Kalisa on Campus

At first, he thought that his mind and eyes were playing tricks on him. Missing Kalisa and longing to be with her were finally taking a toll on him to the point where he thought he saw her a few moments ago. I’m losing my mind, he mused. As much as I wish she were here, Kalisa is miles away in Kigali.

Shaking his head, he turned and headed in the opposite direction to his office where he would have his lunch and then teach his next class. Hours later, he was in the lobby, on his way to the parking lot when he thought he saw Kalisa again. He stood there, staring. Then, his heart leapt in his chest when she turned and their eyes met.

Kalisa stared at Deandre. Finally, she thought. Two weeks had passed and still she hadn’t seen him and just as she was beginning to wonder if she ever would, there he was. Her eyes ran eagerly over his tall frame. She was oblivious to what was going on around her. People were moving about, hurrying to leave the university and head off to wherever they were planning to go. The lobby was soon clear and it was just the two of them.

Heart pounding, she walked over to him. When she reached him, she gazed up at him, longing to throw herself at him. “Hello, Deandre,” she said quietly.

Deandre couldn’t believe his eyes. Kalisa was here in Jacksonville, on the university campus, standing in front of him. “Kalisa?”

“Yes. Are you surprised to see me?”

He shook his head, dazed. “Yes, I am. What are you doing here?”

“I applied to come to this university and was accepted. The couple I’m staying with are my sponsors. They sponsored me through FACES Africa. They are very nice people. They treat me like I’m their daughter. They don’t have any children of their own.”

“I thought I saw you earlier today but thought I was imagining things.”

“Are you pleased to see me?”

“Yes, I am.”

“How are you?”

“I’m fine. What about you?”

“I’m fine. You’re looking well.”

“So are you.”

To her ears, they sounded like two strangers having a polite conversation, a far cry from the two lovers who had given themselves to each other on the beach that last evening they spent together. How she wished they were back in Kigali instead of here. “The students at the center asked me to say hello to you.”

“That’s nice of them. How are they doing?”

“They’re doing well. They want me to send them pictures of you and the university.”

“Kalisa, do you have a ride home?”

She shook her head. “No. I take the bus.”

“I’ll give you a ride home.”

“All right.” It would give them the opportunity to be together. She followed him to his car. Something was wrong. She could tell by the way he looked at her that he was still attracted to her but something had changed.

“Kalisa, I have something to tell you,” he said when they were outside of the house where she was staying.

Dread filled her as she turned to face him. “Yes?”

“You asked me if I was pleased to see you and I said yes. That was true. However, your being here complicates things.”

“What do you mean?” she asked. “You’re–you’re not married, are you?” There wasn’t a ring on his finger but that didn’t mean anything. Some married men didn’t wear rings.

“No, I’m not married but I have a girlfriend.”

Her heart sank. “You have a girlfriend?”

“Yes. I should have told you this when we were in Kigali. I tried not to get involved with you but I couldn’t help myself.”

“I-I guess your girlfriend is the reason why you didn’t offer to keep in touch with me.”

“Yes,” he replied quietly, his eyes restless on her face. How he longed to take her in his arms and kiss her.

“I-I understand,” she said in a low voice. She could feel the tears welling up and she quickly unfastened her seatbelt. “Thanks for the ride.” She thrust the door open and climbed out. The tears fell now as she hurried, almost ran to the porch. After fumbling for the key in little zipper compartment in her knapsack, she let herself in and closed the door. She leaned against it for a moment before she tugged off her shoes and carrying them in her hand, she ran upstairs to her bedroom.

Dropping her shoes and knapsack on the carpet, she rushed over to the bed and threw herself down on top of it, sobbing. Fortunately, no one was at home to hear her. She stayed in her room for the rest of the afternoon and didn’t leave it until it was time for dinner.

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