I noticed him as soon as I stepped into the room.
It was as though he was the only one in the room even though it contained more than twenty people.
It was my friend, Dumebi’s brother’s birthday celebration. And before I got to the venue, that was literally the last place I wanted to be.
I hate crowds and I hate parties even more. But Dumebi had insisted and I really did not want to disappoint her. Plus, her brother had always been nice to me.
At some point, Dumebi was hoping we would become an item because of how much he paid attention to me.
I didn’t think he was interested though – just a big brother being good to his baby sister’s friend – and I definitely was not.
He was nice but far from what I was looking for.
I woke up that day dreading that I had a party to attend. That is not my idea of fun – far from it.
Keep me cooped up in my bedroom with books, movies or really close friends and I am good to go.
Today was different though, I had to get all spruce up and go out.
It took me a while to get the appropriate attire for the party.
Dumebi had told me it was casual, which should have made it easier but no, it didn’t.
Casual to me meant “do not overdress” and “do not underdress.” Finding that balance was a herculean task.
Luckily, I found something to wear and I headed for their house, ready to hate every minute of it.
Only, the universe had something else in mind.
I sighted him immediately I stepped into the house and the world literally started spinning.
Our eyes locked and my heart wheeled like it was placed on a rollercoaster.
But I could not drag my eyes away.
And for some reason, I was excited. I had no idea why.
It could be because I hadn’t felt that way in a long time or because I could see the same attraction mirrored in his eyes.
“Hey girl, you came!” I heard my friend’s voice from afar but enough to wake me up from my reverie.
She was closer than I thought though. Apparently, I had travelled far in my mind.
Before I could recover and drag my eyes away from him, she already scooped me up in a bear hug.
“I told you I’d be here,” I reprimanded.
“I know but I was also afraid you’d cancel at the last minute.”
Her expression was so ecstatic, you’d think I was the life of the party.
It was not as though anybody would miss my presence if I had not attended and I had voiced out as much when she had been trying to convince me to attend.
But Dumebi had said she’d miss me, and that had sealed it.
There was no way I was missing the party. My friend needed me to be there; I have a soft spot for people in need.
After we exchanged small talk, she dragged me to an empty chair and I sat down, hoping to disappear with the stranger into our own world till the party was over.
Unfortunately for me, my seat made staring at my newfound obsession hard.
I would have to turn my neck around since he was sitting some distance behind me.
Even in my excitement, I knew that would be ridiculous.
What excuse would I give for sitting backwards when others were facing the front?
I wouldn’t be shocked if they took me for exorcism, fearing possession by evil spirits. You know how we can be superstitious in Africa.
The party was already full-fledged when I came in, and they were playing a game of some sort.
At first, I didn’t really pay them any mind. I was not there in any other way but physically.
But I noticed they were passing a basket around and when it got to you, you were meant to pick a piece of paper and do whatever ridiculous thing was written in it.
It didn’t take me long to decide I needed to escape.
Luckily, the party was taking place at their house, I had been there several times and practically knew every nook and cranny.
Planning to say I was headed to the restroom in case anyone asked, I found my way to the balcony and sat on a couch that was placed there.
I breathed a sigh of relief at my escape and brought out my phone to go on social media.
For the weirdest reason, I prefer dealing with people virtually than physically.
It can get too overwhelming for me if they are many strangers in one place.
I was already lost in my own world, smiling at different comments on Facebook when I heard the voice.
“Who knew I was not the only one seeking escape?”
Sincerely, I thought his eyes made me swoon, his voice did other things that my knowledge of English vocabulary is limited to explain.
He was behind me but I knew it was him. That voice could only belong to him. They matched perfectly.
I turned to reply even though in retrospect, I really didn’t have any idea what.
But whatever I thought I had to say couldn’t pass through my lips when I saw his smile.
He had a dimple on one cheek and it was the best thing I had ever seen.
I kept on looking at him with, what I assume, the worst love-struck look in the universe. I thought it worried him.
Fortunately for me, he misunderstood my expression.
“Am I disturbing you?” he asked, concerned and I noticed what I had not noticed before.
He had a British accent.
Okay, that did it. I knew at that moment; this couldn’t be a coincidence. It was perfect. It had to be fate.
I had met my future husband.
Just in case you are wondering, I haven’t met him yet.
If you do find him for me, let me know and don’t forget to tell him to find me this way.
This post was originally published in Teakisi, The Voices of African Women.