I don’t expect the car that arrives and I don’t expect the man who drives it. The car is a gold Subaru; I think four-wheel drive. I notice the man because he is white and there are few white faces in Soweto, especially during the late afternoon. It is only later that I see Gogo Kaye and melt out of the shadows and go to her door.
The man gets out. He is tall and muscular and walks as if he is afraid of nothing. His hair is cut short like a soldier’s but grey. He walks around the car and goes down on his haunches next to me. His face crinkles in a smile and he introduces himself as a friend of Kaye. I remember Kaye was going to find somebody to help me. He doesn’t look like a lawyer. He is wearing a black and white t-shirt and a black jacket unzipped. He reminds me of a zebra. Any friend of Kaye’s must be a nice person.
I decide to trust him.
Kaye says it’s OK to be scared. Heroes are also scared. The back of the car is comfortable and I settle into the luxury. I have been like a bubbling volcano all day but now I feel like all the energy is used up. I lie down and close my eyes, too tired to picture the police station or what I will say.
I wake when the rhythm of the car changes. We turn and slow to a stop with the engine still running.
“Would you like a hamburger?” the zebra man asks.
I sit up and see the bright lights of MacDonald’s. The thought of a hamburger makes my mouth water.
“Yes please,” I say. Then I remember. “Are we still going to the police station in Alex?” The fear is back, tying knots in my gut.
“I’ve been thinking. We need to talk about it. Let’s have supper and then go to Kaye’s house and we can talk without other people overhearing. You are in a dangerous position you know.”
His words pull the knots in my gut tighter. I know the danger. I might die. That will not stop me.
The hamburger is delicious, hot and juicy but I can’t finish all my chips. I fold the top of the paper bag neatly over them and put the whole package with my other things.
Everything looks different at night and I am surprised when we arrive at Kaye’s house after only ten minutes driving.
The automatic gates open inwards and it seems like the house is smiling to see me again. I smile back. I feel safe here.
Jasper runs around the car trying to greet everybody at once. His tail flaps madly, dusting the sides of the car. When I open my door, he runs and bounces in front of me eagerly. I pat him.
“Hello Jasper, I’m glad to see you too,” I say. I grab my bags out of the car and close the door. Jasper dashes to the zebra man. He sniffs up and down both his legs.
“I think he smells my cats,” the zebra man says. He puts out his hand with the palm facing down. Jasper sniffs his hand and then wags his tail.