Two Ships

Herieth-Paul2Ife saw him waiting for the elevator.  She tried not to make it obvious that she was watching him as she pushed the cart down the hallway.  She knew he was in no. 406, the Royal suite.  He was very handsome and a sharp dresser.  He must be rich, she thought.  This was a 5-star hotel he was staying in.

He was looking straight ahead and appeared to be in deep thought.  He didn’t notice her and when the elevator doors opened, he went inside.  After they closed behind him, she continued down the hallway to the different suites she still had to clean.  When she got to his, she looked around.  It was in impeccable order.  The bed looked like it hadn’t been slept in.  Out of all the suites on this floor, his was the one she didn’t mind cleaning.

As she got to work, she wondered how long he was staying in Kampala this time.  The last time it was for two weeks and the time before that, three.  He wasn’t the first Japanese businessman she had seen in the hotel or in Kampala.  More and more Japanese were flocking to the city to live, holiday or set up businesses.  Was he planning to live here or to set up a business?  What about his family?  Did he have a wife and children?  He looked young–in his mid to late thirties.

Well, it was none of her business.  A man like him would not be interested in her–a single mother working as a maid in a fancy hotel and living in a run-down neighborhood.  And they were from different cultures.  No, she would be better off finding and marrying a decent Ugandan man who wouldn’t mind being a step-father to her daughter.

Toshiro leaned against the tree, looking up at the hotel.  She was probably in his suite 62_ac32e335-d1d8-4e7c-bffa-e98b58858fd7now.  He knew that she was watching him as he waited for the elevator.  He could feel her eyes on him.  He appeared not to have noticed or acknowledged her but he had.   The temptation to look at her was very strong but he resisted.  She could be married for all he knew and he was in a relationship.

To be honest, he was staying at this hotel because of her.  The first time he saw her was last year when they passed each other in the hallway.   Their eyes met and held for a long time before she lowered hers.   Since then, he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her or wanting to see her again.  Perhaps, one of these days, he would say hello to her.  There was no harm in that, was there?

Just then a taxi pulled up in front of the hotel’s entrance.  He glanced at his watch.  It was time to go to the meeting.  Moving away from the tree, he hurried over to the taxi and climbed.   As it drove off, he glanced up at the fourth floor.  Hopefully, he would see her again tomorrow.

This is a prequel to Ife’s Toilet Crisis.

Falling in Love Again

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“I gave Anastasia the scarf you brought back from Kampala and she loves it,” Tomás said to his father.

“I hope you didn’t mind me buying her something.  It’s just that I saw it and thought of her.”

“No, no, I don’t mind at all.  She and I are just really good friends.  Papá, why don’t you ask her out?”

Salvador balked at the idea.  “You can’t be serious?”

“Why not?”

“I’m too old for her.”

“When it comes to love, Papá, age shouldn’t matter.”

“Is it that obvious?”

“That you’re in love with her?  To me it is.”

“What about her?  Do you know how she feels about me?”

“Well, she hasn’t come right out and said anything to me but I can tell that she feels the same way just from the way she acts whenever we talk about you.”

Salvador ran his fingers through his hair.  “I feel like a lovesick schoolboy,” he remarked.

Tomás grinned.  “It’s good to see you fall in love again.  It’s about time.  Mami has been dead for fifteen years now.  You need to get on with your life and be happy.  Anastasia is a fantastic girl.  The two of you will be very happy together.”

“So, you really think I should ask her out?”

“Yes!  Do it this afternoon when she stops by to thank you personally for the scarf.”

Salvador’s heart skipped a beat.  “She’s coming here this afternoon?”

“Yes.  Somehow, I don’t think the scarf is the real reason for her visit.  She missed you while you were gone and is very anxious to see you.”

“I missed her too.  I thought of nothing or no one else all that time I was in Kampala.”

“Good.  Then, the two of you can tell each other how much you missed each other in person.”  He glanced at his watch.  “I’d better be going or I’ll be late.”

Salvador watched him in alarm.  “Where’re you going?” he demanded.

“I’m going to the movies with the guys.  Papá, I mentioned this yesterday.”

“You’re going to leave me here alone with Anastasia?”

“Papá, you’re a big boy now.  You don’t need a chaperone.  Gotta run.  I’ll call you tomorrow.”  And he was out of there before his father could say anything else.

Alone, Salvador went over to the sofa and sat down.  He was nervous.  He had never been alone with Anastasia before.  Tomás was always around.  What was he doing to do when she showed up?  Agitated, he got up from the sofa, slid the glass door open and went down the steps leading to the beach.  A walk would help to clear his head and calm his nerves.

Anastasia rang the bell but there was no answer.  She rang again twice.  Frowning, she tried the handle and the door opened.  She went inside, closed and locked it behind her.  After removing her shoes and leaving them on the mat in the foyer, she went into the living-room.  It was empty but the glass door was open.  She went out on to the terrace and looked.  She saw a lone figure walking along the water’s edge.  It was Salvador.  Her heart began to race in excitement.  She couldn’t wait to see him.  She missed him so much when he was in Kampala.  As soon as she heard that he was back, she had to come and see him.  Placing her satchel in one of the chairs, she opened it took out the beautiful scarf he bought her.  Smiling, she draped it about her shoulders and waited for him to come back.

When he came back sometime later, he saw her waiting for him on the terrace.  Nervous and excited he approached slowly, cautiously.  She had the scarf draped about her and was looking down at him as he stood at the bottom of the steps.  She looked so lovely.  He ached to take her in his arms but he shoved them into the pockets of his trousers, trying to look nonchalant.  “Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” she replied.  He had the most amazing eyes.  She wanted to run down the steps and throw her arms around him but she remained where she was.  Until she knew how he felt about her, she had to remain cool.  “I had to come by and thank you for the beautiful scarf.”

“I’m happy you like it.”

“Was this your first visit to Kampala?”

“Yes.”

“Did you like it?”

“Yes, I did.”

“It’s funny.  When I was living in Gulu, my family and I never visited Kampala which was a four hour drive away.  At one point I wanted to attend the university there but my parents wanted me to go to Uganda Christian University instead and I’m happy I did.  I would like to go to Kampala one of these days, though.”

He wanted to say, I’d love to take you, but instead, he said, “You’ll like it.”

It was still bright although it was almost seven in the evening.  “It must be nice living at the beach,” she remarked, turning to gaze at the waves as they rolled onto the sand.

“It is,” he agreed.  A long pause while he wrestled with himself.  Finally, he asked, “Do you have any plans for the evening?”

She looked at him.  “No.”

“Would you like to stay and have dinner with me?”

“Yes,” she said without the slightest hesitation and that was very encouraging for him.

Smiling, he went up the steps.  “You can stay and relax out here while I go and get things ready.”

After he went inside, she folded the scarf and put it back into her satchel.  Then she sat down in one of the chairs facing the beach.  Twenty minutes later, he joined her, carrying two large plates of something which smelled really good.  “I thought we could eat out here and enjoy the view at the same time.”  He set the plates down on the table between the two chairs.  “I’ll be right back.”

She looked at what they were going to have.  It looked like meatballs in sauce served over rice and vegetables on the side.  It looked and smelled delicious, making her mouth water.

He returned with two glasses of sangria which he set on the table before he sat down in the other chair.  “I hope you enjoy the Spanish Style meatballs in a Sunny Mediterranean Sauce.  I don’t eat Pork so I used Chicken instead.”

“I don’t eat Pork either.  I’m sure I will enjoy this.”

He smiled.  “Buen apetito.”

They ate and she marveled at what a great cook he was.  She had never tasted meatballs this good before.  She wondered why Tomás never mentioned his father’s culinary skills.

It was while they were sipping the Sangrias when he turned to her, heart beating fast and said, “Anastasia, you don’t have any objections, I’d like to us to be in a relationship.”

She put her class down.  “I don’t have any objections,” she said.  “I’ve always wanted to be in a relationship with you.”

He put his glass down and stood up.  Reaching down, he took her hands and drew her to her feet.  Cupping her face between his hands, he kissed her.  Behind him the sun began to set, marking the end of another day but tomorrow it would rise again, marking the beginning of a new day.  That evening marked the beginning of a new relationship for them.

Don’t be afraid to fall in love again.  It’s God giving you another chance at happiness. 

Ife’s Toilet Crisis

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As Ife cleaned the toilet, she thought of how lucky these people were who could afford to travel and stay in fancy hotels when there were so many people there in Kampala who don’t have the luxury of private toilets.  Her daughter went to a school which didn’t have any toilets.  This meant that she had to use the bushes as a washroom.

Just recently, Ife’s ex-husband was charged and fined when he was caught urinating against a wall outside of a government building because there wasn’t anywhere else to go.  The toilets in buildings were locked and they wouldn’t let people off the streets use them.   She, herself was caught using this one by the Japanese businessman who occupied this suite.  In order for her to keep her job which she needed in order to support her daughter and herself and to use the toilet, she had to agree to his proposition.

She heard him now moving about in the bedroom.  He called out to her.  She flushed the toilet, washed her hands and joined him.  He was lying in the bed, waiting for her.  She took a deep breath and got undressed.

Two hours later, she went home.

200 Words

This story is in recognition of World Toilet Day which is today, Nov. 19.  Apparently, the toilet crisis is most severe in parts of Africa and Asia.  One in five primary schools and one in eight secondary schools globally don’t have any toilets, according to WaterAid.  World Toilet Day addresses the plight of millions who don’t have access to proper access to sanitation and whose lives are at risk.  The goal is to ensure that everyone has access to a safe toilet by 2030.

This was written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit Here.  To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.