The Saturday of our date was warm and slightly breezy. I put on my skinny jeans with my light blue shirt that I only wore on very special occasions. A date with Thabisa was definitely one of those occasions. When I finished grooming myself, I drove to Mfuleni.
It was only a seven minute drive from my place to Thabisa’s home and she was already outside waiting for me on the pavement. She was stunning! I could tell she had taken her time in front of the mirror. She wore heels with a dress that ended above her knees, putting her curvy legs on dispay.
I stopped the car in front of her and opened the passenger door.
“Hey, you look beautiful,” I said as she stepped inside.
“Thanks,” she said.
The kid that I had seen before came out of the house and ran to the car. “Bye! Bye! Makazi. Please bring me goodies when you come back,” she shouted as I turned the car around.
“Bye!” Thabisa waved at the kid.
“She is so cute. She called you ‘Auntie’, whose daughter is she?” I asked.
“My sister’s. She had her at the age of 16,” she said.
“How about you?”
“What about me?”
“Are you a mother?” I asked her.
We were at the R300 turnoff and I turned the car to the right. I was taking her to Tyger Valley Shopping Centre.
“I nearly became one. I was seven months pregnant when I lost him,” she said, tearing up.
I wondered about the guy who had made her pregnant. I wondered if they were still dating and how much he meant to her.
“I am sorry to hear that,” I said taking out a tissue from the glove compartment and handing it over to her.
“No, it’s ok. I am fine now. So how about you? Are you a father?”
“Nope,” I said.
“Seriously? You don’t have to hide your child from me if you have one.”
“I am serious. Why would I lie about that?” I said.
“I don’t know. You look like a guy who has a bunch of kids from different baby mamas,” she said. I spotted a little smile surfacing on her face.
“Ouch! But I’ll take that as a compliment,” I said.
We arrived at Tyger Valley Shopping Centre and I found a parking space with less trouble than usual.
“What would you like to eat?” I asked her when we entered the mall.
“Well, since you are asking, I am craving a Spur T-bone.”
“Spur it is then,” I said.
We saw a couple holding hands and glanced at each other. We abruptly stopped our conversation and continued walking in silence. I slowly moved my hand to hers, touched her palm and held it. I was doing all this while looking ahead and I didn’t turn around to see the look of approval on her face. I felt her long thin fingers wrapping around my hand. I looked at her and smiled.
Our order arrived quickly.
“So tell me, where did you and your parents move to when you left Gugulethu?” Thabisa asked, cutting into her steak.
“Kuilsriver,” I said.
“You know, I always wished my parents were like yours. You were such a happy family,” she said.
I took the fork from her left hand, put it down and held her hand across the table.
“How are your parents doing? Are they still living in Kuilsriver?” she asked. I let go of her hand and leaned back on my seat.
“My father passed on two weeks ago and my mother, well, she is trying to act strong but I can see she is still hurting.”
“I am so sorry to hear that,” she said.
“How are yours doing?” I asked.
“My mother is doing good.”
“And your father?”
“He is dead. Been years now,” she said, so casually.
“I am so sorry to hear that. What happened?” I asked.
“Well, he got sick and died. Can we talk about something else now?” she said, forking chips and putting them in her mouth.
“Sure! Anything,” I said. Thabisa clearly didn’t want us to talk about her father. I believed there was more to the story and she was shutting me out because she was not ready to share it with me.
“Your girlfriend. Did she know that you are taking me out?” she teased.
“We broke up a month ago,” I played along. “How about your boyfriend? Does he know you are here with me?”
“What do you think?” she asked.
“I want to believe you don’t have a boyfriend but there is a feeling that I can’t fight that tells me you do.”
“Well … ” she said, and looked away. She was silent for a moment and I thought she was thinking about him. Maybe she was regretting having lunch with me behind her man’s back.
“Hey, I am still here,” I said, waving my hand at her face while chuckling awkwardly.
“What were you saying about the steak again? Yes, it tastes good,” she said.
I knew she remembered my question but she was just running away from answering it.
“Spur’s T-bone never disappoints,” I concurred.
Thabisa cut a piece of steak, picked it up with her fork and ate it. All this long I was staring at her. Admiring her beauty.
My mouth betrayed me and came out with the words that were on my mind. “You are gorgeous, Thabisa!”
“Am I? Thanks!” She was blushing.
I leapt in. “You know, I think the first time I fell in love was the first time I lay my eyes on you.”
“Haibo! We were still kids then, we didn’t know anything about love,” she said.
“I know you felt something then too and you feel something now,” I said.
She kept quiet.
“Thabisa, I never forgot about you and you never forgot about me,” I continued.
“What are you saying, Simphiwe?”
“I am saying I love you.”
“But you don’t know me. I am not the person you think I was,” she said.
I wondered what had she been through. I could tell a lot had happened in her life but she was not ready to open up to me.
“I am willing to learn you. I mean, don’t you want us to try and see where this ship will sail us?”
“You have grown bold and confident. You are not so shy any more – not like when we were kids. I still like you though,” she said smiling.
I leaned across the table and gave her a kiss on the lips. This is how the relationship with my beloved Thabisa started.
Tell us: Are things moving too fast in this relationship, or do you think it’s good to go with your feelings?