The weeks rolled by and soon turned into months. The rains reduced drastically, although it rained so heavily and unexpectedly one time Tunde decided to go see a movie. However since then, it was pretty much heat and the characteristic dry air that felt like tiny slivers of glass to the nose. A light film of dust was beginning to form on leaves of weeds and a rundown car parked close to his compound.
Kola asked Tunde only once if his offer had been considered. Tunde replied that he was still thinking about it. They kept a cordial collegial relationship. Tunde just wasn’t sure how to deal with this heterosexual guy who was so open to homosexuality in Nigeria. In his final year in the university, he told his best friend since secondary school of his true sexual identity, and the so-called best friend had proceeded to punch him and call him a fag and stopped talking to him. It had hurt but Tunde had toughed it out. At least he got out of a friendship that wasn’t worth it.
It was a particularly sunny day, and Tunde was hurrying out of the mall with nylon bags full of groceries, when there was a “riiiiiiiip” sound, and all his precious packages came tumbling out of the bags. Both bags. Tunde groaned. What kind of luck was this one now?
His car was a bit far from him and he couldn’t exactly scoop up everything in his arms and carry to the car.
As he bent to start picking his things, a deep voice said, “Excuse me, do you need a hand?”
Tunde looked up, about to tell the stranger not to worry, when his eyes locked unto the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen. They were kind and seemed to be the colour of honey that light was passing through. The eyes belonged to a handsome face with a strong jaw and full kissable lips. Tunde gulped and stared.
“Do you need help?” the stranger said.
Tunde began to stutter in response. “Erm…er…erm…yes, please,” he finally managed to say. And the stranger smiled. Tunde was glad he didn’t have dazzling white teeth, because that would have been too cliché for an actual human being. The man’s teeth were just okay.
As the stranger helped him pick up his things, Tunde wondered how wise it was to let someone he didn’t know help him with his stuff. What if the guy took off suddenly?
They stood up slowly, arms laden with groceries, and Tunde took in his Good Samaritan’s height. They were almost the same height. And there was something oddly familiar about the dude’s face. He was wearing a shirt and a pair of jeans that seemed a bit too tight.
They walked briskly to Tunde’s vehicle in the parking lot and after he unlocked the doors, they placed the groceries in the back seat.
“Thanks so much,” Tunde said. “I should go back in there and see if I can get extra bags.”
“I’m to meet up with someone in there too,” the stranger said. “Let’s walk together.”
Tunde’s heart fluttered. This angel wanted to walk with him? His knees felt a bit weak and his palms turned sweaty. What the fuck was wrong with him? He had been around handsome men before. He was even quite the looker himself with his killer smile and lean swimmer’s build. There was only one time he’d felt remotely like this and alarm bells rang in his head. He wanted to decline and drive away as fast as possible from the stranger, but that would have been very rude and he had already said he was going back inside to get his things.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to,” the stranger said.
Tunde replied that he didn’t mind.
“What’s your name?” the man asked as they walked, snapping Tunde out of his reverie inside which he was leaning against the handsome stranger as they walked.
“Dele,” was the reply
Tunde nodded, and they fell back into a silence that was oddly not awkward or uncomfortable.
“I saw you bought Chimamanda’s latest book,” Dele said as they neared the mall.
“Yes. I’m buying it kind of late, thanks to work. But better late than never. I love her writing. She’s…”
“Amazing,” Dele completed.
Tunde smiled. “Exactly what I was going to say.”
Dele was staring at him, and Tunde felt a bit weird. Self conscious.
“This is my way. I guess you’re going the other way?” Dele said.
“Yes,” Tunde said, realizing that he’d have to leave the wonderful aura he was getting from the male beside him. “Thanks so much for helping me with my stuff.”
“Thanks for walking with me,” Dele responded.
Tunde turned and soon went into the shop where he had bought his things, feeling a bit disappointed that he wouldn’t get to see that fine male again. The staff gave him a new set of nylons and apologised for the breakage. He was a regular customer.
As he made his way to his car, he heard his name being called. He turned around and saw Dele hurrying to him. His heart began to flutter again.
“Hey, sorry… I was hoping I’d still see you,” Dele said, panting slightly. “I was hoping you could give me your pin or something. I’d like to talk about the book with you. I live with my brother and he’s only interested in watching movies. Maybe you’d be interested in talking about the book sometime or something… Over some food or something… I don’t want it to be awkward or anything… I’d understand if you don’t agree but I…”
Tunde could see the guy really tripping over his words, and if he had heard correctly, he was being asked out on a date sometime. It was all so cute the way the man kept ducking his beautiful eyes; the seemingly effortless confidence that seemed to surround him earlier was gone, to be replaced by a sheepish nervousness.
It warmed Tunde so much that he soon found himself reciting his pin and phone number to the man he’d just met minutes ago.
Later, when he was home and had had dinner, he went to bed early and dreamed about beautiful eyes and sheepish smiles.
Written by James