I sat with my friend Nana as we settled in for the four-hour journey putting our snacks and water bottles in the back pockets behind the seats. We were fussing over who got the window seat.
“Hey! Where are you ladies from? I heard an American accent,” he flashed a smile our way as Nana and I were trying to put our travel bags away.
We paused and looked up at his tall frame in front of us. I hadn’t really paid much attention to him as we shuffled along the aisle trying to pick our seats. I wanted the window seat so I was on the lookout for a row where both seats were open.
“I’m from California and my friend here is from New York,” I said as we settled into our seats, I-pods primed to go.
“Ah! I’m also from New York,” he smiled again.
Beautiful smile, I thought to myself.
He reached his long arms across and shook first Nana ’s, then mine.
“Pleasure to meet you both!”
He faced our seats, kneeling on his. After chatting awhile, he packed up his travel comforts, his I-pad and his scarf, and moved to the seat right across the aisle from ours. Shoot! He was closer to Nana now. I could barely make out the gist of the conversation taking place. I finally gave up trying to join in and returned to my book brooding silently.
He was cute. What I could see of his face at least. His face was chiseled with high cheek bones and sunken cheeks that dropped down into a hard jawline with a goatee finishing the drop down. His minor mustache was clean and precise. I’d steal a glance each time he asked a question that I’d managed to hear. He was curled up in the seat, trying to contain his 6’4’’ frame in the row.
I wasn’t looking for any romantic entanglements. But I’d date him, I thought, but quickly dismissed the thought because I was sure Nana was closer to his age and definitely more suited to his tastes seeing as they shared a common land. Plus I’d had two recent painful experiences with those young ones. All they were was trouble.
I finished my book, Etornam’s Story, by a good friend of mine. As I smiled at the romance that had blossomed through the pages of the book, I thought about the stranger I had just met.
Ah well, it wouldn’t do to think of something that wouldn’t go anywhere. After a while the conversation between Nana and him dwindled, and I quizzed her on what she had learned about our new friend.
“Do you like him?” She wanted to know after my stream of questions died down.
“He’s ok.” I lied. Plus I’m not looking for anything right now, remember?” I grimaced.
“Do you like him?” It was my turn to ask the question, dreading the answer. She shrugged, but gave no answer. I knew she was seeing someone but she had mentioned it wasn’t going so great.
We settled into a comfortable silence and concentrated on our individual projects. After about another half hour James engaged us in conversation again. This time I propped myself on the back of my seat so I could join in. He had left a whole host of family back home. He was missing the city life, electricity, running water and internet. He was finding Ghana a bit of a challenge; he was a liberal. When we were done talking this time, we exchanged numbers, Twitter handles, FB names, emails. We retreated into our silences again convinced that with all these ways to contact each other, there was no way we’d lose track of each other.
At the rest stop halfway through the trip, I stole a glance at him as he languidly unfolded himself from the corner and proceeded to leisurely strut down the steps to go get a snack. When Nana and I returned from our break, he was already folded up neatly in his corner.
The rest of the trip went uneventfully until we arrived at our station. I had no romantic inclination towards him, I convinced myself as we said our goodbyes. He belonged to Nana as far as I was concerned. Nana and I parted ways some thirty minutes later, and we left the wonderful world of vacation behind.