chem.is.try (ˈke-mə-strē) n
: a science that deals with the structure and properties of substances and with the changes that they go through
: the structure and properties of a substance : the way a substance changes and reacts with other substances
: a strong attraction between people
I wasn’t a science student in secondary school. After a brief exposure to Further Mathematics and to Physics, I decided the Sciences just weren’t for me. However I loved Biology (it was my second best subject), but I was particularly fascinated by Chemistry. I think it must have been because it had a lot to do with natural interactions and reactions, natural being the keyword. And with the fact that no matter what you did, or whatever combinations you made, you couldn’t stop/change the reaction that occurred.
And so it was that when Fate decided to throw Danladi in my path (or me in his, depending on how you look at it), Fate had an idea what kind of interactions and reactions would take place. It just so happened that we were in the dark.
We had now settled into a routine – an easy one as it was, and spending time together every day became normal. It soon became less about learning French, which we were making great progress at by the way, and more about learning each other. We became very comfortable, started sharing jokes and experiences and talking a bit more about ourselves each day. On one of such days, I went down to his class with my morning snack and was welcomed boisterously by the teacher.
“Bienvenue Asher! il a été en attente pour toi. il ne peut se concentrer” (Welcome Asher, he’s been waiting for you. He can’t concentrate)
“Really?!” I say, feigning pleasant surprise, but doing the jig like mad on the inside. I don’t even know why I’m happy that he was waiting for me, but if the teacher said he was, then they must have either talked about it, or it must have been obvious from his demeanour, which at the moment is shy and embarrassed.
So I look to him and ask “Is that true?” wanting to get even further validation. The poor guy looks like he wants to enter the ground but all he can do is smile and take a sudden interest in his notes which were on the table. The teacher, not helping matters says,
“He’s very shy. Anyway, on to today’s lesson! We’re conjugating the verb ‘Aimer’ which means To like or To Love. J’aime is how you say I like, Tu aimes is how you say You like…”
This dude is crazy, I muse, but then I hazard a glance at Danladi and he looks up at me at the same moment and the sparks literally fly. I’m suddenly shy, and to my horror, I realize that I’m terribly attracted to him. Why hadn’t I noticed this before? How did my new friend suddenly become an amorous interest? Had this attraction always been there? Had I been ignoring it under the pretense of helping a ‘friend’ out? Oh my goodness, this is not good, I thought. He’s staring at me all this while and I feel like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming trailer. Certain death…
“So, Danladi…” the crazy teacher breaks into my thoughts again. “…how would you say to this young lady here that you like her?” Jeez, does this guy know no subtlety??? What if the man in question doesn’t like me at all? Please say you like me, please say you like me. I pray fervently.
Danladi clears his throat and shifts in his seat. He then goes quiet for a few seconds – seconds that feel like years – and then he seems to mentally brace himself, looks me in the eye and says “Je t’aime… Beaucoup”. And he doesn’t even crack a smile. He looks dead serious. I’m there trying to remind myself that the teacher said ‘Like’ not ‘Love’. But it’s hard… I feel my heart thumping loudly enough that I think it can be heard in the room, my pulse starts to race and I feel a slight tightening in the general area of my nipples. Gosh! It’s getting hot. This is what it feels like, this thing called Chemistry, cos if I’m not mistaken, I see it in his eyes too.
“Ahem!” the problem teacher clears his throat. He’s the one who caused all of this anyway, putting ideas into my head. I want to strangle him, but at the same time, I want to hug him. Idiot guy!
“So now that you’ve got ‘Aimer’ covered, let’s move on to the next one. Le verbe ‘Vouloir’, that is, To Want”. At this point, I realize it’s going to be a long class. And I better start taking more active part in it than just acting deaf and dumb. Twenty minutes later, break time is over and I escape to the relative safety of my own class, where I stare unseeing at the white board and at my notes for the rest of the day. I can’t wait to get out of there and head home. I’m hoping that somehow I’ll go to bed and wake up with no recollection of what transpired today.
I’m still thinking this as I pack my bags and make my way downstairs to the car park, when who should I see sitting in a shiny teal BMW 7 series parked right next to my car. What is he still doing here? He ought to have left. I don’t realize I’ve stopped in my tracks. Then I mentally shake myself, and walk up to the cars.
He opens his door and gets out as I approach, and again I’m treated to a rare view of him standing to his full height.
“Hi” he says. “I just wanted to apologize for earlier today. I’m really sorry if I made you uncomfortable…” But Lord, his northern accent is soo sexy. “…I was out of line and I shouldn’t have let Monsieur Nestor carry on like that. If you decide not to come to my class anymore, I’ll understand. But I hope that you don’t.” Huh? “err, that you don’t decide not to come to my class that is.” Phew! I thought I was being asked to get lost…
I can’t even look him in the eye. He’s waited 2 hours after his class to be able to apologize??? I didn’t think any Nigerian men were built this way. I mumble some incoherent acceptance of his apology and tell him that he didn’t have to wait that long just cos he wanted to apologize. “Tomorrow would have been soon enough” I say, hoping he’d just go away before the sweat in my armpits starts to mark my blouse.
“Thing is, tomorrow would have been late because I was hoping you’d like to have lunch with me tomorrow. And I needed to ask you today to give you enough notice.”
My mind’s jaw drops, cos it’s not ladylike to do so in public. This is dangerous territory. First, we French-talk about liking and loving and wanting, and now he asks me to lunch? I look up at him and start to say I’m sorry and I can’t when I hear myself say “That would be very nice. I’d love to.”
Hold up! What just happened? Seems like my brain wires crossed and ended up sending the wrong message to my mouth. I mentally slap myself – wake up idiot! You have a boyfriend, you have no business going to lunch with a guy you know you’re attracted to. And not just any guy – a proper man!
Yes, I was seeing someone at the time. It was a carryover relationship from school. He had gone off to the UK to pursue his Masters’ degree. That was 3 months ago, so technically, we weren’t ‘seeing’ each other. Or were we? Why am I even rationalizing this? This is the point at which I should tell Danladi about him, seeing as I had omitted to mention him in all the time we had known and been talking to each other.
“Great. So I’ll pick you up here?” he asks.
In my contemplation, I had almost forgotten he was still there. “Yeah, sure.”
“My classes end at 2, so I guess any time after that?”
“That’s fine. I’ll be here at 2.30pm, to give you a chance to escape, just in case you change your mind.”
I laugh nervously. Escaping before he arrives is tempting. I just might take the chance. I think he sees the thought cross my mind and he smiles, a lopsided, knowing smile. And is that a twinkle I see in his eye? It almost seems like he’s daring me to run away. And I’m not one to resist a challenge so…
“I’ll be ready by 2pm…” I retort “…so don’t be late.” Arrrgggh! These brain wires need an electrician pronto!
“I’m never late.” He responds with an odd look in his eye. And he makes to get into his car, then pauses and turns back towards me.
“By the way, I’m married with three wives. Just thought you’d like to know that.”
I laugh out loud (this guy’s got jokes), and I respond, “Noted. See you tomorrow” and he gets in his car and drives off. Something about the way he looks at me just before he drives off makes me pause but I can’t figure out what’s off. So I get in my car, in awe of how he diffused the tension by joking about being married.
I’ve always had a weakness for smooth, smart and sophisticated males and this one definitely ticks all the boxes. Tomorrow should be interesting.
*starts car* Shit! What am I going to wear?!?!