I spent that night watching TV in my apartment and wondering if there were any good men left in the world or if we all had to settle for one-eyed men like Amanda.
Thato had burst out laughing at first but on hearing how Adam lost his eye, she slowly started to eat her laughter. According to Amanda, Adam had lost his eye during a riot in the Congo where he was working as a doctor.
To be sincere, I was impressed with Amanda though I was yet to meet Adam. I just found it so admirable that she was falling for a man that did not have half the qualities on her checklist. I concluded there must have been some x-factor about him that attracted her. It turned out I was right about the x-factor when we finally met Adam a week later over dinner at Amanda’s. We agreed to meet at her place for dinner just to ease the tension on Adam who was not so familiar with South African restaurants.
It was so much fun! His english was terrible yes but his manners were impeccable! He kissed Thato and I on the cheek when he arrived, he came with wine and dessert even though Thato told him she had everything in place and he was really interesting to talk to. I didn’t even notice his eye-patch or bring it up until he did.
“Me I am hope to have new eye when I make money.” He said.
His grammar construction was terrible but he sounded so cute with the french accent. I found myself wishing for an ugly man like him with such good manners. By the end of the evening, Thato and I approved of Adam, he was what Thato needed- attentive and caring and definitely in love with her.
I got back to my normal life after that day. Work, work and more work was all I did. I did not have the urge to meet any men or even talk to anyone if it wasn’t necessary and I was happy that way. It took another couple of weeks before I got to hang out with the girls again and this time Amanda was literally glowing while Thato, well, looked a bit dull and weird. She had a scarf on her head and sunglasses so huge, they could have passed for welding shields. I decided to face Amanda first. Something serious was definitely up with Thato and I didn’t want to belittle it by bringing up Amanda’s happiness afterward.
“Well, Amanda, I have to say… Adam’s juice works wonders on you.”
We were sitting at News Cafe having steaks and salads. Amanda gushed happily in response..
“You have no idea how amazing that man is! He should be a model for the 21st century men.”
I laughed and Thato managed a smile.
“So what have you guys been up to?” I asked.
Amanda shrugged. “I’ve been teaching him english, learning some french, preparing him for his medical examinations… Speaking of which, I have to withdraw some cash for that.”
Alarm bells went off in my head. “Cash?”
“Yes. I… I am paying for his exams.” She said looking down at her food.
Thato who had been unusually quiet the whole time dropped her fork and looked at Amanda. “You are what?”
Amanda also dropped her fork on her plate, a little more calmly than Thato. “Girls, please try to understand. He needs my help! I don’t want to be the girlfriend that doesn’t put any effort into helping my man achieve his dreams.”
I nodded like I understood. I just thought it was too soon for Amanda to take such responsibility. Their relationship was just a couple of weeks old; but then again who was I to judge? I wasn’t exactly a success in the relationship department. Thato on the other hand didn’t even try to hide her reservations about Amanda’s decision.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and not your wallet darling.” She said, continuing with her food.
Amanda shrugged. “Well Thato, not everyone of us have our relationships lined with romantic moments and well-to-do boyfriends.”
“It’s not about that. I just think you are going too fast with this Adam guy. Yes, he has good manners; Yes we found nothing wrong with him when we met him but Amanda, you should give some time and watch where your relationship is headed before you start to invest your cash in a foreigner.”
Amanda raised her eyebrow as the last word escaped Thato’s lips. “Foreigner? Is that what this is about?! You don’t like Adam because you are xenophobic? I can’t believe this!”
“Mandy…” I started.
“No Diney! Now I know I have been hanging out with xenophobic, un-accepting friends!”
Thato smiled as she watched Amanda take her anger out on her food. I had lost my appetite by then and simply sipped on my ice tea, trying to think of a way to avert the unpleasant tempers flying.
“Amanda, I am not xenophobic”. Thato started. “I just don’t want you to get hurt. Sometimes, men are perfect in the beginning because they want something and once they get it, they become mosnters.” She looked at me and I nodded. “And sometimes, what they want is not sex.”
Amanda sighed and placed her hand on Thato’s. “Adam is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I trust him, I love him and I want to support him with everything I have.”
“We understand that Mandy” I said with a smile and turned to face Thato. She shrugged and continued eating.
“Well, Thato are you going to tell us why you are hiding your face from the beautiful sunshine? In case you don’t know, face lotions with SPF protect your skin, not bulky sunglasses and flag-like scarves.”. I said.
“I just feel like it.” She replied curtly.
I looked at Amanda unsure of what to say. She winked at me and smiled. Suddenly, she reached for Thato’s sunglasses in a playful move laughing as she succeeded in pulling them off. The laughter subsided as we saw Thato’s eye, swollen, black and blue.
” What happened?!” I exclaimed reaching for her face as she looked down, ready to burst into tears.
She shook her head as tears coursed down her cheeks. “Wandile hit me”.