Safina was in London. She had been there for six years. Before that she had been in Cape Town, staying with a relative. She went there after being fired from her job with the Setons, a wealthy English couple living in Lagos. They fired her when they discovered that she had been having a relationship with Grayson Rand, the fifteen year old son of their friends, the Rands. He was staying at them while working at his father’s company office in Lagos. It was a summer job.
When she met Grayson, even though he was ten years younger than she, she was immediately attracted to him. She had tried to keep their interaction minimal at best but one night he went to her bedroom and they ended up in bed. They became lovers but somehow the Setons found out and fired her. She left Lagos and went to Cape Town. She spent about four years in Cape Town and then left there to come to London to be a domestic for Thomas Courtenay, a widower whom she met when she was working as a waitress at Cactus Restaurant. He was a regular and a very generous tipper. She ran into him in Cape Town and he had offered her the job. It was too good an opportunity to pass up so, she readily accepted.
While she was in Cape Town, she had learned from her friend, Asuma that a young English man had been inquiring about her. When she described, Safina knew that it was Grayson. She debated whether or not to get in touch with him. He had left his contact information. It wasn’t until she came to London that she finally got in touch with him.
When she called him, he sounded shocked to hear from her. “I didn’t think I would ever hear from you again because it has been ten years,” he said.
“I found out from my friend that you were looking for me in Freetown.”
“Yes, but I went to Lagos first after graduating from Oxford. I stopped by Cactus Restaurant first because that’s where you used to work before you became a domestic for the Setons. The owner and the staff said that they hadn’t seen you since you quit your job. The owner said that you might have returned to Freetown. I went there the following year but I found out that you hadn’t returned there and no one knew where you were. I left my contact information in case you did turn up there. I was desperate to find you, Safina.”
“After leaving Lagos, I went to Cape Town and stayed with a relative. I lived and worked there for four years before coming here to London.”
“I can’t believe you’re here in London.”
“I’m here because of a job offer.”
“Safina, is it possible for us to meet somewhere and talk? I’d really like to see you.”
“All right. When would be a good time for you?”
“Tomorrow at 5.”
“How about in the lobby in the building where I work?”
“All right. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
They ended the phone call. And here she was on her way to meet him. It was a half-hour ride from Knightsbridge where Mr. Courtenay lived to where Grayson worked. She hadn’t told her employer that she was meeting Grayson because she was afraid that he might ask a lot of questions. Besides, what she did in her spare time wasn’t any of his business. It was a modest looking building, she thought as she walked towards its entrance. Her heart began to beat faster as she got closer. Tugging the door open, she went inside.
Grayson was sitting in the lobby. It was a bit dark because the drapes were drawn. They were always drawn after regular work hours. He waited anxiously for Safina. Since she had called him, he had beside himself with excitement. It had been ten long and tortuous years since he had last seen her. And she was here in London, of all places.
Even though he hadn’t been able to find her, he hadn’t give up hope. He had prayed that he would see her again one day. If only he had known that she had a relative in Cape Town…Oh, well. No use dwelling on that now. The important thing was that she was on her way to meet him. He couldn’t wait to see her.
He wondered if she was still single. He hoped so with all his heart although, he didn’t have any right to, considering that he was engaged to be married and the wedding was in less than six months. Should he tell Safina right off the bat that he was engaged or should he wait for a more appropriate time? When exactly would be a more appropriate time? he asked himself. No time like the present, surely. Maybe he will tell her now but he was hesitant to. What if she refused to see him again because of his engagement? What would he do then? And what if he didn’t tell her about it and she found out some other way–what then?
His thoughts were interrupted when he saw Safina walking towards him. Heart pounding, he rose to his feet and turned to face her.