The clouds could not hold it any longer and they burst heavily. We had complained of the heat that month and it seemed someone was listening. The scent of wet soil filled the air. So I sat there by the window watching as the torrents hit the ground. Well, not really the ground since I was on the third floor of the building in my apartment but I sat there listening and watching as it poured heavily. I was headed out when it started raining. After weeks of dodging this date, I had finally accepted his invitation.
Now before you think I was doing this because I had nothing better to do or I felt sorry for the guy it’s nothing of the sort. On the contrary, I was nervous about this date. I had met Lenny about two months before this. My friend had dragged me to a corporate gala event. The kind that every guy knows that the suit has to be a perfect fit. The event was more interesting than I thought it would be and to quote The Weather Girls, ‘It was raining men.’ Sharp, smart and focused men who could hold a decent conversation. Needless to say, I was having a ball. As we listened to a band playing two gentlemen joined us.
“Ladies, enjoying the music?” One asked.
“Every bit of it, especially the trumpets,” I said.
This was the beginning of a conversation that resulted in the four of us ditching the event and going to a hotel that played jazz on that particular day. After a wonderful night of good music and refreshing conversations, we all parted ways but I already knew this was not the last time I was talking to Lenny.
“Call you tomorrow, ” Lenny said as he gave the cab guy strict instructions to make sure I got home safely.
As soon as we started our journey it started raining. By the time we were at my gate, there was thunder and lightning. The cab driver ensured I was inside the gate and then left. That was when I saw the sparks coming from the electric line. Suddenly there was the sound of a tree branch breaking which was quickly followed by a bright flame and a loud sound. My knees became wobbly. The distance between the gate and the apartment entrance had never felt longer. The five-inch heels that I had been rocking all night quite comfortably suddenly felt like kilos of stones on my heels.
I needed to take shelter was all I could think of. So I ran as fast as I could. I wasn’t going to stay outside and see what the tree and electric lines were going to do next. Just as I got to the finish line of my sprint a.k.a the entrance of the apartment, I tripped and fell. Normally, I have a fear of electrical faults so now it had intensified and I feared that electric sparks would find me on the ground. I stood up and soldiered on to my house and that was when I realized that I hadn’t just grazed my leg but my front tooth was also broken.
I looked at the mirror for more than half an hour as I looked at remnants of what used to contribute to my Colgate smile. The rain, the electricity all seemed like a distant memory as I used a torch to view myself in the mirror. My broken tooth was the reason I had dodged this date for so long. I managed to have it removed and was now using an artificial one but this was doing a number on me.
At some point before having it replaced I had to twist my tongue to touch the other top front tooth because I felt as though as I was developing a lisp. I had to smile strategically lest I display broken tooth. It took me about two weeks to find a dentist I could trust but I couldn’t find my confidence as fast. So when Lenny suggested a date I would always have a reason; work, family, girlfriends even the neighbour’s dog that I extremely hate made it to the list.
“I’m beginning to think you are avoiding me,” he said.
“Nothing like that I assure you,” I said but I wondered how many more lies I could come up with.
A couple of weeks later and I finally agreed to stop letting it control me. The heavy rain which by the way hadn’t rained since that fateful night was not making it easier. I had half a mind to cancel on him but I appreciated the fact that he had made time for this. I respected people’s time. Once the rain subsided I left for the restaurant.
We arrived at the same time and picked a table next to a window. It was a steak restaurant and deep down I had feeling something would go wrong. This was the first time I was out since the night of the tooth. For the first course, I choose rice which was pretty easy to chew. Then came the steak feast. Oh, the meat was heavenly and the company was even better and for a while, I stopped feeling self-conscious. That was until the drama unfolded.
“Oh you have to try their turkey meat,” Lenny said with excitement.
Even before I could respond he had already cut a piece and was holding a fork with turkey meat waiting for me to open my mouth. As I leaned over to have a bite the fork hit my removable denture and the tooth fell out. I must have turned pale with embarrassment.
“Oh my God. I am so sorry,” Lenny said with a hint of both shock and remorse.
“Excuse me,” I said in a whisper. Too ashamed to even look at his eyes, I dashed into the washroom almost knocking over a waiter.
I got into the washroom pulled down the toilet seat cover and sat for minutes. I kept putting my tongue in the tooth gap as I tried to compose myself. That was when it hit me that I had left the tooth on the plate. Oh no! Could it get it any worse? Now I had to go there and face him as I picked up my tooth. I felt like shame could kill me. Then somebody tapped the door.
“Excuse me, Prince Lenny is looking for the maiden who fits this tooth.”
I couldn’t help but smile. He had found a way to make the situation better. I got out cleaned the tooth and put it back on. We definitely abandoned the food and found a balcony where we could view the stars. So I told him the whole story.
“Think we’ll tell our grandchildren this story when you are a toothless grandma? Oh wait you’re already toothless,” Lenny said as he chuckled wickedly.