Valentine

“Do you really want to post that?” Liza held Danny’s hand and stopped him from hitting the share button to publish the post he had just typed in his Facebook app.

This was the second time she interrupted the stranger she shared the front seat of the trotro with. The earlier instance was to correct a grammatical error in the post. He wrote thought as taught. That was the first time Danny even noticed that someone sat beside him in the car.

“Huh?” Danny was shocked. He was confused. He was creeped out too. How long had she been reading his post?

“I don’t think you should post it. First, it is a pile of bullshit. You are obviously typing from a place of hurt and there is no objectivity in what you have typed. I can see through the post and tell that a lover jilted you, probably on Valentine’s day. Anyone who reads this can tell, although you tried not to tell your story. Your anger about the situation is making you bitter. Don’t be an agent of negativity. Don’t spread the hatred you are feeling”, Liza responded making Danny even more confused.

The young man needed time to recover from that abrupt TED talk. So, he said nothing.

“I’m sorry. Forgive me. Please, forgive me. That was unacceptable and rude of me. I should not be reading your post. I have no right to tell you what you should or should not share on your social media feed. How very inappropriate of me? Please, feel free. Go ahead if you want to. I am really out of line here. I’m really sorry. Just share it.” Liza went on.

“No, you are right”. Danny finally found his voice. “I should not post it. Thank you for stopping me from making a fool of myself. I am actually very angry right now and I guess I am not thinking straight”.

Liza smiled. She was relieved too. Danny was not angry at her for being inquisitive.

“You are also right to be sorry though. It was very discourteous of you to read my post”.

Liza bowed her head in shame. “I’m really sorry”, she whispered.

Danny did not respond. He was lost in thought about what led him to this point.

Earlier, while he waited for other passengers to join him in the vehicle so they move, he got a Facebook notification that someone had commented on his post. That was strange because he hadn’t made a Facebook post in a long time. Danny was in the category of people Facebook users called “The Matured”. Sometimes, that label pissed him off. At other times, he accepted it and thanked his stars for his inactivity on the social platform. He found so many people vitriolic these days and the altercations which came with it were bloody. “Better safe than sorry”, he reminded himself all the time.

When he clicked on the notification and it took him to the post, Danny sighed. Then, he chuckled. It was a poem he shared on his ex-girlfriend’s timeline on the same date the previous year.

Are all roses red?
Are violets blue?
I’ll put rose petals on the bed.
Then I’ll wait for you.
Dinner will be cooking.
I’ll put on my best clothes.
Out the window, I’ll keep looking.
But the curtains will be closed.
When you walk through the door.
I’ll greet you with a kiss.
I’ll lift you off the floor.
Since you’re tired, you won’t resist.
I’ll run you a hot bath.
With bubbles in the tub.
We’ll talk and we’ll laugh.
Then your shoulders I will rub.
Now that the mood is set.
And now you’re all mine.
There’s something I haven’t told you yet.
You’re my one and only valentine.

These were the original words of Michael C. Bryant. He found them through a random search in Google but they communicated exactly how he wanted to spend the Valentine’s Day with Yaa Abrefi – the lady he thought was the love of his life.

The following day did not happen as he wished. Yaa did not show up at the hotel he booked for them. She called the relationship off in a text message and till this day, she avoided seeing Danny to offer any kind of explanation for her actions.

Danny then ignored the comment and the post altogether and went back to the homepage of the app. He went straight to the space with the question, “What’s on your mind?” and typed, “Valentine is overrated”. The rest of his thoughts came out as hot as any dragon ever flamed. He typed one of those posts which should have a “Long Post Alert” warning at the beginning but he did not issue the warning. He did not care whether people read it. He had to get the anger-seed that was growing in him out and that was what he did. The lady sitting beside him was right. There was no objectivity in what he typed.

“I’m Liza by the way”, she interrupted him again. This time, only his thoughts.

“I’m Danny. Well, actually Daniel but everyone calls me Danny”.

“OK. Then, I’m Liza. Well, actually Eliza but everyone calls me Liza”, she mimicked him.

They both chuckled. Danny went back to his thought and Liza looked out of the window of the moving vehicle to appreciate the environment.

“So, what’s your story?” Liza turned to Danny again.

“Huh? Me? Story?”

“Uh-huh? What made you type that long tosh?”

Danny laughed. He had gained his composure now.

“Tosh, huh? It’s a long story”

“I’d like to hear it. How about you tell me about it tomorrow? Over dinner”.

“Tomorrow? Valentine’s Day?” Danny was jittery again.

“Yes. Would that be a problem?”

“Why would you ask a complete stranger out to dinner on Valentine’s day?” Captain Confidence was back.

“You seem like a nice guy. And you’re not a stranger to me. At least, I know a bit about you through the post you typed. I checked your profile too. You sound cool. I would like to know more about you, especially what happened after the poem you wrote last year.”

“What if I told you I had dinner plans with someone else tomorrow?”

“Dude, if you did you would have just gone straight to the point and said it. So, you don’t. I don’t even know why you are stretching this. Give me an answer before I change my mind”.

“Wow!” That fell from Danny’s lips. “What a girl!” he thought.

“You’re just slow. But I kinda like you, so here”, she hands him a piece of paper. “That’s my phone number. You have until 8 PM to make up your mind and call me. I promise you, I don’t bite and I will make this Valentine’s a good one for you. After you have told me what happened last year, of course. I will get off at the next bus stop”.

She looked at the driver who seemed to have been eavesdropping on their conversation and told him she would alight at the next bus stop.

Danny was speechless as the car pulled to a stop. Liza got down from the vehicle, signalled “Please, call me” with her hands to Danny and blew him a kiss.

The young man looked like every ounce of breath was taken from his lungs and floating into the air like midnight smoke. He felt light and free. All the weight from his previous thoughts about Yaa Abrefi were gone. It was replaced by a yearning. A feeling of incompleteness fell on him as he appreciated the empty seat beside him more. Her face was etched in his mind. Her smile weakened him as he thought of her. Hard guy but he was melting like shea butter which had come into contact with heat.

“I will call her now”, he said to himself. He opened his palm to look at the sheet Liza tucked in them.

Whoooosh! The wind blew the paper away! It was so fast, there was nothing he could do.

“Chai!” Danny exclaimed.

He looked out of the window and saw the paper fly further away from him.

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