Written by Mauryn Okunga
Christian picked up the phone after I called for the second time. I could hear anxiety in his “hello”. When I half whispered a “yes”, there was silence at the other end of the line. For a moment, I wondered if he’d changed his mind about the coffee date.
“Yes,” I said again.
“Thank you,” he said, “Goodnight.”
I replayed the conversation in my head all night. Thoughts of whether I had overstepped my mark weighed on my mind. For the first time in months, I considered calling in sick at work. If it wasn’t for the team meeting I’d scheduled for the last day of the semester, I would’ve stayed put in bed.
At work before the meeting, a cocktail of emotion hit me when Christian walked in and calmly sat opposite my desk. He smiled brightly, his eyes exuding confidence I hadn’t seen before. Then he placed a piece of paper on my desk, winked at me and walked out. On the paper was the name of the restaurant we’d be having coffee at and the time he’d be there. A heart emoji was drawn below the details.
My lips broke into a smile, my heart flapped in excitement.
It’s been three weeks of our “Christian evenings”. I like him more with every date, with every detail he reveals about himself and his family. But he knows nothing about my past, just a bit about my future plans. He recently suggested I enrol for a Master’s - something I’d been thinking about already. How thoughtful!
Once the new semester commenced, Christian stopped popping into my office every morning. I was relieved. I don’t know how I would’ve handled the awkwardness, however sweet the feeling. Even when there’s not been any declaration of love, or attempts to get the other naked, what we have feels beautiful, better, different from what Xander and I shared.
He never runs out of jokes, loves food and movies like I do. He’s an avid reader of novels, which I find super sexy, considering he’s a scientist. While Xander showed me the world and worshiped my body, Christian respects my space. When I said yes to the first date, I was sure the call for sex would follow three days later. It didn’t, even when his eyes kept roaming my body.
I almost feel love. Like yesterday. My phone buzzed just as I was walking out of the UT gate in the evening. “Want to catch a movie? Yes? Awesome!” The way he asked and responded on my behalf was both sweet and funny. I’d planned to go straight home since I had a report to complete and submit to the Director that night. I’d planned to call him after I was done with my assignment but that message was too playful and enticing to ignore.
At the cinema, he chose seat numbers 10 and 12. That meant we won’t be next to each other. When I asked the reason for the seat choices, he said he wanted me to miss him. He signed off with his trademark wink.
The walk home after the movie was the best. Halfway the journey, he suggested we have dinner. I scanned around for a restaurant and couldn’t see any, but followed him regardless. The “restaurant” we ended up in was a roadside food stall. I was blown away. Not that I hadn’t partaken of roadside food before. I just never saw it coming from Christian.
At the stall operated by a man in a blue shirt, there was an assortment of chicken and beef muchomo on skewers. A large brown tray had boiled cassava, grilled plantain and chips, while the kachumbali - chopped onions and tomatoes - was in a large dish. These would go with whatever a client chose – chicken or beef muchomo. Like it is with roadside “restaurants”, we pointed at the chicken pieces of our choice and waited as the man in blue warmed them up.
“Not take-away,” Christian told the man, as he led me to a table where several people were already eating. I tried in vain not to laugh at his “not take-away” line.
Then he asked.
He asked if he could cook for me a proper dinner sometime soon at his house. I was still recovering from the fact that we’d just had a roadside meal. That offer of a dinner at his house just upped the greatness of the evening. Simple as the offer seemed, we both knew it would be more than dinner.
Hallo reader, we hope you're enjoying this diary. It's soon coming to an end. be sure to catch Part 8 next week, Friday.