Thursday, 27th June 2014. A dreary day that had been made even drearier by the thought of sitting in a boardroom for a whole friggin day as different vendors walked in to pitch their Customer Relationship Software solutions. Have you ever listened to a proper Indian with a proper Indian accent do a two hour presentation? I listened to four. That’s 8 hours of not understanding half the stuff the presenters were saying. Let’s just say, for now I have postponed any trips to India, indefinitely.
I had reached that ‘shoot-me-now’ point when the last vendor walked in. My evaluation booklet was filled with abstract doodles and sketches I had so ardently drew in a bid to pass time. I didn’t even bother to look up when they walked in, set up their equipment and set about to introduce themselves.
“Hello everyone, my name is Yvonne. This is my colleague Prakesh…”
Life stopped. Everything, from the sound of the birds to the whispers of the trees outside stopped. My fingers froze and the masterpiece I was about to sketch on my notepad lost its appeal. I knew, that very instant that the moment I raised my head to see the beholder of the orifice from which that golden voice emanated, my life would not be the same again.
I wasn’t wrong.
I didn’t hear anything else that was said in that presentation by Prakesh, who turned out to be the main presenter. I shamelessly kept my gaze upon her. And I could swear she wanted me to, as our eyes kept locking and a subtle beam would manifest itself on her gracious face. Only I noticed it, or so I believe. Whenever she interjected to clarify some point Prakesh had massacred his way through, she spoke to me, and only to me. She was beautiful! Everything I ascribe to beauty; from sparkly eyes, to full lips, to flushed cheeks, to long natural hair, to a full bosom plus more. Her skin, boy her skin! Flawlessly chocolate, just inviting you to touch. No amount of decency in her dress code would have prevented me from mentally ripping that silk top off, messing up her hair, hold her in my arms and…
Sigh, I’m sure you get my point.
Two hours and endless fantasies later, the insipid presentation was over. Being the last pitch of the day, the camaraderie between us and this vendor was much better. We even invited them to join us for coffee. I sat on while everyone else stood up and headed to the pastry spread table.
Had it been a year before, there would have been no question about what I would do next; but not this time. I was married. “I am married, I am married, I am married..” I kept muttering to myself, suddenly interested in the score sheet whose existence had been totally erased from my mind two hours before.
“Are we are getting a perfect score?” That voice. Behind me. Was she talking to me? No way. Is she? Turn around idiot! I did.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt”
“No no no! You are not. You did well, all the best”
“Thanks! This is my first pitch at Technocity”
“No way! It wasn’t obvious at all”
“I hope not! My boss took a big gamble bringing me along”
Awkward silence. Say something Lawrence! The girl has brought herself over to you!
“Well, I’ll let you get back to it. I just wanted to give you my card.”
“Of course, let me get mine as well. Not having our coffee?”
“I’m not much of a snacker I’m afraid.”
“That’s sad. We actually give more marks to vendors who drink our coffee”
Not bad Lawrence. Come on now. Look at her! This is the one thing in the world you are good at. Go for it!
“In that case, I’ll have some!”
“Awesome. I’ll join you.”
That evening, Milkah and I sat in silence in the living room, her watching yet another wedding related TV show and me, my mind miles away.
“Babe, babe, hun. Babe! Lawrence!”
“Huh! What!? Sorry, yes hun?”
“Jeez, where are you today? I’m saying, I don’t think the gas will last past tomorrow”
“Oh, ok. Will pass by the gas station after work”
“Thanks, so what’s distracting you today?”
“Nothing, just work stuff”
Days passed. A week, two weeks. I still had her business card in my wallet. My mind still drifted to her radiant presence at the pitch every time I had to sit through a boring presentation.
I convinced myself that that was just a good day at work. A really good day. She wasn’t the first, and she wouldn’t be the last pretty girl to have to pitch to me as this was a big part of my job. I’m in Marketing for heaven sake. The nirvana of pretty girls! High chance I’d never meet her again.
“H-h-hey! Yvonne, right?”
“Yes, oh my God what a small world!”
A hug later, everything I had worked so hard to suppress came flooding back. I wanted her. Oh dear Joseph guardian father of Jesus I wanted her!
This was no office pitch. This was a club. And she was dressed for it, while somehow still maintaining her decency.
“You didn’t strike me as a club goer honestly!”
“What!? This dude is mayor of the club! I’m Steve!”
“Oh forgive my manners! Steve, meet Yvonne. Yvonne, my friend Steve.”
“Nice to meet you Steve! This is my pal Rachel!”
“You guys have a table?” Steve wasn’t about to let them out of his sight.
“Actually not yet, we just got in”
“Well join us then!! You can have our chairs. Right Lawrence?”
“Uhm, sure. Steve was getting boring anyway!”
Think Lawrence. You are married. You are married. Make sure she sees the ring. She’ll get the point. Show her the ring!
Forget the ring! Look at her! Look at those legs, you hadn’t seen those before! And she’s let down her hair. Imagine your fingers in there as you kiss those salacious lips. She wants you! You know she wants you!
I had promised Milkah I would be home by midnight, and I intended to keep that promise.
Yvonne’s friend turned out to be the life of the party, just how Steve likes them. As she and Steve gyrated against each other to the rhythm of the dance music, Yvonne and I engaged in conversation about everything from work to relationships to money to God. She wasn’t much of a dancer, a fact that I was grateful for. If she and I did what Steve was doing with Rachel that instant, there would be no going back for me.
“Lawrence, I need a smoke! Can we go outside for a minute?”
“Sure, you smoke?”
“Yep, sorry, bad bad habit!”
“Not at all, I smoke too. Let’s go!”
I checked my watch. It was 11.30 pm. I had 30 minutes to somehow get past the amazing time I was having and head back home. Milkah would most certainly be awake catching up on Movies.
12.30 am we were still outside, blowing smoke at the stars and joking about how by now Steve and Rachel had probably abandoned us.
“Rachel isn’t that loose is she?” I asked
“Oh she is!” retorted Yvonne.
“Just the way Steve likes them!”
“What about you Lawrence? How do you like them?”
“Decent, seemingly unattainable. I like a challenge”
“Do I fit the bill?”
I knew where this was going. And I was beginning to feel sleazy. I liked Yvonne. Not just how beautiful she was, but everything about her. Her personality, her conversation skills, her laughter, her mind. I liked it all! I hadn’t seen a single thing that didn’t make her the perfect woman, and God knows I would have paid to see that one thing that would put me off! I was losing control, and she clearly knew where she wanted this to go.
“Honestly, yes, plus some.”
“What do you mean but?”
“There’s always a ‘but’ Lawrence!”
Tell her! YOU ARE MARRIED! With a child at home. Tell her Lawrence! You are already an hour late!
My phone was ringing. I knew who it was. I chose to ignore it.
“Weirdly Yvonne, that’s the ‘but’. That there is no ‘but’. So far you are perfect. And while that should be a good thing, it’s my ‘but’. What I’m I missing?”
“Well, if you call me up after tonight, you’ll have a chance to find out” That intrepid smile said it all. She was daring me to call her again. She wanted more smoking under the stars, she wanted Lawrence!
“I’m getting cold. Can we go back up?”
Surprisingly, Steve and Rachel hadn’t abandoned us. They had however relocated to a corner. Steve seemed to have lost something in Rachel’s mouth and was using his lips to find it. She on the other hand had lost something in his pants and was using her hands to find it.
1.30 am. I had found the strength to announce that I had an early morning meeting and needed to head out. Yvonne had had it for the night as well, and since as it turned out she lived along the way to my place, I offered to drop her. Steve and Rachel were happy to keep looking for what they had both lost.
That drive home would be one of the longest in my waking life!
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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.