A sequel to the story “Shoot your Shot!”
Your arrival today caught me unawares. You should have rung to say you were coming. Maybe then I could have changed into something else girly. These may be my favorite pajamas but now looking at the creases and the missing button, I don’t feel so good about them. Perhaps if you’d rung, I would have played your favourite song. I think, conscious of the sad song playing. It’s an ’80s song. It’s a love song. It’s a sad song. Something along the lines of a forlorn lover committing suicide. Well you’ve never liked country music. If you’d rang earlier, I might have played Ed Sheeran. I don’t know.
I can see you fondling with your fingers at the kitchen table. Your hands reach for the album, almost subconsciously as you flip the pages.
“Should I make you coffee perhaps?” I gasp almost breathlessly.
“Don’t mind,” you say.
I had anticipated that type of response. I chuckle. Collins is still the good boy as I knew him. Hasn’t changed a bit.
“That’s a picture of us at prom,” you say removing the photo from its wooden frame.
“Yes, it’s been long.” I say, not quite sure of what to say.
“You haven’t changed a bit,” you remark, “still petite and pretty”.
Yes! That smile. It was the same one that had conjured up everything. A smile I was willing to trade my life for, back then. Maybe now too. Am just not sure.
Moving away from the table I make myself coffee. I hold the cup between my hands…Just the way I like it.
“Remember Wangeci?” you ask.
“How could I forget,” I tease. A tiny laugh.
As you stare into oblivion, I realize I have lost you.
Just like I had so many times back then.
“Shoot your shot! Shoot your shot!” His voice was drowned in the noises we made.
All eyes were on you. She stood next to you. Her eyes glowed. You were lost in the moment. She looked a little shaky. Frightened even. Uncomfortable. Or maybe I was just imagining things. I always do. Renowned overthinker. And at that moment, you knelt to propose to her, I couldn’t help but feel a tear drop as my heart crumbled to pieces.
“Will you be my prom date,” you finally asked, the auditorium falling dead silent.
It took her some time. A bit too long rather- I thought. Thirty seconds for a pause.
“No,” she had given her stock reply curtly.
I remembered the jaws of everyone present in the auditorium dropped in sheer disbelief. The Damsel left the scene as gracefully as she had set in. Lofty steps down the podium, her pair of pitch black stiletto heels cracking the pin drop silence with their loud cling clongs. Maybe she didn’t realize the gravity of her actions. Maybe the silence wasn’t eerie enough for her dark side. We had witnessed classical heart shattering first hand.
As the audience dispersed and the stage lights dimmed, all that rang in people’s mind was the terror they had beheld.
“Will you be my date to prom?”
All we could picture was the courageous young man on one knee, with his arms as wide open as his heart for his fond lady. However, all we could hear night-long was the echoing of her resounding answer, “NO!”
And the video played countlessly on people’s WhatsApp statuses, Facebook, twitter and Instagram feeds. And days later, all they spoke about was the guy who’d been rejected. And weeks later all they talked about was the sad tale of unrequited love.
“Hey, I’m sorry,”
I remember starting the conversation. You were seated alone at the gazebo. You were my friend. I had to cheer you up. I can still picture the night. It was a dark night. A lonely night. Even the stars had shied away. We spoke for hours. About what, I can’t remember. But as our laughs pierced the cold midnight air, I felt at home. And every time you laughed, I knew that that was what heaven felt like.
I still remember that night. Our night.
“I should probably leave now,” you say wearing your sporty jacket.
“Already,” I ask, somewhat disappointed.
“I want to catch a bus home this evening,” you say drawing in for a hug.
“Travel safe,” I say in a bid to hide the longing in my voice.
“Promise I’ll stay longer next time,” you say on your way out.
“Sure,” I mutter.
Next time. Next time. I softly wished that next time meant tomorrow.
I can’t help but increase the volume of the cassette playing as I cuddle on the sofa. Maybe it would have felt warmer if it were more than just me that night.