Making the last right, my heart fell as Siri uttered,
“You have arrived at your destination Oluchi.”
Her voice was always so sweet. When I do resign myself to building a woman, her soothing pitch would be high on the must have list. Turning into a free parking spot, I switched of the engine, looked up out the window and sighed. I suspected it was too good to be true. I’ve never been fond of these sort of places. Strength left me, my head falling and hitting the car horn. I did not care, mind blocking the sound and drifting back to the previous night.
Brash, bullheaded, beautiful. Three words flickering through my mind as I went down, legs buckling beneath me. Gravity refused to be denied no matter how much I pleaded. I waited expectantly for a life flash that did not come. I wish it had. If losing my existence would save me from this humiliation, I would have met my maker gladly, solve one mystery of this world. Before darkness enclosed me completely, I marveled at the escaped wisp of hair which had found freedom from her ponytail. It hung there at the mercy of the slight breeze toying with it.
Sharp knocks on my car window brought me out of my reverie, the sound of the horn roaring back to my senses. Lifting my head I turned to the offending knuckle. It was attached to a parking attendant. Plastered on his face a smug look I did not like.
Power tends to bring out the worst in us. In this parking lot he was King. At least his face seemed to portray this particular haughtiness. I waved him of to continue ruling his kingdom elsewhere. Taking a deep breath I counted to ten as he walked away to torment another poor soul. There was now nothing left but to open the door and step out of the familiar safety of my vehicle. The gentle sun felt sweet on my dark skin. Lifting my chin I let myself enjoy its bounty for a few seconds, the sight of white fluffy clouds floating lazily through the deep blue sky bringing a moment of jealousy. Falling back to earth, I faced the short walk to the entrance. More than enough time for my mind to wander back into the ring I’d found myself stepping into the day before.
Unbelievable was the word I kept mumbling as the perfect stranger strapped unfamiliar gloves to my hands all the while relaying a stream of advice he must have given countless times. I remember none of it as my mind was better occupied with how to escape the situation I was currently in with whatever shred of dignity I had left.
The perfect stranger uttered these words with a tone which failed to mask his doubt in my survival regardless of how lucky I was. With the swiftness of each event leading to where I was now, much of my wits had been left behind. What little I currently had finally worked up the courage to pry open my lips to call this strange sequence of happenings to a halt. Before I could relish the small victory and begin a flowery speech of why all proceedings must stop, the perfect stranger jammed a mouth guard in. Not a pleasant experience. A head guard followed in quick succession, fastened securely by the deft hands of this perfect stranger.
“Alright, get up and get in there.”
Barely able to process all that was happening, I found myself obeying his words, or at least the first couple. My feet refused to propel me forward after my seat left the low stool. A predicament the perfect stranger quickly solved with a helping hand I did not ask for nor expect. With a strong shove I stumbled unwillingly, uncontrollably to the center of the ring unable to stop my forward momentum. That is until I met a warm body, her warm body. Her back to me, she did not see me coming. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on what side of the aisle you’re on, my gloved hands were not raised. This led to them landing squarely on her bum and my gawd I could feel the softness even through the gloves. I looked down barely believing what was happening. Lifting my head, I prepared my most apologetic look, giving myself credit for remembering I wouldn’t be able to speak through the mouth guard. My eyes reached hers just in time to see the fire burning within her deep brown iris. Her right hook came moments later.
A sharp pain hit my nerves as my toe made contact with the first step . Strong enough to bring my mind back to the present but not enough to make me cry out in pain. Pain, with the thought my hand gently rubbed my jaw. I hesitated, looking at the vastness within the open doors. Simple in design, they stretched far above what I could reach. My eyes could not but follow them to their peak. Flanking the doors was a design resembling two clasped hands meeting above the door in prayer. In there, I hoped to find her. Why she chose a church would be the first question, no, it would have to be her name. I crossed the threshold the door swallowing me whole, one step closer to her. A cool wind washed over me, the entrance sealing itself. A clear message, there was no turning back.