October 21, 2012
I was standing by the staircase at Silverbird Galleria after a movie. Helen and I were gisting about what most 21st century girls gist about in their mid-twenties. I had not noticed Elvis until he got quite close to us.
“Mademoiselle …”, he began.
I stopped talking and looked at him. Helen cleared her throat and excused herself to take a look at some jewelry nearby. We had been friends a while and she had gotten used to being completely ignored when men walked up to me. She wasn’t ugly though. In fact, in some environments, she was actually beautiful but standing beside me was, I dare say, like the moon, as beautiful as it is, standing beside the sun. Please forgive me Helen. I love you. Mmuah!
“Monsieur” I responded in the little French I knew wondering whether he would keep speaking French. His French must have been flawless from the way he pronounced ‘Madmoiselle’. He was definitely attractive and could have made a fortune just toasting girls for a fee (from the girsls themselves).
“How was your flight?”
“Sorry…” I was actually stammering. Unbelievable.
“How was your flight, ma belle dame?”
“My flight? …” I was trying to articulate the question.
He wore a black fedora which cast a shadow over his upper face but I could see his eyes looking straight into mine very squarely. His confidence was intimidating. Normally it’s men who stammer during an encounter with me.
“I am sure I could not be mistaken. The perfection in your appearance convinces me that you came in recently from the Third Heaven. How was your flight?”
He smiled. I had started laughing before he finished. I caught Helen staring from a few metres away. I had heard many lines but this Third heaven line was almost blasphemous. Thus began our roller coaster relationship in which Elvis Lartey was the wind and I was elephant grass in the middle of the Sahara.
He was Ghanaian. When Mama noticed I had been going out with him for more than two months, miraculously, she asked whether he could speak Igbo. I just laughed and joked that I was learning Twi since we were planning to live in Ghana. “Hoa!” she exclaimed and went on with her chores.
Thinking back, I realize there was never any depth in our discussions. I guess it was just a case of Ronaldo meets Messi. Both of us were players. No questions about children, or long term plans, or genotype, or even where each of us preferred to settle. The discussions at our dates bordered on movies, fashion and current events. We just were not thinking about family, just fun. I knew I was losing it. I still prayed on my own. Once in a while he went to church with me and then we went out to lunch afterwards. Till date I still wonder how he made all the money he spent on me just by working in a Bank as a teller. Our dates usually ended in his house, on his couch, cuddling and proceeding on the borders of forbidden activities. I always asked for forgiveness when I got home. I could almost hear him yelling “leave that man alone”.