I stole a glance at the round face of my wrist watch before resuming feigned attention at the owner of the baritone voice i had been listening to. His eyes caught me off guard just then and i held my breath. I still hadn’t gotten used to his piercing gaze and doubted i ever would. “He fine”, i said to myself in the American accent for emphasis. Lowering my gaze for fear that he could read my thoughts, i pretended to listen again while i resolved the fate of our friendship in my mind.
There was a certain hardness about him. Hardness he’d need a desperate emotion like loneliness or loss to thaw. I could tell by practised intuition that he had ice blocks where more tender emotions used to be. He wasn’t ready. Presently, his question woke me out of my thoughts.
“Yes let’s go” i answered managing a small smile.
I had my answer.
The expectation in his eyes pinched me and i quickly remembered to add that we should do this again sometime.
Saidu was handsome and wise beyond his year and peers but i couldn’t shake off my woman instincts. They had never failed me before. Someone once said a woman can take one look at a man and tell many things about him, i wondered if i had the gift. I could be very intuitive and whenever i met someone my emotions worked like a scanner, reading the upbeats and tempo of the other heart, trying to sense or pick any signals of who they were and could be. I had seldom been wrong and now considered myself a good judge of character. And then there’s always the tell tale sign to rely on...
The tell tale sign says that people very often tell you the truth about themselves when you meet them the first time. Like someone may say “i get annoyed easily” and you gloss over that thinking they mean they are human and can get upset but then they manifest a really touchy personality, expect perfection or are drastic in their response when angered and you suddenly begin to wonder where that came from, but hey they told you that before! Or someone says “ i am impatient” and something about the angle that the light catches their eyes leaves you thinking “oh, he is so sincere!” meanwhile the guy is really telling you where his horns are and little wonder when two months down the road, you come late for a date and he’s gone.
Another person tells you he is principled, you think he means that he is disciplined and focused but he is really saying “i am not flexible”, “i want things done my way” or “it’s either my way or nothing”! Another says giving a woman gifts spoils her, you seat there dreamy eyed thinking this guy wants to do the right things at the right time, but three months later you are still negotiating with him to consider dropping you at the airport, buying you that extension you oh so wanted but couldn’t afford, or taking you out for ice cream! Saidu had said something about being better on his own. Hmmmmm.... that worried me!
When i looked at Saidu i couldn’t explain what i saw but it was there. It was there when he ordered that elderly gateman in a rude voice to open the gate for him! Alarm bells chimed lightly in my head as i remembered something someone had said to me before “ if he cannot be nice to the waiter but is nice to you, he is not nice”. It showed when he walked into my office and wouldn’t speak to anyone in more than a few words until i was there. It showed up in a smirk on his face whenever i was socialising with people of lesser rank.
But could i tell Saidu the truth? When people say “I am not ready for this right now”, don’t they really mean “ i hope you take the hint and leave me alone?” And while the option to lie that i already had a relationship was tempting, i preferred the safe but patronising and over- used “let’s just be friends”. I simply couldn’t tell him i was scared he would break my heart because he came across as emotionally aloof- that type of human who can detach from you in a heartbeat and without a second thought. No, that would require a painful process of explanations. Besides i would be bruising his ego and risking his resentment of me or i might even be instigating him to try harder. Both options i wanted to avoid.
Should i call Saidu, not to tell him i think he can be a cold fish sometimes but to tell him i really don’t think anything can happen between us and just want us to stay friends?
My ringtone breaks through my thoughts, it takes only a minute to see who the caller is...
The events and characters purported to appear in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real or imagined persons met and unmet is purely ingenious on my part! Wink wink! Lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!