It was with trepidation that I stepped through the entrance of The Brazilian coffee shop, my vague intentions of rekindling an old friendship overshadowed by a nauseating fear of rejection. According to my information she worked here now. It had been a long time since I’d seen her last… two years, maybe more.
My uncertainty was swept away when suddenly I glimpsed her through the activity of the shop. It was strange, how plain she looked, wearing a waitresses’ uniform with a band in her hair.
I stepped up to the counter; she came over and with a quizzical look on her face asked me if I needed any help. I smiled and said nothing. She didn’t recognise me at first, but my appearance had changed noticeably. I wore contacts now; my hair was dyed blond and spiked with gel. My clothes were different; one might say I had learnt how to dress. Her face was shifting to annoyance, when suddenly a glint of recognition dawned in her eyes. She lent forward ever so slightly.
“Patrick…?” she asked, completely unsure of herself.
I smiled the affirmative.
She leant back and took me in. I could see the shock and amazement in her face as she tried to reconcile the image in her mind with the one she saw before her. As she took in my features appraisingly, I could see her face brighten.
“It is you,” she said.
All I could do was smile dumbly. She was still flustered from the shock of recognition. “What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I came to see you.”
“Oh.” She frowned. “How did you know where I worked?”
“I phoned your house. Your mother told me.”
“And she told you?!”
“Yes. She remembered me.”
“Well. Ok.”
She still spoke with a high class accent, sophistication and intelligence radiating from her voice. Strangely, I had forgotten that about her, and I realised that it was as good to hear her speak as it was to see her face.
She stood still for a moment.
“Listen, I’ve got to help some customers, I’ll be back in a second, don’t go anywhere.” She dashed off, leaving me standing alone at the counter, feeling somewhat off-balanced. I watched her work, taking orders, serving drinks.
After an eternity, she returned to the counter. She asked me if I had anything planned for the evening, and when I replied that I didn’t, she suggested that I should take her home instead of her mother, and that we could go out afterwards. I said that it sounded a fantastic idea.
Feeling much more certain, I allowed her to sit me down at a table and bring me a cup of coffee to drink while she finished her shift. I found it really strange having her serve me as a waitress. (It reminded me of that time she tried to feed me sushi… just have a small piece she had said. Bad idea.)
As I watched her work, she glanced at me every now and then, with a strange look in her eye, as if she really wasn’t sure what I was doing there at all.

I first met her on an internet chat room circa ‘96. This was before the days of broadband and internet dating, when the odds of meeting another South African on DALnet were extremely low. We chatted at length, and then exchanged phone numbers. With butterflies in my stomach, I phoned her after school and we talked for hours. A friendship developed although we had never met.
Eventually Tyron and I decided to cycle to her house. Joburg is a big city and she lived on the far side – say 35 kms away. She was amazed that we actually cycled all the way just to meet her. We, on the other hand, were amazed at how incredibly beautiful she was.

“Hey daydreamer,” she said, her smooth voice caressing my ears, “my shift’s over. Shall we go?”
We drove back to her place, a sprawling mansion set on large open grounds. Seeing as her parents were out, she broke her father’s rule and let me come upstairs.
She asked me what I’d been up to. I wished that I had something interesting to tell her: that I had been travelling abroad, that I had grown spiritually, something, anything. Instead, I awkwardly told her about my work, and then returned the question.
“Well, last year of high school now. Not sure what I’m going to do next year.” And then she added: “I broke up with Ryan. It didn’t work out. He got a bit weird.”
This was a difficult one to reconcile. The last time I’d seen Ryan (and it had been a while) he’d been fucking her brains out on the back seat of my car while she screamed “You are the best fuck ever!” This was reminiscent of the days that we used to get drunk on cocktails and then have foursomes. I guessed that things had deteriorated somewhat since then. She showed me her tattoo. I was quite surprised – despite everything, I still had her pegged as a ‘good girl’ and I found this difficult to accept.
“I’ve got a nipple ring as well,” she announced.
“Really?” I exclaimed, and then I asked brazenly: “Can I see it?”
She thought this over. “Sure.”
She lifted her top, and then pulled her bra down slightly revealing just the nipple and nothing more. And there it was – her nipple was neatly pierced with a ring through it. I inspected it. Might as well go for broke.
“Can I touch it?”
She smiled sheepishly. “Ok.”
Gently, I rubbed her nipple between my thumb and forefinger. The situation seemed completely absurd!
“It’s actually quite nice,” I remarked. “Why did you get it done?”
“Well, it just gives a guy something unexpected to find. You know, like a little reward, something exciting.”
It certainly was unexpected and more than a little exciting.
“I need to get changed,” she remarked offhandedly, closing her shirt.
I wasn’t sure if I was expected to leave the room, so I didn’t. She opened her cupboard and rummaged around. She found a pair of jeans and pulled them up under her skirt, which she then removed. I was a bit disappointed – somehow I had expected a show. When she started choosing bras I thought things were about to get interesting, but her parents returned and I was forced to hurry downstairs before they came inside.
Her mother was cool towards me, her father downright frosty. I chatted to them for a while in the kitchen while she did what all girls must (i.e. don make up, spray perfume, paint nails, etc). Eventually she came downstairs looking ravishing.
On the way out, her dad confronted me.
“Look after my little girl,” he said, with a glint his eye that said “I’ll kill you if you don’t”.
When we got to my car she asked me excitedly if she could drive. She explained that she had her learner’s license, and that it was a really complicated route to the nightclub and that it would be much simpler if she just drove. Her argument wasn’t exactly convincing, but I couldn’t resist indulging her.
At the club we partied hard, dancing together, touching, rubbing, pulling apart. I ran my fingers through her hair, as our bodies swayed in time. We drank shooters in volume, alternating on the buying until she ran out of money, and finally I did too.
“Don’t you have any more cash?” she exclaimed, disappointment in her eyes.
“I’ve got a bit left in my bank account.”
“Let’s get it!”
We drew out all my remaining cash, returned to the club and carried on partying. The smell of her perfume mingled with our sweat, as we danced together.
At some point, she turned to me, drew me towards her and whispered in my ear: “Patrick, do you want to fuck me?”
My eyelids flew wide with surprise.
“I’m a total nymphomaniac,” she continued, “and it’s been four months since I broke up with Ryan. I need to get laid.”
“Are you sure-“
She cut me off. “Do you want to fuck me?”
“Uh, I don’t-“
“Patrick. Do you want to fuck me?”
“Let’s go.”
She practically dragged by the arm out of the nightclub. While we walked to the car she whispered stories of the Karma Sutra in my ear, told me dirty secrets about blow jobs, sex in public, and all manner of sexual fantasies.
I decided to drive this time. We were both completely smashed, so driving was of course a very bad idea. She directed me to a little secret enclave off the main road, where we could get kinky without disturbance.
Then, for a moment, sanity prevailed.
“Are you on the pill?” I asked. She admitted that she wasn’t.
“Shit. And I don’t have any condoms.”
“Well we can just buy a box from the garage.”
We pulled into the garage and I counted out my remaining money. I only had R9 and some cents. Not enough for a box.
“Don’t you have any more money?!” she exclaimed.
“We drank it all,” I replied crestfallen.
She sat back and sighed deeply. The mood has just gone from steamy to despairing in but an instant.
“We can just do it anyway,” she suggested, “just withdraw before you cum.”
That sounded like a recipe for disaster.

And so here we have it ladies and gentlemen – the practical reality of the mater. All this talk of practicing safe sex, being responsible and not taking risks and then you find yourself drunk, at 2am, in a car with an incredibly hot girl who wants nothing more than to fuck you sixteen ways from Sunday and you’re short R3 for a box of condoms.

I sat there for a while, at a loss what to do. I ended up begging, begging the shop assistant for the extra R3 for the cheapest box of condoms. I have never begged for anything in my life before or since.
We made out way to the aforementioned enclave, and started fooling around. I couldn’t help feeling that some of the energy had been lost at the garage. As I tried to get her top off she stopped me.
“Patrick, I’m not sure if this is right. You have a girlfriend.”
Actually I was wondering if this was going to come up. She knew that I had a girlfriend, the same one from the last foursome with her and Ryan.
“Do you want to stop?” I asked, frustrated.
“Let’s just fool around,” she suggested.
I managed to get her top off, and rediscovered her nipple rings, which I suckled gently. “You know, these are nice surprise,” I smiled at her.
“I want you deep inside me,” she replied, staring at me with lust in her eyes. Obviously the temptation was just too much for her, so I donned a condom and starting fucking her. Unfortunately it didn’t feel right – the condom was poor quality – I wasn’t getting any sensation. She asked me to stop, and then she got out of the car, and started vomiting in the dirt. I felt guilty, watching her being sick, crouching naked in cold. I got out and crouched next to her.
“I can do this on my own,” she snapped. I got back in the car and dressed. Shortly, she did the same.
We drove back to her place in silence.
“Are we going to bury this?” I asked. It seemed like the only appropriate thing to say.
“Yes,” she replied, anger and sadness thick in her voice.
I dropped her outside her house and said goodbye.

I didn’t phone her the next day, or the one after. It just didn’t feel right. We had been apart a long time, and I had just blown my one shot to rekindle our friendship. I got wrapped up in my work again, and the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and then I had already left it too long to call.

Eventually, I erased her phone number, but I couldn’t erase the memory. Before I left South Africa, I thought I’d drop by to say goodbye for good. She is studying construction project management now. She asked me if I was surprised. I said that I was, but then again, she was always surprising me. I met her new boyfriend, a big burly guy, who I instantly disliked. I’m sure he’s good for her.

Isn’t it curious, how some people can make such an impact on our lives? I still think about her, wonder how she’s doing. And when I dream, she comes to me, and we explore how things might have gone differently…