He used the words begrudgingly and decipher in a sentence correctly, was all I could think as he kept talking across the table. I love big words and I can not lie, and inner me was jumping up and down with joy. Our meals had been untouched for several minutes as we each got too fascinated with each other to notice much else.
When you’d been single as long as I had, you worried not just your mother but also your friends. That’s when they’d come up with the insane idea of setting me up on a blind date. Of course, I’d refused at first. I mean, I was anxious enough about meeting men I knew without adding in the nail-biting tension of meeting someone I’d never seen before. They wore me down, eventually, and set it all up so that all I had to do was show up and enjoy myself. A blind date can go either of two ways- bad or good. Rarely is it ever really good, but that is where I found myself on this balmy October evening. Having a really good blind date.
We met at Savanna, a really busy eatery along Loita street. I’d been there before and loved their garlic fries. That day I left work a bit later than I’d planned and ended up having to walk all the way from Railways. We were supposed to meet at 6.30pm, but there I was at 7pm walking as fast as possible across town desperately wishing for longer legs or flight ability. When I finally got there I was late, uncomfortably warm and dishevelled beyond repair. As if that wasn’t enough, my phone had died en route and while I had a general description of what he was wearing I had absolutely no idea of what he looked like. Nor did he.
I couldn’t just go in with no plan or direction, so I just stood outside at the most visible spot and hoped that he would think of looking for me outside any minute now. I didn’t notice him at first, too preoccupied with my thoughts. He was standing to my right and seemed to be waiting for someone or something. He kept looking at his watch, his phone, and tapping his foot. Occasionally, I’d catch him looking at me with a speculative gleam in his eye then looking down the road past me.
He’s cute, was my first thought. “Why couldn’t I be on a date with him instead?” was my second. He was dressed like my date had described himself, but then again it was generic men’s wear. I didn’t want to be embarrassed if I approached him and he turned out to be someone else.
Tap on the shoulder. It was him. “Excuse me, are you….”
“YES!!! And are you….”
“Yes. I’m so glad to finally see you.”
“Me too! My phone died, and I was just hoping you’d come to look for me and here you are.”
“Well, I thought it was you while I was standing there, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of a beautiful woman if I was wrong,” he said as he took hold of my elbow to guide me into the restaurant. The ambience was very pleasant, with warm, yellow lights, delicious scents and the tables are set far enough from each other for privacy. We were lucky to get a corner table and pretty soon our waiter appeared and took our order.
‘’So…tell me about yourself,’’ he asked as he leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers over his chest. This was one of my most hated and confusing questions, and not just because of job interviews. It was such a loaded question, and the pressure of it always made me feel like I was answering it wrong. He must have seen the look on my face because he kinda laughed then and said, “Never mind. Let’s just talk and see what comes up, yes?”
And so we started talking, and talking, and talking. The waiter came back with our food, and then again a while later to take our food to reheat. It seemed like we could not run out of things to talk about. Better yet were the not-so-secret looks we exchanged when we thought the other wasn’t looking and the ‘accidental’ touches.
Soon our waiter came to tell us it was closing time and it was a shock to realize just how much time had gone by. We took the long way back to my stage on the other side of town, trying to make these last minutes seem longer. Eventually, we had to say goodbye and part ways. His hug was just right, firm and warm. I texted him when I got home but there was no response. I figured maybe I was acting too desperate and gave him some time before I got in touch again a few days later. Still nothing. I even called but the phone just rang but no one answering. I’d been blue ticked, and it felt horrible. I kept asking myself if it was something I’d said or done that made him not want to talk to me anymore. I guess I’ll never know.