I dread meeting Javans. Have you ever wondered how hard it is to run away from the same thing you want to run to? I refused to pick his calls, answer his texts, or even like the posts he shared on Facebook- most of which were funny cat videos (that I totally love) and when my friends tried to reach out, I shut them out. A lot can happen in a second, but trust me when I say that I made mountains move in three days.
Now, I am alone in my dread, engulfed by an irrational fear that things have gotten worse between us.
I don’t even know if there’s an “us” and Javans has every right not to show up for lunch. He works in the building that’s two streets from where Louisa and I work, inviting him to lunch at a restaurant he frequents, is probably a long way from waving a white flag. I have been waiting for an hour, my thoughts going from “this is a mess” to “what if he likes you to” and finally to “what? are you six or twelve?”
I ordered rice and vegetable curry because Maggie always says that it’s the safest “I am waiting for someone who is stuck in traffic on Jogoo road” food. She says “you can eat rice slowly, nibble on the vegetables, pick each pea as you wait, no one will judge you for eating slowly.” I look up, my eyes trying as much as they can not to stare at the cute guy who is seated by the entrance, and when I look again, I see Javans walking towards my table. I wave him over and he looks behind him, looks around and then rushes towards the table, pulls the seat, flips it backwards and stares at me.
“You’ve been ignoring me Joyce, what gives?”
“Hi Jav, how are you?”
“Like you care Joyce, so tell me, what’s up with this meeting?”
“You guess? And what’s it with your friends forever getting into my business? What are you people up to because I am not here for drama. If you have something to say, then say it and just be cool, the crazy one really treated Pat like she was the devil, na hiyo sio fair, Pat’s with me.”
“Wait, what? How?Why?”
“Look, Joyce, I kept calling you to explain things but you kept shutting me down, kwanza, what’s with you? What happened over the weekend? And what is it with your friends telling me to stop messing with you?”
“Jav, I am sorry about what happened. I did not know that they were attending the same party as you and Pat were. Pat must be feeling awful, I’ll call her and apologize. Don’t mind them. I’m sorry, I promise I’ll sort this out.”
“You should, they can really make someone want to squeeze the life out of them.”
“I will, now will you flip your chair and order some food? I invited you to lunch and you had better eat, besides that mood you came here with must have exhausted all your energy.”
“Sorry, I was just pissed off, and you know what Joyce…”
“What is it?”
“I’ll tell you as we leave. I’m hungry.”
I pay for lunch or rather, Javans pays for lunch talking about how weird it is for me to pay when he’s there, but after arguing over it and spilling some water on the table, he wins and I let him. I’ll buy him a drink- at least that way he’d accept it.
“So, what was it that you wanted to say, back there?” I ask. Javans stops and pulls me towards him. He knows he’s taller and stronger than me, but I walk into his embrace anyway. I cannot run away from my friend.
“You are the only person I know who would rather step back and let another person through when you’ve been standing at the door for thousands of years.”
“Yes, I know. There’s a forest challenge coming up this weekend at Kereita forest, it’s this Saturday, so if you’re not doing anything, I want us to go, have a bit of fun in the forest and you can tell me about all these things that you wrote.”
“Wait, what I wrote? What do you mean things I wrote?”
“You can thank your friends for that! Now, hebu go to work before your boss starts checking up on you! Bye!”
He heads the opposite way and I go through my bag, and realize it’s the wrong bag, I had the brown bag that day when I was meeting him and waiting for Maggie to join us- and wait, where’s my diary? Oh, God!