Now, where was I?
Aah yes. 5th Sunday, and there I was all suited up and polished. To ensure this day went according to plan, I had forsaken Kamau’s since Thursday night. This was a first. My very dear Kamau actually called on Sunday morning to confirm that I was not sick in bed, or dead for that matter. I am yet to decipher whether Kamau honestly cares about me, or the healthy revenue I bring him.
On this day of the Lord, Stella, whose name I had not gotten to know to this point, was on the podium, among a lot of equally ardent, equally manicured, equally radiant and equally saved ladies. They were providing background vocals to a voluptuous lead singer whose voice was so mellow it almost distracted me from my target. Stella was really into this Church stuff.
‘How is mum today?’
That’s the easiest pick up line I have ever had to use.
She turned round, a confused look on her face.
‘Oh, I’m sorry. My name is Lawrence, we met last Sunday? Lost and found scarf…’
‘Oh yes, I remember you!’
‘Yes. Great Service today. And I have to say, you ladies sure can belt out some praise songs.’
‘Well thank you.’ There went the smile and slight blush again.
‘Usher, Praise and Worship Lady, Guider of the elderly…is there anything you can’t do!?’
A shy giggle ensued.
‘Oh no, just different roles you know?’
Slight pause, eye contact (this trick is fool proof I tell you) and a smile to end it all.
‘You seem busy, but may I ask one thing of you before getting out of your way?’
‘Have coffee with me some time.’
This one is from the old dating rule book. Don’t Ask, Tell.
Shy chuckle, gaze around the church compound, down then back at me. If she was British, her face would be turning pink by now. It was obvious she had never gotten such an unwavering invitation from a man before. How Church guys hit on Church Girls I don’t know yet.
Stella was truly an honest Church Girl, with great ambitions as far as getting into heaven was concerned. Thanks to her I made my first ever visit to a Children’s home, something that I have almost turned into a routine nowadays. For two months I courted her. For a guy who prefers borderline flirtations and innuendos when dealing with the opposite side, this was not an easy feat. Two months is all I had anyway before forming a committee of experts to decide on the fate of this venture.
Then it happened. Out of nowhere, it happened.
“Lawrence, you are not a Church guy.”
The Macadamia nut I had been crunching leisurely instantly found its way down the wrong tract. Cough cough, teary eyes, one hand raised to assure her I was fine while the other desperately squeezed my besieged throat…eventually I composed myself and we had a good laugh out of it.
“Ehm, Sorry about that.”
“It’s ok. Well?”
“You didn’t really ask a question, so I don’t know what to say.”
“Am I right?”
“What makes you say that?”
“For starters, whenever we are out of the Church gates you never discuss anything religious. You do away with the Praise Gods and Bless Yous and you are well, not a Church guy.”
“Hmmm…is that it?”
“You want more? Ok. When you think I’m not looking, to check out my behind like a hungry vulture.”
At this point I had to stifle what could have been another Macadamia nut attack.
“Are you trying to say Church guys don’t check out Girls’ behinds? Especially when the behind in question is so…God-have-mercy-like?”
“No, but they do a much better job at it than you.”
“Alright alright. Let’s say you are right. What are you still doing going out with me 2 months later?”
“I like you!”
“Is that it?”
“You know what my Pastor says? Follow your heart.”
“Even when your heart leads you to a fellow who hadn’t stepped on Church grounds in 6 years as of two Months ago?”
“Wow. I did not know that.”
“Oops! Alright, so the secret is out. Do you like me any less?”
“No. Actually I like you more.”
“You endured two Months of something you obviously hate, just to be with me?”
“That shouldn’t surprise you Stella. Men do crazier things to be with Girls as hot as you.”
“Is that all you see in me? A hot Girl?”
“I would be lying if I said that’s all. At first, it was. Then I got to know you.”
“So what else do you see in me?”
“You have a good heart. That’s rare. You went out with me despite knowing I was a fake. You are open minded, but not stupid. And I see how you take care of your granma. Gets to me every time.”
“I haven’t been this way for long you know?”
“No. Now that we know about you, I’ll tell you about me. Then, we both have a decision to make.”
“This feels like a Movie.”
“Wait until you hear my story. I’m taking a big risk here Lawrence. But I hate living a Lie. After I tell you the story, if you want to walk away, I will understand. No hard feelings. You won’t be the first.”
At this point I could feel the Macadamia nut making its way back up. What could sweet, saved Stella possibly have to tell me that would make me, Lawrence, walk away? Dear Lord this is not how I planned this to go. Church Boy meets Church Girl. How complicated could that be?
I was about to find out.
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Lawrence is the guy next door; A young, aspirational Kenyan gentleman; But most of all, a romantic soul in search of true love.