I’m going to humour you. I got a DM from my secret admirer today. He was wants me to meet him at the Grove.
You sauntered in, that knowing smile on your face, I am happy to see you, I always am. You’d taken to keeping a toothpick in the corner of your mouth, a habit you picked up from one of these rapper dudes, I’m sure. ‘Yo’, I smile at you in response, our eyes meet in my mirror. You raise your brow by way of asking, ‘Yes, I am going out and no, it’s none of your business where I’m going’…. You hold your hands up in surrender. ‘Okay, fine, tell me, who is it you’re going to meet, hmmn? One of your creepy internet friends?’ I laugh, hard. ‘My internet friends’ became creepy to you when I told you about this particular guy. You gave me long lectures on trust. This from a guy who’s a habitue of panties whose owners he wouldn’t recognise again if they stood in front of him. Yes, he wants to teach me about trusting strangers and being safe. None of the girls were scared of you then, Mr. Starving Artist?
‘Yes, one of my very creepy internet friends, this one eats bespectacled women for lunch, are you happy now?’ You didn’t smile at my joke, I don’t care much right now. I like this particular creepy friend, he writes well, he’s funny and he likes current affairs, I don’t know what dude looks like, he assured me that he’s over six feet, that was my only criterion. I believed him.
‘Look, I’m leaving, I mean, I just came by to drop off your camera’, you point at my baby, Gordon Parks, as I call him, you’d carelessly flung him on the bed, I’ll raise that with you later. You probably want to argue, but not today, I’m going out. ‘Do you want to catch a ride with me, I’m going to town too and yes, my car is clean, before you ask’ you smiled as you said this and I almost said ‘yes’. You left your beard on, that’s the ‘honey trap’ as you call it. I like a beard, I like a beard on you, I like this particular denim shirt on you too.
‘Seyi, I have a ride, thank you for the offer’. You shrug. You lean back against my dressing table, I can feel you looking at me, you do that a lot. You don’t see me in a dress often, so I guess I understand.
We walk out of my room together, you say good bye to my sister, you know she has a crush on you, you like to tease the girl, I’d kill you, if ever you, no, let me not think it even you’re not that shady.
I get into my mother’s car, she’d loaned it to me for the weekend, an old Jeep, I loved the car, you walked up behind me to the car door ‘Yimika?’ okay, you don’t usually use my full first name, I look up at you, ‘Are you afraid of being eaten?’ It took me a while to grasp your meaning. Oh, I’d left my glasses off, I never wear them when I’m going on sorta dates, I hit you lightly on your arm, ‘Bye Seyi’… You’re sulking, I know. You get like that when I do things that don’t involve you, you’ll be fine.
I drove to slowly, trying to steady my nerves, it had been a while since I had a date. The Grove was quite busy when I finally got there, they had a live band on Sundays, that’s what drew me to the place, it was always dimly lit too, even though it was barely past three, it was dark enough inside that the candles on the tables proved more than decorative.
He said he’d be wearing a black shirt, I quickly scanned the bar for dudes in black shirts, there was one, but he was in an intimate conversation with some chick, this ruled him out. So, I got here before Mr. @Em _EsAY, okay, so this wasn’t a good sign but I was feeling pretty good, so. I ordered a glass of Rose and chilled.
I heard you before I saw you, talking to Michael, the bar owner who obviously had a thing for you, I had until today enjoyed watching him laugh at almost everything you said. I was angry, but I kept calm, I hoped you’d go and not attempt to make conversation but no! You spotted me and walked over, ‘Sooooo, this is the big secret place you didn’t want to you to tell me about, hmmn?’ I looked at you with what I hoped was all the anger I felt as you invited yourself to sit at the table, ‘Seyi, did you follow me here?’ you looked so shocked at the question I almost believed you wouldn’t do such a thing. Almost. ‘Erm, no, I did not. In case you forgot, you didn’t tell me where you were going, it just so happens that we both end up here, just imagine that!’ I narrowed my eyes and said nothing.
‘So, where is this internet guy then? What kinda dude leaves a woman waiting? Did he call you? Text? DM you?’ You seemed to be enjoying my discomfort, smiling as you reeled off your questions. I was deeply embarrassed that it has to be you to witness me being stood up. You won’t shut up about it, I know that.
Michael came over with your drinks, ‘Oh, Mika, I didn’t not see you’, he spoke Italian accented English, loudly, he came around my side of the table to hug me, ‘You look radiant, you hair, so nice’ he adjusted his glasses and touched the ends of my braids. You watched us, amused at this interaction, me, obviously annoyed, him, being his usual enthusiastic self.
We’d been drinking for an hour or so, I checked my phone one last for messages from him, he wasn’t going to show up, it hurt but I shrugged internally, this is life I guess. ‘Mika, forget this internet loser, come, let’s make an evening of it’ I knew you felt sorry for me, I hated that ‘Why are you here? Did you have someone of your own to meet or did you hang around to lecture me about my ‘creepy friends’ again? Save it, I’m over it anyways, if dude doesn’t show up, it’s his loss’ I shrugged for real this time.
‘If you must know, I was stood up too, I came to meet Nnamdi and as you can see, he’s not here.’ You leaned back in your seat and put that damned toothpick back in your mouth.
I decided to stay. I don’t know why, I hadn’t been out in a while and I was determined to enjoy myself well into the night, You asked me questions about my date, well, my supposed to be date, why I liked him, why it had to be an internet dude, how did I know I wasn’t being cat-fished. I laughed at this question ‘What? You don’t think women can get cat-fished? Let’s see, maybe dude figured you hadn’t had some in while and wanted to play you, how about that?’ I flicked some water from the melted ice in the bucket at you, I was ready for your teasing and honestly, that made it easier to accept that dude didn’t show up.
The live band had started up an old highlife number at this point, we talked in intervals and nodded along to the music. I spotted Michael whispering something to the lead singer of the band during a break, the guy nodded in response to what was being said, I was slightly merry now, okay maybe more than slightly. I saw you get up to go on stage, you play the bass. You play it well. You took off the denim shirt, tucked it in your back pocket and started strumming on the guitar, I don’t remember what you were playing, people liked it, you looked happy. A random chick got on the stage as you played, you smiled at her and seemed to play harder, I smiled to myself, this is Seyi in in his element.
I sipped more wine, I knew I shouldn’t, you came back to the table, looking very pleased with yourself. ‘Come, let’s dance’ you almost had to shout in my left ear, the music was loud now and you didn’t wait for me to respond before pulling me up, I stood on almost shaky legs as you led me to the dance floor, ‘Listen, if you touch my bum I’ll kill you’ I knew you heard me when I saw you laugh. We danced, I don’t remember for how long but I had a good time.
We walked to the car, your car. ‘I’ll drive you home, I don’t think you should be driving right now’ you were right, I didn’t argue, I was very light headed by now, I smiled at you as you open the car door for me. We drove in silence, it was almost 1am in the morning, we got to my house rather quickly. You walked me to my door and I was merry but coherent, just about.
’Thank you big head, you made the day fun’ you gave me a mock bow ‘Mika?’ I looked at you ‘What do you call me’ I gave you a puzzled look in response, ‘I mean, what do you call me apart from my name’ Mr Starving Artist, that’s what I called you. ‘M S A’ you said, and I nodded, ‘What colour is my tee shirt’? I blinked fast and I touched the hem of your t shirt lightly, ‘It’s black’, I hadn’t noticed before or maybe I did but I didn’t, I took a deep sigh to steady my thoughts ‘who did you see when you got to The Grove today’? I saw you, you were at The Grove, you nodded as you saw my face grasp the meaning of what you were saying…. You’re @EM_EsAY. You kissed my forehead and walked to your car. I wanted to smile, but I didn’t.