From the beach we headed into town. I’d made reservations at Cleo’s, on the pier. It was a fancy place – far too fancy for the likes of me, but perfect for Gorata. So I had cleared out a big chunk of my savings. I wanted this first date to be special. A table for two, candle-lit, near the big window looking out onto the sea. Just the two of us.
“I’ve been wanting to ask you out for some time,” I said.
“Really? Why didn’t you?”
“I don’t know.” I hesitated. Should I be honest? “I thought you’d say no.”
“No? Why would I say no?” She reached across the table and took my hand. My heart raced. It all seemed like an impossible dream. Like it wasn’t happening to me. “Why would I say no when you’re so cute?”
And kaboom! With that my head popped off! Well nearly. Cute? She thinks I’m cute?! I was almost positive I heard angels singing. Or maybe it was my ears ringing. Whatever it was, I liked it.
It was nearly midnight when I pulled up in front of her house. She turned to me in the car. “I had such a special night.”
I hesitated, scared, but knew the moment would move along without me if I didn’t grab it, so I leaned forward slowly. When I was near enough, near enough that I knew I wouldn’t miss by getting a nose or an ear, I closed my eyes and kissed her. I kissed her and it was like the first time I ever kissed a girl. Maybe it was. Maybe it was the first time I ever really kissed a girl and it was the most amazing thing ever. And for that moment I wished I could stop the clocks, prevent the world from turning and live in that moment for the rest of my life.
But I couldn’t. And that’s when everything started going wrong.
“A guy who is whipped by a woman is done for, absolutely done for,” Colin said, and then took a long swig of his beer, as if he had just made the most profound statement ever spoken on earth. We had stopped off for a few drinks after work: me, Colin, Ofentse and Colin’s friend Noko. Colin is a playa. At any given time, he will have no fewer than three women available to him, all of whom know nothing about the others.
Colin was one of the drivers at work, a bit older than Ofentse and me, about thirty I guessed. His co-driver was Noko and Noko was under the impression that Colin was god.
“Truth Colin! I agree completely. You see these guys tagging after women, their tongues hanging out, their pockets open just waiting to be told the next thing that they’re supposed to do. I’m not falling for that shit. In a relationship, I’m in control,” Noko said, supporting his hero.
“Relationship, Noko?” Ofentse said, rolling his eyes. “When did you last go out on a date? With a woman?”
“What about Dorcas? That was last month. I don’t know what you’re tripping about.”
“Dorcas? Are we really going to talk about Dorcas?” Ofentse said, shaking his head. Dorcas was the receptionist at work. She lost focus after four drinks, everyone knew it, and sad cases like Noko took advantage of that. Everyone ‘knew’ Dorcas.
“I’m just saying,” Noko continued unfazed, “that I’m never going to be whipped like you Ofentse. Never. Not in this lifetime. ‘I’m coming home just now, Kgalalelo.’ ‘I’ll do that for you Kgalalelo.’ ‘Here’s my pay cheque Kgalalelo.’ Nope, I’m nobody’s walking mat.”
I couldn’t let my home boy be treated like that so had to step in. “Kgalalelo’s not like that. You act like Ofentse’s her fetching boy. They’re partners together, parents…they love each other.”
“Love?” Colin said. “What do men need with love? That’s just a trick women have been using for ages. If you’re falling for that you’re as stupid as Ofentse.”
“Sure is,” Noko echoed.
“Don’t let these fools trouble you, Mmila. They’re too insecure in their masculinity to love a woman.”
Colin nearly choked on his beer. “Insecure in my masculinity? You’ve lost your mind!” Colin put his arm around me and pulled me closer. “Listen, what your friend there is not telling you is his woman has his balls grabbed so tight he can’t even think straight. You need to take his advice with a big pinch of salt or you’re going to find yourself in the same place.”
Ofentse stood up laughing. “OK, you losers stay here and talk all your crap. I got a good woman waiting for me at home.”
He threw money on the bar counter and headed for the door.
Tell us what you think: Who is right about relationships: Ofentse or Colin?