………….As I turned around – almost in slow motion – to greet him, my heart prayed all sorts of prayers: that it was not really him, that power supply to coca cola spot would fail all of a sudden and I would disappear under the cloak of darkness, that he would be here alone – looking to grab a quick meal before heading back to his laptop.
I caught the smell of Omnia Green Jade for the second time in one night. As I extended my hand to ‘Ruki, I saw her. She was standing right behind him.
You know how it feels when you steal for the very first time and get caught? I felt exactly that way. I went weak at the knees, and my mouth went dry. My heart cursed ‘Ruki for showing up at this inopportune moment. It did not help that ‘Sandra was smiling at me, that full toothy vulnerable smile of hers. I felt like a cheating boyfriend, husband even. My epiphanies were yet to acquire legs: my heart was winning the battle with my head.
‘Ruki had been so sure I would meet them here that he had called ahead to book dinner for three. My voice seemed to come from outside of me as I negotiated with the waiter to return one plate. I mumbled unintelligible when ‘Sandra asked why we had four plates instead of three. My legs felt like logs of wood as I led the way to the table in the corner.
Although they did a great job at hiding it, they were both shocked to find that I had invited someone else to dinner. I introduced her as ‘Cy, stressing that I had only met her that day. I also made sure to mention that she read my article and had contacted me. I was briefly excited to learn that ‘Ruki had also read it, and even though I did not expect better – disappointed to learn that ‘Sandra had not. I chose to entirely avoid the unspoken question of why ‘Cynthia was there. Explaining to ‘Ruki and ‘Sandra that I forgot our ‘date’ would suggest that it was not important to me, and make ‘Cynthia feel like an intruder.
There was so much tension in the air – you could cut it with a knife. ‘Sandra withdrew into her shell, concentrating on her food and randomly glaring across the table at ‘Cynthia. ‘Ruki got into a conversation with ‘Cynthia about the role of the church in politics, occasionally asking my perspective on recent happenings. As for me, my salivary glands had taken my taste-buds with them on leave. The food tasted like leather, the drink like urine. I shifted in my seat and shuffled my feet – alternately happy that ‘Ruki was there to keep ‘Cynthia company and sad that I had bungled my first ‘other date’ in Three years.
That dinner was the longest of my life. I could not have been more grateful when we finally stood to leave. It was late in the evening, and ‘Ruki had to answer the call of nature – potentially leaving me with both ladies. My heart leaped for joy when ‘Cynthia said she was going toward cannon mason, and would walk with him. I almost asked for her room number, my head having decided that I would see her again – but then decided against it, as my heart did not want to upset ‘Sandra further. We said our goodbyes at main gates, and made for our different destinations.
As I walked with ‘Sandra to campus 3; medical hostel – taking the path through Ekrejeta – my mind went over the events of the day. It had been a long, long, day. My article had turned out a huge success; my self-confidence had taken a major boost; I had, had two epiphanies that could potentially change my life; and I had met a wonderful woman who was genuinely interested in me. ‘sandra did not say a word for the entire duration of our walk; I did not notice until weeks after.
My life changed from the very next day.
On my way to class, I noticed posters for a play at Artscan hall that same evening. I had always wanted to see a play at the Arts Theatre, but‘ Sandra had never shared my enthusiasm – always finding something else for us to do together instead.
As I studied the cast, I instantly knew without asking that ‘cynthia would accept to go with me. I don’t know what came over me, but I decided to run a little experiment – so I sent the same text to them both, inviting them to see the play with me. I remembered my second epiphany from the previous: I was still comparing both ladies, but for the first time in Three years – I had setup an even game. Finally, one epiphany had translated into action.
‘sandra responded first. Thirty minutes after I sent the text, she replied saying how much she hated the Theatre and how there would be too many sweaty people there. She had just gotten the latest High School Musicals movie, and would rather have us watch that in her room. Furthermore, she wanted me to get suya from the Students Union Building on my way. I just smiled.
‘Cynthia responded about an hour later. She was sorry she had not responded immediately, she was in class – she said. Yes! She would love to see the play with me, and she was going to ask me if I had not asked first. There was even more. She had gotten our tickets just before calling me, so all I had to do was show up.
I let out a little whoop, dancing a jig right there on the road. Life was good, but that was only the beginning…