This evening I put makeup on, tracing my dark eyes with liner and shadowing them with a gleam of powder. I slick lip gloss on my lips. War paint applied.
I change into a clean shirt and put on a pair of glittery dangly earrings. Armour.
I walk into the shebeen with its bright lights, cold fridges and scattering of tables.
“Baby, over here,” Gorgeous and Lindi look impressed to see me out.
"How's the hangover?" Lindi asks, then tips her head back and takes a few slugs of her Hunters.
"Not worth repeating," I reply seriously. They both laugh as if I've cracked a really funny joke.
"Have another drink, it'll help," urges Gorgeous, gesturing to the collection of empties on their table. "I feel great again!"
I can smell aftershave and I know who it is before I even turn to see Guy’s boss, aka the Minister of Finance smiling his crocodile grin at me.
"Baby, I was hoping I would see you," he croons in a syrupy voice. Let me buy you a drink."
"Sure," I reply, without missing a beat. Gorgeous and Lindi look impressed.
But when I remember Kim saying, "Just face it. Guy’s so not into you" this afternoon, and then following on with even worse things - like I don't have what it takes to be someone - I feel that horrible hurt bubbling up inside me again, before it boils over and turns into anger.
I'll show that Kim that I'm someone in this township. I'll prove her wrong.
The Minister of Finance is already quite drunk. I can tell by the heavy way he keeps putting his hand on my arm, and the way he slurs his words when he tells me he finds me really beautiful.
I know the girls are watching and it suits me perfectly. I know they'll pass the news on to Kim. Pretty soon he moves around the table and sits far too close to me on the bench. He puts his hand on my leg, and then, right there beneath the glare of the shebeen lights, he leans in and tries to kiss me.
Yuck! I manage to move my mouth out of reach just in time, but he slobbers on my cheek. "I've been buying you drinks all night. Don't play all hard-to-get now."
"I'm not playing hard-to-get," I say sweetly, "I just need to go to the bathroom. I'll be back in a minute."
He relaxes his grip. I know it’s time to run.
As I'm slipping out the door, Kim sashays in. She falters as she sees me.
The words that erupt from my lips are fiery and unstoppable. "Maybe you're the one who doesn't have what it takes Kim. Maybe you should be doing yourself a favour and giving it all up."
Then I duck out, slipping into the shadow outside the shebeen. My legs start to shake, and I lean against the wall, needing its cool smoothness to hold me up.
Baby's new friends seem to think the only way to get ahead in life is with the help of a rich man. The Minister of Finance seems to agree.
Does sleeping with a rich guy prove you're a “somebody"?