I followed Colin and Noko to the table. “Hello ladies,” Colin said. “I wondered if you might allow us to share your table. It’s so crowded in here.” Colin was handsome and charming and few women could refuse him, which was part of the problem.
“Hi, I’m Mmila,” I said to the one sitting next to me. She was cute, in a way, with corn-rowed hair and a friendly space between her front teeth.
“Hi Mmila, I’m Diana.”
Colin ordered a round of shooters, and another round, and I was thinking how I really should stop drinking. And then Colin disappeared with the tall, long-legged red-head and Noko pushed the short, chubby woman he chose into the corner where they were snogging and I couldn’t see a way to disappear without making Diana feel very left alone.
“I like you,” she slurred at me.
“I should tell you I’m sort of seeing someone.”
“That’s OK,” Diana said.
And then everything went into slow motion because just as Diana leaned forward to give me a very sloppy, wet kiss the crowd parted – and there stood Gorata’s friends: Lillian and Sinah. They looked at me, gasped, and turned and left, and I knew I was in serious trouble.
It was too late to call Gorata when I got home, but as soon as I woke up the next morning I tried her cell. She didn’t answer. I sent an SMS; she didn’t respond. I knew I was too late. Lillian and Sinah had already told her. They were likely with her telling her not to answer my calls. I’d ruined everything.
I lay in bed looking at the ceiling and thinking how stupid I’d been. Why did I listen to Colin? Why did I agree to go to that table? Why did I allow Diana to kiss me? Why had I been so reckless with what was so important to me – Gorata?
Because I’d listened to Colin instead of my own sense! I listened to a man with a car spray-painted with the word ‘LOSER’ in red and royal blue. What had I been thinking? Everything had seemed so muddled, but now when I was sure I’d lost it all, it all seemed so clear.
I got in my car and headed to Gorata’s.
I wasn’t sure what would work so along the way I stopped and bought a box of chocolates, a dozen roses, a pair of earrings, and a teddy bear. I was going there prepared.
I knocked on the front door of her parents’ house and waited. I knocked again. No-one was home. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t give up. On the veranda of her house was a wooden bench. I sat down and waited. Eventually someone would come home. Even if it wasn’t Gorata they’d be able to tell me where she was. I put down the roses, the chocolates, the earrings and the teddy bear and waited. And waited. And then I must have fallen asleep.
“Mmila? Mmila! Wake up!”
I opened my eyes and at first I was confused about where I was. Gorata stood in front of me and her angry face brought everything back.
“First, I’m sorry,” I started. “I know what your friends think they saw, but it wasn’t that way. I did not kiss that woman.”
“They saw you kissing her.” Gorata stood with her arms crossed. I could tell she’d been crying and I felt horrible about that.
“Yes, they saw us kissing, but I never kissed her – she kissed me.”
“Does that matter?”
“Yes. I told her I’m seeing someone and the next minute she kissed me.”
“Why were you sitting with her in the first place? You’re supposed to be my boyfriend.”
“It was Colin and Noko. They…” And then I stopped. There was no use blaming anyone. It was my muddled mind, my inability to do what was right for me that got me here. I’d been so afraid that Colin would label me whipped that I hurt the person who mattered the most to me. I was a coward. That’s why I was kissing Diana: I was a coward. “Gorata, honestly, I’m to blame. I was scared and stupid. I’m so sorry I hurt you…because…because…I love you.”
Gorata gasped and slumped down onto the bench. “Really?”
“Yes, really. I promise that if you give me another chance, I will never hurt you again. I’m not that stupid. I really can learn from my mistakes. Please will you give me another chance?”
What do you think? Did she give me another chance?
If you knew my Gorata, you’d know that was a silly question because she has a huge, forgiving heart. Of course she forgave me and I’ll never let her down again. That was more than a year ago and you want to know what? We’re talking about getting married. Can you believe it?
Well, that’s my cautionary tale. I’ve told you it and now you’ll see what you’re going to do. Good luck, my friend.
Just remember, don’t take the wrong advice from the wrong fellow…even me.
Tell us what you think: What is the narrator of the story, Mmila, trying to say?