***Sorry it’s a bit late everyone. Was finishing up a few tweaks! Enjoy! xo***
My time in New York was not without its ups and downs; actually, to be perfectly frank my time in New York was confusing more than anything. There’s no manual that can show you a sure fire way of dealing with certain things. Adam was still my Californian Soul and Daniel, well, Daniel is hard to make of. I didn’t know how to feel about him. How I should feel or how I need to feel. What’s right and what’s wrong. The only thing I can do at this point is take each day at a time. Go with the flow. Roll with the punches. Which was why I made a date with Will.
I have never met a person as patient as Will. He was the kind of guy that could referee a snail race and stand attention monitoring the development for hours. A man like that was good in advertising because he was therefore patient with the clients. I had always thought of him as this cool, calm and collected thirty year old hunk of joy; which begged the question: are we, the twenty year olds, restless? I felt like I had been through World War 1, 2 and Z and back with Adam and Daniel, not to mention with other situations here and there with my girlfriends, so I wondered if it was just a twenty year old thing. An ‘us’ thing. Will was always relaxed, he barely ever broke a sweat, and it was always amazing to see. It was almost like being exposed to a rare exotic creature for the first time. What if I was wrong though? Perhaps, I had only ever been exposed to this creature’s surface, and never really got down to the heart of things. After all, I didn’t really know Will to an extent beyond our professional relationship. But it was only a matter of time. Tonight was our big date, I’d know beyond soon enough.
Will hadn’t given me much to go by besides an address, and I didn’t want to spoil the fun he had planned for me by looking up where this restaurant was. Basically, tonight I was flying blind. To avoid being under or overdressed, depending on where this mysterious place was, I chose to wore a plain LBD. Heels not too high, make-up was light with pink accentuating my lips, and my hair was all pulled to one side.
When the cab driver pulled up to the restaurant I was still confused about where I was. I had definitely crossed this area at least once or twice in my lifetime, but I had no idea what kind of place this was. Once I entered the establishment, a wave of exotic and warm cuisine hit me all at once. People were clattering and chit-chatting. Mutters and laughter panned across the room; wavelengths of life being lifted up and down, swinging on the strands of nightlife.
I spotted Will at the bar, in his navy blue suit, looking mighty fine and all prestigious. I blushed at the sight of him, wondering how long it had been since I’d been on a date. He stood when I approached, flashing me a bright grin and kissing me on my cheek.
“Find the place okay?” he asked.
I nodded. “I took a cab, anyway. Was all good.”
“Good,” Will gulped. Was he nervous? “Shall we?”
We met up with the hostess and we followed her to a table Will had reserved in advance. The table cloths were white, peach coloured chairs were bordered with gold engravings, and centrepieces were that of peach and white coloured peonies. Whenever I was in the presence of flowers on a table, I always had the urge to reach out and rub the cool silky petal between my fingertips. No matter what petal of what flower it was from, it never failed to disappoint.
“Do you like the place?” Will asked after the waitress gave us a couple of menus.
“It’s lovely,” I replied. “Good so far.”
“It’s African food here. The food of my people,” he cracked. I laughed. “It’s actually pretty great,” he said seriously, “every Friday and Saturday night they open till late and have jazz performances. It’s live music and African food all in one. Cool, huh?”
I nodded. “Indeed.” My eyes started wandering off and I began to notice all the traditional ornaments and lighting. Vases were scattered, the food definitely looked interesting, and the colours looked like the colours of Africa if it were turned into a restaurant; red, brown, gold, black, green, yellow, you name it!
The waitress returned and then departed when she took our order. I wanted to try something different tonight so I opted for something a little on the spicy side. When Will noticed what I ordered his forehead crinkled, but he still retained a polite smile.
“Are you sure you want to order that?” he asked. “It might be too spicy for you.”
I didn’t want to back down, especially since it was starting to feel like Daddy was telling me I can’t have something. “I can handle it.”
Will shrugged. “Alright.” He sounded unconvinced. I’ll show him!
After the jazz band set up, they began playing some sweet tunes. Miles Davis and Robert Johnson would be proud. Hopefully in this case no one had to sell their soul to be able to play an instrument.
“Did you enjoy New York?” Will asked after some time.
I nodded. “It was a good idea to go there. I had a great time,” better to keep it simple. “It felt a lot like home without even having lived there.”
“California’s great, but New York is home. It’s your choice what you want to do and where you want to live, the best part is you’ve got all this time this year to decide.”
I chuckled. “To decide every aspect of my life down to the T?”
Will laughed. “Pretty much.”
The food arrived, hot and steaming. I tend to go for salads, not because I don’t want the guy seeing me eat a huge meal, but because I tend to love salads at restaurants more than anything. Salads though, aren’t actually that fulfilling, so I ordered a little something on the side, which was the spicy, steaming, celebrity of the two. I couldn’t wait. The food looked so delicious!
I dug into the salad first, letting the sweet juices flow down my throat. “Wow,” I said.
Will smiled, pleased. “You like?”
I went for the spicy dish, against Will’s protest, and stuffed it into my mouth, without even thinking. I had no idea what he was fussing over because it wasn’t that spicy. Actually, it was kind of disappointing, really. I was expecting a kick. Just when I was about to add a bit of chilli though, it hit me all at once.
“Jeez, Anna,” Will said, staring wide-eyed at my décolletage. “You’re going red!”
I couldn’t stop it. The flames tickled my tongue with a razor and then felt like lava down my throat. I started coughing and tearing up. Now I was red because I was embarrassed too. People were looking over to see what the commotion was about. I only pretended not to notice. I went straight for the water but it didn’t do anything.
“Not water,” Will shook his head. He wiped his mouth with the napkin and then stood, hopping over to the bar. On the way, he grabbed a waitress’s attention and asked her about something.
In the meantime though, I was still dying from the chilli! If it weren’t for the chilli, this would have probably have been a really perfect date. I hate to say it, especially since it’ll sound like I’m this incapable little baby, but I should have listened to Will.
Will came back with a plate of a blob of white and shiny matter.
“Eat this,” he said, trying not to laugh.
“What is it?” I asked, shocking myself at the hoarseness of my voice. I literally sounded like a smoker getting strangled!
“It’s yoghurt. Water doesn’t really help. You need yoghurt or milk, but preferably yoghurt.”
After coughing violently some more and crying a whole bunch, I took the plate in hand and then started gobbling up the yoghurt.
“Don’t just eat it all,” Will laughed, watching me breathe in the thing. “Keep it in your mouth a bit too.”
I did as he instructed and held a huge lump of yoghurt. It started cooling my mouth and throat. The burn was subsiding, and so were my tears.
“You look like you’re getting better,” Will said. “Do you feel better?”
I nodded, my mouth closed and full like a blowfish. I was still super-embarrassed. It didn’t help that the jazz band were cracking jokes at my expense, but at least they weren’t harmful. They even dedicated a song for me in the event of my near-death experience! Besides the chilli attack, the night was actually quite fun.
Then we were off to Will’s place.