EVER MET SOMEONE WHO SHAPED YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECTED IT? THESE THREE WRITERS DID AND DISCOVERED THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE

 ‘A swarm of ants led me to my husband’

It was one of those sensual Durban summer party nights – starlit and sweaty. On the leafy terrace of a friend’s flat, a heavy bass beat reverberated through the wall, where our intimate knot of nerds leaned on a squash of Indian silk cushions, while the party proper rocked inside. Then the skin on the back of my neck began ever-so-slightly to crawl. I idly brushed at what felt like a trickle of sweat or stray hair. It continued. I glanced suspiciously at the guy beside me – was he teasing me, tickling me with a cocktail skewer? I wouldn’t have minded, I’d fancied him for a while, but his hands were busy with a glass and a bowl of curry. The strange, barely perceptible tickling came again, this time fleetingly across my back. Was the punch spiked? There were two bowls loaded with tropical fruit, one artistically labelled ‘Boozy’, the other ‘Not’, beside the two big pots of curry labelled ‘Meaty’ and ‘Not’. I’d stuck religiously to the ‘Nots’. Now I wondered… I might have been sweet 17, but I’d read somewhere about formication and a crawling sensation triggered by certain medication and drugs. Had my drink been spiked? Was the cool guy beside me, who had gallantly brought my drinks, one of those men my mom and teachers had warned me about? Then he leapt to his feet, spilling his drink. He looked around wildly for an instant, before fleeing indoors. He emerged minutes later, shirtless, hair dripping. Gorgeous. My heart thumped even as my body twitched involuntarily. He took one look at me – my mouth open, eyes wide, rubbing at my arms – and grinned. Hauling me up by the arm, he dragged me into the shower. The music was too loud for speech. ‘Strip,’ he mouthed, and ripped off my tie-dye top. Then I saw them – dozens of tiny black ants, now threading their way down my arms. I tore off my jeans and thanked God that I was wearing my best black cotton undies. He turned on the shower and helped me rub. Minutes later, the door burst open and the others from the terrace shoved in with us in various stages of undress, screaming soundlessly, laughing hysterically. The looks of the hardcore dancers as we threaded out afterwards in our underwear were priceless. I wonder sometimes what became of them – I lost them somewhere between high school and life. Some of the others, however, remain among my closest friends, and the gorgeous guy wound up as my husband. – Glynis Horning

‘I discovered my sexuality during an after-party KFC Drive Thru’

It was Valentine’s Day in Johannesburg, the gig was outside in the sun, and we had been drinking one beer after another. The jol continued with a lot of laughing and cold white wine. A friend had brought along a colleague (a cute girl with glasses) who sat next to me, and at some point I put my hand on her thigh. I was nearly 27 and had previously thought I was straight. I had never flirted with a woman. In vino veritas (in wine, there is truth), as they say. When I got up to go to the bathroom, she followed me, and kissed me in the doorway of the spare room. It felt like a movie moment – we jumped apart and laughed when one of the guests came past to use the bathroom. She offered to drive me home and stopped at the KFC Drive Thru. Nothing romantic developed between us, but the experience changed my life. It was the first time I’d slept with a woman, and I thought: ‘Oh. So that’s what it’s supposed to be like.’ Many things have happened in the year and a half since – Tinder dates, crushes and a brief relationship, but the most incredible experience was the internal shift in how I recognise my own sexuality. I now identify as gay, and although straight felt true when I was younger, queer feels much truer now. It was a damn good party. – Louise Ferreira

‘Truth or dare? Sometimes you need to kiss the wrong boy’

‘Of course I’ve done that. I was married, remember?’ Thami (not his real name) said in an American-textured drawl, the span of his shoulders filling the lounge. Wide-eyed, sitting on a chair at the back of the room, I drank him in. Tupac and Dr Dre tracks floated through the dimly lit flat and we nursed post-club 3am drinks, asking risqué questions and playing truth or dare. At 26, Thami had once been married, and now had a girlfriend and a reputation for kissing girls. The Universal Soldier – as we’d dubbed him for his superb posture and Van Damme-esque physique – was a savage in a garden of corruptibles. We, a motley crew of first- and second-years from different disciplines, were simply ‘just friends’. We roamed the grim handful of Bloemfontein clubs in a pack of five señors and two señoritas. While Thami shattered our unworldly 19-year-old illusions about any innocence on his part under the covers, I wiped my sweaty palms across my jeans, hoping to evade any questions lobbed at me. I kept reminding myself that I was too smart to allow a bad boy as blatant as this one to creep too deep into my thoughts. At that moment Thami looked across the room, his gaze fixed on me. The chatter ceased and the ice clinked in my empty glass. ‘And I bet you would, too,’ he said to me directly. I steadied my hand and met Thami’s gaze. In the end, we shared a kiss a few weeks later. It was enough for me to notice he had ‘heartbreaker’ tattooed across his chest, and not only on his clothes. I realised there are times when the hearts and minds of bad boys won’t budge, no matter the good intentions or the goodness of the woman. It’s best to just let them be – to add intrigue to after-parties, sizzle to games of truth or dare, and to be savoured years later as a memory of youthful nights gone by. – Ishay Govender-Ypma