Mutual Friend

“You have never worked in a restaurant before, have you?” Lili asked. She clearly knew I lied but I was more concerned with what gave me away. I shook my head no and smiled waiting to see how she took it. “I knew it!” Lili responded, “you just said that to make me let you help out.” My guilty smile confirmed her theory and led her to shake her head some more. “Well, thank you once again. You just helped me keep my job. I can’t afford to get fired. Not with my current situation.”

“I understand,” Jim said as we continued to walk and talk. My shift was over and so I was free for the day. Jim and I decided to go to the park first. We planned to end the day at his place. “So what do you miss the most about Ghana,” I asked. Jim smiled like he had a flashback of something wonderful that probably happened when he was still in Africa. I knew that look. “Oh I’m sorry! I should have asked for who you miss rather.” I teased. “I miss my wife. I miss the way she looks at me when I say something silly. I miss the way she sticks her tongue out when she concentrates while trying to fix something. I miss holding her and looking into her eyes. I miss her ..” Jim said in one go before realising what he was doing. I smiled so wide and prepped myself for a loud scream. “No way!!! You have a wife?” I asked genuinely thinking he did. Jim explained he likes to say wife instead of girlfriend. “But doesn’t it freak you out that you are this young and already know the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with? Don’t get me wrong, we all dream of finding our partners early but I don’t know, a guy mentioning marriage would get me totally freaked like ‘woah, slow down’.”

I laughed uncontrollably when Lili told me what she thought about a person knowing their life partner early in life. She tried to put herself in their shoes but argued halfway that it was a scary conclusion to make. It probably was that, and maybe much more –
the responsibility that comes with it. But I always believed that when two people are madly in love, their forever begins now. “I’m too deep in love to care about obstacles that may be thrown our way. Whenever we get lost, love would guide us home,” I told her. Lili had her mouth opened and looked amazed. “Oh Jim, if you aren’t the sweetest person I’ve met yet! Your wife is surely very lucky! And I’m sure you are lucky to have her too,” she pointed out. I smiled to cover the change of mood that missing Imani was surfacing. “What about you, Lili, have anyone you really fancy?” After mentioning a couple of male celebrities and public figures I knew she was single. “I have tried Love once before, you know. I got my heart ripped out of my chest and fitted back in with no room to accommodate the ‘happily ever after’ idea. I just couldn’t bring myself to free fall down that path again. The force on impact the other time left me broken in a lot of places. So yeah.. .”

I was happy for Jim and his lady. It’s not always you find people who are genuinely in love with each other. Even though I openly state that love is over for me, deep down inside, I still hope to be able to feel the blessed feeling it brings. That’s before everything goes south and that happy feeling gets replaced with painful eating pizza alone and depressed feeling.

Satisfied that the trees in the park had had enough of our love talk, we decide to retire to my place. As usual, dad wasn’t yet back from work so everything was off. “Welcome to my humble abode,” I welcomed as I turned on the lights. “You have a lovely house,” Lili emphasised. I didn’t know how to reply. Didn’t want to lead her into deep thoughts of not living with her parents and not knowing how her Dad’s house looked like. She sensed her remark left me confused and saved me by raising a topic. “Jim, I’m hungry!” Lili exclaimed. “What do you have in your kitchen?” she asked tailing me because she didn’t know her way round. I opened the fridge to reveal for lunch was going to be and to be honest, even I was disappointed. “Well, …” Lili said pressing her palms against each other. “That proves that there’s no lady living with you and dad” she teased. I giggled and suggested we go pass by a fast food place. She agreed and was ready to leave. “I’ll have to make a quick call first,” I told her. “I’ll be outside soon.” Lili nodded and went to wait for me outside.

“Jim!!!!” I exclaimed sounding more excited than the last time Jim called. “How are you?” I told Jim about how boring my day was and so he told me about his day so I cheer up at least. When someone’s happiness makes you happy, you just know you have experienced a deeper feeling. The risk involved was that my bad day could have made Jim’s mood change also. And as a result, leaving his fun day with little or no effect on him. I tried to smile a lot to make sure he doesn’t feel I am upset.

“Is that Lili?” Imani asked looking at something behind me. I turned to see Lili walking up to me with a half smile on. “I’m sorry for interrupting you, but I just got a call from work asking me to pass by. Apparently some money is missing from accounts.” Totally not caring about the urgency of the matter, Imani went all Girl talk mode. The two spoke a lot. A whole lot. Their friendly conversation didn’t change the fact that a lady friend of mine was speaking to my girlfriend. It probably isn’t any big deal. But I’m a boy, we get nervous for no reason when things like this happen. Lili forgot all about her work meeting and spent the rest of the afternoon at my place talking to Imani. No longer talking via my FaceTime because they exchanged contact infos. Now, Lili is lying in the guest room upstairs video chatting with Imani.
“What just happened?” I asked myself.

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