Dear Jack, let me tell you the story of a guy I know. It’s a rather interesting story:
‘The apartment reeks of the stale smell of his thoughts. He lives there with the girl of his dreams. It’s a three bedroom apartment. He sleeps in one, sorry, they sleep in one; he uses the other as office for his start up and they reserved the last for guests and marriage junk; they hardly have stay over visitors. But he realised his mum would likely come over for a few weeks after the baby is born. To help. And so he reserved the room. The baby will initially stay in their bedroom, until he’s weaned. Then he’ll move to the visitors’ room. He’s a visitor isn’t he? At some point he’ll leave for boarding school. The gradual process of moving out of the house would have begun then. That’s what boys do. By the time he’s in the university he’ll hardly come home. And after, he’ll go for national service. And then get a job. And meet a girl, though not always in that order. It’s a rite of separation boys go through. And then he’ll get his own apartment, get married, have a boy or girl, reserve one room for the baby… Life is a cycle we recycle.
He met her- his wife- at a small party. It was thrown by his friend. Think it was her birthday. It was one of those parties redolent with casual elegance. It wasn’t rambunctious. Just easy. Easy fun by the pool, the DJ playing something in between smooth and danceable. One or two couples on the dance floor, drinks in hand, the music entering their bones. You could tell from the lost expression on their faces. They were lost. The dance was a mating ritual. There were maybe thirty, forty people at that party, and there she was! The light that fell near her wasn’t incandescent.
As he would later learn when he spoke to her, it was an ethereal context for the girlish warmth in her voice. Call it likeability at first sight, they just wanted to talk. They found a way to talk. He was a bit shy. Not his nature to toast. He spoke about his work and they talked about meeting up. It wasn’t definitive but both needed to see each other. Till today he doesn’t really know what attracted him to her. Or her to him. They just liked each other. For years after he would ponder that night. She wasn’t the most beautiful girl at the party. Can’t even use the word “beauty” concerning her. Her friend, yes, but not her. Was she pretty? Yes, some would say. Moving away in complexion from Rocher Ferrero chocolate she tended towards toffee light in complexion. But there was something about her… something that struck him that night.
In the shadow of the evening breeze her slight chiffon dress waved at his heart. At three inches above her knee it was conspiratorial. The indelible memory of that evening was etched on his consciousness. Such details. He didn’t know it then but life had fated them together. Both must have thought over each other in the night. When he called the next day there was anticipation in her voice. They agreed to meet for drinks, you know, talk. His drink soon became an orphan. It was hardly touched. They spoke. They laughed. They reminisced over a past they didn’t share. They wanted each other. She wore a white cotton dress, Versace wrap-around sun glasses, a wide hat – there’s a bit of theatricality to her. She dressed for him and wasn’t ashamed of it. She wore a wedge, with a tie strap just above the ankle. She had ruby, black and nude bangles on her. They jiggled on her right arm. She further accessorised with a man’s wrist watch: three colour band nylon strap – the flag of Italy. She’s the artistic type. She wore red lips. And when she sipped her drink she left a stain on her straw. Her voice was cultured and raspy, playful and fun. He can’t really remember what they spoke about.
Thirty minutes became one hour. One hour became two. And afternoon became evening. And when the day was gone she remembered she had to meet up with the girls. “Would be nice to meet again,” they both said almost simultaneously, within a time lag of zero point whatever. It would take all of three minutes to climb down the cafe stairs though just one floor. They talked to her car, an Infiniti, and talked some more. He caught a slight glimpse of her thigh as she got in. She sat in the driver’s seat, held the steering wheel with both hands and blew an exhale, then bent her head down. The sequence was an expression of the state of her heart, a struggling admission: she was falling for him. She rolled down the glass, even as his two hands rested on her door, one hand clutching his car key.
Her phone rang and she picked up the call. “Excuse me…” Two voices were on the other end. “I’m on my way”. She pressed the “end” button on her phone, looked at him longingly and sadly: “I’m sorry I have to go!” She wanted to beat herself! She kicked the engine, rolled up the glass, started reversing, waved, turned, one last look… As she was driving off, he frantically waved her down, ran to the car, and planted a so slight a kiss on her cheek. She was surprised! And happy! It glowed beneath her skin. And that was genesis. Ever since she has captivated him with her several wigs, her several wedges, sundry high heels… He had been in love with her ever since.
He was staring into the distance. His friend shook him out of his reverie: “John, John, here she comes.” John looked up. She was coming into the cafe with her friend. They were in a chatty mood. He’d dreamt about her, loved her, married her and they’re expecting a baby. Yet he’d never spoken to her! The apartment? That was just his cranium! It all took place in his imagination. “You’ve got to make the move man! Or someone else will! When are you going to talk to her?” his friend asked. On the table just across from them, she was also asking the same, wondering. The light was green.
Your friend is staring at you again,” Amina said. “Why doesn’t he ask you out?” “I wonder too,” Taiwo replied.’
Make your move Jack!
© Leke Alder 2014