I let out a little yelp, and my room mates gathered around me immediately. Dumb stricken, I let the phone fall from my hand – and someone picked it up and read the text out loud. They all went quiet for a while, and then started to talk all at once. Everyone had an idea on how to save the day, and each person felt their idea was best.
After a few minutes of hullabaloo, someone suggested that I dash out of the room immediately, meet ‘Sandra on the way, and head for the palace; I would turn my phones off, and explain to ‘CY on returning that I had to do something for someone urgently. They all went quiet, and then started to talk all at once again – everyone claiming the idea was originally theirs.
It seemed to make sense, so I picked my phones and wallet and left the room. As I descended the stairs, I called ‘Sandra to say I had gotten tired of waiting and had left my room – so we would meet halfway. She was already at the hostel gates by this time, and so said she would return to the bus-stop.. My plan was to take a bike from my house, so doing reduce the risk of inadvertently running into ‘CY.
As I made the three minute walk to the gates, I thought back over the events of the past few weeks. ‘sandra was yet to congratulate me on my article; in fact I did not think she had read it yet. I had come to grips with the fact that we did not share much common ground, and more importantly – she could not be bothered to become interested in my passions. While we could survive that as friends – it would not be good for a dating relationship.
I thought back to my second epiphany. Things were a little better – at least now I had one more female friend. I had since given up expecting all women to be versions of ‘Sandra, and even though I honestly did not know what ‘CY’s motivations were – it felt good to know I was making progress on this point.
I knew I was fully responsible for not developing other friendships over the years – preferring to give all my time and attention to ‘Sandra. I would not deceive myself that she was responsible for that in anyway. What I had to do now was change that.
I smelt ‘Sandra before I saw her; the distinctive scent of Omnia Green Jade. She was beautiful, as always, dressed in a simple blue dress and carrying one of her trademark Ankara handbags. I looked upon her and knew: I would always love this girl.
There was a lot on my mind, a lot that I wished I could tell her as I took her hands –but I could not bring myself to speak. In that instant I decided this would be our last ‘date’ in this undefined state: professing to be best friends, but acting like lovers and blocking each other’s chances. When we got back I would take her into some empty classroom, and we would align on a way forward for our friendship.
She smiled at me and started to say something, but then stopped. It started to drizzle lightly; the heavens shedding tears for me, expressing how I felt at what I had to do. I closed my eyes, and ran my fingers all over hers, vainly trying to memorise the velvet of her touch. Tears formed behind my tightly clenched eyelids,and I ground my teeth together to keep from crying. As we climbed into an almost-full bus, I knew this was a magic moment – a last ‘date’ – and there was nothing I could imagine that would mar this experience.
The keyword in that last thought of mine must have been the word ‘imagine’, as what happened next could not have happened in my wildest imaginations.
She smiled at me as we settled into the back seats. We still had not said a word to each other. There were three of us on a row of seats that ordinarily sat four, so it was as comfortable as a bus could get. The driver started the bus and the tires started to roll, when the conductor ordered a stop to take on one more passenger.
Wait till you read the final piece…