School’s out. It’s a beautiful spring afternoon. So, I decide that instead of going straight home, I will go for a walk along the South Bank of the River Thames. When I get there, I walk for a bit and then stop and stand at the railing, facing the Tower Bridge. I can see the Palace of Westminster. As I admire the view, I eat my last perfectly puffy chocolate chip cookie. Yummy.
London has been my home since my mother brought me here, following my father’s death. She left me in the care of my grandparents and returned to Abuja, Nigeria. She believed that I would be better off here. Every Christmas, she visits and we keep in touch through email and What’s APP.
I don’t know what alerted me to the fact that someone’s staring at me but I turn my head suddenly to the right and see an Asian man standing there a few feet away from me. Our eyes meet. He is extremely handsome and very well dressed. He looks to be in his mid to late twenties. His appearance and style remind me of the ’40s. Very classy. I can’t stop staring at him. Then, he starts walking towards me. I turn so that I’m facing him, my heart racing.
When he’s standing in front of me, he says, “Forgive me for staring at you. I couldn’t help it. You’re very pretty.”
I smile shyly. “Thank you. And-and you’re very handsome.”
He smiles. “Thank you. I come here often but this is the first time I’ve seen you.”
“I haven’t been here for a long time but thought I could come today and spend a little time before heading home.”
“Do you live far from here?”
“No. I live in Lambeth.”
“I guess you just came from school,” he says on account that I’m wearing a uniform. “What’s your name?”
“My name is Daeshim but everyone calls me Dae. How old are you?”
“I’m twenty-eight. Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No.” I want to ask him if he has a girlfriend but am afraid that he will say yes. I can see that he isn’t married and that’s good enough for me.
He glances at his watch. “I’m afraid I have to go now. Can we meet here again tomorrow at the same time?”
I nod, excited that I’m going to see him again. “Yes.”
He smiles that incredible smile of his, making my heart leap in my chest and my breath quicken. “I’ll see you tomorrow then. Goodbye, Sade.” He takes my hand and raises it to his lips, brushing them lightly against my skin, making it tingle and my stomach do crazy things.
“Goodbye, Dae,” I manage to say. I watch him walk away. A tall, slender and refined figure, thinking that I have just died and gone to heaven. For the rest of the day, my head is in the clouds.