Lesson Number One: You can improve your attraction to the opposite sex simply by looking straight at them and smiling.
Lesson Number Two: The bestselling book, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, is good for one thing only: lining the floor of a pigsty. “What you have become is the result of what you have thought.” “Your thoughts determine your experience.” To think I once believed those things is scary. Very scary indeed.
Lesson Number Three: Never ever go on a blind date. Not even if you are physically blind. It scars you for life.
I don’t know why people feel the need to set me up with random men. I am beautiful, intelligent and extremely sexy. My last boyfriend said Angelina Jolie had nothing on me and at the height of her popularity my best friend said I could give Julia Roberts a run for her money. When The Last King of Scotland crew was in town, someone told me he saw me on the set acting as Idi Amin’s wife. Clearly Kerry Washington is of a lesser specie.
It explains why I suffer the same plight as other gorgeous women. You see, I am very unlucky in love. Unlucky, did I say? Make that wretched, doomed, hopeless, pitiful, pathetic and saaaaad.
Despite the overwhelming evidence to this effect, for some of my well-intentioned, but clearly hapless friends, hope springs eternal.
“I know a guy who would be perfect for you. He’s seven years younger than you, but he’s ambitious and he plays the accordion brilliantly.”
“Have you met Susan’s brother Steve? He saw a picture of you from years ago when we were in primary school and he thinks you’re kinda cute. I told him you haven’t aged a day.”
“What are you doing on Friday night? My wife and I are making dinner. She’s bringing along a workmate of hers who just moved into town from Bolivia. Wanna come help us translate wink-wink?”
“Tumwijuke, get laid already!”
This week, I finally agreed to be set up. I thought I’d approach the blind date as an adventure. A new and exciting experience I would laugh about for years. It would be my way of finally getting over Sir Whom I Loved – or at least forgetting about him for a moment.
The instructions for my blind date were simple enough.
Date: Wednesday November 5th
Time: 1930 hours
Place: Ban Café, Grand Imperial Hotel
Dress code: Just comb your hair for once, damn it!
I was given his number and he mine. He texted me on Tuesday to tell me what he looked like. I said I’d be the chick with the large afro. He sounded clever and witty. I began to warm to the occasion. To look forward to it even.
On Wednesday I was a bundle of nerves. What had I gotten myself into? What if he turned out to be a freak who liked girls with inverted nipples, big bellybuttons and six toes? What if he had sweaty hands and bad breath? What if he was the guy I gave the finger at the traffic lights that morning?
I was parked outside Ban Café way before 7 p.m. I sat at a great point where I could see the door to the café without anyone seeing me. It didn’t long for me to change my strategy however. Nasty van still has stuck windows and I can’t afford air conditioning. I was stewing in my own sweat and I began to smell of mouldy bread. I abandoned the car and headed to the café for a quick freshening up.
Seated by 7:15 p.m. At exactly 7:30 p.m. he walked in.
Oh. My. God.
Every girl dreams of a meeting a prince. A tall, handsome man with chiseled features and a rich deep voice. A man who looks at you and makes your insides turn to mush.
My blind date was a god!
Blindie (as I will call him from this point on for clarity’s sake) is about 6’2” and fairly well built. He is of Southeast Asian descent with flawless olive skin. His medium-long hair had brilliant brunette highlights that offset his hazel eyes. His clothes were a cross between Wall Street and the ghetto; a classy punk rocker with style. Blindie looked at me a twinkle in his eyes, smiled broadly and I knew I was a goner.
First Hour: Introductions, whatnots and chuckles on how awkward the date was. I couldn’t get over his not-here-not-there accent and his extensive vocabulary. He smelled warm, rich and sensual. PI by Givenchy. It took everything within me not to move my stool closer to his. He told me a little about himself and I about mine. I was struck by how much we shared and how easy it felt.
Second Hour: I suggested that we look for something to eat. He agreed to walk from the Grand Imperial Hotel down to the Old Taxi Park with me. I was glad he thought it would be a laugh for us to get tea and a sandwich from the infamous mobile bakeries outside the park. As we left the café, Blindie said he was pleasantly surprised that I was his date for the night. Said he was proud to walk down the road with a woman as beautiful as me.
Third Hour: Had a whale of a time with the mobile bakery guys. The tea was real African. Hot-hot with lots of milk, lots of spice and lots of sugar. The bread was fresh and fluffy and it didn’t matter that we were seated on the side of a busy dusty road. He was interesting and spoke a lot about himself, but it was not oppressive. In halting Luganda and Swahili he engaged the bakery guys in small talk, charming them with his jokes. Then he looked into my eyes, brushed his finger across my cheek and said it was the most fun he had had in a long time.
Fourth Hour: Took the long slow route back to the café. Up through Market Street, Colville Street, Kampala Road, Parliamentary Avenue and Nile Avenue. It was a dark black night. Dark and beautiful. We talked about everything from art and architecture to zebras and zippers and debated the work of Sanlun and Hume. As we neared the Grand Imperial, he took my hand. It didn’t seem forward. It just seemed right.
Fifth Hour: I gave Blindie a ride to his home in Mbuya and we sat out his terrace for what seemed like hours. He asked me if I was cold and put his arm around my shoulder to warm me. Then in the middle of an inane conversation about paper clips, he took my hand and kissed it and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t be. And I puckered up for the Real Deal.
As if on cue, the lights in his living room went on, the curtains opened and a pokerfaced old woman shouted,
“Blindie-ji, is that you? What took you so long to come home? Aap kyon aaye so late?”
“Mom …” Blindie said, “I’m okay. I’m here with a friend.”
“A friend, eh?” Mama Blindie asked. “Invite him in. Eh! My son has no manners! I just made jalebis for Diwali. He can take home a late night snack.”
Blindie is a grown-ass man living with his mama. Blindie is a 34-year-old wah-wah-change-my diapers-clean-my-nose-bloody-baby.
He looked at me helplessly. Part of me felt sorry for him. Part of me felt like hell.
“I’m so sorry. I thought she’d be asleep. Do come in. Please. If you don’t she’ll wake up my dad and grandma and then we’ll really be in trouble.”
It was his eyes. Those deep, poignant, bottomless eyes. I followed him in.
The house was simple enough. Decorated beautifully for the Festival of Lights. Typical knickknacks from the Motherland. Nice homely scent of curry and incense.
Pokerfaced Mama shuffled into the room laden with goodies and she barely looked at me as she walked past, her eyes transfixed on the delicious outcome of her day’s work. When she finally looked up at me, she was confused.
“Aur aap? What is this Blindie-ji?”
“Mom, this is my friend Tumwijuke. She’s the friend I told you I was meeting today.”
He sounded like a boy of seven. Reduced to a child by his mother’s glare.
“Blindie-ji, you brought a kanjri to my home? You went to meet a prostitute?”
I knew if I said one thing, just one tiny thing, I’d burst. I walked out of the house, straight to my car and started my engine. I ignored the pleas from Blindie for me to wait a minute. To forgive his mom. To wait, please! Please! I knew that if I looked into those eyes, I’d drown again. That I’d be ready to forget. That I’d fool myself into believing that the evening was more that just hot-hot tea and a long walk home.
Stuck in a CD into my stereo and turned up the volume. Loud, soulful Jamie Cullum. What a Difference a Day Made. And Sir Whom I Loved came rushing back.
I have 21 missed calls on my phone from Blindie. 21 and counting. And numerous texts.
I am sorry.
I am very sorry.
I am very very sorry.
Please pick up.
Please call me.
Please give me a chance.
We had a good thing. Don’t let it go.
Don’t let me die before I hear your voice again.
Maybe I am just being silly and immature. Maybe I am being vain. Maybe I have become so used to sabotaging my own happiness and wallowing misery and I am too lazy to try for something better.
Maybe I’m just too gorgeous for my own good. Maybe.