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Romance Drama

FACTS

·   43% of singles say fresh breath matters most before a date

·  Nearly 40% of men do not feel confident meeting a woman for the first time

·   Before a man speaks a word, the way he stands (or whether he is slouching or not) counts for over 80% of woman's first impression

·    1 out every 4 blind dates is successful

******

Phaustine

I am a gambling man, but even for me this might be more reckless than daring. Regardless...I prefer to think of it as high risk/high return than otherwise. So it’s high maintenance versus straight lace today. The Slipway versus Rose Garden. There’s aggressive Angela who might end up cleaning my wallet and gracious Adeline who I hope to relax with. Of all the places Adeline could choose though, she went for Rose Garden....my watering hole....hmmm

Some Dutch courage might help me for Angela’s date. Wait a minute, the bottle is empty? And its noon too! Punctual Frank hooting as if his life depends on it!   

“Dude, what’s up with you? How many times do I have to tell you Mikocheni is not Sinza? Really?

“I don’t have all day for your drank ass. I don’t know why I put up with your shenanigans. Are you in any way fit to meet anyone on a date today? Which desperate souls have agreed to meet with you?”

“Who else would gas your car like I do? Or give you free lunch like I do?”

“No wonder your family doesn’t know what to do with you, paying for you to study abroad and here you are…”

“Did I ask to be taken abroad? And are we going to be discussing me the whole way today? I can take a cab you know?”

“Chillax! I will take you to meet your date. Make sure you get me some popcorn. I will be watching a live show after all, hahahaha. Why do you even bother at all?”

“Do I ask you when you love and leave them every week? Show some respect bro. You are no different from me. You are worse because you do it sober”

“Touche!”

********

Adeline

“Seriously, Grace we need to leave like now…Told you I have a date this evening.”

“What’s his name again?”

“Phaustine and am so excited”

“Only you would get that psyched for a blind date. Girlfriend, it’s a blind date not your wedding day….It is your first time after all, so I forgive you. If the man is worth it he will wait. Besides, it’s a holiday today so no traffic. I need to try out this one last outfit and then we can leave, I promise”

“That’s what you said last time, and I know you. If you as much as glance at anything else, am leaving you.”

“Deal”

“No…don’t give me that look. You promised. Come on….What now?”

“Listen, this top doesn’t look as good as I thought it would. Come on. You know I also have a date this evening with Michael. I need to surprise him. I want something sexy.”

“Am leaving you. You promised. At least you have Michael. Who do I have? Everyone’s life is moving ahead while mine is passing me by without as much as a wave. I want to make a good first impression. Can you please show me some support?"

“Ade you know I love you. Okay how about I will take you home and wait for you to dress up and then drop you at Rose Garden? Will that shut you up now?”

“Fair enough, but don’t push it”

********

Phaustine

“Hallo, Angela. This is Phaustine. I am here at the Slipway, have you arrived?”

“Hallo Phaustine, where will you be when I arrive?”

“I am already here at the Waterfront like we agreed. Are you here?”

“Aha, what are you wearing?”

“I am in a black polo shirt and a red Coca-Cola cap. Are you here then?”

“I should be arriving there soon”

“How far aw…..”

Whoa! Disconnected…. Phone is ringing again….

“Hallo Angela, I was asking how far away you are”

“I can be Angela for you especially if you are buying lunch at The Waterfront, hahahaha”

“Frank, what are you doing calling me?”

“Checking if your date has arrived.”

“I had the strangest conversation with her. She avoids answering my questions but it’s as if she’s here. Something ain’t right.”

“Are you sure it’s not the alcohol playing tricks on you? Give her some time but remember I am starving”

“I am not buying you lunch at this place Frank, drop it”

“Clearly you are still sober.”

It has been 20 minutes and am yet to see or hear from Angela. I need something stronger than this soda. I will give her 10 more minutes….

She is not picking my calls.

“Hey Frank”

“What now?”

Why are you whispering? At least one of us is chatting up a girl”

“Duh…Learn from the master.”

“Too bad. Wrap it up. I think I have been stood up. Let’s leave”

“Dude seriously? You owe me big time. I told you to stop this Tagged nonsense. Why can’t you pick up girls like the rest of us? These online women are too sophisticated. Don’t you realize you are back to Bongo land?”

“I believe she was here, hence the weird conversation. Let’s go to Rose Garden already.”

“You know that’s a bad idea. What time is your next date?”

“5pm. It gives us enough time to eat and drink.”

“That’s what I am afraid of. This is not fair to her.”

“Again, I can take a cab from here”

“Your funeral. At least you can stagger home from there; I will not have to worry too much about you”

Sometimes Frank acts like he is my dad. Right now I need him to shut up. He knows I can hold my liquor. So sick and tired of his constant harping. Good thing he got that call. Lying to her that he is out of town…. Angela stood me up and it stings a little. Am I too short for her? Not well dressed enough? She should know who my father is. I desperately need a drink.

“She doesn’t know she’s yesterday’s news huh? Poor soul. Between the two of us, I don’t know who is worse. Anyway ‘kila nyani na starehe yake’ (Every monkey with his antics’)”

 Ah, the Rose Garden. I can have my makange (chicken foil), mzuzu (plantain) and konyagi (vodka). That’s all I care about. I wish I could cancel my date but am curious to see Adeline in person. If she cannot handle a guy who likes his drink it’s her loss. Plenty of fish where I found her.

*****

Adeline

“Grace its 430pm, we need to leave now”

“It’s a 5 minutes drive to Rose Garden. Okay 10. Do you seriously want to arrive so early? A woman should be fashionably late. By the way you look amazing.”

“Thank you cuz. Not everyone views punctuality as if it were a proposal like you. The amazing thing is that you get away with it all the time.”

“That is why you have ulcers. You take everything as if it were the Spanish Inquisition. We will leave here at 5 and that’s final. TIT (This is Tanzania) remember?

“You are the one giving me ulcers now.”

I love my cousin but men…!

“Ade, what is your plan B?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you do if you don’t like the guy? What’s your exit strategy?”

I hadn’t thought negatively about the date yet. That’s usually your department.”

“Ever the optimist. FYI you need a plan B. So I will wait at the parking lot for 10 minutes. Ok?”

“I don’t think you should bother, Grace. Honestly. I have a good feeling about this. You can just leave. Besides, its 5pm I can grab a Bajaj. You don’t have to worry about me.”

“Are you sure about this?”

“Affirmative. I have good vibes about this”

“Alright. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Can you not be positive for once?”

“Oh but I am. I am also a pragmatist”

Despite my cousin’s tough love she cares for me deeply. However, I have a good feeling about this today. Am crossing my fingers that Phaustine will turn out to be my Michael. Grace and Michael met on a blind date and they are so happy together. I would never agree to a blind date otherwise. Phaustine sounds caring and smart that’s why I decided to meet him.  

“You sure about this cousin? I can wait.”

“Grace!”

“Okay, fine. I will call you in 10 minutes to check on you. Fair enough?”

“So stubborn! Okay…fine!”

******

The place is packed and music is loud. I retreat to the parking lot to call him.

“Hey, am here at the gate. Where are you?”

Hey, walk in and turn left and walk straight to the end. You will see a table with 2 guys seated. All the other tables have more than 2 people. Karibu

“Okay, asante”

My excitement goes down a notch. Phaustine is not a gentleman. He cannot be bothered to meet me at the gate? Strike one. I smile to cheer me up and try to walk confidently. And why did he say his table has 2 guys? Too early for a threesome…I arrive and he doesn’t even stand up to say hi. His friend does though. Looks like he has been drinking for a while, he’s got bloodshot eyes. This is the date I was excited for? Strike two.

Before I can sort out my foggy thoughts, the waiter is here to take my order. Phaustine suggests I take some konyagi. Strike three. I go for water instead. His friend picks up his drink to leave and Phaustine demands he stays. I know then, that I will not be staying for this date. I smile at his friend and assure him that it’s ok.

Phaustine starts small talk about my job. It’s a wonder he can talk logically but I don’t feel like chatting. This is what Grace meant with exit strategy. I look at my watch and I have only been here 2 minutes. The whole thing is so absurd it’s ludicrous. I start laughing, pretend to have a coughing fit, then excuse myself to go to the bathroom.

It’s calmer in here so I call Grace.

“Grace!!”

“Ade, what’s wrong? Do you need me?”

“I should have listened to you! Please come and get me now! Give me 2 minutes and call me back, I will be back at the table. I might not hear you well due to the music, but it doesn’t matter. Just call me!”

“Hahahhaha. I will be there in 5”

“Don’t forget to call me!”

******

Phaustine

“You suck, you know that? What kind of a first date is this? I am leaving you. I don’t want to be party to this nonsense. Is this what you learnt abroad? I might be a Casanova but this? You are on your own. Am out.”

“Frank, you go pick your girls. Have fun.”

I admit I feel like a jerk. Sweet Adeline doesn’t deserve this. The only reason I didn’t want Frank to leave me, is because I felt embarrassed. She came with a warm, hopeful face, smelling like jasmine, looking so fresh and there I was sweaty in this humid heat on my I don’t know 3rd or 4th bottle of the day. I know I had said I didn’t care if she could handle it or not, but after seeing her, I sort of felt terrible. I will not be surprised if she doesn’t return.

Shocker! There she is. She is coming back. She must be desperate. Why would she be coming back to me? There must be something wrong with her. She wasn’t even chatty and then she started laughing on her own. Maybe she’s nuts.

She asks where Frank is and seems sad that he left. Does she like Frank more than me? Good thing he left. Her phone rings and she says her cousin has an emergency and she needs to leave. What do you know… She is leaving after all.

I ask her how she’s getting home and she says her cousin is coming to pick her up. I volunteer to walk her to the gate. I can tell she prefers I don’t. I ignore it. Despite all, I want to try a Hail Mary that should work on most girls.

I pay for the drinks. We barely make it to the gate before the cousin pulls in.

******

Adeline

I don’t know why this idiot insists on walking me to the gate. He wasn’t bothered to meet me when I arrived but now he cares how I leave? What a jerk. The alcohol stench coming from him makes me gag. What would I do without my mints? I hope I don’t have to spend another minute with this clown. We get to the gate and my rescuer is here. My heart has never swelled with love for my cousin like it is now. Wino says hi to Grace and asks if she can drop him too!

I am about to say no but Grace graciously says “No problem.” Kill me now.

He literally lives 2 minutes drive from Rose Garden, in the posh neighborhood. He clearly comes from old money. Must be a spoilt rich brat. If this was meant to impress me, tough luck. Am disgusted. His fumes curdle my insides. I don’t even bother to respond to his small talk. Thankfully Grace has no qualms doing so. Longest 2 minutes of my life.

He had hardly closed the door than Grace bursts out laughing. I know I will never hear the end of this.

“I am fine. I have a good feeling about this. I need to be there on time to make a good impression. Hahahahaha. How long did you last? 2-3 minutes? I told you to let me wait for you for 10 minutes, but no you should have some faith. Two words chica; Exit strategy. I think this goes down in history as your worst date like EVER”

“What date? I was never here and neither were you, I don’t know what you are talking about and I will never, repeat, NEVER ever go on a blind date again. I am ready to be an old lonely woman with a 100 cats if that’s the alternative hahahaha.

We are both laughing uncontrollably.

“How could you allow him into your car? How? As if I hadn’t suffered enough….I am sure you only wanted to emphasize your point. Tease me all you want but you cannot tell a soul about this. Michael included.”

“You are putting me under a gag order Ade. So not fair. I hate you.”

“I know where your bodies are buried. If you spill, I spill. Your choice

 “When Michael asks how the date went, you better not burst out…. Make something up. You are good in acting.”

“This is the thanks I get for coming to rescue you, huh?”

“Take it as one more thing added to our book of secrets. I. am. dead. serious. You spill, I spill.”

“At least you are laughing at your stupidity.”

 “Sorry for biting your head. I should have listened to you. Thank you for coming to get me. I love you to pieces”

“So what went down?”

After I finish catching her up, we are both in stitches again. While am upset at myself, I can’t seem to stop laughing. I think it’s better than the alternative, yes?

******

I get home and my friend Violet calls and tells me she’s organizing a barbecue over the weekend.

“I am in”

“What? Are you feeling okay?”

“Why would I not be okay? I thought you would be jumping for joy that I said I would come.”

“I was prepared for a 10 minute wrangling that would end up with my disappointment. You don’t care how long it will last or who is coming? Did you fall and hit your head?”

“I can always change my mind.”

Well then. Bake your chocolate cake. Its potluck but we shall be grilling mishkakis and kitimoto”

“Okay”

“I hope you are not planning to do a cameo like you are wont to do.”

“Nope, this time I will stay. Doctor says it will help my ulcers”

“Uh-huh… And my father is the president of Tanzania”

“Tell him women need to be paid when they are on maternity leave”

“You are pregnant! That’s what it is! HOW?”

“Shhh don’t tell anyone. Hahahhaha…. I am kidding. Nobody is pregnant”

Violet is convinced I lost my mind. I have succeeded in confusing her which was my aim.

I log on to Tagged with the goal of deactivating my account but see the message bar flashing. Do I want to find out who has tagged me? Kind of... Must be my vanity. I click on one, two….all of them. Phaustine must have done a major number on me because I feel like flirting with them all. I know I will never meet any of them. I edit one of my pictures so it merely shows my eyes and use it as my profile picture instead. I grab my Snickers bar and decide to see what being Grace feels like for one night. Let the games begin.

August 28, 2020 11:43

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7 comments

Moon Lion
05:03 Apr 24, 2022

The beginning of the story was anxiety-inducing haha. All those nerves about dates codified into statistics :). It's a really cool story!

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Naomie Kamoko
09:11 May 02, 2022

I like your phrase 'anxiety-indusing' hahaha. Thank you once again Moon Lion for reading my stories and giving me a shout out.

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Moon Lion
00:12 May 03, 2022

Of course, it was my pleasure!

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02:22 Sep 01, 2020

Incredible! Part 2?

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Naomie K
03:49 Sep 02, 2020

Thank you for the idea....worth exploring....

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. .
04:07 Sep 02, 2020

Np

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Naomie Kamoko
09:10 May 02, 2022

thank you! I hadn't thought of that, but hmmm, okay I think I just might.... Thank you so much for stopping by and saying something too, and sorry for the late response

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