Lota turned 28 on Monday. An old man!
Probably not the birthday that he would have planned. Learned that his school assigned him to serve as supervising teacher for the week. Involves staying late each day, working longer. Responsible for things going right. Probably never happens, though.
I messaged him via Whatsapp! I don’t use it like folks do here. Probably caused Lota a momentary smile, maybe a chuckle. I told him that I would cook for him in the evening, but that constituted a bad idea. He replied, “You cook.”
Oh, oh. Now what do I do? I don’t buy food here. Don’t drive a car to bring it home. Don’t kill and feather chickens, though I might have honed expertise through watching. Don’t know African food culture. At least, not from the preparation side of things. From eating experience, I know they throw a lot of vegies into a pot, generally alongside another pot with a dead animal in it. Animal parts, that is. Cook it until it’s no longer raw. Probably until it’s well done.
Nice suggestion, John! Sometimes, jokes backfire.
Suggested to Lota, when he got home, that I should buy him dinner. We both might live another birthday, following that strategy.
About 6:00 PM, directed my chauffer to the new mall where my dentist client wants to set up shop. Several shops open now. Remembered a nice restaurant that Eric showed me just the day before. Couldn’t find it! Just disappeared! Settled for a pizza place. Sat down. Lota assured me that pizza wouldn’t kill him. Might have had it before. Survived.
Lota took a call. The waiter came back a few times, only to find him still negotiating a big deal. Finally hung up.
“That was Joyce. She’s going to join us. Need to pick her up.”
Lota told me early on that he would propose to Joyce. “Do you mean, ‘get married’?”
Gave the waiter the token apologetic grin. Said we might be back, since they would remain open until 9.
Dark now. Very! The headlights, whose sole function involved lighting our way, no longer turned on. They worked intermittently before. Now, they went on strike. No more bargaining. Even bouncing the car over road bumps, no longer caused the intermittent nature of night vision to happen again. No street lights, either. People still walking beside the road. Ditches on the side of the road now tended to snuggle us. Not romantically. Not friendly. Rather creepy. Trolls live there, also. Nocturnal. They eat cars. People, too.
Lota flashed the parking lights on and off. They still worked, but they sympathized with the headlight union. Irritable. Literally, dim witted.
Made it back to Kwa-iddi. Found Joyce waiting, dressed up nicely. Beautiful dress, hair, smile. Lota explained the situation. Couldn’t go back. Needed to either fix the lights or go home.
Lota played with the fuse boxes. Checked ‘em all out. Removed the headlight ones. Blew on them for good luck. Stuck them back into their holders. (Good thing cell phones now come with flashlights!) Headlights remained on strike. Negotiating tactic, for sure. Wouldn’t give an inch.
Wonder what his birthday wish might have been? Didn’t ask.
Lota left me to attend the car. He went to shop for food. No eating out that night.
Joyce snuck back to her compound, returned with a cake. Put it in the back seat. Visited with friends whose retail shop sat next to us.
Probably took 30 to 45 minutes for Lota to return. Made it home with the headlights still maintaining their negotiating position. Wouldn’t give an inch. Not a flicker of hope,
Mary met us at the compound. She and Joyce took charge of the kitchen, the cooking. Made fish and vegetables. They’re good at this. We ate like kings, and queens. About 11:00 or midnight, Joyce went to the bedroom, asked Lota to come. She wanted to talk. Learned afterwards that she wanted to call off their relationship. Break up. Made some sense, ‘cuz Lota told me earlier that she was upset with him. Another gal from the school wanted to date him. Had told Joyce that she was dating him. Not true, but it still upset Joyce.
Meanwhile, Mary went to the kitchen. Pulled out the birthday cake that she and Joyce would surprise Lota with. Told me that it was a surprise. I hadn’t caught on, up ‘til then. Would sing “Happy Birthday” when they returned from the bedroom, where they talked.
Joyce returned. Lota stayed behind a bit. Finally emerged. Surprised him! A smile snuck onto his face, also. Quickly enough, caught on to the fact that Joyce just wanted to keep him away from the table long enough for Mary to table the cake and candle the top of it. Not a break-up, after all!
We all ate cake. Joyce cut it, served everyone. Sort of a fruit cake, with frosting on it. Very good. Frosting a bit sweet. (Dah!)
Girls went home. I got to bed about 1:00 AM, after calling Linda.
Lota returned home, after driving the girls back to their homes. The headlights worked. Bargaining would resume the next day.
Lota needed sleep. Needed to get to school on time later that day. (Midnight already passed. Birthday now yesterday.) Told me he was genuinely surprised. A good birthday, after all. Might have aged him, a bit. Maybe he’ll think more about getting married. Kidded about it.
Slept happy, I think.
Did not need to survive my cooking, either. Lucky guy!