A bird in hand…

“Please don’t hang up, I can exp…” all she heard was the dial tone. He had hang up on her. And honestly, she couldn’t blame him. She’d have done the same in his shoes. She kicked off her shoes, sat cross legged in the armchair and dialed his number again. “It’s going to be a long evening,” she thought. She called back four times. No answer. “I really should just give up” but something said she should try again. This time he picked up and he was madder than a wet hen. As she listened to him rave and give her a piece of his mind, she cast her mind back to how they met.

Malika set them up. “Based on your personalities, I think you guys would be good together.” Hah! Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, on the surface, they appeared to have quite a bit in common. They both worked in the banking industry, they enjoyed watching football (they even had the same favourite team – Chelsea), and they attended the same high school although he was several years ahead of her so their paths never quite crossed. They enjoyed the same type of music and could be found either out dancing or listening to live music on a Friday night. So on paper, they should be great together.

However, every time they got together, the conversation felt stilted. It was almost as though they could not think of good topics to talk about. To be honest, he bored her to death. He thought by going on and on about his achievements, she would be impressed. But she wasn’t. After all, she was quite accomplished herself and you didn’t hear her tooting her own horn. But he was sweet and thoughtful. She enjoyed the attention and particularly like the “good morning beautiful” and the “good night, sweet dreams” text messages he sent every day without fail. And he seemed to be really into her. She hoped to eventually develop feelings for him and that might have happened had she not run into Yooku.

Yooku, the reason why she was being scolded this warm evening. He showed up at her door step unannounced and it didn’t take much for him to convince her to go for a ride with him. In her eagerness and excitement, she forgot her phone on her dresser. Yes, she knew Qasim was on his way over. She had picked the day and time but surely, she’d be back before he got to her apartment. She’ll only spend a short amount of time with Yooku and Qasim will be none the wiser. Boy was she wrong. First, they got stuck in traffic and by the time she realized she had left her phone at home, it was too late to go back. “So maybe I’ll be a little late getting back, but it’ll still be fine. Qasim wouldn’t mind waiting a little” she thought.

Qasim looked at his phone screen. He had called Akuba 15 times and there was no response. His first instinct was that something might have gone wrong, so he triple checked to make sure that he hadn’t missed her call, or message. He’d even checked all his social media apps and there wasn’t a word from Akuba. And now he was at her door and there was no response. Although he felt awkward just hanging out in front of her door, he didn’t have many options. He’d headed over to see her straight from work. He had been looking forward to it all day long. It made his usually difficult Mondays more bearable. And now he was stuck outside her apartment with no word from Akuba. Did he get the time wrong? No, he didn’t think so. In fact he spoke to her just as he was wrapping up his work to confirm that he was heading her way right after work. So why wasn’t she at home? He checked his watch for probably the 50th time. He’d now been waiting for almost an hour and half and there was no word from Akuba. Fatigue from the day started to set in and he just wanted to go home, take a shower and go to bed. Worry turned into frustration and then became anger. How could she do this to me? Do I mean so little to her that she would leave me standing out her like a fool? Qasim sighed and turned to find his way home. Because he’d gone out of his way to come and see her, now his journey home was going to be twice as long because of traffic.

Akuba was calling. It was her 5th call. He’d ignored all her calls so far but she was persistent so he picked up. What possible excuse could she have? He was warm, uncomfortable, upset, angry and frustrated. He did not want to have this conversation while in public transportation but she was leaving him no choice. He was about to have a confrontation over the phone in public.

Akuba pondered how she was going to get herself out of this mess. She had brought it on herself. Her indecisiveness as far as Qasim was concerned is what put her in this situation. After a few awkward meet ups, she started making excuses to not see him. She had officially run out of excuses which is why she agreed for him to come over to her place tonight. Maybe they’ll finally be able to have a good conversation and she could decide whether or not she wanted this relationship to progress into something more, like he obviously wanted.

“You’re home. How did it go with Akuba?” Dela called out while Qasim stormed into the apartment they both shared. Qasim ignored him and walked into his room and shut the door. He tossed his bag aside and lay back on the bed. He still couldn’t believe how badly his evening went. He replayed his brief conversation with Akuba, if you could call it that and then cast his mind back to all the interactions they’d had since they first met.

Ring. Ring. He was beginning to hate the sound of his ringtone. His first instinct was to ignore the call thinking it might be Akuba. When he fished his phone out of his pocket, he saw that it was Malika calling. He hesitated for a few minutes and then answered.

“How could you?” those were the words that greeted Akuba when she answered her phone 2 hours later. Lika was upset and she could guess why.

Akuba was restless. It had been 2 weeks since that fateful day. All her calls and messages to Qasim had gone unanswered. And she hadn’t run into him at his usual hang out spots. Surely, he wasn’t still be mad at her for standing him up. And Lika was surprisingly tightlipped about anything to do with Qasim. And as for Dela, she had become persona non grata with him so she didn’t even bother trying to get any information from him. She was upset and down and even Yooku’s spontaneous visits and activities couldn’t cheer her up. She had to admit it. She missed him. Maybe it was time she did something about it.

Chelsea was playing Tottenham on Sunday. It was a highly anticipated game so there was no way Qasim was going to miss it. And Akuba knew exactly where he would go to watch the game.

She spotted him immediately she walked into the bar, although it was quite crowded. He was sporting a huge grin and she felt the corners of her mouth lift. It was barely 10 minutes into the game and Chelsea was up by one goal. She had missed it because she spent too long getting ready (her outfit needed to be perfect) and then it took forever to find parking, but she was there now. She started heading in his direction, her best smile on her face when she something stopped her in her tracks. She hadn’t paid close attention when she first walked in because all her focus was on Qasim but as she drew near she realized that not only was Dela there, Lika was there as well and another girl. She looked vaguely familiar but Akuba couldn’t remember where she’d seen her before. Mystery girl leaned over and whispered in Qasim’s ear and his grin got wider. Akuba hesitated. They hadn’t seen her yet, so she could turn around and head home or find another spot in the bar to watch the rest of the game or she could walk over and join them.

She was saved from deciding because Lika saw her and walked towards her. Her expression was unreadable and Akuba started regretting her decision to come to *Coco Lounge*

‘Hey Kubs, how are you? Wanna join us?’ Lika asked as she reached over and gave Akuba a hug.

‘Umm sure, if it’ll be okay’ she replied nervously.

Mystery girl’s name was Adisa. Not only was she beautiful, she was funny, friendly, a football enthusiast and a successful fashion designer. Akuba had been prepared to dislike her but she couldn’t help admiring and even liking her. She had such a warm and inviting personality. ‘No way I’m competing with her’ Akuba thought with a sigh. Qasim had been polite all night but that was it. She still couldn’t tell how he felt about her. That’s if he still had feelings for her.

‘I’m sorry. I miss you.’ Akuba hesitated then finally hit the send button. She immediately put her phone away. She really wanted him to respond but she was also terrified of what his response would be.

‘So…what was his response?’

Akuba shrugged ‘I never heard from him’

‘That sucks. Accra is a small city though; you haven’t run into him? How long ago was this anyway?’ Akuba’s friend Nana Yaa asked.

‘It’s been about a year’ she replied with a sigh. She got up from the sofa where she’d been sitting while narrating the story to her friends who’d stopped by for a girls’ night and walked out to her balcony. In the weeks and months following the last text message she sent to Qasim, she’d asked herself several times if she should have made more of an effort to reach out to him. But alas, it was too late now. If her newsfeed was any indication, Qasim had long moved on and it was time for her to do the same. She had no one to blame but herself. Her indecisiveness about her feelings for Qasim is what largely led to her loss.

The End.

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