By Tashinga Wazara, Zimbabwe:
I had often daydreamed about how I would meet 'the one'. I had imagined it happening in a supermarket somewhere, where I would reach for a loaf of bread and as I did so I would suddenly see another hand reaching for that same loaf of bread and look to the side and see the most beautiful woman I had ever laid my eyes on. We would look at each other and our chemistry would be immediate. She would smile at me and in so doing render me speechless and weak at the knees and then she would say, in the most angelic voice I had ever heard, 'Uhm it's ok, you can take it' then I would immediately decline and implore her to take it then we would enter into this tug of war as to who should take the loaf of bread. I would then strongly insist and then she would reluctantly accept and I would reach out my hand and say, 'Hi, I'm John'. She would shake my hand and then tell me her name and it would be something perfect like Anastasia and I would walk her to the till and when we got outside I would ask her for her number. She would give it to me then leave and I would stand there, outside the supermarket, watching her walk away, trying to comprehend what had just happened. I would then come to my senses and wonder what I was doing outside the supermarket still holding my phone out and suddenly I would remember that I left my shopping basket by the confectionary section and rush back in to finish my shopping. I would think about her all day and how amazing she was then that night I would call her and we would have the most stimulating conversation about nothing and everything. What would happen next is a story worthy of any Hollywood romantic movie.
However, that's not quite how it happened at all. I actually met the woman that I thought was the one on a bus on my way to work. She was sitting next to me and the conductor came by collecting the bus fare and when he got to us she started frantically searching through her purse and realized that she didn't have any money. The conductor then told the driver to stop the bus so she could get off but then I told him not to and I paid for her. I remember her looking at me slightly perplexed because she didn't understand why I would just do that for her, a stranger I had never met. We then started talking casually and when I got to my stop she told me that she was going to find me and pay me back. I smiled at her and told her to have a good day then I left.
About a month later I got into one of the local coffee shops in town and I saw her sitting at one of the tables in there alone. I walked up to her with a smirk on my face and said, 'I think you owe me some money'. At first she just looked at me clearly puzzled. Then after a couple of seconds the penny dropped and she burst out laughing. 'Oh you're the guy who paid for my bus fare a few weeks ago!' she said. She introduced herself as Rose and asked me to join her at her table and I did and we had coffee together. From then on we started talking regularly and hanging out but the weird thing is that we always hung out at my place or we'd meet up somewhere. We never met at her place. For five months I never knew where she lived. She would always say, 'If you knew where I lived then you wouldn't like me' and brush it off. It used to bother me but I guess over time I got used to it and kind of forgot about it. We started dating and it was great. She was a free spirit and very opinionated and I liked that. She understood me and we were friends more than we were lovers. The only problem was that she worked the night shift at a call centre so we would have to make a concerted effort to find time to be with each other during the day but we made it work.
On our six months anniversary I got her a silver necklace with a locket and a picture of her and I inside. As I gave it to her I told her that I loved her. She gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear that she loved me too. It was a very special moment for us. At this point we had been together for six months and I was really starting to take our relationship seriously. I really liked her. However, I didn't feel like I could give her my whole heart because there were too many missing pieces like about where she lived. I had still never been to her place. I didn't even know that many of her friends, only a few and we were always in my territory, never hers. I then decided that it was important for me to find out, for the sake of our relationship. I wanted everything out in the open, no secrets.
So I decided that after one of the days that we hung out I would follow her home and see where she lived. She had said that I wouldn't like her if I knew where she lived but I wanted to show her that I liked her unconditionally. She came over to my place and we had lunch then at 4pm she had to go so I walked her to the bus stop. She got on the bus and as it left I got into a cab and asked the cab driver to follow the bus. She got off about fifteen minutes later and walked down two blocks and entered this old looking apartment building. I quickly got out of the cab and followed behind her, not close enough for her to see me and not too far for me not to see where she was going. I was actually pretty impressed by my detective skills.
She got onto the first floor and I saw her go in to one of the apartments. I felt a huge weight go off my shoulders. Finally, I knew where she stayed! I slowly walked up to her apartment door, excited. She was going to get the biggest shock of her life when she saw me there! I stood by the door for a couple of seconds and I could hear voices inside. 'It's probably one of her flat mates' I thought to myself. Then I knocked. Nobody heard me. I knocked again, this time a bit louder. Then Rose came and opened the door. When she saw me she was in utter complete shock and before she could say or do anything a man came up from behind her and held her and said, 'Who is it honey?' He had a ring on his finger and when I looked at Rose's hand so did she.
Suddenly I felt all the strength in my body leave me as my brain processed this new information: Rose was married. I was speechless. I had so much I wanted to say, so many questions but at the same time I was speechless. I just stood there. It was a very awkward moment and in the end I just muttered, 'Sorry, I think I'm at the wrong place' and I turned round and walked away. I got downstairs and I didn't know what to do. I was in such a blur and I just picked a direction and started walking. I walked and walked and walked. This had to be the worst day of my life. Did that just really happen? How did I not see it coming? How could she do this to me? I felt like such a fool.
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