Two days ago – December 26th – I was looking forward to going to the mall and doing a little shopping, but the snow decided otherwise. And driving under the snow for me is strictly on a need-to basis, so since I did not need to go to the mall, I sat my butt at home. But first, I made a five-minute trip to the African store to buy bread. I love that crown top bread that has eight pull-apart rolls. It’s like a big sized puff puff. It’s so stretchy. I’m probably just consuming yeast and flour, but I cannot be bothered.
When I got there, almost 10am, the store was not open yet. There was a guy standing in front of the store trying to stay warm in his jacket. It was about 20 degrees outside. As soon as I parked, he told me that the store owner – an Igbo man who always regards me as baby: “Hi baby,” … “Bye baby,” *side eye*… – was not there yet. So I sat put in my car. But the guy looked like he was freezing, which was understandable, considering the weather, so I rolled down my window and asked if he wanted to stay warm in my car. He said yes.
He sat in my car and there was this awkward silence. I didn’t know what to say. We talked every couple of minutes about the weather and the cold. He told me his name, asked for mine, and told me that he worked there. I told him my name and he asked for my Igbo name, which I told him, too. No problem.
In less than 10 minutes, the store owner appeared, so we got out of the car and went into the store. I picked my bread and headed for the counter. The man
waylaid approached me at the door and asked for my number. PAUSE. See, my impression of him was that he was an American newbie who did not have many friends yet. I’d guess his age to be in the middle to late 30s. I did not want to refuse him cause I would have felt really mean, honestly. Had he approached me randomly, I would have definitely said no. But I felt like my invitation for him to enter my car was the reason he now felt like we were friends.
So yes, I gave him my number. I had barely driven off when he called. I was not sure it was him, so I picked up, and he said he would call me later. I hung up and saved his number as Ignore 3. Don’t judge me. Few minutes after I got home, he texted me and I’m typing it exactly as he did, “Thanks for your kind jesture. I will close work by 4pm, if u are free then i will like u to come.” And I replied immediately, “Come where???” Unfortunately, texts are not able to convey attitudes, emotions, and looks on faces. He replied, “Where we met this morning.” And I said, “I cannot do that. Look, I was just trying to be nice. I’m married.” The I’m-married line always works, never, ever fails. He said, “Sorry my sister, i don’t know. Please God bless u and ur family.”
In his defense, I did not have my ring on. It was in my pocket. I had just washed my hands before leaving the house, so I took it off and put it in my pocket to wash my hands. I know, I know … quite careless. Sebi I told you people that this ring thing is just foreign to me. How can I be wearing a ring everyday? Back to this guy – let’s call him Kingsley, he’s not the first person I have had this kind of encounter with. I mean you smile or do something nice, and all of a sudden, it means you have to exchange numbers. This is why I sometimes pretend not to be Nigerian when I run into Nigerians in non-Nigerian places. One little greeting or smile, and it gets misread as something else.
And even if I was single sef, so that’s how he’ll toast me? Telling me to come back to “where we met this morning” under the snow? No questions about if I was single, or if I wanted to hang out, or if I live close … just that he will close work at 4pm and would like me to come. Na so.
In retrospect, I’m thinking about it again. I should not have even bothered to be nice. And I don’t know why I was nice. I don’t have a problem saying no. Well, it won’t happen again.