Yes, this time, for once, my friend Ludo is right! This guy, Isaac, is definitely the perfect match for me! Ludo only introduced us twenty minutes ago. But I can tell already: he is the man of my dreams. Totally!

Isaac and I sit together on the river bank, chatting, getting to know each other. Behind us, Ludo’s braai is in full swing: music pumping, people dancing, beer being swigged back. But I don’t need to be part of all that noise. Here beside Isaac, I am having my own party.

“So, Tumi, tell me about when you were a little girl. Where did you grow up? I bet you were so cute with those dimples. Well, not that you aren’t cute still…”

So I tell him about my childhood. Just the happy parts, of course. Not the bad stuff.

He nods, smiles, takes another sip of his Coke. Yes, Coke! He must be the only guy in the whole place who isn’t swigging back a lager or a whiskey. And that makes him even more perfect.

See, when I was a little girl, my father drank alcohol. A lot. I can remember how much pain it brought to my mother’s face. How many times she broke down in tears. No, I could never fall in love with a man who drank.

Ludo knows that. She told me before the party: “Promise you, Tumi, Isaac doesn’t touch a drop. He’s a teetotaller. Trust me, girl. He’s your perfect partner. Totally!”

And now, while the river flows gently beneath a starry sky, Isaac takes my hands in his. He says, “I know we’ve only just met, Tumi. But I feel such a connection with you. What do you say: can we go out for dinner on the weekend, just you and I?”

I can’t even answer because of the hope that chokes up my throat. At last! After so many disappointments, so many broken dreams. After all the guys Ludo introduced to me who turned out to be wrong.

“Not Friday night though,” says Isaac. “Friday night I have my date with the Lucky Luke Casino. I can’t miss that!”

I stand up and walk away. Even when he calls out my name, I keep walking. Past the smoking braais, and the tin baths filled with ice, and the pounding speakers.

Ludo finds me in the dark. “What’s wrong this time, Tumi? You can drive a person crazy, you know that? You are so fussy! You just expect too much from guys. Totally!”

“How could you, Ludo? You know how I hate gambling. You know about my dad. How could you introduce me to someone who gambles? And to think I thought he was perfect!”

Yes, my father was a gambler too. He kept hoping for a jackpot that never came. Instead our furniture went, our car, our home. I remember my mother sobbing on the pavement outside as if her heart would break.

I can’t believe this is happening! Will I ever find the man of my dreams?


Tell us what you think: Do you think Isaac is the man of Tumi’s dreams?