My date with Leo wasn’t traditional as expected. A fancy hotel, with delicacies i couldn’t pronounce. Then order rabbit food sorry, i meant salad ( I hate salads) pretend like it tasted of heaven and sunshine. Then later eat almost all of his mouthwatering greasy stake in the pretense i was tasting.
He surprised me and I was impressed. He took me to Alliance Française . We watched a French movie with English subtitles. And i slept through it. His hand on mine. My hand on my chest to hold my heart back from leaping out of its cage.
The part that impressed me was the art gallery. That was still in the same building the exhibition was nothing like i had seen. Out of this world. Various crafts had been made out of dead electronics. Such as, phones, laptops, PC’s, TV, CD etc.
“Wow” I said. My fingers tracing the curves and edges of a woman made of computes and cables.
“Am glad, you liked it. You slept throughout the movie”
I felt bad. I also wouldn’t appreciate my date falling asleep in the middle of our date.
“Am sorry. I just hate movies with subtitles. They take the fun out of the movie”
“You can’t concentrate at two things at the same time. Trying to watch the movie and also trying to read the subtitles to understand what is being said”
“I’ll take note of that next time. I really do appreciate your honesty instead of pretending like you are having the time of your life”
My eyes were still glued on the electronic woman. I just couldn’t grasp how creative the creator was.
“I am now-” wait did he say next time. “Next time?” i asked.
“Yes, next time. I would like to do this again, minus the movies with subtitles plus the pure admiration look you have now”
My world around became blur. Did he have any idea what he was doing to me?
We did rounds in the exhibition. Each artifact different but with the same message on e-waste. But none could came close to the electronic woman.
After, we left.
“Are you hungry?” he asked.
As if on cue my stomach grumbled.
“What do you think?” i asked.
“Someone is about to faint due to starvation”
We stood by his pick up. His eyes surveying the surroundings. He was uneasy, like he was waiting for someone.
From Monrovia street, i could see Bluechip Hotel. One of my father’s many chains of hotels. Standing tall in the midst of the city like my father in the midst of other powerful men.
Leo caught my gaze, staring at it.
“We could go to Bluechip Hotel if you like”
“No” i harshly and in a rush objected.
He eyed me suspiciously at my outburst.
“I can afford it. You don’t have to worry”
He thought I was looking down on him? Did he know who i was? I hope to God he didn’t. All i wanted was just to be Prudence. I wanted to walk on the streets like i longed to, sitting in my father’s car. I wanted to eat street food that i lusted after through the car’s window. I wanted to be anything but not Prudence Khimani.
“I didn’t mean it that way, do you mind going to KFC instead?” i asked.
He stared at me like i had grown three heads. Maybe i shouldn’t have suggested that. He’s the one courting me, he should get to pick.
“Absolutely” he said in a relief before he opened his pick up door.
“Let’s walk instead”
Again he stood amazed by my suggestion. Maybe i was doing everything wrong, considering this is my first ever date.
I opened my mouth to tell him, that i was okay if he objected. But he beat me.
“Where have you been. I wish I met you earlier”
For the first time, i saw a different smile on him. This was more genuine. As if he had not said anything that made my heart go somersault. He took my hand under his arm and we started walking.
“So tell me about yourself?” i asked.
“No, today i get to ask”
“What happened to ladies first?”
“A little birdie told me, to make an exemption”
He remembered, what i said to him on our second encounter. I left an impression not an embarrassment as expected.
“Okay. What do you want to know”
“A little birdie told me about mystery” I said remembering Lydia’s words.
“What are you studying?” he asked instead. Am glad he detected my reluctance to talk about my personal life, and shifted to school.
“Am studying Business, Finance and Economics” I said feeling proud of myself. “Am also doing Chinese” I added.
“Ah,” was all he said. It’s like I said the most boring thing.
“I know, it’s pretty boring” I said hoping he would contradict my statement and say i made the right decision and business was an intriguing choice of career.
“Couldn’t agree more” To my disappointment, he agreed with me.
My face fell.
“The good thing is that with a degree in business you can be anything” he spoke again, lifting my hopes.
We walked past homeless families. I reached for some change in my purse and gave it to them. They repeatedly said thank you. Making Leo to feel uncomfortable.
Walking along the street made me feel like i was in a rollercoaster. Riding so high. Never wanting to get down.
The smell of burnt tyres, hotdogs, fish balls never smelt so good. It’s like i was being born again, learning again and walking for the first time.
My heartbeat increased as we neared his car. A group of boys and men were standing beside it. Something about them was off. I reduced my steps, and started to walk behind Leo. He noticed.
He took my hand in assurance everything is okay.
“Python?” He called out.
The fact he knew them didn’t settle well with me. The whole group looked like a gang of thugs.
“Pointie” A man i supposed was Python replied.
He had a muffin hat on, his arms were covered with tattoos, with an eye piercing and an intimidating body frame.
“Who do we have here?” He said approaching as i tried to hide behind Leo.
“Back off Python” Leo stated
“Where is Kourtney?” Python asked sarcastically.
“Kourtney?” I found myself asking.