Addison’s heart found its way out of his mouth onto the table. Although it might as well have fallen on spikes and been run over by a parade of elephants. For a few moments, he could hear nothing save the crushing of his heart under Amerley’s feet.
Numbed by her rejection, he didn’t hear the waiter bring in their meals and was startled by his sudden presence at the table. Addison jerked in his seat, knocking over a glass of water. He shot up from his chair and gave the waiter a stern glare; deflecting his anger and disappointment from Amerley to him.
The waiter apologised profusely, soaking up the water with his apron. Amerley casually moved her bag away from the pool of water overflowing from their table and watched the entire spectacle placidly. Before the waiter turned to leave, Amerley motioned for him to box up her meal to go. Addison looked at her, more confused than ever before, and wiped the water from between his thighs. Feeling defeated, he sat back down. After a brief moment of contemplation, he asked through parched and trembling lips,
“Why Amerley? Why won’t you marry me?”
“It just wasn’t working out for me anymore. It hasn’t been working for a very long time,” she answered, her eyes still on the phone.
“Not work…ing for you any…more? But…but we’ve been good, haven’t we?” Addison asked, holding back tears.
“We haven’t been good for a very long time. Okay! And the fact that you haven’t noticed, is why we simply can’t get married.”
Just then the waiter brought her to-go pack, interrupting the exchange. He placed it carefully on the table and left. Not waiting another second, Amerley got up to leave.
“I’m sorry, Addy,” she said with prescribed emotions as she picked up her takeaway pack. “I wish you all the best. I really do. And I hope you find someone who will make you happy.”
With that she grabbed her handbag from the table and walked away, never once looking back or even giving Addison the chance to ask further questions. He looked at her as she cat-walked down the aisle, swinging from side to side in the sexy wedge heels he bought for her on Val’s Day barely a month ago.
Dazed and alone in the wake of her cold rejection, he picked up the ring box from the table, stuffed it into his pocket, called the waiter, and settled the bill. As he walked toward his car, he ruminated over the incident and over their 3-year-long relationship. He stopped mid-stride, took out the ring, muttered to himself, and put it back in his pocket. That ring was worth two months of his salary. It had taken him about 6 months to save up for that and their wedding.
At his car, he put the key in the keyhole of the door, turned it twice, and banged on the door to open it. That was the routine. He’d been meaning to fix the lock for months, but other expenses took precedence. Like the engagement ring. Slumped in the driver’s seat, he shut his eyes, leaned his head against the headrest, and stretched his arms on the wheel, looking for answers to the many questions on his mind. When his phone rang, he thought it was Amerley calling to say she’d changed her mind. It wasn’t. It was Kumi, probably calling to find out about the proposal. He let the phone ring. He wasn’t ready to talk about it.
Perfunctorily, he picked up the key from the cup holder where he’d dropped it earlier and turned it in the ignition. After 3 turns and several pumps of the accelerator, the car sputtered to a start and he put the gear in reverse. Without looking behind him, he backed up from his spot. Suddenly, there was a loud crunching noise and the car jolted heavily as he rammed into something. He looked through his rear-view and saw he’d hit a car. Reflexively, he put the car in first gear, moved it to its previously parked position, and stepped out. Behind him was a flashy silver BMW M3 with a dented driver’s door. His heart fluttered. This could not be happening right now. First, a painful rejection, now this. He stood at the boot of his car, expecting the driver to jump out of BMW cursing at him. But all was quiet and the tinted windows made it difficult to see who or what was happening inside. After waiting a while for the driver to come out of the car, he knocked on the window. It cracked open slightly to reveal a lady on her phone. She motioned for him to give her a minute and rolled the window back up. Addison took the time to examine the damage on his car; a black 2004 Nissan Primera he’d bought from a work colleague 5 years ago. Using the dim light at the car park, he observed that his back bumper had been dented and hung loose. The left taillight was completely shattered and his boot wouldn’t shut, even when he pressed down hard on it. He started to calculate the cost of the damage to both cars.
Before he settled on a number, the lady in the BMW came out of the car. Her eyes went from Addison to his car and then to hers. Addison recognised her as the lady who sat by herself in the restaurant. By his estimation, she was about 26, a few years younger than he was, and most likely from a wealthy home, because as far as he was concerned, nobody that young should be able to afford a car like that. Otherwise, Addison thought she looked stunning in her dainty red polka-dotted dress that enhanced her shapely physique. About 5’3’’, she stood on 4-inched heels and her perfume was potent enough to impregnate the entire neighbourhood.
“Are you okay? I’m so sorry, I don’t know what happened,” Addison said, breaching the awkward silence.
“I’m fine. I just need to send the details of the damage to the workshop,” she said with an accent slightly affected by time spent abroad. Possibly America, Addison deduced.
She looked at the damage on her car, walked over to his car, and took a picture of it with her phone, capturing the number plate. She moved back to her car and repeated same, the bracelets on her wrists dangled and jiggled as she moved about. Finally, she reached into her purse and handed Addison a business card. Written in bold lettering was, ‘Luna A. Wilberts’ with a number underneath it.
“Call me tomorrow morning and we’ll settle it.”
“If you don’t come, I have your car number and now I have your picture,” she said as she snapped a photo of him, giggling to herself as she got back in her car and drove off.
When her taillights faded in the distance, Addison landed on an estimated cost of the damage on her car alone – another month’s salary just went down the drain. He sighed, overwhelmed with the collective emotions from both his heartbreak and the accident, he slumped onto the floor near his warped bumper with tears in his eyes. After a while, he got into his car, and drove home.
Right after his morning meeting the next day, he called Luna. There was no answer. An hour later she called him and asked to meet at a workshop about 30 minutes from his office. Addison knew that workshop. It was where the top dogs took their cars, and their prices were double what he paid his neighbourhood mechanic. He recalculated his previous estimate.
It was lunch hour when he got there. Luna came out of one of the offices of the workshop looking ravishing in another short outfit. She might as well have stepped out of a fashion magazine, Addison mused. Her light skin tone was so smooth and even textured it looked like she’d never suffered the heat of the sun.
“Hi!” She said with a bright smile on her face.
“Umm…Hello Miss Luna,” he responded politely, stretching out his hand to shake hers. She waved instead. They were soon joined by a burly man from behind one of the cars.
“Cobra, this is the guy who reversed into my car,” she said pointing to Addison.
“Errhn?” Cobra said wiping grease from in between his fingers with a grease-soiled rag.
Addison swallowed hard. Cobra offered his hand and gave him an extra firm handshake, crushing Addison’s knuckles in the process.
“Champion, e be you spoil my madam ein car, ehn? Why, if you dey drive you no dey watch your back?” He asked in Pidgin, his voice deep and heavy.
“Where your car dey,” Champion interrupted. Addison obediently led him to the back of his car for an inspection.
“Heh, your car spoil o,” he said laughing. “But e no be problem. We fit do am. We go change the taillight. The ‘bomper’ too we go straight am. We finish aaa, we go spray.”
Addison looked at him confused.
“Abi we go spray the car all?” He shouted over to Luna as he continued his walk around the car, stopping occasionally to scrutinise an idle bump or scratch on the car.
“Mmm…” Luna pondered.
“Make we do the car all,” he answered himself.
“Okay, you’re the boss,” Luna agreed.
“Umm…please I don’t understand, what’s…” Addison stammered.
“The bill go go your ol’ boy ein der, abi?” Cobra asked, ignoring Addison.
“Yes, I’ve spoken to him already. He’s expecting it. Add a little extra for yourself.”
“Take the key give madam,” the burly mechanic commanded. “We finish aaa we go call you,” he said as he walked away.
“Ms. Luna,” Addison asked as he walked towards her. “I don’t mean to be rude, but what is going on? I thought I was coming here to pay for your damages, not to have mine fixed.”
“Don’t look so worried!” Luna laughed. “It’s okay. It’s taken care of.”
“Taken care of… How? Why?” he asked.
“A little good goes a long way, and I can tell you need a little sunshine in your life right now.”
“I…I don’t know what to say…Thank you. I’m just so confused right now.”
Addison’s phone rang.
“I’m sorry, I have to get back to the office now. I have a meeting I can’t be late for.”
“That’s okay, just take out anything of value from the car and leave the keys with me. I’ll make sure they get it.”
He dove back into his car excitedly, emptied the contents of his glove compartment into a black plastic bag, locked the doors, and gave the keys to Luna.
“I’ll be on my way then.”
“How are you going?”
“By taxi, I guess.”
“Wait here. I’ll be right back.”
Seconds later, a sleek white Range Rover Vogue pulled up in front of him. She rolled down the tinted windows and waved him to join her inside.
“Let me drop you.”
Addison thought he was in a dream. He gaped at the car and closed his mouth when a fly whizzed past. She smiled, put on her shades, and asked, “Are you coming or not?”
In response, he speed-walked around the slick hood of the car and hopped into the passenger seat, dropping the items he’d picked up from his car on the backseat.
to be continued…