It was 9.00 p.m.
I switched off my engine and tilted the rear view mirror one last time to check up on my make-up.
The time had finally come to meet him again. It has been almost 10 years since we last met and even though it was not a planned meeting, I knew it was going to be an eventful night. I smiled to myself reminiscing over the events that unfolded before we parted. He was going to see me now; changed, beautiful and sexier than I had ever been before. “Will he like what he sees?” I wondered.
“Well, there’s only one way to find out”, I said with a smile slowly playing across my lips.
I entered the dimly lit bar oozing of rum, cigarette and an array of perfumes and looked around hastily before I began my long-rehearsed cat-walk in search of Sam. As I scanned the room, I refused to be distracted by more than a dozen pair of eyes focused on me. I momentarily looked at a tall dashing man who looked like a smaller version of a Greek god in all his masculine glory and he was staring right back through the glass of wine he seductively sipped on. In his eyes I could see lust and desire and he winked alluringly at me. I felt myself flush as I quickly darting my eyes away from him.
“That must be what those Yoruba Demons look like in real life, so help me God!”, I thought to myself.
Tonight, I actually decided to dress a little showier, pushing past the boundaries of my definition of sexuality just a little bit (or maybe not so little). I had carefully selected today’s outfit – a black lacy sleeveless corset and pencil black leather skirt with a center slit that stopped a few inches above my knee, a pair of bronze high heeled pumps and a matching bronze bag. My waist-long wavy Peruvian hair was newly made and it took me at least an hour to wear my make-up. I knew I would get some stares, but this was way more than I bargained for.
“Maybe I should have just worn the damn flats!” I muttered under my breath as my knees began to wobble slightly under the intense stares of the male folks around me. Finally I saw him, legs crossed in a private booth at the far west wing of the bar with his impeccable white shirt. When I got closer, I noticed it had light blue highlights at both sides on the collar, a fashion stunt that only Tommy Hilfiger could pull off easily. He was taking a call and had his back to me as he struggled to communicate with his caller amidst the blaring music from multiple speakers. I brushed my fingers across the back of his head and whispered seductively to him, “Missed me?”
He turned and smiled broadly, drinking in what I wore before finally standing to hug me as he ended his call. His hug was gentle yet domineering. He stepped back to look at me with his eyes boring deep into mine and slowly inched forward to kiss me. It started coming back to me at that moment. What I had missed, desired and craved for all those years we were apart. The feeling was euphoric but no….I had to stop it. It was unfair to let him do this to me, to give him hope and for me to have hope.
“Slow down Mister” I chuckled and pushed back at him while docking my head to the side at the same time to evade the imminent kiss
“What? What’s the problem dear?” he asked slightly disappointed with a face that was obviously excited to see me.
“You know I am not a sucker for public display of emotions”, I replied raising an eyebrow and hoping he wouldn’t push further.
He smiled, released me from his embrace and motioned me to have a seat, gesturing with a courtesy bow like an English prince.
”I do apologize me lady, would you care to have a seat and let me order some of the finest cocktail available for your drinking pleasure”
“Now, this seems like a worse option to the kiss”, I laughed lifting my left hand to my temple to shield my eyes from the apparent ogling from people watching the drama nearby.
I moved into the booth to have a seat and watched him beckon on a waiter not too far off from where we sat. “My Guy, arrange one Margarita for my babe here”, Sam said and I quickly interjected in the defensive, “I am not his babe oh, abeg”
“No Problem sir”, said the waiter after he grinned at me.
“So you still remember my favourite?” I asked immediately the waiter turned to leave.
“How could I forget?” he responded with a smirk
“Hmmm….I hear you. You must really feel cool with yourself”, I replied
“Yes na, as a bad guy!” brushing over his invisible beard and we both laughed.
We began talking about everything and anything. Our work, parents, siblings and achievements. There was so much to talk about and so little time to talk about them. Two hours later, I announced agonizingly, it was time for me to leave. As we strolled back to the park to where I had parked my car, Sam stopped me while I was talking and looked at me. His eyes were filled with anguish and a deep sense of loss. I could barely hold his gaze. I couldn’t stand any emotional speeches right now. So much time has passed and we had both changed in so many ways. There was no need to cry over spilt milk. He left me and I was hurt. I never forgot him, never wished him ill, never evicted him and our time spent together from the safest parts of my heart. I was never going to. It would always be a constant reminder that I had once loved and I knew what it felt to be loved back in return. Many people never have such an experience. I never even thought it existed until I met Sam. I interrupted him, before he spoke.
“Look, its okay Sam. I know what you are about to say and I am not hurting, at least not anymore” I said with a shrug.
“I have felt what love is, thanks to you. You don’t need to feel bad about anything else that happened.” I reached out to him and gently touched his face. He was indeed miserable and I genuinely had compassion on him.
“I was a fool Martha!” he said finally.
“I know there is nothing I can do now to change the past but I want you to know I have always regretted what I did to you then….I mean how could you still be so kind-hearted enough to even speak to me?” he blurted out, anguish and confusion expressed on his face.
“Well, it was not easy but I loved you then and I still do, in some other ways. You are a part of me and you will always be. Our life experiences all come together to make us who we are. I mean…take a look at what have become now….” I stepped back assessing him and he smiled slightly, the sorrow and pain still evident in his eyes.
“I am proud of the man you have become Sam and I am really happy for you”, I consoled him. “I am fine now and that’s all that matters or do I look like the hungry scarecrow you met years ago?” His smile was a little broader now and he released a quite chuckle.
“I have to go now Sam…” I laughed and turned to reach towards my car.
“Wait Martha!” Sam hurriedly said.
He gently took my left hand and placed a soft kiss at the back of it. I had tears well up in my eyes then. “Don’t cry Martha, suck it up for another 5mins!” I cautioned myself.
“Can I see you again, please?” Sam asked pleading.
I smiled, placed my other hand on top of his and pulled away after a few seconds. I got into the car while he stood there, staring at me with the saddest eyes I had ever seen.
Just before I drove away, I wound down and said, “Time will tell Sam. Time will tell”.
Sam knew what that statement meant. I had said the same thing to him when he announced he was getting married to a woman who was not me. It was the last statement I said to him when he told me to get out of his life forever. As the car drove off, I looked through my rear view mirror and I saw Sam staring at the car until I made a bend at the end of the road and I could not see him anymore.
The tears fell freely from my eyes then.