Turi and I date a meeting history as far back as 2007. Our paths crossed and we never realized it. She attended Kianda Girls. I attended Sunshine Secondary School. Kianda was a day school with neat lawns and trimmed fences. Sunshine was a boarding school with dusty grounds and cracked pavements. Two worlds. Two leagues apart. Too bad Kianda couldn’t measure up.
We shared a common interest; the French language. Kianda and Sunshine welded a lot in French events at the Alliance Française in the city. To Turi and her French speaking classmates, it was another day in town like any other. To the twelve of us in my French class, it was a breather from female-presence starvation. Just to see swishing skirts was enough gratification to boast about to the rest once we returned to school in the afternoon. Yet in the crowd of Kianda beauties, little did I know that one of them would be the potential girlfriend, the desired wife and the yearned for life-mate. We remained invisible to each other; I, for the perfect reason that Turi did not then take boys seriously. She wasn’t looking my way. And she, for the perfect reason that my eyes were scattered around the place counting ego-brushing opportunities. I was looking in every direction.
Not until 2008 when we were both out of high school, did we really see each other for the first time; literally. We both registered to take French classes at the Alliance Française. We separately yet mutually wanted to perfect this language of love. Fate had it that Turi’s cousin, Doreen, introduced us to each other on one hot afternoon. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. I was overwhelmed by her demeanor and candor.
Girls I had met since high-school, put up facades to show that they were “above league” to interact with boys. Not Turi. She was a genuine original. Not a facsimile of any human being alive. But genuinely frank with her words and emotions. Our purposes since high school had changed. To Turi, boys were no longer non-serious fellows. So she was dating one. For me, I was no longer counting ego-brushing opportunities. I was recording them.
In the process of the nice-weather conversation, we realized that we happened to plan to attend the same university.
Yours infamously; the United States International University- USIU.
In that isolated word, USIU, lies the meat of the whole story. The very juicy steak! The drama, the action, the tears, the laughter and the dodging of the bullets. And just possibly part three of this series, JET. All in 3D. 3D being my side of the story, Turi’s side of the story and both of us combined telling a compromised side of the story. Don’t take the bullets part seriously.
So fast forwarding to the future! I justify it for simple fact that most of you watched The Matrix Revolutions before Reloaded. You can still follow the story.
May the 5th 2009.
I awoke and prayed. I prayed earnestly.
Lord Jesus, I’m about to make a huge decision and I need your help.
I was going to ask a woman to be my exclusive. Turi and I shared a mind of dating headed to marriage. We had even committed it to God separately. Dating alack purpose was out of the question. This was it.
A serious relationship.
Lord, I’m not leaving the house without your blessing.
Turi was taking her driving test on that day. I was going for one of my last practical high-way driving classes. My mind was made up. My breath was Colgate. My smell was Yardley and my love was burning. Turi and I had completed our freshman year in USIU. We were adults now. Growing, learning and desperately fallen for each other. I had to make the first move. So I sent her a text message.
I need to speak to you urgently. Let’s meet outside the driving school.
I looked at the clock. Turi would be leaving at 10am for her test.
Town was probably 10 minutes away if there was traffic. I wasn’t taking chances. But Wendy was. She ensured that no younger brother of hers would dress shabbily before asking out such a lady of impeccable personality and character. My sister always admired Turi. I blame her for the delay and thank her for my appearance that day.
Traffic split for love on the 5th of May 2009. I arrived at 9:55 to find Turi already seated in the driving school main classroom. The class was brushing over the road signs. The tutor was addressing fright and anxiety more than highway codes and signs. Turi was the pea among the beans. She looked confident about the test. She noticed me at the door and excused herself from the class.
She was in her gypsy black skirt, a black scarf and a fitting khaki jacket. She stopped and noticed my effort in attire.
“Whoa, you’re looking good.”
“So do you.”
“I got your message. Is everything alright?”
“Yeah everything’s fine. I just wanna apologise for yesterday. It wasn’t right…”
“It’s okay Ernest.”
I paused. This was it.
“The real reason I asked to meet you is because…”
“Remember back then when you asked me what would happen if I began to date?”
How could she forget? Only a few months back did she pose the hardest question on earth. We walked from a cocktail hosted by the Spanish Embassy, heading to catch the USIU school bus. I was at the height of my love for this gorgeous lady who had accompanied me to the event. We spent the evening together and denied profusely at every instant someone asked if we were a couple. Desperately, I wished the answer was yes. I would have asked her out this beautiful night had it not been for random men who spotted her and wanted her attention or my numerous female friends who crowded my space.
As the cocktail drew to a close we walked to the bus, hand in hand. Nothing romantic. My hands warm up fast while hers cool rapidly. It was the perfect silly excuse to hold hands. We enjoyed every moment of it.
As we neared the bus, a mutual friend, Tichi, prodded after having received the same response for the past six months. She still found it hard to believe.
“Are you two dating?”
We simultaneously responded a tired no and boarded the bus. My heart had worn out. I was going to declare my feeling in this Alma mater bus of ours. If I failed to do so, I would incinerate with emotion. I nearly convinced myself to do so until she asked.
“Ernie, you and I are really good friends. Like best-friends. What happens to me when you meet a girl you like and start dating?”
Her words forced the air out of me. The hamster stopped running and my head was drained of blood. I tried to reboot but my system had crashed. Slowly, I recuperated and turned to her.
“That’s easy,” I began with feigned bravado, “You will be dating your prince Charming. I will be dating my girl. It will be the four of us. Four best friends!”
After one year of dating, Turi would confess to me it was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard. We would laugh about it and recount what happened next.
And here she was, standing outside her driving school, recalling the cocktail night conversation as if it were just yesterday. She looked at me and urged me to proceed.
“Well, I know I said we’d be four. But honestly, I just want us to be two. Just you and me Turi. Will you be my girlfriend?”
The pause lasted millennia. Time screeched to a halt. I could have sworn Narnia was real for moments. Or I was just imagining the critters peeking their heads from every corner of this building. Awaiting her response.
“Ernie, have you talked to God about this?”
“Yes. Yes I have. And whatever your answer is, yes, no or wait, I’m willing to accept it Turi. I like you. A lot. I even love you. I really do and I…”
She stopped me mid-sentence with a smile.
Leaps of joy. My heart was taking crazy bounds.
“Yes!” she affirmed.
I cried out and grabbed this beautiful lady in my arms. I twirled her in that corridor until she became self conscious of those watching. I sealed the occasion with a kiss on her forehead and bid her goodbye and success in her driving test.
I was scheduled to meet an impatient driving instructor. I was willing to endure his harsh remarks about time-keeping. It would be worth every late minute. For you, see it was the start of a beautiful relationship.
The start of JET.
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