It is rather funny. I went to primary school with her.
Different classes. Well, she occupied the same desk with my sister. I did not know her at all — just an occasional greeting when we saw each other. After all, I was the guy whose sister was her class mate.
At the time, during all of primary school, that is, I never looked at her with an excited eye. She has always been beautiful, gracious and down to earth and she’s always exuded a calm demeanour.
I just did not see it.
I did not see much of her anyway. She seemed rather shy and enjoyed her own space. I was precisely like that, too.
Anyway, we went separate ways when high school beckoned. Her, Aha Thuto Secondary School and me, a certain Thetha Secondary School. Both situated in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg.
This, by the way, is a long winded way of saying I have hurt her badly in the past two weeks. I will get to that in a moment.
Life has its own way of working out. After what must have been an eternity, we started bumping into each other again. And it’s not like we lived in different places — we were both in Orange Farm.
I started seeing her at the beginning of this year. A little at first. And more as time wore on. Needless to say, we were bound to get close with each other.
While with a friend a few months ago at the local mall, at a Pick n Pay store, I saw her. I was engrossed in my own world, talking endlessly while we decided which brand of soft drink to buy. We were also talking about this, that and the next thing. I turned to glance to my right, farther from the set of refrigerators I was standing beside, and there she was, delicately placing an item off the fridge into her shopping trolley.
Time stood still.
For a few microseconds, there was nothing in the store. Well, the store didn’t exist. I was thrust far into my imagination — I was walking toward the sunset, engaged in beautiful conversation, laughing, the birds chirping, children playing about and the world in perfect motion. And I had her hand intertwined with mine. I looked into her big eyes and I knew then what I wanted.
She smiled. I could not help it, so I did too. And she waved at me.
I woke up from my stupor.
Reality set back in. I began noticing the Coca Cola bottle in my grasp, the people talking loudly and the merchandisers walking about with purpose in the store.
I walked up to her, smiling from ear to ear still. I sparked a cheesy conversation about her needing to stop following me around. “Wherever I turn to, you are there. I saw you yesterday and here we are now. I am getting suspicious — this is no coincidence.” She laughed and reversed what I had just said to her.
We proceeded to talk about what she does for a living, how she’s been all these years we haven’t seen each other. Although the time and place didn’t allow for a proper catch up. My friend came over, I introduced them to each other and we exchanged a few more words amongst each other.
Before we could go separate ways, something said to me: You need to get a way to talk to her beyond this moment! So I asked, wanting not to be intrusive: Are you on Facebook?
“No.” She said.
That leaves me no other option but to get your mobile number so we can chat via WhatsApp. I said matter-of-factly; I handed her my phone.
“You are not a boring personality, are you?” She asked me. I said nothing, leaving my silence to be the answer.
After saving her number, she glanced up at me, expecting a verbal answer. Before I could reply, I drowned in her eyes. They swallowed me whole. My chest convulsed. I went through a myriad emotions in precisely a second and a half. At that moment I realised that I am going to fall in love with her.
“Uhm… let’s rather wait until we talk for you to find that out,” I finally said to her.
We said our goodbyes and she went on with her shopping. And we strolled to the till points.
Waiting for our turn to pay, my head was buzzing.
Was I in love?
I thought about her eyes while making a half hearted conversation with my friend. ‘Gawd! Her dreadlocks kill me!’ I thought to myself, producing a faint smile.
I will confess. I lose self control in the presence of a beautiful woman with dreadlocks. I die a small death and then return to earth.
She has changed so much from our primary school days. She is very even more beautiful now. I thought to myself some more. I cannot wait to see where all this ends up.
At this point, she had joined the queue too. We were right at the front now. I absentmindedly looked at the tail of the queue and our eyes met again. Faint smiles. And the cashier called us to pay for our soft drink.
My hurting her came in the form of my going through some personal challenges and whenever this happens, I emotionally shut other people out. She once mentioned that she always shares with me her pains and secrets and I never reciprocate. She is right! I find it easy to get people to relax around me and bare all their pain — I break emotional walls people build around their hearts.
Anyway, I have not been taking her calls for a few days now. Because I feel that I do not have the strength to share with her the mess I find myself in. It’s not fair — she shares a lot of things with me. I am in the wrong. And the more she calls and I do not pick up, the more agitated she becomes.
I love her. I enjoy her company. She is child-like in her innocence, and that’s one thing, above all else, that I find irresistible about her. She’s phenomenal.
And she must be pulling her hair out wherever she is.