I was dripping wet, but he minded not in the least that I was ruining the interior of his car. As a matter of fact he insisted, and didn’t stop until I agreed, to drop me at home instead of at my shop.
“A beautiful girl like yourself have no business walking around looking this way. It is not also a proper thing for a gentleman, like myself to do. Dropping you off in this condition,” he chuckled and I grinned back at him as I proceeded to remove my shoes and place them in my grocery bag. There was nothing to be done about them or my clothes I can only hope there were not ruined. In the course of the drive, we got to know each other and gradually I warmed towards him – more than I had planned.
He had a confident air around him that was infectious. The mien of a man who knew his way around the world. In the first few minutes of our conversation, I deduced he was a man who liked to take a big gamble – he didn’t waste time skirting the field like most men would, rather he went straight to the heart of the matter and in a rapier quick manner. He came across also as a man who trusted his gut feeling more than any other man’s wise counsel. In the crammed space of the car, I took careful stock of his physical attributes. Although, not in the mould of a hunk – he was no Doobi, he was handsome and had a rare smile that was totally captivating. He wore close-cropped hair on a head that was roundly shaped and fleshy. His skin was as dark as burn mahogany. I also noticed he wore no rings, that meant nothing but it was a consolation.
He was a smooth talker and for most of the drive I found myself listening more to the soft croon of his voice than I was talking, content to have it wash over me and renew me.
He took me directly home, it was still raining so he made sure he had his umbrella covering me properly while he got splashed with rain all the way to the door of my apartment. We both stood there for an awkward moment, him looking into my eyes and me looking into his. It was like one of those magical moments you read about in novels, or see in movies or hear about from friends.
Before I met him, I had hoped to hook a kill or get myself a husband, but in that moment at my doorstep where we looked into each other’s eyes and sought each other’s souls, I found myself something much more than I bargained for. It was like discovering a rainbow after the rain. I felt my heart squeeze and do a double flip.
“I will like to see you again,” the words came out in a somewhat choked whisper. I might have missed it in the din of the rain if I was not looking directly into his face. For a moment, I was almost sure I had not heard what I thought I heard, then the smile broke across his face. It was the most spell-binding smile I ever encountered. Just like a rainbow too. Again, I felt my heart do that dangerous double take. At that exact moment I knew I was hopeless. This is that kind of delicate situation which is bound to end up very bad or almost too good to be true. Which it will be I yet do not know. In my mind, I was also not sure I wanted to know now. I just wanted him in my life – at last and for once, a permanent anchor to tether my ever floating ship to
It was the beginning of an intense romance. We were almost always together most weekends. Either he will be at my place, or I at his or we were both hanging out at a lush restaurant or hangout about town. It was like I got back some part of my life I lost while I was growing up. That part that was supposed to be filled with memories of a man whom you gave all your life to, the memories that included that ever so maligned word – Love.
I found myself so taken in by him that I began to wish I had not lived the life of a VGBG. But, how could I have been different from whom I am? I had chosen one path very early in life. Now, I am on another path. Also, the thoughts of Doobi still weighed in my heart. I know I love him, I finally accepted that fact. But, I can’t love him like I love Kenni – I also accepted that fact, that I loved Kenni.
So, very early in my relationship with Kenni I told Doobi about him. It was the best bet I thought, to putting our history finally behind us and move on – maybe in a way I was looking for him to help me put a closure to our checkered history. The stuff we say over the phone was one thing, being together was another – and that was not looking likely. We always skirted round the issue, both knowing it was a dangerous landmine that may consume what was left of our normal life.
When I broke my good news to Doobi, he immediately was withdrawn. Maybe out of jealousy. But, what right did he have to be jealous? He was not even supposed to be talking to me.
Then he had asked me a very odd question, “Kenni Somikan?”
At the time, the question was only very odd and I had thought nothing more of it, because upon my confirmatory response he had diverted the conversation. Before hanging up that day though, he threw me into the greatest dilemma of my life.
“Anu, I love you.”
Just four words. Four words that kept me up for most of the night. I knew I loved him, but now I love Kenni more. But, I still had this animalistic attraction to Doobi. It was like metal to a magnet; he was that magnet that tugged at the very essence of my womanhood. That kind of love you have for a new, upgraded phone, the one you flaunt in the face of the world while you keep the old one nearby in your bag or pocket. I knew how I felt when he had taken me, it had been thoroughly satisfactory; but too flitting. And in a sense, my body was still waiting for some kind of closure. Now, he has with only four words, thrown me deep down into that abyss of feminine feeling from which I found hard to dig myself out.
In time, I decided to concentrate my energies on loving Kenni while my body still yearned for Doobi.
After about three months Kenni popped the big question. It was the one question I hoped he would ask, at the same time it was the one question I dreaded most. How would I handle my history with him? I didn’t know what to do – should I tell him everything? Or should I just keep quiet and hope all remains well? I also regretted not changing my name immediately after leaving my dad’s home. I had kept the name in defiance of my dad’s injustice against me. Maybe, I should not even bother too much about these things. After all, which human is without a skeleton in their cupboard?
“Anu, please say yes and marry me,” Kenni had looked intensely into my eyes. His eyes were probing and pleading, they resembled those of a lost puppy. One hand-held mine and the other was gently placed on my shoulder. I felt the tremor passing through his fingers. I thought about saying no, and then I thought about how miserable a life I’d live afterwards knowing I chucked a potential life of bliss with a man I love so much.
Maybe I would have said no to him, but looking into his puppy eyes and the thought of my dad and his words on the day he threw me out of his house made me take the mighty leap.
“Yes, I will.” It was simple yet could ruin us both in the future.
My history with the Eskimos was the sword of Damocles swinging before my ticket to a happy future. That history so permanently documented in black and white and at least in seventy percent of the dailies in the country.
I have decided to take my fate in my own hands.
However, I know there is a battle ahead. A battle to weather a likely storm – it may never come; and even if it did, would there be survivors?