She turned. “Thank you,” she said smiling. Her face begged the young lady to reveal her identity.
“My name is Gina. I’m in the same department as you. I follow you on Facebook. I got the notification in the morning but I hadn’t seen you around all day. I dropped a wish on your wall anyway.” She was beaming.
“Oh!Thank you so much, Gina. I do appreciate it.”
“I have to run now. I’ll see you around. Thanks again!”
She made a mental note to remember Gina’s face and name the next time they met.
“My life isn’t altogether terrible,” she said in a soliloquy as she turned on the shower.
True to his word, Pally called at 6 p.m. She was ready ten minutes earlier.
“Will you come to the Hall Square? I’m seated on one of the chairs under the shade wearing a white shirt with purple stripes.”
What?!I’m wearing purple too. She almost changed her mind on the outing but on a second thought, she decided against it and looked forward to the fun this coincidence would bring. “I’ll join you in five minutes,” she said and hung up.
“Hi,” he said when she walked up to him five minutes later. She had a pair of cream colour sandal heels to match her dress. “You look gorgeous,” he added after taking in her appearance.
“Thank you,” she smiled briefly. “Thanks for the gift too,” she added.
She nodded lightly. Looking away to hide her excitement, let’s see what promises this outing holds, she thought to herself and smiled. His voice brought her back.
“I’ll flag a cab for us,” he had said.
Her face still had a residual smile which left him thinking what it was that could be amusing her.
They walked quietly to the bus station where they boarded a cab. Twenty minutes later, they were outside Purple Ryde. The restaurant was not familiar and she began to wonder how she had not seen or heard about the restaurant in the three years of her studentship. However, she cut short the thought, reminding herself that she does not have a social life and so could not have known where life is in school, talk more of outside school.
In an instant, as if jolted back to consciousness, she read the name of the restaurant aloud, “Purple Ryde”, and almost immediately, she peered at herself - she was wearing purple. Then, she recalled Pally’s words; I’m wearing a white shirt with purple stripes.
“What a coincidence,” she breathed, fanning herself with her left hand.
He began to say that he did not know she would wear a purple dress. How could he have known anyway? “An interesting coincidence,” he offered with a sly smile.
Sissy glanced sideways at him and faced front in an instant. She couldn’t bear for him to see how uncomfortable she now felt. It was awkward enough for her to go on a date with someone she barely knew because he was nice to find her out and give her a gift on her birthday. And, to add icing to the cake, they were both dressed in similar colours and even to a restaurant that bore the same colour theme.
“Let’s sit near those windows,” his voice interrupted her thoughts as they entered the restaurant. She looked towards the direction he was pointing.
Sissy slowly looked around, taking in the environment around her. The seating style of the restaurant was exquisite. Partitioned into three sections, rectangular tables were arranged in the centre partition of the room. On the two sides, there were round tables. Each of the tables had soft cushion chairs, one on each side. The chairs were made in such a way that one wouldn’t have to lean forward too much to be able to look into the other person’s eyes. By mere looking, Sissy could tell the chairs were cozy.
Farther right, three floor-to-ceiling windows stood with a gap of three metres between each one. Through the first window on the left, she saw a waterfall but she did not see a trace to where the water was stored. The ground around the rock where the water fell from had fine white sand like the one she saw at the beach. The sand had tiny ivory stones which reflected the orange sunset.
Her eyes rolled to the window in the middle but her view was slightly obstructed. Pally was standing right there. Apparently, he had been watching her all the while she was busy with the objects around the restaurant. He had a grin that spelt contentment; he was pleased to see the awe written on her face. Sissy felt a hot flush on her cheeks. She felt embarrassed to have been caught lost in that space. Pally pointed towards the table by the windows. “We can sit there.”
Without saying a word, she walked behind him to the table he chose. It was by the middle window where her gaze had been interrupted. “Thank you,” she said as she took her seat.
He nodded lightly.
Now sitting by the window, she was more curious to know where the water went to.
She heard Pally ring the order bell on their table and a waiter appeared instantly. He smiled at her and she waved a „hi‟ back at him, smiling. The waiter turned to Pally and she noticed he was talking in whispers. Not sure of what to make of the whispers, she turned her attention back to the windows. Something caught her eyes – a lake! She was blown away. She smiled with admiration.
“You enjoy watching nature, don’t you?”
She nodded, unable to hide her excitement.
“I am not particularly excited by nature but this one made a difference to me. The
Thoughtfulness, intelligence and creative abilities of the owner of the restaurant impressed me. I knew you’d like it too, that’s why I chose this place.”
“Yes, I knew.”
She wanted to ask him how he knew what she’d like the place but before she opened her mouth, the waiter was standing by their table with a box in his hands. Another waiter appeared behind him carrying a tray in his hand. She wondered what for a birthday date as she looked from waiters to her host. In an instant, she heard a rushing sound beside her. Her eyes traced the sound and they landed on a huge screen that had “Happy Birthday” written on it in big and bold letters. The waiter opened the box he was carrying and brought out a butterscotch cake decorated with cream and purple icing. The inscription read: “To a New Year, Sissy”.
Sissy’s mouth was agape. She wasn’t expecting this. How did he plan all these – and why? The second waiter took a turn to offload his tray. The dishes were covered. Sissy didn’t try to imagine what may be in the dishes; it could be anything. When the waiters left, Pally rose to his feet and sang the “Happy Birthday” song to her. He took his seat afterwards and opened the dishes to reveal big pieces of barbecued chicken in one and spaghetti Bolognese in the other. What?!Her eyes widened.
“Why did you do all these?” She asked, confused.
“Just enjoy yourself, Sissy.”
And have fun, she remembered Tommie’s admonishment.
Sissy simply nodded.
Pally took pictures of the cake and got one of the waiters to take shots of the two of them with the cake, and then they settled to eat their food. Before long, they finished eating their food and relaxed over a bowl of iced chocolate cream for dessert. Sissy’s gaze was back to the window. This time, she watched the calmness of the lake – and she was still curious about the waterfall.
“Where does the waterfall go?” Sissy inquired.
“Oh!” Pally exclaimed, more with an understanding of why she couldn’t get her eyes off the windows. “Pure intelligence,” he continued. There is an underground channel through which the fall goes into the lake, and there is another channel underway to evict the water as it comes in to avoid an overflow. That arena is called the Purple Resort. It is an artificial one – surreal yet real.” He finished.
Sissy’s eyes begged for a tour to the waterfall and lake. He caught it.
“Sissy, we’d have to come back here some other time, if you don’t mind. Then, we can have a tour around the resort. It’s late now and I have to get you back to the hostel before it gets really darker.”
She nodded - a part of her unsure if she wanted to go out on another date with him.
He rang the order bell and the waiter packed the cake back in its box. Outside the restaurant, he flagged a taxi for them and off they rode back to the hostel.
“I hope you had a nice time?”
“Nice is an understatement. Thank you for the-” She was going to say a date but she thought better of it. “- outing; thanks for the outing. I enjoyed myself.”
“It’s my pleasure.” He wore a wide grin.
The rest of the ride was quiet until the taxi halted in front of her hostel. She stepped out of the car and he handed the cake to her.
“Thanks, once again, Pally.”
“You’re welcome. Have a great night.”
She nodded, “Have a great night too. Bye.”
She watched the car drive off.
Back in her room, after taking a shower and changing into her nightdress, she recalled the event of that night. Then she remembered the cake – what was she going to do with it? Tommie was not around. She decided to leave it in her mini refrigerator until the following day when Tommie would arrive. She would share with her and her friends. Gina?
The lady at the bathroom – great! She hoped to see her around, the following day. She could give her some too. Lost in her thoughts, she drifted into sleep.
Hi there, My name is Faith Ijeoma Ezenwere. I am a Broadcast Journalist/OAP and a teen coach. I am passionate about building a community of impact driven Teens and young adults in all spheres of life. In simple terms, I help Teens/Young adults live their dreams. Welcome to my World!
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