Spin the Bottle – Wazi M Kunene

This morning my granny caught me kissing the wall. I was mourning and throwing a gang sign with my left hand. Pushing on the wall like it could move and pick me up, grow a tongue and lick my face. I was kissing that wall like I built it, like I was leaving home for good and this was our last passionate, breath taking kiss. I was just starting to rub my chest on the wall when I had that feeling that I was no longer alone in the room. I felt that I was no longer the only one breathing the air in the room. Someone was watching behind me, like that feeling that heats your whole body up, when you are being caught doing what you shouldn’t be doing. That someone was my granny and she groped my neck from the back, I literally would have preferred for somebody to come and shoot me down and die instantly than to hear her ask ‘Wenzani?’

That question ‘what are you doing?’ burnt my tongue; I felt the wall disappear, everything, all forms of life vanished and it was just me and granny. What am I going to say? Philile, think think think! But how, when granny is still groping my neck, granny wants to suffocate me from the back and the wall must be last thing I see! What was I thinking, deep kissing a wall on a Friday morning before school?! While I’m still thinking of what to say, she ordered me to turn around and she asked again ‘Wenzani?’ what are you doing to my wall? You are 16 years old, where did you learn this rubbish? Are you having sex now? Philile phendula! Answer me,’ she kept shouting! My mind was blank and the only thing in my mind was ‘say it is part of L.O at school Philile.’ I have no idea why I listen to this voice in my head sometimes but that is exactly what I said ‘gogo sikwenza kwi L.O lokhu.’

Granny looked at me, her face sad and sweaty. She started sobbing, came towards the wall and pushed her face against the wall, sobbing, next to my wet kiss stain. She pushed the wall with her face as if the wall was the chest of a man leaving her. Granny banged the wall with weak punches crying ‘Baba Siza – Father help.’ Now, I was standing behind her. I was convinced she was going to break into song and pray to the ceiling as if asking for it to part, so God can come purify me and the walls and the schools. This was definitely the worst morning of my life! I thought she would say that I must take off my uniform and not go to school but she lifted her face from the wall and said I shouldn’t forget carrying iced water because today is a really hot day. I said okay, got my bag, iced water and yelled ‘sengiyahamba gogo’. I left the house and thought I had just survived the bite of a crocodile!

I was ready to forget that moment and oh yes, I was looking forward to this afternoon after school! Every Friday after school, we play my favourite game, spin the bottle! This morning I was practicing because I knew Lungelo was joining us. He is so cute and his lips, hhm yum! He seems shy and he has never played with us but I’ve always wished he would. He is the cleanest, cutest boy in the whole school and he is short. I love short guys, they are so cute! I was so excited for the afternoon, I was hoping the bottle favours me and Lungelo and you know, if the bottle points at the same people more than three times, they have to deep kiss! I just really hope the bottle knows my heart’s desires, last week I had to kiss Sbu twice! Why on earth does Sbu play? His lips are just sad, zam-buk cannot even help me! I actually need therapy after those two kisses last week, Sbu’s lips are just old! I really hope he doesn’t play today. Today Lungelo’s lips and mine are finally coming together!

When I got to school, I got my lip gloss from my friend Sane and applied it so the oil could sink in and soak in my lips and prepare for this afternoon. I was excited, the whole day until the last period, during L. O when my upper lip started warming up and feeling itchy. I applied more lip gloss but it felt like my lip was getting bigger and bigger. I turned back to ask Sane to borrow me her mirror and she was blowing her nose and said ‘ooh yes I’m getting flu again.’ I couldn’t believe it! Flu! And she used my lip gloss. I demanded the mirror, covered burning lips and asked to go the bathroom. On my way, I looked in the mirror and what I saw, made me weep right away! A small bump, that you know will grow into messy pus flowing flu sore! I was so disappointed and thought I’m probably going to miss playing spin the bottle for a few Fridays and what if Lungelo doesn’t play after today? Oh no, I thought the morning was the worst but now I was thinking, this whole day is just not my day!

I got to the bathroom and washed my mouth, I knew what this pimple would grow into and even though it wouldn’t be a big red sore immediately, it was obvious my lips had something nobody would risk kissing. Sane! Why?! Oh this day sucks! I decided in the bathroom that I was not even going to watch the game. Other girls having all the fun with Lungelo! No! As I accepted my situation, I walked out of the bathroom and as I was walking on the corridors approaching my classroom, I saw the white light! I felt all my breath limp out of my mouth and nose and the air not coming in, oh I was dead! What is granny doing in my school, with my principal, walking towards my classroom? No! What is wrong with this Friday?!

All this for spin the bottle, that I won’t even play today? I have never been in this deep trouble. My granny, teacher, principal and class mates are going to know I lied and I was caught kissing the wall! This is the end! I watched as my granny and the principal walked towards my classroom, it was as if I was watching my life end in slow motion. I would rather people read my diary then to face this moment! My upper lip became hotter and the principal knocked on the door of my classroom. Why am I still breathing? My teacher opened the door and stepped out.

Now the three, my granny, principal and teacher are talking about me. I am standing three classrooms away, watching. My teacher carries her arms on her head and starts screaming with her mouth wide open. She cries, like women in black funerals and my granny starts slapping her hands up in the air and breaks into prayer. I am standing there lifeless, only my eyes are moving.

In no time, the other learners start popping their heads out of the classroom windows. All looking at this dramatic scene! My granny praying aloud with her tears and mucus glittering her face. My teacher weeping like a goat and my principal holding my teacher from falling on her back as if there is an imaginary grave open and she is threatening to go in. The learners are screaming, everybody is confused and now more teachers are joining in. Teacher Radebe sacrifices her wig and fans my weeping and dripping in sweat teacher.

I am watching from the three classrooms away, unable to move until Sane’s head pops out of one of the classroom windows, she sees me standing there watching. Sane shouted out so loud ‘Philile ugogo wakho’ when she said those words she swallowed all the fuss that had been happening and everybody turned to look at me. I was still standing there wishing I was dreaming. I did not have a plan on what to do and listening to that voice in my head again that said, pretend to collapse. I did just that, I just rolled my eyes back and fell. I was hoping that would be it, for this Friday’s drama but no. I soon felt a hand grope my throat, I opened one eye and it was my granny and she asked ‘Wenzani?’

Photot: Hazel Fasaha Tobo

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