Tadeas went to VANS shoe store during his lunch hour. As he waited for the girl to bring the shoes he had chosen in his size, he checked for messages. There were a few from friends and one from his cousin whose bachelor party he had told William about. He was inviting Tadeas to attend his daughter’s First Communion. There was one from William reminding him about the dinner he was having with him and his fiancée a week from Saturday.
“Hello,” someone said to him and he glanced up. It was Akello.
“Hello.” They shook hands.
“How are you?” Akello asked him.
“I’m fine, thank you. And you?”
“I’m fine. I’ve been to this store many times but this is the first time I’ve seen you here.”
“It is my first time. I didn’t want to have to drive to Grenson so I came here because it’s within walking distance from the office.”
“I’ve never bought shoes at Grenson. Maybe I will check them out one of these days.”
“You should. They are known for their craftsmanship and attention to detail.”
“How is Velma?”
“She’s fine. Aren’t you and she still in touch?”
“We still are but not as often as before. Perhaps, she’s just very busy.”
The girl, a pretty redhead, came over then with the box and gave it to Tadeas as her eyes traveled appreciatively over him.
“It looks like you have an admirer,” Akello remarked when they were alone again.
Tadeas pursed his lips. “She’s wasting her time.”
“Yes, I guess she is. I saw the woman you were dining with that evening at the restaurant and she was very beautiful.”
“Yes, she is. Did you enjoy your dinner?”
“Have you and Velma been friends for very long?”
“Yes. About ten years. We met at a barbecue.”
“To be quite honest if I didn’t know either of you, I would have assumed that you were a couple. I’m sure that the other diners thought you were.”
“I’ve always wanted to take our friendship to the next level but, I didn’t want to rock the boat.”
“I understand.” If it weren’t for Velma, he and Akello could have become friends. He seemed like a really nice chap. “I’m going to sit over there and try on these shoes.”
“While you do that, I will go and look at the shirts. I don’t always come here to buy shoes.” He excused himself and went over to the section where the men’s section was.
Tadeas tried on the shoes, walked about to make sure that they were comfortable and then, he went and sat back down. He took them off and placed them back in the box. He went over to the counter and paid for them. Before he left, he went over to Akello. “Goodbye, Akello.”
Akello smiled and shook his hand. “Goodbye, Tadeas. Maybe we’ll run into each other here again sometime.”
“Maybe.” He turned and walked out of the store.
When he got back to the office, he bumped into Velma who was on her way out. She said to him, “I’m going to run some errands and on my way back, pick up Thai food. Would you like me to grab something for you?”
“No, thanks. I’ve already grabbed something.” He showed her the bag. “Today, I’m in the mood for a something simple as a veggie burger and fries.”
“Okay. I see you went to VANS to buy shoes. Not the kind of place I’d expect you to give your business to.”
“You think I only shop at high-end stores?”
“What’s wrong with wanting to shop where you can find the best quality in whatever you’re looking for?”
“Nothing but there are stores where the quality is just as good and more affordable.”
“I’ll shop where I want to shop and you’ll shop where you want to shop.”
“By the way, I bumped into Akello at VANS.”
“Yes. He asked about you.”
“How is he?”
“He’s fine. He said that you and he aren’t in touch as often as before.”
“I’ve been very busy.”
“That’s what he said.”
“You don’t sound convinced.”
“I think it’s a sorry excuse. You don’t have the guts to tell Akello to his face that you want out of your relationship.”
“How many times do I have to tell you that he and I are just friends?”
“And what about Karl? Are you and he just friends too?”
“What does Karl have to do with this?”
“Did you dump Akello for him?”
“Who is Karl, anyway? How long have you known him and what does he do?”
“Why are you so interested in my personal life? What about your girlfriend? Shouldn’t you been concentrating on her?”
“She isn’t my girlfriend.”
“When you go back to your desk, I suggest you look up the definition for girlfriend. Excuse me.” She walked past him.
Source: The Culture Trip