“Wait!” Belinda shouted as they left the studio. She caught up with Dineo. “You’re doing such great work right now; I know you’re going to get chosen for a part. Are you ready to take a break from your ordinary life for a year?”
“Yes,” Dineo said. “More than ready!”
“I’m wondering about myself. Will I be able to be away from my husband for a year? I’ll miss him so much.”
“That’s difficult, Belinda. I guess it’s so much easier for someone single like me.”
“Yes, I think so.” Across the street a car hooted and Belinda waved at her husband, there to collect her.
Dineo waved at him too. “See you!”
She watched Belinda get into the car and drive away, and then headed to the restaurant on the Waterfront where she’d agreed to meet Lame. She had decided that tonight she wanted some answers, or things were not going to go any further.
Lame was waiting for her outside the restaurant. He’d come from work, still in one of his many suits. Dineo noticed women looking at him as she arrived. He was indeed beautiful. But as Mimi had asked: he’s twenty-seven years old, a good job, good-looking – why is he not snatched up? Why indeed.
“Hi. Did I keep you long?” Dineo asked.
“No, not too long.”
They went in and got a table. “How were rehearsals?”
“I think I’ve got most of the dances down. I just need to perfect them. Getting chosen for this would be huge.” Dineo remembered her plan and switched the conversation to him. “And you? What did you do today?”
“Work stuff. Boring really.”
“No, I want to know.”
“OK,” he said. “Well, we have a new book coming out, quite controversial, from a government insider, a whistle-blower. We want a big splash with the book, so today I was mostly working on that. Organising the launch. Preparing an invite list, working on press releases. See? Boring?”
“No, not boring at all. You just don’t like talking about yourself.”
He smiled. “Maybe there’s not much to say.”
“What about relationships? You’re twenty-seven, so you must have had a few.”
“I … yes, but, nothing good. I’m unlucky I think. But I like you; you’re different from the usual women I’ve dated.”
“Different how?” Dineo asked.
“You’re artsy, a bit laid back. You know, I grew up in Joburg, spent my whole life there until now. Joburg women are different. They … I guess … they expect a lot. They’re … I don’t know, I guess you’d say they’re driven.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
Dineo wondered what he’d think when he really got to know her. If he was against ‘driven’ women, he shouldn’t see her dance. ‘Focused and driven’ were nearly all she was made of, once on stage.
“No, no, I don’t mean that. You see? When I talk about me I get myself in trouble.” They both laughed. “I don’t know, that first day, that first day in Claudio’s, I just saw something in you, straight away, something, I don’t know, sincere I guess. Honest and sincere. And kind. I noticed you when I walked into the restaurant and you were laughing with that old man. I could see you were kind.”
“You mean Mr Frances? He comes in every day, has done ever since I started working at Claudio’s. He’s a friend, a bit lonely. It costs nothing to be kind to someone.”
Lame smiled. “And you’re lovely.” He leaned across the table and kissed her. “You are, Dineo. No lines, no manoeuvring, no dishonesty – you’re lovely. I’ve been hurt by dishonesty and unkindness. I guess I thought people were just that way. But then I met you.”
Dineo could feel it just then. How strange it was, since she was sure it was a myth, she was sure love was something that grew over time, as you got to know a person. Love at first sight? Or second sight? Or second date? Never. She would never believe it. But now she did.
When he said that, when he said she was lovely, it was as if he’d opened his heart completely and let her in. And when he did that her heart responded and opened up for him. She knew then that she loved him.
She’d learn other things later: his birthday, his favourite food, the worst day of his life, the best one. But those were small things. Just then she learned his heart and that was the most important thing of all.
Tell us what you think: Can people fall in true love so quickly? Do you believe in ‘love at first sight’?