“Munda Wakudala Suvuta Kulima”
“Ba guy, Thandiwe is a babe. Is she still single?”
It’s one thing to let a woman wait for you and it’s another thing to actually watch her wait and hope for the best. But it’s also something else to watch her get close to another man while you decide the future. I’m a selfish man. Aren’t we all? I have an idea of what I should do. In as much our friendship is working again and our conversations are flowing, I have deliberately put myself in the friendzone and I swear it’s no longer funny any more. I still keep my promises, I talk to her everyday, I see her almost everyday but I still keep myself in the friendzone. And I’ve done this to avoid the level of commitment she’s looking for. Why is commitment so important? I look at her standing by the bar and she looks so beautiful in her long white wrap dress with her hair let down in curls. She’s a sight to behold and I should be the man standing beside her, laughing with her and trying holding her hand flirtatiously and failing, but I’m not. Instead I’m the guy who watches her with a drink in his hand and getting jealous of his best friend laughing with another man when all this is my fault.
I should have told him she’s taken when he asked me if she was single a few minutes ago. I should have told him the truth, that I am interested in her and still deciding on how to go about it. But I didn’t, instead I encouraged him to talk to her; I know he’s always liked her and he’s said that much to me before but in the past I would laugh it off. I’m not laughing it off now. I mean I know they are not dating but maybe I wanted to see if she likes him too. I can’t help but wonder if that’s how it’s going to be like if I don’t take the step to throw all caution to the wind and date the woman. She laughs at something he says. What could possibly be so funny? I look away from them and focus on my drink and conversation with my buddies. But I find myself turning to look at them again. What are they chatting about? Life? Being single? Future dates? Should I join them and find out and risk my friends seeing a jealous side of me. They would understand right. I was sleeping with the woman. No, they won’t understand because they don’t know a thing about us. Besides it’s now in the past. I slept with her. I haven’t touched her or had her in my bed for almost a month. It’s been that long. I’m still undecided because I might lose a friend depending on my choice.
Why is she still with him? What are the hell are they still talking about? Is he declaring his undying love? I didn’t bring her with me to see her talk to another man. I literally forced her to come with me to meet our friends because I wanted her around. I managed to convince her, more like drag her to the restaurant. But the minute she went to get something from the car, the fellow decided this was his chance to talk to her and now he seems to be enjoying his moment with her while I watch. I should be happy right? That someone likes her but for crying out loud she is waiting for me. And only me. Am I jealous that she’s giving another her attention. What is the time anyway I wonder.
I push my thoughts away, turn and find three faces looking at me at the table.
“Dude are you lost? We are having a discussion here. We need your point of view.” Clara, the only lady at the table says aloud
“If it’s some political crap please don’t involve me because we all know someone here will take shit personal and cause problems.” I say
We all laugh at the table knowing full well who I am talking about. But all in all I’m not in the mood for an argument tonight. Yet I’m in the mood for something I know I can’t get.
“Fine. Can you stopping zoning out and listen.” Clara says.
I nod and listen to the first few words she utters and I know it’s gonna get political. What’s with people and politics. It’s an everyday thing now and that means more arguments will arise. I swear you’d think people forget that everyone has their own view about the political situation in Zambia. Are there no other topics to discuss in the world. Hunger for instance? I think I want to go home. With her. Will I have to force her to go home with me like I forced her to come here? Well if it comes to that then I will do it. If she is still not back at this table in ten minutes, I’m going to join them. I don’t care what she says about it. I feel something on my shoulder and I turn to see her hand. She sits down next to me but leaves her hand on my shoulder.
“What’s the topic? Sorry I took my time.” She says to everyone but the others clearly didn’t notice she had been gone for too long.
“The chat seemed interesting.” I tell her ignoring the discussion.
“Oh. With Jeff? He wanted to talk and talk.”
“This and that. Work, home, family. The usual small talk you know.”
She takes a sip of her wine, looks at me and smiles.
“What?” She asks
“He must like you. I thought I’d have to take you away.” I say
“Calm down. It’s cool. He didn’t say a thing about liking me.”
If only she knew. She takes her hand off my shoulder and turns to face the person talking at the table while I take this chance to stare at her. Friends or lovers? Which is it? What if she leaves after I tell her how I want things to be. She left before, months ago and I didn’t know why then. I have an idea of the reason now but she has never confirmed or denied it so it is just hanging here between us. I’m in a dilemma. If I tell her I want us to be friends, will she understand and still be my friend even after everything that has happened between us. If I tell her I’ll date her and then we break up then what happens to our friendship? Does it survive? Or does it get awkward with all our friends too? Choosing sides and being petty? Do I need that in my life? Is is necessary? I watch her make a comment on the topic of discussion and she laughs with everyone. She seems to be enjoying herself while I’m in my own world today, and she is my centre of attention. I have been avoiding this situation for too long. Tonight will be the night I tell all.
I do not know how long I sit in my thoughts barely listening but refilling my glasses with my favourite amber liquid. My friends have probably noticed the change in me and they haven’t asked me anything about it or they are keeping their distance, and if I keep this up I’ll get drunk and I don’t need that tonight. I have a wedding to attend tomorrow. I just need to go home and relax. I pick up my glass and take a sip when I feel her hand on my thigh and I look at her. She leans in close to my ear and whispers
“You’re in a bad mood my friend.”
I smell her perfume. It’s a light floral scent. I like it. It suits her.
“You’re gonna ignore us all?” She asks
“I am sorry. I am just not in the mood to be out anymore.”
“Yet you dragged me here.” She answers. “I could have been in bed watching a boring movie.”
“Well, we can go home if you want.”
“You’re really not having fun are you?”
“Too much to drink?”
“Nope. Just thoughts.”
“Want me to drive?”
“Hey. I can drive. I got you here. I promised to take you back. I want to leave but if you’re still enjoying yourself I’ll stay. Don’t worry about it. ”
“Stay with a moody you? Hell no Mister.”
She turns to face everyone as I put my glass on the table.
“Guys. I gotta go. Busy day tomorrow.” She lies
“Oh c’mon. Now? Too early. You wanna go now?” One of them asks.
“Yep. And its twenty-three. It’s late. You all need to rest.”
“It’s a friday. We can chill all night and wake up late tomorrow.” Another says “Be honest. Where are you going?”
“Home. Ask Patrick.” She responds
“You’re off too Patrick?” Someone asks
“Gotta drop this beauty home.” I say
“Wow. This is a first. You leaving early. Cool. We shall see you tomorrow right?”
“Indeed. O’Hagans? And that’s if I find time after the wedding.”
“You coming too Thandiwe?” Clara asks
“Maybe.” She responds. “I’ll call you.”
“Drive safely.” A few of them utter.
“Goodnight.” They say
We get up from our seats and I hold Thandiwe’s hand and we walk downstairs out of Chicagos. We must look like a couple to strangers as we walk together towards my car and I must say I feel really good about that.
“You must be having really bad thoughts.” She says
“Nah. I’m just tired. A bed would be good.”
“A bath would be better.” She says happily
“Nah. Nothing beats the bed and what can be done on it.” I say
She laughs and I laugh with her. What the hell is wrong with me? What a horrible thing to say.
“Then let’s take you to bed.” She says
I welcome the thought.
She takes a bath while I lay on her bed waiting for her. The drive home was fun, she took the role of being the chatty passenger and we laughed till we got to her house. I didn’t expect her to invite me in but she did and I won’t lie I wanted to stay and so I stayed. I’ve been here so many times, it feels like home to me. I’ve stared at this ceiling so many times that I know how many nails are stuck in it. I’ve slept on this bed before many drunk nights. Gosh I miss being with her in the only way I know best. I miss looking down at her as she finds that place that I enjoy taking her to when her moans and my groans are the only proof we have of the passion between us. The moments when there is no barrier between us and I see her in her most vulnerable state. I miss those moments. Do I want her to find them with another? No. Do I want commit to her? Why am I thinking about this when all it’s doing is getting me bothered.
She walks into the bedroom all dressed up for bed. Even without makeup, she still looks beautiful. Besides I’ve seen her at her worst before. She gets on the bed and sleeps next to me.
“I know when something is wrong Patrick. Talk to me you’ll leave longer.” She says.
“I’m thinking about the times we had our sleep overs.”
“Liar. But I’ll chat with you about that.”
“You think I’m lying?”
“Patrick. I know you too well. You’re my bestie. So…. Okay! Sleep overs huh. What about them?”
“It’s been a while.”
“Yes it has.”
“Do you miss them?”
“Kinda. I don’t know. It’s like saying I miss the contract right.”
We both keep quiet in our thoughts. Mine all bordering on watching her sleep in the morning; her smiling at me even when I don’t even deserve it; acting all strong in front of me when she’s hurting; when she was in love with me. I knew that. I knew she was in love with me. Which guy doesnt know a woman he’s sleeping with is in love with him? I saw the signs. I saw it in her eyes when. I saw it then. She left then. What now? She turns and lays on her stomach lifting herself with elbows to look at me. I look at her and she smiles.
“I should go. ” I say.
“Hm. You got a wedding to attend tomorrow.”
“Yes. Church service and reception. It will be a full house tomorrow.”
“I can imagine. The excitement. I’m sure your mum is sooo excited too.”
“Yea. She is. Even Patricia managed to stay for this event. So it’s gonna be great.”
“I’m sure it will be a beautiful event.”
“You can come with me if you want. All dressed up.”
“I’ll think about it.”
I sit up and stretch. I feel much better now. I guess all I needed was to be with her alone.
“You’re coming with me.” I say as I stand up.
“You can’t drag me everywhere Patrick.” She responds.
“Actually I can. I’m making sure you are within my sight this time around. You’re coming with me tomorrow.”
“You might as well sleep over if that’s how it’s going to be.”
I look down at her and she hides her face in her hands but I can see her shoulders are shaking.
“You can’t even say it with a straight face.” I shout
And she laughs. She turns over and lays on her back looking up at me.
“But you could….. Sleep over if you wanted.” She says
This time she holds back her laughter. Is that an official invite? Or is it her way of joking with me? The thing about a contract is that even after you’ve decided to end it, it is easy to go to back and change your mind and start afresh. What’s that saying about old fields you’ve dug being easy to dig again? Do I want her back under contract? Of course I do. Would it be fair to her? Should I care? Best friends are the wrong people to sleep with. Though the question right now should be will I stay if she’s serious? Damn right I will. She gets on her knees, moves to the edge of the bed and wraps her arms around my neck, she smiles as she looks into my eyes.
“Did you drink that much?” I ask her
“Maybe. Maybe not. You weren’t paying attention. Oooor who knows maybe I had a few shots.”
“And you offered to drive me home?”
“I’m a good friend.” She says
“I’m a bad friend.” I say.
“Yes you are.” She whispers
“I should make it up to you.”
I see her brown eyes; her long lashes, the dark spots on her skin; her pink lips; the dimple in her left cheek; I see it all and in that moment nothing stops me from kissing her. If she doesn’t want this then she will push me away and I will understand. But I want this. I need this. There is no going back. This is what we do? We connect. We click. We make love. We are in sync. Contract or no contract we just connect.
“So are you sleeping over or is all this just a play?” She asks
I laugh and nod.
I’m definitely sleeping over.
“On one condition.” I say
“Dude. You’re making it up to me. You can’t make conditions.”
“Just one. Okay two.”
“One you come with me to the wedding.”
“Really? Fine. Done.” She responds. “Two?”
I wrap my arms around her waist, pull her closer to me and whisper…
“You come with me to the wedding as as my lady.”
There I said it.
No more contract.
Throwing all risks out of the window. Taking a chance. Or maybe it’s all about the bed.
Maybe my heart will be in it with time.
I watch her smile as it dawns on her that “She’s taken.” And its the most beautiful smile.
Thank you reading this. Totally grateful. Humbled too. You are awesome. Look out for more stories.