Thandi had been sitting at Spur for hours. The coffee she had ordered was cold, and she had not taken a sip. The restaurant was packed. It was the lunch hour. She kept looking at the entrance at the faces of different individuals who kept pouring in. She waited impatiently for Zenande to show up. Anger washed over her. How could Zenande make her wait for so long? The time they agreed on was eleven in the morning. Her excitement began to wear off. She told herself that instead of greeting her friend with hugs and kisses, she would give her a hot one across her face. The surrounding tables had two to four people. She was the only one sitting alone. She envied them as they conversed and shared roars of laughter. She felt uncomfortable and lonely. Thandi decided to try calling Zenande again. The call was answered. She held her phone against her ear looking across her. Zenande walked in and sat in front of her. She was excited to see her friend, and started talking nonstop.
“Oh friend, it’s so nice to see you. We haven’t seen or talked to each other in years. I wondered if I had done something wrong. You stopped calling, and your phone went straight to voice mail when I tried. I thought you hated me, or maybe I was starting to bore you. But that’s alright. We are here now, together at last. Oh how I have missed you. I have so much to tell you, and I guess you do too. There must be a lot going on in your life. I got your new number from Sandile. How are things going between you two? I bet you are already talking about marriage and having kids. Did I tell you Ayanda has a baby boy? He is four months old now. Time is moving fast. The years go by without us realizing. We are all grown and have major responsibilities. It is not at all like it used to be in varsity. You know, being care-free and enjoying our youth. Talking about Varsity, I remember the first day we moved in together. We talked and laughed until four in the morning. Sam had to come in and complain about the noise we were making. I was happy then, I knew I had found a true friend and sister. Oh but you are so quiet though. Is something troubling you? You keep looking away. You have been looking at your phone since I walked in. Is there a message? Is it Sandile? Did he upset you? Everything is going to be okay. I am here now. It will be like it was in the old times. We will go out for a movie, have dinner, and talk about it all night. We can even start a new mission. You remember back when we used to have missions. If one of us liked a boy we would turn it into a little mission, and work on getting that boy. Oh! Those were the craziest times, and we did the craziest things. It was fun! I wish you would talk to me. We have so much to catch up on. We haven’t seen each other in two years. We have been waiting for that waiter for ages. I don’t think he deserves a tip. He reminds me of the waiter at Biggy’s. Oh, I forgot to tell you, I went there this morning. You see, something happened, and I needed to clear my head. I think the moment of impact took me by surprise. I didn’t expect it to happen, but a part of me knew it would happen. You know am superstitious, I believe if you think about bad things happening to you too much, they end up happening. You are so quiet though. But it’s okay, I wanted to tell you this anyway. I wanted to go home, but decided against it. I had to see you first. There are two things I didn’t do this morning. I didn’t notice until it happened. I feel like I live the same day every day, I just live for following routines that I programmed in my head. Today I skipped two. That waiter is back, check the menu so you can order for us. I would love to try something new. Why did they bring only one menu? We have to tell him to bring another. They expect us to share just this one. It’s not fair, and not professional of them. Have a look, I’ll check later. Heey, he is going to the ladies sitting at the table by the corner. So he decides to take their order even though we were here first? This place might be packed. However, there is still a bunch of waiters standing by the door, and none of them is attending to us. I’ll tell you, their service is very poor. We might have to call the manager. Anyway, I was telling you about this morning. I went outside to start the engine, I made my bed, and I took my house keys and headed for the door, before leaving I double checked to see everything was turned off; the iron, the kettle and the television set. Once I was satisfied, I locked the door. I went to the car, and drove out. I took my usual route. The morning sun was blazing and it blinded me. I knew that at some point I had to wear my sunglasses. I turned left on the first stop sign, right and on the second, and left on the third one. I took my eyes off the road for a few seconds looking for my sunglasses. Luckily, I was still able to control it. I let go of the steering wheel for another few seconds to put them on. The car was still in control. By that time, I was at the yielding sign. I paused and turned left and drove down the road. When I reached the fourth stop sign at the intersection, I looked to the left and saw the taxis far away. I knew that by the time they got near, I would have long passed. That brings me back to that moment of impact I was talking about. It’s what reminded me that there were two things I didn’t do this morning. I heard the loud bang, the blow on my head, and the shattering of the glass as my car skidded away and stopped as it bumped by the pavement. I let go of controls covering my head. There were a lot of policemen, and some were standing next to my car asking if I was okay. I told them I was, but I couldn’t stop crying. They asked if I needed medical assistance, and I said no. I had to call my insurance company. I had forgotten its name, so I had to search on the internet. I realized I didn’t have airtime. I couldn’t buy it through cell phone banking because it was completely depleted. The balance was zilch. So I did airtime advance with my service provider. That gave me enough to proceed with the cell phone banking. The whole thing was starting to embarrass me because the police officers were walking around the car. They were busy talking amongst themselves, but mostly they wanted to talk to me. The buying of airtime and searching for my insurance company online was taking too long. Worse of all, I had to wipe the tears and the snot sliding down my face. I would have used facial tissue, but I couldn’t remember where it was, so I had to use my scarf. I got their number and I called them. They were sorry to hear I was involved in an accident, and wanted to know where I was planning to take my car. I had no idea. That waiter is looking at us, he is weird. Anyway, I didn’t know where I was supposed to take my car. So I just told them to take it to the dealership I bought from in Bramley. Still, I wasn’t sure if it was the right place to take it. I finally got out of the car, and the policemen told me that we had to get to the police station to report the accident. The bus driver was there, he is such a nice guy. I didn’t feel any pain, but I was cold. My hands were ice cold, and my body shivered. When we got to the police station, I was glad they didn’t make us write statements about what happened. I wouldn’t have remembered. The only thing I know and remember is that there are two things I didn’t do this morning; I didn’t pray, and I didn’t see the bus. Other than that, everything was just a blur. I didn’t even look at the accident scene. Some people take pictures, but I didn’t. The car-tow guy arrived and he informed me of a panel beater company we could take the car to. We drove there. They were nice to me. They gave me hot chocolate, and a driver to drive me to the shopping mall. Their service was very good. They took my details and promised to communicate with my insurance company. After assessing the damage, their driver came and asked where I wanted to go. That’s how I ended up at Biggy’s. Since their service was bad, I went to watch a movie instead. It was really good. I had timed it correctly for I made it in time for our appointment. Oh, it had been ages. I have missed you so much, and am glad we were able to meet. Am glad we had decided to meet today, I didn’t want to go back home and be reminded of the accident. It happened so fast, yet in slow motion. Within those moments I remembered the two things; I didn’t pray, and I didn’t see the bus. The waiter is looking at us again. You are getting up, are you going to the ladies’ room? Oh how I wish you would talk to me! Is it outside? Okay, I will be waiting right here for you then!
Some seventeen kilometers away from the restaurant stood the scene of the accident. The cars on Pillay Street moved slowly each flashing hazard lights. The intersection was packed with metro police cars, emergency vehicles, and a crowd of bystanders. Some of the police officers were controlling the traffic, while some prevented the bystanders from coming too close to the scene. Brigadier Baloyi dragged on his cigarette for the last time. He tossed the bud on the tarred road and squashed it under his boot extinguishing the light. “What do we have here?” He asked Sergeant Peters as he walked closer to the wrecks. The broken glass made a crunchy sound under his boot. “A collision between the bus and a small car. the driver of the small car was a 25 year old young woman. She was declared dead on the scene by paramedics.” Brigadier Baloyi removed the cover from the body looking at the now deceased young woman. “Did she have any identification? Are we going to be able to inform family members?” he asked as he covered the body and taking two steps towards the damaged vehicle. His hands were frozen. He rubbed them together, blowing hot steam before shoving them on his side pockets. Sergeant Peters flipped open his notebook examining his notes. “Yes. A woman by the name of Thandi had been trying to contact the deceased. We believe she might lead us to the relatives.”