Walking down the gangway, she was intoxicated with the prospect of meeting with Amir. Their last meeting was too short. It was in a shopping mall at Maputo. She ran into him at Bert’s pharmacy. He had a cold and was purchasing some pills.
“Hi Amir darling!”
“Oh Hi Anita”.
“How are you?”
“I am well thanks, and you?”
“Oh great, thanks”.
“Here’s your change sir” the cashier handed Amir his change. The local pharmacist handed him the med pack and reiterated the dosage.
Amir sneezed and coughed, blew his nose, spluttered out a big dose of phlegm into a foliage of tissue and discarded it into the bin.
“You don’t look too well sweetheart” Anita started. “I will cook you some pepper soup, the type that we ate in Nigeria when we went for that conference, with plenty spices. It will drive that cold and cough away.”
“Thanks Anita but I will be fine. I gotta run along. I will see you around.” Amir dashed outside to the waiting car. He had to be at the airport by 12.30pm latest if he was to catch that flight.
The last time he had a close encounter with Anita was in Lagos, Nigeria. It was during the annual West African conference on digital networking. They had stayed in the same hotel, Eko Suites on Victoria Island, Lagos. The conference finished most times about 5pm and they would afterwards have a buffet style dinner at 7pm. It was while in Nigeria, that they tried a lot of local cuisines. That was when Anita and Amir found out that they shared great love for food and local delicacies.
They spent endless hours after each buffet dinner talking about the foods they tried and how the foods tasted. The pepper soup was so spicy and peppery. They both loved it though, especially when eaten with plain boiled rice. Anita preferred hers with boiled yam if that option was available. The excellent thing about the P soup as they fondly called it was that it could serve as a starter, dessert or even main course. That was astonishing.
By the last night of the conference, Anita and Amir had developed a love for local cuisine bonding. They sat for hours after the dinner to talk about the different foods they had eaten in different continents. Then they struck a chord- Anita relished the ceviche meal in Peru, while Amir concurred with the papas rellanas meal of Bolivia. Both meals were served with potatoes and they salivated as they spoke about these meals. Anita demonstrated her love for the ceviche by talking about how she drank the left over citrus juice that was used in marinating the fish. Amir was impressed. The music was blaring from the pool side bar and it serenaded them. They walked over to the bar and ordered for drinks. They talked some more about the different travel experiences and finally ended up dancing.
Anita woke up in the morning not understanding how she got to the room. She tried to recollect what happened but she kept hitting a brick wall. She had a shower and went downstairs for breakfast. She bumped into Amir. Then the memories flooded back. Her heart thumped and raced.
Amir had been in Dubai for three years now and was beginning to settle down to life. His wife had joined him from Toronto and they were beginning to make Dubai their home.
It was a little after 8pm when he received a text message ‘I am in Crown Plaza hotel, room 245 let’s hook up’.
He replied ‘who’s this?’
He thought for a moment. Which Anita? A couple of Anitas’ ran through his mind. Still he couldn’t pin his mind to anyone and he didn’t want to get drawn in.
Few minutes later, another message arrived and that sound of pebble dropping in water signaled it, ‘I’m starving, should I wait for you so we eat together?’ the message read.
Amir moved to the living room. He quickly typed ‘which Anita is this?’
‘Anita your cuisine partner’, the reply came through.
His heart skipped a beat. Blood rushed to his face and his heart thumped.
What on earth would she be doing here? How on earth did she know that he was in Dubai.
A lot had transpired between that last meeting at the pharmacy in Maputo and now.
Amir’s life had transformed 360 degrees. He had gotten married to Isabella. Isabella had joined him from Toronto. They were trying to make Dubai their new home as they had both agreed to put in ten years ab initio in Dubai. They will try to make two babies and give them some sound private education before they head back to Canada, all things being equal.
Just two evenings ago, Amir and Isabella had had some conversation about transparency and here he was sneaking to text Anita.
The whole event of that night in Lagos flooded through his mind. Anita being drunk and him having to take her to her room. Anita trying to seduce him and him managing to escape her claws. He thought she was drunk and would never want to be seen taking advantage of a woman in a vulnerable state. Like the nursery rhyme, they used to sing goes ‘run run run, there’s fire on the mountain’, that’s what Amir did.
Better to be with a drunkard and know she is a drunk than with an actor or actress.
No amount of apology could assuage the damage that Anita had done. Amir avoided her like a plague.
The last time they spoke about it, wasn’t a delightful experience.
“But I was only trying to help you” Amir raised his voice. “Do you know what you could have caused me by your foolish behavior?”
“I am so sorry Amir dear” Anita begged. “I was under the influence of alcohol, I didn’t know what I was doing”
“Oh no. Go tell that to the marines. You knew exactly what you were doing because that morning when you saw me, you feigned ignorance and later in the office I overheard you telling Simbiat that you tried everything that night to …”
“I am sorry” Anita continued to plead.
“If I ever wanted you, you have to give yourself that respect and dignity for me to win you over under normal atmospheric pressure and not induced…” Amir could not complete his sentence as she interrupted him with her plea.
“Please I am willing to give you the opportunity to win me over’
Amir stormed off and since then he applied the law of scarcity.
How on earth did she trace me to Dubai? Amir kept pondering.
That’s a green snake in a green grass, he concluded. He walked straight to his wife and showed Isabella the text messages.