My love language is quality time. I would know, one of my friends got me tested. So, you can imagine my excitement when my crush sent the message, “Can we chill?” She was a beautiful woman with a gorgeous black skin and expressive eyes. Her pictures were enchanting. She had a lovely voice: phone calls laced with a British accent were endearing. She had an adventurous spirit; she wanted to see more of Zimbabwe, of Harare, with me as a guide. Hence the message, “Can we chill?”
“Yes. Let’s… chill.” My less than enthusiastic response informed by internal conflict.
Nope, I wasn’t too worried that she was a daughter to my dad’s friend. This was how and why we were meeting after all. I wasn’t put off by my lack of a “base.” Meeting in public and restricting physical touch was fine by me. I wasn’t daunted by the fact that she had grown up in England and was only visiting Zimbabwe for a short while. I was actually excited at making fleeting memories. My internal conflict was driven by… money.
I had a grand total of US$2. Do I want to go out with her? YES! Should I do so on a US$2 budget? Probably not. If I do decide to do it, how the hell was I going to do so with US$2?
“Where are you?” I asked.
“At home, in Borrowdale.” That’s the fanciest part of the city, with big mansions and big cars. It’s about an hour’s travel with public transport. It would also cost $2 to get there. I didn’t mind going, but asking her for transport money back home wasn’t a smooth idea.
“I’m in Mabelreign,” pause, “would you like to see my side of town?”
“Definitely, I would love to.” Her excitement was audible even over the phone.
“You would need to take public transport though. Have you ever been in a kombi?” Selling this as an adventure could just be a way out.
“Of course! What do you take me for? Handisi musalad. (I am not a snob)”
“Cool. So, let’s meet by Mabelreign shops tomorrow at 2 pm.”
“See you then.”
Now I had a date, place and time for my first date with my crush. The very first time I would see her in person. She was going to come using the notoriously uncomfortable and unreliable public transport system of kombis (matutu in some parts of Africa). So, maybe this attraction was mutual. Now, what were we going to do???
“Yes, I am by Mabelreign shops. Let me know when you get here.” For someone who was making a girl travel across town to meet him, the least I could do was be early. Be early and dressed as nicely as I could in jeans, a shirt and sneakers. But, there was another reason I was in the local pub 20 minutes early. I needed to check the bar menu—what was available, and at what price.
All alcoholic beverages were at least $1.50. It was a pub after all, so there were no fancy cocktails but a decent selection of the local brew. Yeah, this was going to be a sober date. Sadza (the local staple food) was at least $3.00 a plate, depending on the relish. Even I groaned at the impending hunger. At least the place had no cover charge. Entrance was free. Cold drinks were 75 cents each, with 25 cents deposit. Another silver lining.
“I am 5 minutes away from the bus stop.”
“I will be waiting for you.” Deep breath, it was time.
“You look gorgeous.” Words of affirmation flowed unbidden from my lips. Not as flattery, as impulsive appreciation. She did look stunning. In brown pants, running shoes and a white top with coloured detail, she combined style, modesty and practicality seamlessly.
“Thanks so much. I couldn’t wear my miniskirt in town,” she quipped with a mischievous smile.
“Look at you afraid of mahwindi (kombi touts). I am beginning to think you were lying to me that you liked adventure.”
“I had to get here without GPS! That is enough adventure for one day.”
The conversation flowed as we strolled to find a seat in the pub. We discussed the relative merits of Bunjie jumping at the Victoria Falls. I ordered two cold drinks, a Sprite for me and a Fanta for her. She, like me, detested the smell of beer and we were in agreement on the virtues of wine. We watched highlights of English Premier League football on the mounted television. She had gone to the Emirates stadium to watch Arsenal once, but wasn’t that big of a football fan. She was, however, excited at the prospect of twerking to Rihanna’s latest album at a concert.
“Have you ever played pool?” I asked.
“I have played on my phone. How difficult can it be?”
With the coins I got from returning the bottles, I bought a single token for a game of pool.
“Loser must twerk to Oliver Mutukudzi right here in this pub.”
She lost. Dismally.
I negotiated the terms of my victory graciously. She would send me a twerk video next time she was at a Wembley concert.
“If you are to make it home on time, you better be leaving now.” I warned.
“You are not coming with me?”
“I wish I could…” I meant it.
She gave me a hug, apparently I was the one in need of comfort.
Later that night, she sent a text, “Just got home, thanks for today.”
“I enjoyed your company. We should do this again.”
“I’m still around for 2 more weeks, I am sure we can find time.”
“Actually, the European Film Festival is happening at the Art Gallery this week. Not the biggest fan of dry British humour *wink* but I am pretty sure the snacks and the wine would be worth it.”
“Taste. You lack taste my darling. So, meet there on Friday, say 5 pm?”
“It’s a date.”
So guys, I’d like to know…
1. Would you risk going on a date with you crush when you don’t have enough money?
2. What would you do if she ordered for something you can’t afford?
Ah, I bet you enjoyed this post, right? I told ya! Valentine Writes is an impeccable writer. You can find his other works here. However Stars, this isn’t the end of my collaboration with this Zimbabwean bod, not even close!
As they say, tomorrow is another day *wink*. Make sure you come back for what we have in store for you!