I wrote this as a short story a while back, and I wanted to share it with you all. Is it a true story in guise, or simply an exercise in literary expression? Mull over that, but do read on.
I met her on a hot afternoon. Is it tautology to say hot afternoon in these parts? It seems they always are. It was not much of a meeting, as one would hope should they encounter a beautiful creature as she. It was more like, I saw her and was in awe, and she barely acknowledged my presence. But both parties saw each other, and so it is correct to say, we met.
I didn’t notice her at first. I mean I was there for the food and as I said, the afternoon was hot. The faster I could grab the waakye and move to cooler climes, the better. Looking at random faces is not high on my priority list when I am hungry and in a hurry. That might be another tautology. I am always in a hurry when I am hungry. Anyway that was the situation. I was not there to look at faces; I was there for food. And I had heard their waakye was really good so even when her face was directly in my line of vision my eyes did not truly see her. My mind was on the food. Maybe I did see her, subconsciously. Or maybe I was just bored, and it was only natural to look at human beings after staring at cooked beans poking out of brown rice for so long. But eventually I did look at her. And that was when I met her. She may not have met me at that material point in time but I met her, and she was a vision to behold.
She had long lashes which, had I seen on the girls I usually encounter, I would automatically have assumed to be false lashes. But which waakye seller wears lashes? What I mean is, I think that would be something I would hear about, right? Waakye sellers wear false lashes now. But then again I have not seen a waakye seller with even half her beauty. If this girl was anything she was rare, so what do I know if she had false lashes on? I made a mental note that I would make a habit of passing by frequently to buy waakye. Perhaps there would be a chance encounter that would move us from random strangers to acquaintances. And from acquaintances, well anything was possible. I bought the waakye and moved on. I don’t know whether it showed on my face, but in my mind there was a goofy and sheepish grin stretched across my lips.
It would be a while before I went back there. Over a month, in fact. It was possible, I thought, my hunger might have increased her beauty in my eyes somewhat, and as I went away the spell was broken. But make no mistake, this woman was beautiful. Still is, last time I checked. The only difference between now and when we first met is that I am a little less beguiled by her unconventional beauty. Perhaps the food did have something to do with this. See, I was less than impressed with the waakye itself. This made me rescind my earlier decision to frequent her waakye stand on a regular basis.
I did go there last week though. This time I managed to smile a little at her. She must have thought I was amused at a private joke because she did not smile back. That was okay. It was even possible that the smile hadn’t made it past my synapses to my facial muscles. I do that sometimes. Picture myself smiling when in fact my face shows less expression than a brick. So I didn’t mind so much when she didn’t smile back. I wish she had, though. Just like I wish I had asked her name. What is her name, this mystery girl? She must be from the North, as waakye sellers are wont. That would mean she bears a name such as Salamatu or Rakia, or even Nadia. I should simply have asked, instead of inventing another guessing game. Maybe I will ask. Tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. It’s not like she’s hardly there. She’s there most of the time when I pass by. I always make sure to crane my neck, albeit discreetly, to catch a glimpse of her whenever I pass by. Possibly to confirm whether her beauty is still there, or I had imagined it the first few times I saw her. Every time the check proved positive. It’s all there. Conceivably the most beautiful waakye seller in Ghana. Ah well. Who knows? And who truly cares. Even I, smitten by beauty, had failed to return because I found her waakye ersatz.
But somewhere deep down I do care. I do wonder, what does she wonder? What are her dreams, her aspirations? Did she always imagine herself a waakye seller, dishing out food at a taxi station? I doubt that. Probably she always wanted to be a doctor. Maybe a teacher. Or maybe a fashion designer. Rakia Designs. Had fortunes turned the other way she might have been at that station for entirely different reasons. Perhaps catching a taxi to the airport, to attend a conference in the capital city. Who knows? She would have an idea. Maybe I will ask her. But I doubt that. I still don’t even know her first name.
[Waakye Image: Ordinary Africa]