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from They Call Me Nothing by Jenny Young

Copyright © 2018–2021 Jenny Young

Chapter 18


I wake before my alarm goes off and lie in bed enjoying the warmth. My mind goes back to the conversation I had with the Major. He is happy to meet Lutho and help him find a way forward. He is even prepared to come to the counselling centre for the meeting. I smile to myself. He told me the worst that will happen to Lutho is he’ll be sent to a reform school and not go to jail as we both feared. “Stoutskool,” he said, an Afrikaans word for “Naughty School.” Even then, there might be mitigating circumstances and a lot depends on the judge.

Marshmallow has noticed that I am awake and pats the duvet near my face, trying to make her way under. I lift it for her and she burrows under and settles herself in the hollow of my knees, purring loudly.

I hear the kitchen door open and know that Dora has arrived and I can expect a doggy onslaught soon. True to form, Jasper bounces in and greets me with a wet lick, making sure to stay out of striking range of Fudge who is sitting on the bed watching. I stretch luxuriously and sit up a bit higher. Dora will be here with my coffee soon. I check my cell phone for any messages and look at my calendar for the day. It is a volunteer day at the church, of course. I can’t wait to tell Lutho the good news. Of course, there is no guarantee that he will come. I did tell him it was his choice and I understand if he decides not to continue.

After breakfast I drive to the church. The rush hour is almost over and the drive is pleasant. As Spring progresses, more and more flowers are blooming in the gardens I pass. Blossoms are still on the trees, although I see some that are browning and losing petals. The weather forecast predicts rain this afternoon. I remembered to tuck my umbrella into the door.

I inhale the sweet scent of jasmine growing over the fence at the entrance to the church. Impulsively I nip off a tendril, deciding to add it to the flowers on the table in the office.

From the church I hear the noise of the vacuum cleaner. No doubt cleaning up after yesterday’s services. I smile to myself. I don’t go to church. I’m not talking to God after he let my baby die. Funny that a church is now part of my life!

I make a cup of coffee and take it to the office. Mabel is dusting the table.

“Morning Mabel. How was your weekend?” I add the jasmine to the bowl of roses.

“Morning Mrs Kaye. It was good. My daughter and her husband came to visit. She’s expecting a baby any day now. It will be my first grandchild!” Mabel moves the rose bowl back to the centre. “Mmmm. These smell good.”

I drink my coffee while Mabel finishes dusting. Once she has gone I take out a piece of paper and start making a list of what I learned from the Major.

1.   Lutho needs a lawyer.

2.   He is underage and he will become a ward of the state. He might be put in a foster home or put up for adoption since he has no parents.

3.   If he hands himself in, there will have to be a hearing in front of a judge.

4.   There might be extenuating circumstances but he might be sent to a reform school.

I look at the list. Rather daunting for a teenager. I really don’t blame him if he just prefers to disappear. Lutho is very small for his age. I have no doubt that a reform school will be full of young thugs and bullies. He’ll never be able to hold his own.

I tell myself he won’t come and I decide to get on with other things. I fetch the laptop from the bottom...

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