I was 19 years old the first time I ever went on a date. This guy was dynamite, but age has taught me that the definition of dynamite will continuously change as you grow older, wiser and your preferences change. So, let’s just say he was dynamite at the time. I crushed over him with every fibre in my body. He had asked to have lunch with me, which to me, was a big deal. Usually, we would hang out in his shoe size campus room with a bunch of his pals, and he would crack me up so hard. I was convinced there was no one funnier on this planet.
The lunch date was fixed for 1.00pm on Sunday at Antonios in the CBD near The Cathedral. I went to Ngara market a few days before and purchased a set of matching leather pants and jacket. For the longest time, I had wanted to own and don a leather outfit and wasn’t this the perfect occasion? The two set me off my pocket-money for a whole month but I cared less. Love will make you do stupid things.
At 11.30am, the city was alive. An ongoing church session was entirely audible from the stage where I waited to board a bus. A gust of wind sent some polythene bags flying across the road. This was 2003 when polythene bags were very much alive. The air was quite chilled which was perfect for my outfit. However, by the time I was getting to town, the sun shone with so much vengeance and I regretted my outfit choice.
I got to Antonios at 12.30pm, half an hour earlier than our pre-agreed time. It’s not that I was a stickler for time, but if it is not obvious to you by now, this date meant the world to me. I was anxious. Would he like my outfit, one that I had spent my life savings on? Would I like his? Scratch that, because obviously he would still strike me as Zeus even if he rocked up in a gunny bag. Would he chew loudly or worse still with his mouth open? What if we ran out of things to talk about before the meal was over? I had positioned myself strategically with a clear view of the entrance.
Just as I was getting overwhelmed with anxiety, he strolled in at 12.55pm simply dressed in blue rugged jeans and a white t-shirt. This is where my love for white t-shirts began. His hair was dishevelled, adding panache to his bad boy demeanour. My body melted as he approached me.
“Where’s your bike?” He asked as I stood up to hug him.
“I didn’t see any motor bike parked outside. Where did you park it?” He pressed on.
“I don’t own a motor bike.” I answered.
“Your outfit says you do!”
From that point onwards, everything was downhill. Following his lead, I ordered for roast chicken and chips. I scanned around for the washroom as I needed to get my hands clean for the feast. I couldn’t spot them and neither could I ask my date. When our meals came, he grabbed his cutlery and went ahead to slice off some meat, fork it and eat it like he was born in the royal family. I wasn’t about to embarrass myself by using my hands, dirty ones nevertheless, so I followed suit. I was nervous. As soon as I tried getting some meat off the bone with the knife, the chicken flew off my plate and landed on his.
“The washrooms are downstairs. You can use your hands, you know.” He grinned as he pointed towards the stair case. So much for not wanting to embarrass myself.
It’s been 15 years since that fateful Sunday, yet, I recall it vividly. My memory is worse than a goldfish’ but I don’t have a problem recalling my firsts. First time to travel on a plane, first time I saw (not met, saw) the mister, first time having an alcoholic drink, first time giving birth, first time I used a Macbook…the list is endless. Yesterday marked another first for me which reminded me of my first date.
After procrastinating for months, I finally got myself a fitness watch. In the past, I would strap my phone on my arm with an armband and hit the road. I’ve done this for close to two years and my phone has done an amazing job of tracking my runs. However, I would feel at a loss when I worked out at the gym or went swimming because my phone would not track those activities. And given that those moments were few and far between, I did not see the urgency in getting a fitness watch. Until one Sunday evening when I was running with my friend Mash. He bolted like a cat that had just sported its meal. I was hot on his heels.
My armband kept loosening up and I would force it back into place, but the gap between Mash and I kept widening. I wasn’t about to let a freaking worn out armband kill my momentum, so I unstrapped it, pulled my phone out and threw the armband by the roadside. I didn’t mean to litter, but the stakes were high. That day, I covered 15kms with my phone in my hand. It was exhausting. When I got home, I logged onto to Amazon and purchased a Tomtom Spark 3 Cardio + Music with bluetooth earphones. I had three more frustrating runs having had to carry my phone in my hand and I couldn’t wait for my gadget to get here. It did finally, on Saturday morning.
It was awkward at the beginning. I was nervous, just like I would be allowing a new guy into my space. I wondered how it would be to have him clinging on to me for over an hour. Would I get irritated? But most importantly, would he perform? Would he understand the level of my neediness and remember to feed my ego every so often with an update of my progress? How long would it take him to learn my rhythm?
Would I enjoy his company, or would he make me long for my ex with all his faults? I mean, I know for a fact that I was tired of carrying that old & bulky phone while running, but he always delivered. He always gave me accurate statistics at the end of every run. He never failed to complement me, telling me how well I was running after every kilometre and applauding me at the end of the run. But he had become more of a burden lately in the absence of the armband and I was no longer enjoying the relationship. Yet, here I was with a swanky Tomtom watch and instead of getting excited, I was nervous.
At 4.45am, my alarm went off. Right after finding my bearing and slipping into my joggers, I paired my watch with my earphones and waited. The sound quality was great. Afro Warriors’ Uyankentenza blasted from the miniscule speakers. I stepped outside the house into an icy breeze and took off lest I changed my mind. Being on a familiar route, I knew when I covered my first kilometre and was frustrated when no update was forthcoming. I checked my watch and in deed I had covered over a kilometre, but it couldn’t be bothered to update me. My number one fear had been confirmed. I would have to bring my new catch up to speed on my neediness and how he would need to talk to me every so often. All the same, he scored highly on all other fronts. I clocked in my all-time best speed for a 10km run. I guess I can finally let go of my ex.