“Hello Boys,” they heard Gugu’s voice.
“I’m sure she walks this way on purpose, just to annoy me.”
“I don’t understand,” says Cyril, “What does annoy mean?”
“Sometimes you don’t think about how much you are going to miss someone until they’ve gone away,” thought Obby.
Today he was feeling a little sad. He wiped the tears from his cheeks as he thought of his friend Toby, who had returned to his country, which was now safe.
People referred to him as the refugee boy, but to Obby he was simply a boy, and a friend who never complained and always tried his best.
He was so proud when he finally got a passport that allowed him to travel home and his uncle travelled to South Africa to take him back, to his country of birth. He cried when he saw his brother’s son and when he looked into his eyes he saw the resemblance of his late brother. The last time he had seen Toby he was a small boy – just before the war. Now before him stood a young man.
At the farewell party, Toby spoke about his journey and the loss of his parents when their boat was struck by a wave and how their guiding spirit filled with love lead him far south to the little town of Hermanus -where he met such caring and loving people-especially Uncle Yitzhak.
Obby couldn’t believe how many people came to Toby’s farewell, young and old from all different communities, some dressed in their traditional clothes. The farewell turned into a celebration of love as everyone wished Toby well on his new journey- his return home.
Before Toby left he sat with Obby on the whales tail bench, he didn’t say much but Obby knew that just sitting together as friends in silence was a moment not to be lost. Before his final goodbye, he said to Obby, ” I told Uncle Yitzhak you will visit him and Ollie- they will like that.”
Obby wiped his face as he walked to Uncle Yitzhak’s house.
“Hide” says Obby
“Why? asks Cyril.
“It’s Gugu, she’s walking in our direction.”
“Why must we hide from her?”asks Cyril.
“Gugu likes to ask lots of questions.” Obby says.
“I don’t think Gugu is like that at all,and its not nice to hide away from friends.” Cyril tells him.
“It’s too late anyway,” says Obby, “She’s seen us- look she’s waving.”
“Hello Gugu,” Obby greets her with a big smile.
He didn’t want her to think they weren’t pleased to see her.That wouldn’t be very nice. In fact it would be rude.
“Good morning boy’s,” she stops to greet them, putting down her bag full of books.
“That’s a heavy bag,” Cyril comments.
“It’s full of library books, I’ve taken out another four books,” she says.
They knew Gugu was a keen reader and loved spending time in the library-because she told everyone!
“What books you’re reading?”she asks them.
Cyril froze, “Oh no, maybe they should’ve hidden after all,” he thinks.
Obby not wanting to be out done by Gugu answers, “I’m reading four books too.”
Cyril looks at Obby in complete surprise with raised eyebrows.
“That’s good,” Gugu says, “What are they about?”
“One is about the Southern Right Whale, the other is about the Northern Left Whale,and the third one is about the Eastern Right Whale, and the last one..”
Gugu is looking at him with her mouth pulled to the side and rolling her eyes, with one hand on her hip. She couldn’t stop herself from interrupting… “Let me guess,” she says, “It’s about the Western Left Whale.”
“Yes,” says Obby, “Have you read it?”
“I don’t have words, I just don’t have words,” says Gugu.
“She always has words,” thinks Obby.
She then turns to Cyril and asks him what he’s reading.
Poor Cyril, not one for being good under pressure can feel his cheeks getting hotter and hotter.
Obby looks at him with a mischievous grin, “Tell her Cyril what you’re reading.”
Cyril speaks without thinking, “I’m reading five books.”
Gugu is impressed.
“That’s great Cyril,” she says, “What they’re about?”
“They’re about fish,” he says, “Southern Right Fish,Northern left Fish , Eastern Right Fish and Western Left Fish,” he says.
“And the fifth book?” Gugu asks getting impatient.
“It’s a Fishy story,” he says.
Gugu looks at them with narrow eyes, shakes her head and sighs before picking up her bag and says to them, “You both should read TALL STORIES, you will enjoy it!” and walks off books and all.
“What did she just say?” Cyril asks.
“Something about reading Tall Stories,” Obby replys.
“Maybe we should go to the library and take it out,” says Cyril.
“That’s a good idea, and we can say Gugu recommended it,” says Obby.
“Hello Obby,” said Cyril, “What did you do for Mandela Day?”
“I helped Ma Miliswa in her soup kitchen for 67 minutes.”
“That’s good,” said Cyril.
“Ma Miliswa said I was such a good helper,” Obby said with great pride,”And asked if I could help her twice a week.”
“Thats a lot of 67 minutes,” Cyril said.
“But there are lots of hungry people too,” replied Obby, “Because lots of them can’t find jobs to feed their families.”
“Let there be work, bread,water and salt for all.” Obby quoted Nelson Mandela.
“It’s great to have Elphick back,” said Obby.
They watched Elphick playing in the bay.
“He’s a bit of a show-off,” said Obby, “Look at him jumping out the water and making a big splash.”
“He’s a bit like you,” said Cyril.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about?” Said Obby, “I’m going to say hello.” And with that he took off his cape and dived off the rocks.
“Welcome back,” he said to the big Southern Right Whale. Elphick was happy to see him and lowered his giant body for Obby to climb onboard.
Cyril wished he could swim as he watched Elphick and Obby having such great fun, but ever since he had slipped off the rocks and fallen into the sea he’s been scared of water. “That was the worst day of my entire life, I thought I was going to die,” he said to himself.
Elphick had saved him. He had scooped Cyril out of the water with his tail and catapulted him back to land,like a cannon ball.
He never told anybody about that day, who would have believed him anyway- a dassie without a grip.That was the last time he had a pedicure, safer to have sand paper feet and long toe-nails! Anyway it was between Elphick and him.
He waved as Elphick swam past, with Obby on his tail, waving at everybody.
“Show off,” Cyril shouted.