Happily Never After!

I sniffed in the air, still with my eyes closed. And then the sound. Bang. Phone clattering. A gasp. The feeling. I didn’t open my eyes. I didn’t want to see. Nor know. In those five seconds, with my eyes still closed, I prayed as I had never before. Not for me. Not even for her. I prayed for it not to be her…but i knew!


That first time I saw her, she was walking down the stairs, her right hand buried in her pocket, her left swinging with each step, complementing the rhythm of her hips. She was looking down, didn’t even see me as I stood transfixed at the bottom of the stairs. I thought she might have been counting her steps, or the stairs, her face was that in earnest. Only when she reached the bottom of the stairs did she look up and for the tiniest millisecond, our eyes met! There were no jolts of electricity, or shimmers of colors at the edge of the eyesight, as I would have expected. None of that. She gave me a nod of acknowledgement; not the kind someone gives you because they know you, or they have seen you somewhere, no, not that kind. It was more the kind of nod that you give to strangers when you catch them looking at you and you don’t want to seem rude or self-conceited; the nod to acknowledge their appreciation of how you were created.
I smiled at her nod and watched her behind as she sashayed past me, every bit as conscious as I was, of how beautiful she was. I shook my head.
God created.
I waited at the stairs, hoping and praying for any small sign that this would not be the first and last time I would see her; am not going to say that I felt something deep, something that was not going to be ignored, that’s too cliché, but I did feel something. I just did not know what it was. So I watched her retreating back waiting for her to turn back, just for a second, but she rounded the corner and was gone. The only sign she left behind of her having passed that hallway being the whiff of her sweet perfume which I figured would be lost in the next ten seconds.
That is how my obsession set in. Might have been the lingering perfume with promises that drove my senses wild, or the way the baggy army pants hang on to her hips and let her slim legs be lost in the excess material that made it a trouser. Might have been her counting the stairs. Might have been her curt nod of acknowledgement, or maybe the mouth that had the look of giving so much joy if left a little bit unrestrained. Might have been all that and more. But from then on, I saw her. I smelled her perfume everywhere. I walked with dreams of meeting her, it seemed like I was always waiting for her to round the corner and walk towards me; unknowingly waiting.
I pictured and imagined our meeting so many times and on so many different scenes that I believed I had covered all the bases. My plan was simple. Bump into her. Step forward and introduce myself. Make her smile. Get the number. Once I imagined walking at night, seeing a silhouette ahead of me which unexpectedly turns out to be hers, I would watch as the moonlight (there’s a full moon in this fantasy) played with her face, its soft light falling lightly on her forehead making it glimmer, she would be cautious as I start the conversation, it being at night and all. Her hair would fall and block part of her face, which she would shrug back with little celebration. I would tell her a stupid story just to keep her engaged, and also to try and see whether her mouth can curve upwards. That should be a beautiful sight, I always think. And from there, we would gradually fall in love and live happily ever after.
But when it happened, it was in a situation that I never saw coming. A situation I couldn’t have thought of because to be honest, how can the love of my life not be part of it? For months, I have been dreaming with the same face, I have walked around looking for it in my wake time. I had hoped that when it happened, it would all make sense, the stars would align in my favor, and I would be rewarded for my patience. I would tell her of how I have been looking everywhere for her and she would be so flattered, and I would possibly get a peck. Hopefully, a date!
It happened in a robbery. Call it a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or call it fate! I was waiting in line at the bank, swiping left and right on my phone like everyone else on the line, which might explain why everyone was taken by surprise. No one saw them coming. But I did! I happen to be waiting for a photo to load on twitter and I was looking up the line when this pair of gentlemen walked in. Dressed expensively and nicely. Like bodyguards. Suits. Gleaming shoes. Top button of the shirt undone. Neat. And alert.
I remember thinking, if I was dressed like that, I would have guns tucked in my trouser somewhere. They looked around. Conspicuously suspicious. The guard had by then noticed them. He walked up to them, holding his soldier stick out in a menacing manner. Trying to look authoritative in the face of such eminent power. Failing miserably.
‘kuna shida gani, boss?’, he asked.
One looked at him and smiled while his friend unbuttoned his coat and drew a gun from a holster, shooting the guard just once on the forehead. He didn’t feel anything. Just sunk to oblivion. He still wore the smile he had returned. His body crumpled to the floor.
Everyone dropped to the floor. Even I. I observed some trying to capture the faces of the culprits with their high definition cameras, which was for naught as all gadgets were soon gathered. Two mores thugs came in and tried to lock the doors but the doors were automated; they gave up and joined their colleagues. The operated like one machine. Never hurrying. Never shouting. Not even using force. They had a plan. And their plan was working out. They were fast but not rushed. Focused but not vindictive. I checked the clock on the wall from where I was lying, only three minutes had elapsed since the first pair made its entry.
The door opened and no one looked up. At least I didn’t. Expecting it to be another thug, I didn’t look up from my position. Dedicating the little time I had to God, promising to move heaven and earth for Him if I made it out alive. And that’s when it hit me. The whiff. That perfume. I sniffed in the air, still with my eyes closed. And then the sound. Bang. Phone clattering. A gasp. The feeling. I didn’t open my eyes. I didn’t want to see. Nor know. In those five seconds, with my eyes still closed, I prayed as I had never before. Not for me. Not even for her. I prayed for it not to be her. But I knew. I didn’t have to open my eyes. I felt it. Without looking, I knew. She never knew what hit her. I never got her number… nor her name!