All my senses were alert. I sat there marveling at the truly stunning beauty standing not too far from the place I was seated. The sit-out wasn’t at full population so I had an unobstructed view of her. Her very curly black hair caressed her shoulders as it cascaded elegantly down her neck setting boundaries for the most gorgeous face I had ever seen. The dark hair contrasted perfectly with her very fair complexion. The scorching sun didn’t seem to affect her at all, and rather than turning red as most others with her complexion would, she seemed to have picked up a glow. I had been trapped in my own little world, writing down my thoughts when I heard her melodious voice. There was something very emollient about her voice.
As I looked up to behold the source, I was first struck by her eyes-deep, beautiful, innocent eyes which seemed to keep you entranced from the moment you caught sight of them. Her face was like an exceptional painting. All her features blended together seamlessly in a sight that was pure perfection. As her hair began to sway a bit in the gentle wind that had just picked up a bit of speed, she directed her gaze squarely on me. Eyeball to eyeball for what seemed like forever. Like Medusa from Greek mythology, I was practically turned into stone on eye contact, paralyzed, unable to even exhale. A hint of a smile formed on her lips as she looked at me for another second before turning to speak to her friend who was standing beside her. I continued staring as she and her friend walked gracefully to a nearby retailer to buy airtime. Despite my body’s protests, I eventually tore my eyes away from her and tried to get my mind back on the topic of my writing.
I had been sitting at that table for almost twenty minutes focused solely on the sheet of paper in front of me, trying with little success to form a captivating introduction to my piece. It was an open area with seats and tables scattered around in no particular order. Each table had three seats, and was covered with a pink and white checkered table cloth. I assumed the tables were placed there by the owner of the restaurant about ten metres away as some form of annex in case customers were too many for the building or preferred to seat outside. The smell of freshly mowed grass hung in the air. It was when I heard her voice that I looked up from that sheet for the first time since arriving at that table.
I glanced at my watch, ‘4:24pm’ it read. The beauty and her friend were no longer in sight, so I returned to the paper in front of me. Just as I was beginning to concentrate and put my thoughts together logically, my nostrils were treated to a lovely cologne which smelled like strawberries with a slight whiff of some other fruit. Before, I could turn to see the source, two soft palms slid across my face from behind covering my eyes as I heard gentle laughter in the background. ‘Guess who?’ a female voice said from behind. ‘I hate guessing, wait, is that Nneka?’ I inquired. ‘No’, the voice said sounding a little disappointed, ‘It’s me, Chizzie’ the female said as she uncovered my eyes. I looked up to see the beautiful girl I was staring at earlier, standing in front of me as Chizzie strode from behind me to take her place at Perfection’s side. Apparently, Chizzie, a long-time acquaintance of mine who seemed to pop up whenever she was not wanted, was the friend of the beauty I was staring at so unabashedly earlier on. ‘Hmmm, Guy! who’s Nneka?’ Chizzie inquired with a slight hint of playful interest in her voice while her beautiful friend smiled. ‘Just a friend of mine’ I casually replied. ‘Okay o, I hope you guys are just friends o’ she said placing particular emphasis on the ‘just friends’ part as she and the beauty sat on the two empty seats at my table facing me.
‘You look more handsome than before, what’s your secret?’ she asked. ‘Secret ke?!’ I exclaimed, ‘I’ve always been a fly guy o’ I added. ‘It’s not true joor’ she said, laughing. I was not really interested in continuing the annoying repartee with Chizzie but I needed her to introduce the work of art sitting beside her so I continued to indulge. However, Chizzie, a loquacious girl with very little discernible perception prattled on, asking for my opinions on all manner of topics ranging from the expected-her massive weight loss and new shapely figure to the bizarre-Lady Gaga’s gender. After Chizzie had chattered away for what seemed like five eternities, her friend eventually spoke up. ‘So what were you writing before we interrupted you?’ She inquired with that soothing voice, as a slightly quizzical look formed in her deep eyes. ‘An article . . .’ I replied, ‘I’m a writer’ I added. ‘Are you serious?’ she asked excitedly as her face lit up with enthusiasm, ‘I love writers, do you write poetry too?’. I’m not the biggest fan of poetry but there was only one answer on my lips ‘Yes, I love poetry and I try to jot down poems as often as my time allows’.
Now she was really interested. We began to talk about literature and popular writers. I told her I didn’t like James Hadley Chase(there! I said it! sue me) and my heart skipped a beat when she said ‘Me too’. The more we talked the more we realized our interests seemed to coincide with uncanny precision. My best musicians were hers, her best movie was exactly mine-‘Inception’, she liked John Grisham and loathed Steven King and she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me(okay okay, she never exactly mentioned that last part).
From the corner of my eye, I could see Chizzie getting increasingly uncomfortable with being shut out of the conversation and I was a tad surprised she hadn’t found a way to butt in already. I turned to her and asked ‘So, how did you get to know . . .’ I stopped halfway and turned to the beauty smiling ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name’. She blushed, looked down at her fingers, seeming surprisingly reticent and muttered ‘Jessica’. Chizzie thought about it for a while before replying ‘A party . . . Mexy’s birthday party’. Mexy was a very good friend of ours, but I could not attend that party as I was stuck at my office that night doing some much needed book-keeping. ‘And you guys became friends immediately?’ I asked to neither of them in particular. ‘Yes, we did’ Jessica replied. ‘Interesting’ I said. ‘We’ve got to go now, it’s a pity we couldn’t stay longer’ Chizzie said as they both stood to leave.
I urgently wanted to say something to Jessica, anything at all, but as I opened my lips, I couldn’t form any words. ‘We’ll see later’ Chizzie said, ‘Yea, we will’ I said disappointedly. Just as I turned my gaze to the piece of paper in front of me, I heard Jessica ask ‘So, I’d love to continue this discussion some other time . . . we seem to have a lot in common’. My stomach fluttered back to life. It was as if she knew the words I was so desperately looking for. Before I could reply, she bent over, took my pen and wrote down her phone number on the sheet of paper in front of me. With a smile that would wake a dead man, a glint of mischief in her eyes, and while still bent over facing me, she whispered into my right ear, with her very sweet voice ‘Call me’ . She didn’t wait for a reply. She stood, turned and strode away. “What just happened?” I thought to myself. I looked down at the sheet of paper, eleven digits stared back at me. Excitement bubbled uncontrollably within me.
Then, my phone rang . . . it was Nneka . . . we exchanged pleasantries, caught up and talked for a short while before she asked me to come over. I stood up and rather than saving the number on my phone, tucked the sheet of paper into my pocket. I walked down to my parked car, switched it on and drove to Nneka’s house with the image of Jessica firmly stuck in my head. . .
TO BE CONTINUED . . .
By Gareth Glover . . . A Pseudonym