We gasped as Thato spoke. Wandile! The awesome Wandile that gave Thato butterflies in her tummy whenever he called her? It was hard to believe.
“How could he have done this to you?” I screamed, attracting attention from those seated at a table close to ours.
Thato raised her hand to tell us to calm down. We returned to our seats, many unanswered questions running through our minds.
“We were having an argument and well, he was trying to punch the door but I got in the way.”
I looked at her incredulously. “That is the most flimsy story I’ve ever had.”
“It’s not a story!” Thato shouted defensively. “He was really trying to hit the door because I made him so angry.”
I raised my eyebrow and turned to look at Amanda.
“Erm… Thato..” Amanda started. ” Let’s assume you are telling the truth here and he really wanted to get the door, doesn’t that make him come across as violent to you? What kind of guy tries to knock down a door with his bare hands?”
“Can we stop discussing me please?!”
We could tell she was really irritated so we dropped the topic and also all hopes of spending more time together that day.
The following week, I called Amanda from the office to ask if she wanted to meet for lunch or dinner that friday. She solemnly told me she had to help Adam prepare for his exam as the test date was around the corner. I didn’t want to call Thato because I wasn’t sure I could keep my opinions about the physical abuse to myself. I decided to settle for a boring weekend and was thinking of going to visit my parents.
Those plans literally fluttered out of the window when I laid my eyes on him. He was light brown chocolate, tall, with dark brown eyes and a broad chest that I just wanted to lay my head on. He was walking out of my boss’ office with my voice and it took a while for me to realize they were headed towards my desk. Oh gosh..I didn’t even have time to freshen up; I knew my skin had a mind of its own in situations like that… Pimples suddenly popped out of nowhere or my lip gloss suddenly dried up. I stood even before they got to my desk, smiling from ear to ear and holding out my hand. They were still about five feet away from me.
“She’s polite” I heard the handsome stranger say as they got closer. My boss smiled and introduced us. I found out his name was Phil, a guy from Nigeria who had a successful fast food business in South Africa and was hoping to make some major investment decisions.
“Would you like to meet for a working lunch? I can treat you to some Nigerian delicacies at one of my restaurants.” He said flashing a smile at me.
I smiled shyly. I had to play this one right. My prayers were about to be answered. My loneliness was due to be over. I could just feel it!
“We can do coffee Mr Phil. I am a woman with many commitments.”
He laughed. “Even people at war fronts make time to eat.”
I smiled and accepted his invitation. My boss, obviously bored by the topic of conversation left us to chat. By the time Phil left, he had my number and promised to pick me up for dinner on friday. I was glad Amanda blew me off.
I’m sure you can tell by now that I could barely wait for Friday. I walked around the office like there was a column of air beneath my feet. Phil was the perfect gentleman. He promised to pick me up from home and I gave him my address. I left work an hour early, feigning a banging headache; my boss simply smiled when I told him and granted me permission to leave. I rushed home, beating the rush hour traffic just in time. I took a bath and slipped into ‘the dress’. Yes… The dress… The dress that was the dress of dresses! It was red and I had kept it for months for a special occasion like my first date with Mr right.
Phil was on time. He was courteous and charming. He didn’t take me to one of his restaurants like I thought he would. Instead, he took me to Tuscan Barbecue for a buffet dinner. I’ve always been a girl with a healthy appetite so I had no problems devouring the tasteful selection of dishes and at the same time look dainty.
By the end of the evening, I was convinced I had found my true love. You know the saying “Love finds you when you stop looking”? That was exactly how I felt. He dropped me off at home and didn’t even attempt to invite himself in. He simply kissed me on the cheek and opened the passenger door for me. He waited for me to get into the house before driving off. Gosh! I was impressed!
I was in my euphoric state of mind the next day which was a saturday when Thato called my phone.
“Friend I have so much to tell you!” I gushed excitedly.
She was silent for a while and then she said “can you please come over? I really need a friend now.”
Without thinking, I grabbed my keys and rushed out of the door, praying that she was ok!