It’s the last day of January, and what better way to celebrate the end of the month, than share the end of a story?
Don’t answer that.
Sade was one of those women who believed in simplicity. It was her philosophy and it reflected in everything she did, and most noticeably, in her appearance. She had a small, narrow face with eyes that sparkled when she spoke. Her hair was straight and pulled back away from her face and secured with a rubber band. She had a boyish figure and was almost as tall as David.
That day, she wore a t-shirt with blue jeans and suede shoes. It was a very simple outfit, but in David’s eyes, she looked like a queen.
As he looked at her, he felt all the boldness he had been cruising on, leaving him and in his nervousness, he worried about what to say to her.
For months, he had plotted and planned what he would say to her – a bunch of ill-conceived pick-up lines, really – the posture he would assume, and even the details of her reaction, which included kissing him, jumping on an imaginary white horse, or unicorn, and riding with him into the sunset. Or at least into Jaja hall where he lived. Were horses or unicorns allowed in Jaja Hall? David had not worked out the details in his daydream, and he certainly had not prepared himself to meet Sade that morning.
He forgot that Sade had already joined the conversation and that they had moved past the awkward “pick-up line” stage.
“So what do you think, David?” said Joy, turning to him.
This was his moment, his chance to impress Sade with — with what? His intellect? In front of Mama Ruka’s canteen? What would he say? Never mind that the topic was whether dirty male lecturers preyed on married women versus single women. He knew he could somehow work in the Laws of Aerodynamics into the conversation and that it would make sense.
But just as he opened his mouth to say something, it happened: a hiccup. Then, another one. And then another one followed in quick succession.
Without waiting for the fourth one to strike, David’s reflexes kicked in and he did the number one thing he always did whenever he was having hiccups: he licked the back of his right hand. It was one of those superstitious beliefs that had been ingrained in him as a child and had followed him into early adulthood.
The problem was that he was licking the back of his hand in front of the most important woman in the world.
Crap! What a loser! Did she see him?
A peal of laughter escaping from Sade’s mouth was the answer to his last question. Yes, she had seen him. Joy looked amused.
“Oh my goodness! I can’t believe it. You mean, you do that too? Me too! Thank God, I am not weird!” said Sade, still laughing.
David could not believe his ears. Was Sade really admitting to him that she also did the same thing?
“For real?” was all he managed to say. In his heart, he wanted to leap for joy. He was just glad he had not sent her scuttling away in the opposite direction. At that point, his boldness returned and stretching out his right hand to Sade, he said:
“Sorry, I didn’t quite catch your name. My name is David, and you are?”
“Sade. Sade Onakoya. Nice to meet you,” she responded with a firm handshake.
And that was how David finally met Sade.
They continued chatting like they were old friends, finding out in front of Mama Ruka’s canteen that they had similar interests: books, chess and jazz music.
By the time it was finally David’s turn to order his food, he had forgotten about the hunger in belly. A strange, thrilling kind of excitement filled his heart. But he got his food anyway, paid for himself, Sade and Joy, thanking God that Joy’s friend never showed up, as he would have felt obliged to pay for her too.
They all sat down to eat, and after they cleared their plates, he got Sade’s number and had to leave for another lecture.
As he walked to the lecture theatre, there was an unmistakable spring in his steps that was absent hours before. Patting the pocket which held her treasured phone number, he declared aloud:
“This has been the best day of my life.”
And indeed, it was.
– THE END –