by Dayo Israel
It was a sunny but breezy evening in Houston, Texas as I had lunch with family and friends. Suddenly pulling up in front of our beautiful house was Jola – my protégé and someone who had always gone out of her way to make sure I was comfortable and happy.
Seeing as it was a good American afternoon, Jola suggested we take a walk to enjoy the scenery. We had no destination, but it was worth the walk – we held hands as we went down the streets to the park at the end of the road with the breeze blowing sweet sounds to our ears.
Seeing it was a grassy park without seats, we stooped to conquer. She looked around to confirm that the area was mosquito free; whilst I did what I know to do best – take pictures. Pictures freshen the memoir as good music is to the heart. We started by talking about how the week was and eventually transited into relationship talks. She spent half the time uprooting clean grass and weaving them together as I shared my thoughts on some issues especially on relationship.
Jola: You know I can counsel you on relationship.
Me: Whatever… how many relationships have you been in?
Jola: Oh wow….don’t underestimate me
Me: (Laughing hard)…You joker.
As she weaved the grass together whilst I spoke, she paused and exclaimed…
Jola: Something just dawned on me. I’ve never actually been on a date. I’ve gone out with friends on several occasions, but nothing serious. You know, when you dress up to kill and all. Not me.
That struck a chord inside me, as I knew she had a lot of challenges concerning relationship and she always being there for me, I thought – this could be my way of making her happy.
Me: So what are you doing tomorrow night pumpkin?
Jola: Stop! I am not going anywhere with you o.
Me: What are you doing? [Giving her the serious look]
We went back and forth on whether she was free the next night and trust yours, sincerely I won. She agreed to go on a date with me and planned to wear a T shirt and jeans so I’d know just how casual she took things, as we are really good friends. I objected.
As she went to work the next morning, I called to remind her of our date later that evening. She responded unseriosly and I laughed inside of me.
I had never been on a date before; I had never planned a date before; but I wanted to make history. I wanted to make her smile again; I wanted to make her happy, so for me this wasn’t going to be just casual, it had to be special – the full component of a date.
Suddenly I realised that there are few things in life you can do without help but this wasn’t one of them. There and then I picked up the phone to call her best friend Carmen to ask for some help.
Carmen: Mister Israel…wassup
Me: Am aight, I have a mission and I need your help.
Carmen: Shoot, anything for you.
Me: It’s Jola, she mentioned to me that she’s never been on a date before so I thought it would be a great idea to take her out on a date and I need us to do this together.
Carmen: That’s a great idea, she hasn’t been too happy lately and I’ve been looking for a way to make her smile so this sounds like a great idea. Where do we start?
I listed what I expected her to do. This was going to be a home date so Carmen’s house was going to be the location. I needed her to arrange the house, switch off all the lights and light up the house with candles instead. I needed an expensive bouquet of roses, a nice dress/gown, very romantic CD’s that would spice up the evening – of which she asked for my favourite and I suggested “Brian Adams and Brian McKnight”.
We discussed the meals and my choice of fruit for starters. I must confess Carmen is a good cook. She makes this fish – a taste of which can make you forget your name.
At exactly 3:33 p.m., I sent her a text message wanting to know if she was looking forward to the night. She affirmed so and we kept texting back and forth. I reminded her to look her best. Naughty lady she was, she said she was planning on dressing casual and I insisted that she wear a dress since I was wearing a tuxedo. I kept texting to make sure she was heeding to my words; one of which was “flow with the river so you don’t get drowned”.
She became very nervous. We agreed that I was going to pick her up at 8 o’clock.
In the meantime, I was liaising with Carmen to ensure that everything was going according to plan. She confirmed that she’d gotten the dress, the big box of flowers and wine but couldn’t get Bryan Adams so I settled for Brian McKnight and John Legend (some guys in London call me John Legend, for unknown reasons). If only I’d known, I probably would have requested for Wande Coal’s ‘Kiss your Hand’, but since I’m not into secular music, I only found out about songs like that when I visited Nigeria. (You know when you’re in Nigeria, you don’t need to buy a CD – the music guy down your street is blasting it, the DJ playing for the party on the next street is blasting it and if you have the privilege of riding an okada – you might be lucky to get one with a music player – blasting the same song). For tonight, ‘Back at One’ by Brian McKnight was just perfect.
At about 6pm, I had all my clothes at the back of my car as I sped from Missouri City towards Highway 6 where I was to attend a midweek service before heading out on my date. As 7.30pm approached, I excused myself from the service and went into the Pastor’s office to change – off I went.
As I drove down from Bissonett, I kept texting her to let her know I was on my way. Apparently her sister, Shola, heard about the date and was getting her dressed, making her up and all! Her little brother, Africano, was waiting earnestly to see the “gentleman” that was making her sister dress up that much. Jola later told me of how Shola moisturized her hair and made sure her entire look was set. She walked her outside the room to take pictures and teased her.
I kept texting Jola as I headed her way, reminding her to ensure that she had the “make-me-faint” look.”
At exactly 8.12, I pulled over at her door and asked her sister for “My Date”. She blushed and stepped out gracefully. Being the gentleman that I am, I opened the door for her, and off we went. We talked and talked; she claimed she didn’t bother to ask where we were going because her mind was made up – she was going go with the flow.
This true romantic story will be completed on Monday, 14th February, 2011. With Love, from YNaija!
Photo credit: Dayo Israel | Networkedblogs.com