I was a Casanova in my heyday. However, even by my standards, being caught up in a romantic love triangle involving siblings was more than what I bargained for. Wait for it: I met and fell in “love” with two separate women on the same night in 1998. This was more like speed dating because it all materialized within one hour.

After the fact, I pat myself on the back for the bountiful harvest. I was salivating at the prospects of the upcoming dates with my brand new “girlfriends”. This all happened at night on the same mean streets of Ohlange, north of Durban. I was in a good company of my cousin, a smooth talker of note.

In the still of the night, in spite of the street lights that functioned intermittently, Ohlange seemed to be an unfamiliar neighbourhood, especially if you are walking through it alone. This is despite the fact that in every third house or more appropriately in every third Mjondolo (shark) there was a tavern, bottle store or a spaza shop. These were always frequented by a variety of customers – lonely hearts, prostitutes, the outlaws and outright dangerous characters. The sodium gleam of the street lamps or the flickering strip light from a lone passing VW Golf blasting music at over 105 decibels offered little consolation. As Matthew Beaumont wrote in The Guardian describing the streets of London after dark, “there were alleys and street corners and shop entrances where the darkness appears to collect in a solid mass”. To take a haunting line from a poem entitled Alastor: Or, the Spirit of Solitude by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) when, “night makes a weird sound of its own stillness.”

In the weird sound of its own stillness of night, the streets of Ohlange smelt of danger, of dagga, of alcohol, and of blood of its own children.

It was in these streets where we hunted for lone walkers and easy women. Our nefarious plan for walking the streets at night was to collect cell-phone numbers and propose a drink or two to the girls. We always banked on the hope that we will have our way with them later. More often than not our strategy worked like charm.

But, nothing had prepared us for the eventuality that one day we will actually date a family. I couldn’t believe it myself!! For most philanderers, it’s the thrill of a lifetime to date siblings up close and personal. However, although I was a broken man living in a broken community, no amount of sexual escapades with the siblings could wash away the guilt of the act itself. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the ecstasy while it lasted.

When, this romantic love triangle began, I was living on the edge of society, a life characterised by booze, dagga smoking, easy money and easy women. Despite this, the community of Ohlange had respect for me and my cousin. I guess we were the better devils. This was in spite of the fact that we were famous philanderers, the community, still considered us to be model youth – not members of any gang, not involved in crime, well dressed and articulate. We milked this perception for all it was worth. It made it easier for us therefore to offer our free services to the lone walkers at night.

This is how the story of the romantic love triangle went. On one mundane walk at night in the streets, we bumped into a woman. She was extremely light in complexion, slender and slightly tall. She was walking alone. She was an easy prey. We shouted: “Hey beautiful, its dark, can we walk with you?” She agreed at once. We walked with her for about two kilometres to her place. As per our routine, I got her cell-phone number, and we agreed to meet again to explore a romantic relationship. We then trekked back to our hunting streets.

Wow! Suddenly there was manna from the heavens. We spotted three women walking alone in the opposite direction. We change tack and offered to accompany the group to whenever their destination was. Unbeknown to us, this group of three women were all family. Amongst them was the mother of the girl we had just accompanied home. In this group, we managed to get two cell-phone numbers of the younger girls.

We became aware during the walk that the older woman was actually their mother. Luckily, she was a modern woman, so the girls were free to flirt with us and exchange cell-phone numbers. At some point during our walk, they suddenly said there were home in the same vicinity where we had left the first woman. Nothing clicked. They thanked us and parted ways. We had already agreed to meet with the younger girls for drinks the next day.

At this point, we had no idea that they we all living under one roof with our earlier hot chick. We had no idea that they more than knew each other but were all family. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t guess that in fact there were siblings born of the same mother. Not only did they share a mother but also lived together and shared stories about their love lives.

Later that evening, I received a call from the first girl, let’s call her Malindi. She told me that her younger sister also had my number, and she wanted to know how that happened. At first, I was in the dark until she explained that the group of three women we accompanied home were her family. I had to spill the beans. But, I assured her that my heart was with her not the younger sister. We ended the call on good terms.

The next day, I phoned the younger sister and explained that my heart was with her not her older sister. She accepted my explanation. The romantic love triangle was in full swing. I was beside myself with joy.

To complicate the romantic love triangle further, my cousin dated the other sister, Xoli. So, in one family, we were dating three women at once. Xoli was very smart though she said nothing about my relationships with her sisters. She was only too happy to spend time with us irrespective of which sister was present.

For three months thereafter, I had to be smart and set up an appointment with one of them on full knowledge that I knew the other one was not available or going somewhere.

However, Malindi was no fool. She soon discovered that I was sleeping with her sister. In one of our late afternoon rendezvous, she confronted me about the issue of her sister. I tried in vain to explain that it was, “complicated”. She said: “I will make it easy for you.” She then handed me her cell-phone and said tell my sister that, “from now on, you’re mine alone”. I had no choice but to speak to the sister and explain that we were breaking up because I had chosen Malindi.

The very next day, I phoned the younger sister to explain myself. She said: “Don’t worry; I know you didn’t mean what you said yesterday. It all came from my jealous sister”. Our love triangle continued until it died a natural death like all similar casual and intensely physical relationships.