After the phone conversation with Cynthia I called Maxine. I listened to her callback tune till the call dropped and then I sent her a message.
Guess who’s single again? Clue: you guys are best buds 😀
One hour later she calls me back.
“Hello Bobo, sorry I was in a meeting and my phone was on silent. How are you?”
“I’m good dear. At least I think I am, which is weird.”
“How so?” she asked.
“Well, for someone who just got dumped… chai! I got dumped sha.”
We laughed about that.
“But really, for someone whose relationship just ended, I am calm and it’s kinda scary.”
“There’s no question of whether you loved Cynthia, even the blind could see.” she said. “I guess in some way you already figured out things were over since December, and the month that passed before she told you probably prepared you mentally for the eventuality.”
“I guess…” I wasn’t sure that was it.
“See, I am in a very good place and can’t let you be in a funk yourself or drag me down with you. What are you doing this weekend?”
“What’s this week…” my insides lurched.
At the turn of the year I didn’t see myself spending Valentine’s alone, but that reality just hit home.
“I guess I’ll just stay home, away from all the lovers having a blast.”
“Don’t be like that. How about we go see Deadpool on Saturday?”
That cheered me up instantly.
On Saturday I got to the cinema one hour before the showing time. I had planned for us to get a bite before the movie, but characteristically, Maxine was running late.
A girl’s gotta be fashionably late… even for her buddy.
She had sent when I sent her an *rme*.
I went over to the game station to kill the time with a few games of FIFA. I was standing there beside the escalators trying to get the attendant’s attention when someone tumbled off the steps and bumped into me.
“Sorry,” a voice said as hands held my shoulder and side for balance.
I turned around to see who it was.
She stood at about 5ft5 or 6, dressed in a v-neck t-shirt over blue jeans that hugged her around the hips. She had on a pair of red Converse sneakers. A long weave framed her oval face, her arched brows outlined in the way that has become popular.
“Usually I don’t meet girls like this, but for you I’ll bite.” I said, sticking out my hand.
There was a pause and I thought she didn’t get it, but then she put her hand in mine. Warm soft skin brushed briefly against my palm and then was gone.
“I’m Bobo,” I said steering her away.
What kind of name is Pearl?
“What movie are you here to see?” I asked as she walked with me towards the ticket stand.
“Ride Along 2, and you?”
“I’m here to see Deadpool.”
“Maybe I should see that…”
“Maybe you should. I’m waiting for a friend though.”
Why did I say that?
“Oh.” Her bright red lips formed a perfect O.
“What are you doing seeing a movie by yourself?” I asked her.
“It’s something I do to treat myself every weekend. Work is hectic Monday to Friday, so Saturday I get my hair and nails done, then catch a movie or do something fun.”
“Maybe I’ll see you next Saturday then, and be your plus one.” I looked away as I said that.
“I don’t normally come here, but I was in the neighbourhood and decided on this one.”
“Well then, if you give me your number I can call to find out where we’ll be seeing the movie next week.”
There was a moment when I thought she was going to say something nasty, but instead she held out her hand, palm up.
I didn’t need a second invitation. I slipped my phone out of my pocket and into her hand.
She punched in her digits and pressed call.
“I’ll run off to see my movie now. Have fun watching Deadpool, and maybe we’ll see next week.”
I watched her walk away, a smile on my lips.
“Who was that?” Max’s voice behind me startled me. I hadn’t heard her walk up to me.
“How much did you hear?” I asked.
“All I needed to hear.” We hugged each other and she brushed her lips against my cheek.
“Keep doing that,” I said, “and I won’t be responsible for whatever happens.”
“What will happen?”
“Let’s just say konji is worrying me and you’re not helping with your ashewo moves.”
“You’re such a razzite.”
We bought our tickets, popcorn and sodas and went to see our movie.
After the movie I dropped her off at her place and she invited me in.
She microwaved dinner and served it with a bottle of wine.
“Do you really have to go home?” Max asked after dinner.
“Yes, actually.” I said, “but I fear I might be too drunk to drive.” I giggled. I am a happy drunk.
We had polished off the first bottle of wine and were at the bottom of the second bottle. I emptied the bottle into my glass and took a swallow.
When that bottle was finished Max opened a third. We sat on the living room carpet talking about all sorts of stuff, watching TV and drinking wine.
I had a vague recollection of Max saying she was sleepy and I said I was too. She stretched out in front of the TV and I looked down at her sleeping form and wondered why we never took things to the next level. I tried to picture what it would feel like, but the shutters of my brain were coming down without my permission. I stretched out beside Max.