The next morning (Tuesday) he met Michelle. When he saw her his mind immediately went to Betsy Ming, the Cranberry shag carpet and glinting gizmos. She was a girl from school who had invited him over to her parents’ house when no one was at home to show him her father’s fancy gadgets but they ended up having sex on the shag carpet in her bedroom. It was his first time and it was quite an experience. His mother would have had a fit if she knew because for her, sex before marriage was a big no no.
He remembered her saying to him, “A woman’s husband should be the only one to share her bed. No decent man would want a woman who wasn’t a virgin. I was one when your father and I got married. I believed in saving myself for the man I married. Nowadays, too many girls are morally loose. Make sure you don’t end up with one of them.”
Betsy and he dated until they went to separate universities. Today was the first time in years since he thought about her and it was because of Michelle. She reminded him of Betsy although Michelle was the prettier of the two.
Michelle approached his desk now. “Would you like to take a coffee break?” she asked.
“Sure.” He stood up, pulled on his jacket and followed her out of his office. They went to the cafeteria, bought cappuccinos and sat at one of the tables.
“So, you’re from Hong Kong.”
“Yes. Where are you from?” he asked. “You sound American.”
“I am Chinese American. My parents moved from Shenzhen to Boston. My brother and I were born there.”
“How long have you been working here in Nairobi?”
“Since I graduated from university.”
“Which university is that?
“Harvard. What about you? Which university did you go to?”
“The University of Hong Kong.”
“How long have you been working at this company?”
“Since I left university.”
“Is this your first time in Africa?”
“Yes. I’ve always wanted to come to Africa so when I was offered the opportunity to work here in Nairobi, I grabbed it.”
“What about your family? How do they feel about you being here?”
“My father doesn’t mind but my mother still has a lot of issues with it. She couldn’t understand why I would choose to work in Africa instead of America or Canada or England. And she has these crazy ideas about Africans.”
“What crazy ideas?”
“That they’re dangerous people who practice witchcraft.”
“Some people still practice it even though it’s illegal.”
“I know but I didn’t bother to tell her that or she would have had a conniption. She’s already worried about the women and their secret potions.”
“Maybe she’s afraid that you’ll fall in love with one of them.”
He thought of the Kenyan woman whom he had met at the tennis court. The strong attraction he felt for her wasn’t the result of any secret magic potion. It was simply a matter of boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. “What about your parents? Did they have a problem with you moving here?”
“They didn’t mind. They were very supportive.”
“Good for them.”
“Do you have any siblings?”
“No. You mentioned that you have a brother.”
“Yes, he’s five years older. He lives with his family in Seattle.”
“Sometimes I wished I had a sibling. That way my mother would have someone else to fuss over.”
Michelle smiled. “I know what you mean.”
“Do you live far from here?”
“About twenty-five minutes. And you?”
“Forty-five minutes? Where do you live?”
He told her.
“That’s a very nice area. I guess a forty-five minute commute isn’t so bad when you live in an area like that.”
He smiled. “No, it isn’t.”
“Well, we best be heading back.” She stood up.
He stood up and they started towards the elevators.
When they were inside, she turned to him, “By the way, a small group of us are going out for dinner after work on Friday. Would you like to join us?”
She smiled. “Good.”
They arrived on their floor and went to their respective offices.
Source: China Highlights