An Unusual Love Affair
There he stood, his hands moving like an artists’. I am lost for a while, observing him. He is [only] a person making brooms – one set was what is commonly called in our country as the hard broom. Another delicate set lay a little further away from him. They looked more like flower buds. I pick one up and look at it carefully. Before I realize, I find that I have remarked that it looks more like a flower and it is a shame that they should be used as broom. But anyway, that is immaterial in comparison to what followed.
I am with my colleagues. I honestly don’t remember clearly how we came to be there. It is in a lucid, secret corner of the country. There is a green meadow surrounding this man’s house, which is a two storeyed house with a wide verandah – and that is where he works. He does not even seem to cultivate his field. By the look of it, he seems to live on this trade. Right across his house is a blacktopped road (the color a bit washed away). I think to myself that it is strange that such a small corner of the country should have got road a long time ago. This road is bordered by broad-leaved forest, which adds to the serenity of the place. I first fall in love with the place. Then, I catch eyes of the man.
All this while, I am lost in my own thoughts, my colleagues have bought quite a large number of hard broom and when I notice, they are putting them in a sack. I quietly pull out the gentler broom and indicate to the man that I want to buy that. I find myself taken aback by the price. It is just Nu 5.00. I don’t have change. So I pay him Nu 500.00. He takes quite a while in counting the change. Before he has handed over the change to me, my colleagues have left the place. I quickly go up the ladder (stranger still that the exit should be from the top floor and not where the verandah is). I count the change as I walk and find that he has actually slipped into my hands a huge amount of money. I run back to him to tell him that he has mistakenly given me more than was owed.
He stood next to the fence, where he has a friend working on it. As I step in front of him, a little breathless from the rush, he pulls me over in his arms and kisses me on my lips. And at that moment, all differences seem to have fallen apart. I am drowned by the emotions in his eyes and it didn’t matter that he couldn’t speak. As I write this, I remember how gentle his lips and hands were despite being a person on the farm. He tells me that he wanted me to take the money and he refuses to take it back. Anyway, he walks with me, in a way of seeing me off. As we leave his house, I see that his wife is at the back of his house, pushing swing for children. I didn’t notice earlier that there is a small park behind his house. I am unsure if I should go and inform his wife that I am now leaving – and then, I choose not to go.
Still feeling little butterflies in my heart, we walk on. My colleagues are waiting near a stream, every one of them looking at us, as if they have some kind of suspicion of wrongdoing. I feel a little guilty, firstly for having come without saying goodbye to his wife, and secondly for making my colleagues wait. We walk up to them, both of us smiling, acknowledging their presence. Suddenly, he is nowhere to be seen. Panic runs down me. Did he leave and I didn’t know? Did he feel ignored? The burden on my heart is heavier than the guilt now. I have fallen for him in the duration of two hours and it didn’t matter that he couldn’t speak.