked. “We didn’t want to disturb you at work” Zizo hopped in. “Wow, guys. Wow!” Alex said. “What’s up with you?” Zizo asked, as she sat on the single couch. “What’s up with me? Really?” Alex exploded. “The poor kid was scared to death, because she also wasn’t informed that there is an idiot who happens to stay here as well” Alex said. I was sitting there, looking at whoever was talking. Chukwudi looked at me. “I’m sorry, Mandiphulume” Chukwudi said. “Its Mandiphumle, but you can just call me Mandy. Anyway, Alex is right, I was really shocked and scared. I thought he was here to rob you guys off” I explained. “And she wasn’t at work, but you guys chose not to inform her” Alex added. “Guys, we are really sorry. Everything happened so fast” Zizo apologized.”Yeah, right. Whatever” Alex said as he got up. “Let me go and lie down” he added.

“Alex, really?” Zizo asked in disbelief. We all looked at Alex, who was overly dramatic. He smiled. “I’m just teasing”. His smile faded away. ” But on a serious note, what you guys did wasn’t cool at all” he added. They thoroughly apologized.

After talking about general stuff for a while, the boys decided to go to sis Meissie’s, to buy her famous traditional dishes. The minute they walked out, Zizo looked at me. “I see you are becoming too comfortable with being naked around men” she said. “What do you mean?” I asked. She laughed. “What do I mean? Girlie, can’t you see that you’re naked?” she asked. I looked at the towel that I had wrapped around my body, the whole day. Really, it was not a pretty sight. “Oh, this.. One minute I was coming out of the bathroom, and the next minute, Alex and I were chatting up a storm” I explained, giggling. “What are you trying to achieve?” she asked. My giggly face got wiped away instantly, as I looked at her. “I mean, you’re parading around the house, naked. What are you hoping to achieve?” she asked, again. “I’m not hoping to achieve anything. I just lost track of time, that’s all.” I replied. She got up and came to stand in front of me.”Chukwudi is my man, got that? He is my man, and this is my castle. I will not have a little naked brat seducing the men in my life. Alex is also not on the market, so get dressed around him as well” she said. “Zizo, I wasn’t naked because I was trying to seduce anyone, I swear. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression” I apologized. “Walk around naked one more time and I will have you kicked out of my house. You will go back to the streets, where you belong.” she said, as she walked away, leaving me feeling awful. Being on Zizo’s bad books was the last thing I needed, in my life at that moment…