She said it was a harmless dinner, so after several rejected offers I reluctantly obliged to this one. Though she had said she fancied me some time in the past, I thought she had long gotten over her infatuations. Little did I know what the night had in store.
It was a bit after 8pm when I heard the honking of her Volvo at my front gate. I slipped on my shoes, sprayed the cologne and made my way to her car. It was like a scene taken out of Usher’s trading places as she held open her car door for me whiles smiling sheepishly.
I should have noticed right there and then that this was not going to be an incident free night when she turned up the volume on the stereo and Celine Dion filled the speakers. “Wow” I said “what happened to Akon”?
As we neared her supposed restaurant, I found out that this was no eating place; it was her house. “I thought we were attending a friend’s dinner” I uttered, slightly bemused. “Well we are” she answered, “just that the friend happens to be my cousin” she explained further.
Not knowing what to do, I followed her through the foyer into the lavishly furnished sitting room. Though her family came off as middle class, the décor in their home said differently.
After quick introductions and pleasantries I became a temporary member of the family, cuddling new born babies and passing beer to cousins I did not know from Adam.
Dinner was a variety of meals but unlike their exotic looking décor, the food was standard African dishes. “Phew” I sighed mentally, “what would I have done if I was given some frog legs and German sauce”.
She sat next to me and kept on explaining to her family what a fabulous investment banker I am. She explained vividly with examples like she had known my career for decades. This lady before tonight had no interest in my work; all she ever did was ask me when the money was coming so we could go to South Africa for the world cup. I have to admit, it felt nice, I felt important.
In between meals she stole quick glances at me and whenever our eyes met there was this spark in hers. She would smile and tell me “I am sorry I sprung this on you”. “Don’t worry” I would say, “call it pay back for standing you up on Valentine’s Day.”
By 10.30pm the party was over and the non family members began leaving. I took the cue and asked her if she could drop me home now.
The drive back was filled with laughter and teasing as Akon replaced Celine on her CD changer. I asked her about why no one felt it was weird having me there instead of John (her boyfriend for over 4 yrs). That was when I had the shock of my life. John apparently was an imaginary character she made up when we first met; the only thing was that, I was now finding out.
She said she did that to prevent me making a move on her. She said she wanted to tell me but I kept going on about my girlfriend so she thought in order to make me comfortable around her, John must continue to live.
By this time we were in front of my house. I was so dumfounded I did not know what to say. Well, the SHOCKER was yet to come.
“I love you” she muttered. “I have since you told me you were never going to cheat on your girl”.
If there ever was a time I was totally blank in my life, this was it. As I searched for words to tell her, she leaned over and kissed my cheeks. “You can get down now” she said trying to hold back the tears that were welling up in her eyes. “I know you have not called Akua all night and you are dying to tell her what just happened”.
I shrugged out off the car with my tail between my legs like a shamed dog as she backed out of my drive way. “See you later” she yelled as she sped by. That is when I knew that would be the last I will ever hear of Cindy.