THE TROUBLE WITH FAKING: WHAT WERE THEY REALLY SAYING?

CHAPTER SEVEN

With Afrikaans

Carmen shakes her head. “Ek’s jammer, maar ek praat nie verder met daai ou totdat hy onverskoning vra dat hy my met goed in my gesig gegooi het nie.
Noah bows his head forwards until it’s touching the table. “I sincerely apologise.”

With English Translations

Carmen shakes her head. “I’m sorry, but I’m not making conversation with that guy until he apologises for throwing stuff at my face.”
Noah bows his head forwards until it’s touching the table. “I sincerely apologise.”

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

With Afrikaans

“Sounds about right,” Noah says, stepping up to the front door and giving the woman a brief hug. He turns back to me. “Andi, Auntie Shaylene. Auntie Shaylene, Andi.”
I greet Noah’s aunt and follow the two of them inside. A small boy runs past us, shouting, “Ek kon dit nie daar kry nie.” An answering shout of “Kyk harder!” comes from upstairs, just as an older man’s voice yells, “Stop shouting!”
Noah glances at me and shrugs. “It’s like this a lot.”
We head down a passage, past a kitchen and several closed doors, and into a room with an unmade bed, a dressing table covered in old perfume bottles, jewellery, and medication, and an ancient TV in one corner. In front of the TV, sitting in a wheelchair, is a grumpy, grey-haired woman.
“Hey, Grammy,” Noah says cheerfully. “How’s everything going?”
Instead of answering, Grammy looks past Noah and frowns at me. With slow, slurred words, she says, “Wie’s daai wit meisie?” Her shaky right hand tugs at Shaylene’s sleeve. “Vir wat is sy hier?
Shaylene gives me an apologetic look, then mutters, “Ma, moenie onbeskof wees nie.
“Sorry,” Noah says quietly to me. “I should have warned you about Grammy. She had a stroke two years ago and lost the use of her left side and, apparently, her filter. She pretty much says whatever comes to mind. So don’t be offended.”
“Well, I am the palest person I know,” I say, raising my arms in front of me, “so I shouldn’t really be offended by the label ‘white,’ should I?”
Noah grins. “You are very white, aren’t you?” He crosses the room to the TV, pulls it away from the wall on its wheeled trolley, and slides behind it. “So, you’re having TV troubles again, Grammy?”
Dom masjien,” she grumbles, waving the remote control at it.
Shaylene rolls her eyes and walks back to where I’m standing in the doorway. “Come on. You don’t have to stay here and listen to the old lady cursing her TV. You can meet everyone else.” She takes me around the house and introduces me to Noah’s father in his study, Cousin Number One, Number Two, and Number Three who are arguing over TV channels in the lounge, and Noah’s mother as she arrives home from work. I remember Noah mentioning a sister, but she doesn’t seem to be around.
“All fixed,” Noah announces, appearing in the doorway of the kitchen just as I’ve finished giving Shaylene and Noah’s mom the edited version of my life story. “Hey, Ma,” he adds. “Is it cool if we stay for dinner?”
“Of course. You’ve seen the size of the curry pot, right?” She points to the stove where a pot bigger than any I’ve seen before sits. “You know Shaylene always makes enough to feed an army.”
“Ah, but did she make enough to feed Andi?” Noah says, throwing me a teasing smile. “This tiny girl over here eats a deceptively large amount. You should have seen the size of the cake she had at Truth.”
“Hey, I offered you some of that cake and you weren’t interested,” I remind him.
“Because it had carrot in it. Vegetables have no business being anywhere near a cake.”
“Carrot cake is the best cake in the world,” I tell him authoritatively.
“Agreed, Andi,” Shaylene says.
“You guys are crazy,” Noah says as his phone rings in his pocket. “French toast is the way forward.”
Nie vir middag tee nie, silly,” Shaylene says, flicking him with a dish towel as he removes his phone from his pocket. I see a picture of a pretty girl on the screen before he steps out of the room to answer it. Half a minute later he returns, saying, “Lolly said she’ll be here in half an hour.”

With English Translations

“Sounds about right,” Noah says, stepping up to the front door and giving the woman a brief hug. He turns back to me. “Andi, Auntie Shaylene. Auntie Shaylene, Andi.”
I greet Noah’s aunt and follow the two of them inside. A small boy runs past us, shouting, “I couldn’t find it there.” An answering shout of “Look harder!” comes from upstairs, just as an older man’s voice yells, “Stop shouting!”
Noah glances at me and shrugs. “It’s like this a lot.”
We head down a passage, past a kitchen and several closed doors, and into a room with an unmade bed, a dressing table covered in old perfume bottles, jewellery, and medication, and an ancient TV in one corner. In front of the TV, sitting in a wheelchair, is a grumpy, grey-haired woman.
“Hey, Grammy,” Noah says cheerfully. “How’s everything going?”
Instead of answering, Grammy looks past Noah and frowns at me. With slow, slurred words, she says, “Who’s that white girl?” Her shaky right hand tugs at Shaylene’s sleeve. “Why is she here?”
Shaylene gives me an apologetic look and mutters, “Ma, don’t be rude.”
“Sorry,” Noah says quietly to me. “I should have warned you about Grammy. She had a stroke two years ago and lost the use of her left side and, apparently, her filter. She pretty much says whatever comes to mind. So don’t be offended.”
“Well, I am the palest person I know,” I say, raising my arms in front of me, “so I shouldn’t really be offended by the label ‘white,’ should I?”
Noah grins. “You are very white, aren’t you?” He crosses the room to the TV, pulls it away from the wall on its wheeled trolley, and slides behind it. “So, you’re having TV troubles again, Grammy?”
“Stupid machine,” she grumbles, waving the remote control at it.
Shaylene rolls her eyes and walks back to where I’m standing in the doorway. “Come on. You don’t have to stay here and listen to the old lady cursing her TV. You can meet everyone else.” She takes me around the house and introduces me to Noah’s father in his study, Cousin Number One, Number Two, and Number Three who are arguing over TV channels in the lounge, and Noah’s mother as she arrives home from work. I remember Noah mentioning a sister, but she doesn’t seem to be around.
“All fixed,” Noah announces, appearing in the doorway of the kitchen just as I’ve finished giving Shaylene and Noah’s mom the edited version of my life story. “Hey, Ma,” he adds. “Is it cool if we stay for dinner?”
“Of course. You’ve seen the size of the curry pot, right?” She points to the stove where a pot bigger than any I’ve seen before sits. “You know Shaylene always makes enough to feed an army.”
“Ah, but did she make enough to feed Andi?” Noah says, throwing me a teasing smile. “This tiny girl over here eats a deceptively large amount. You should have seen the size of the cake she had at Truth.”
“Hey, I offered you some of that cake and you weren’t interested,” I remind him.
“Because it had carrot in it. Vegetables have no business being anywhere near a cake.”
“Carrot cake is the best cake in the world,” I tell him authoritatively.
“Agreed, Andi,” Shaylene says.
“You guys are crazy,” Noah says as his phone rings in his pocket. “French toast is the way forward.”
“Not for afternoon tea, silly,” Shaylene says, flicking him with a dish towel as he removes his phone from his pocket. I see a picture of a pretty girl on the screen before he steps out of the room to answer it. Half a minute later he returns, saying, “Lolly said she’ll be here in half an hour.”

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

With Afrikaans

“Tania, I’m sorry,” Noah says, slowly walking past me onto the landing. “I didn’t know Carmen was your cousin. I’m not here to upset you, and I’m really sorry about your grandfather—”
Moenie waag om oor my oupa te praat nie,” Tania yells. “Jy het sy kleinseun van hom af weggeneem. Jy’t sy hart gebreek nes jy myne gebreek het en almal in ons familie s’n.”
“Tania,” Noah says, raising his hands slightly, “dit was ’n ongeluk.”
Nee!” She rushes at him and starts beating her fists against his chest. “Dit was jou skuld en ek haat jou. Ek haat jou want jy het hom van ons af weggeneem!
Carmen pulls Tania away from Noah and wraps her arms around her. “Get the hell out of here,” she growls at Noah.
“I’m sorry,” he mutters, then walks past them, his head down, towards the stairs.

With English Translations

“Tania, I’m sorry,” Noah says, slowly walking past me onto the landing. “I didn’t know Carmen was your cousin. I’m not here to upset you, and I’m really sorry about your grandfather—”
“Don’t you dare talk about Grandpa,” Tania yells. “You took his grandson from him. You broke his heart like you broke mine and everyone else’s in our family.”
“Tania,” Noah says, raising his hands slightly, “it was an accident.”
“No!” She rushes at him and starts beating her fists against his chest. “It was your fault and I hate you. I hate you for taking him away from us!”
Carmen pulls Tania away from Noah and wraps her arms around her. “Get the hell out of here,” she growls at Noah.
“I’m sorry,” he mutters, then walks past them, his head down, towards the stairs.