[Continued from Pizza is here]
They say when you stare death right in its cold, un-moving eyes it smiles. A smile that breaks from the corner of its mouth; a smile that freezes the blood in your veins and roots you to the spot. And when you blink your life flashes before your eyes. The good times and the bad, regrets and the contentment; all of it. But why does death have the sterling white eyes of an angel? Why does death have perky breasts behind a white and green t-shirt? Why does death smell like the familiar undertones of lavender and vanilla scented perfumes? And most importantly why is death carrying a pizza and staring back at me, hands frozen, mouth open and eyes vindictive?
“Hey babe we have that thing we’re going to today…”
Her voice is nonchalant, trailing out of her throat and softly touching the walls of my house finding its way next to me on the couch, and turning my attention from the television. Her voice is sweet and polite, it’s like a gentle piano tune when she wants.
Thing? What thing? How could I forget?
With her voice lingering around waiting for my response; I have to think of something.
“Thing? You mean the movie premier?” I finally remember
“Yes, that one.” I can hear the smile in her voice when she replies.
“Yeah, it’s still on. And babe…”
“When did we get to the “thing” level?”
“Yeah, you know?”
“No I don’t.”
“Like in the movies. Married guys always have a thing. A thing to go to. A thing to attend. A thing at church. You know? A thing.”
She laughs and dismisses me. Why do they do that? Laugh and dismiss? I will have to bring it sometime later or when we are in the car.
I’ve been seeing Anne for six months now. Okay technically I’ve been seeing her since the first time we met. And from then I’ve been seeing her ever since, everywhere; even in my dreams. I’ve been hearing her too, her voice, when she’s not around. I swear I hear it when the television presenter I saying something about National elections. Infatuation they called it; but once we started dating it grew into something else. Love? I think so. Don’t they say if you like them for more than four months it’s love? Ah, yes. Who knew right? Me, of all people, Charles, in love? Funny joke right there.
Of course I have not told her this, it gets to their head. The only thing that should get to her head is your fingers when you’re running through that expensive weave you paid for, or she paid for, before a kiss. But after six months there’s some things you just can’t hide. Not the frequent calls when you get home and the house is empty. You’re not insecure you just want to know where they are and if they are warm and if they have eaten you know? It would be a waste if you curried some chicken only for them to come home reeking of adulterous fast food and that faint undertone of lavender and vanilla she loves so much. A scent that’s like heaven on fabric, a scent that sounds like angels singing every time it hits your nostrils, a scent that looks like a beautiful sunset. Yeah, definitely in love. All this poetic nonsense only happens when you’re in love.
When we met I was single. Don’t laugh, I know you’re thinking “when is a guy never single”, right? But sometimes we are not single, especially with the right one. Someone like Ann. Someone that makes you feel like you’re not missing out. They don’t even have to insist on it, ask if you are exclusive. It just happens. A time comes when messages from the others are not replied. Why would you need to? She’s all the conversation you need. So they dwindle and they get the message. You’re taken.
When we met she was a student, trying to get her degree in business finance. I was just starting out having completed mine and for some reason we clicked. She was working at a pizzeria garden in the city as a waitress, a way to foot her bills and supplement some of the fees. And so when she served me I saw something in her eyes and coy smile. There was an ambition clearly in her eyes swimming in a cloud of dreams. She had a determined air about her but her soft cheek and small chin robbed her of a stern expression. She was like a rose bush, beautiful but dangerous too. That was the first time we ever met. It was almost the last too because the next time I went there she was gone. Moved to a different branch. Everyone I asked seemed not to know who I was talking about.
Then as the world would have it, a year later we met. At the same branch. Only this time she was different, she did not have the cap that waitresses wore over the peeking hairnets, or the bulky t-shirts, wide aprons around the waist, gaudy white rubber shoes and black trousers. This time she had on a gray flared pant and black heels where her manicured toes peeped out like shy rabbits in a hole. She had a beige blouse and a pink scarf around her neck. A glimmering gold badge on her left breast and that scent that followed her like a love sick puppy. She was the MD.
Man, wasn’t I happy to see her. Left my phone on the counter tapped her shoulder and gave her a huge hug. Of course she was surprised and she pulled back just to see who I was. In her eyes I could see a scream brew but at the corner of her mouth an awkward smile stifled it. I introduced myself but she had no idea who I was. And it is stuff like that that will break a man’s heart. Finding out you were not memorable? Disastrous. But, stuff like that can also motivate you. Fire your passion and ignite your pursuit. The race to want to be wanted. Is that a thing?
Then there was fate again, right after the brief chit chat with her acting like she remembers and excusing herself to leave my phone was stolen. It doesn’t look like a blessing but it depends on how you look at the situation. Half full, half empty or refillable.
Stolen phone at a restaurant? You call the manager. See?
Long story short from the stolen phone I got her number. Reason? To call and find out if they ever found the culprit after going through the CCTV footage.
That’s not what I used the number for.
See? Again? Half full, half empty or refillable.
The music playing in the car was one of her favorites; Boyz II men on bended knees.
“We’re late you know?”
I’m driving and I let the words escape my lips.
“Yeah but it’s just a movie.”
“Correction, it’s the premier…”
“We will find it has already started.”
“Then let’s not go then.”
“Are you serious right now?”
“Yeah we can just do dinner instead,”
“But we have tickets…”
“But you don’t want to find it has already started. Right? You can catch another show another time.”
“Yeah true I can. But wasn’t it supposed to be us? Like me and you? Not just me alone? Right?”
“Not really you literally dragged me out to see this movie.”
“I now know why we’re late. You sabotaged the premier.”
“Oh c’mon you’re being ridiculous now.”
“Yes! Why would I sabotage a stupid movie?”
“Oh, it’s stupid now? So I’m also stupid?”
“I didn’t say that…”
“But you’re implying it.”
“Okay let’s go back home. I don’t feel like going out anymore.”
“Did you even in the first place?”
“Wow Charles, you’re the woman in this relationship clearly.”
Just four words I should’ve kept in my mouth. Now this. And who is a woman? Me? I will be the only woman in that car.
I turn the car around and start heading in a different direction.
“Home is not that way” she says
“Not my home no.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m taking you to your home.”
I think I have made up my mind. Six months had been long enough to fool around. Like look at the argument. That’s textbook classic wife and husband conversation.
“I’ll send over your stuff tomorrow.”
The silence in the car was silent. Not even her perfume spoke. It just lingered in there like an uninterested character to unfolding events.
We stare at each other for a while. She’s a manager what’s she doing here delivering food?
“You guys know each other?” Stacey speaks suspicion written all over her face.
“Kind of…” I reply
“Babe… what do you mean kind of? Like kind of slept together and now you know each other kind of?”
Yeah, Stacey takes escalated things. She should be put in a mall to take people to upper floors.
“Babe? Really now?” Ann interjects
The money is still in my hands. The pizza smells great. The room reeks of lavender and vanilla undertones. And my life, well my life is flashing before my very eyes.