Balinda Goes to Jimiyu’s Office

Balinda Goes to Jimiyu’s Office

Why was she here? What did she hope to accomplish? If she had any sense, she would turn and walk away. It really wasn’t any of her business if Jimiyu decided to move on with his life. There was no future for her with him anyhow. So, what was the point of showing up at his office now?

When he asked her why she was there, what would she tell him? What would be her excuse? That she wanted to apologize for running out of his place when the answering machine came on and she heard his boss’s voice? Or for not returning his calls or text messages?

Why couldn’t she go to his place instead of to his office? Maybe she was afraid to be alone with him again. If the phone hadn’t rung, they would have ended up in his bed. She tried to convince herself that she was going to his office because it was safer. There wasn’t any chance of them getting into trouble there for fear of someone catching them in the act.

If she were honest with herself, she was going to Jimiyu’s office not just to see him but to meet the woman whom she now considered to be her rival. She wanted to see if Engela was as beautiful as Jimiyu kept saying that she was.

Resolutely, she crossed the intersection and walked to the entrance of the office building. She walked up to the receptionist and asked for Jimiyu. The woman told her which floor he was on and asked if he was expecting her. She was tempted to say yes but she didn’t want to lie. “No, he isn’t expecting me.”

The receptionist picked up the phone. “Who may I say is here to see him?”

His cousin, Balinda.”

The woman dialed Jimiyu’s number and told him that his cousin was there. “He said you may go right up. The office is on the 7th floor.”

“Thank you.” Balinda walked to the bank of elevators, her heart pounding. As she went up to the 7th floor, she leaned against the wall, thinking that she shouldn’t be there. The doors opened and she stepped out. She walked over to the receptionist and informed her that she was there to see Jimiyu. The receptionist picked up her phone and called Jimiyu to let him know that his visitor was there.

A couple of minutes later, Jimiyu went to meet Balinda. His eyes traveled over her. “Hello,” he greeted her quietly.

“Hello.”

The hug they exchanged was a bit awkward. He preceded her to his office. They went inside and he closed the door behind them. After offering her a seat, he sat behind his desk. “I didn’t expect to see you,” he told her. “Not after what happened the last time we saw each other.”

“I know,” she said, wishing that her heart would stop beating so fast.

“You ran out and refused to take my calls or answer my texts.”

“I-I was upset.”

“Upset because Engela called and left a message.”

“She called to invite you to go to the theater and dinner with her. Did you end up going?”

“Yes.”

“Did you enjoy the show?”

“Yes, I did.”

“What happened after you left the theater? Did you take her straight home?”

“Actually, we went to Prashad Café for dinner.”

“Was that her idea or yours?”

“She thought it would be nice to go for drinks or dinner after the show and I suggested that we went to Prashad Café for drinks and dinner–my treat.”

“How gallant of you.”

“Why are you here, Linda?”

“What happened when you took her home after drinks and dinner?”

“Nothing. I took her home and left.”

“You mean she didn’t invite you in for a nightcap?”

“She invited me to have some Rooibos tea but I turned her down.”

“Oh.”

“Why are you here, Linda? To chew me out for going to the theater and dinner with Engela?”

“No, I came to apologize.”

“Apologize for what?”

“Running out of your apartment and for ignoring your calls and texts. It was foolish of me. I had no right to get upset and act the way I did.”

“Are you on your lunch break?”

“No. I’m off this week.”

“Why didn’t you come to see me at my place this evening?”

“I was in the area and I thought I would come by your office. I hope I’m not keeping you from your work.”

“You aren’t. Why can’t you admit that you were afraid to come to my place because you were afraid that we wouldn’t be interrupted. You and I both know that if Engela hadn’t called, you and I would have ended up making love which is what we both wanted.”

She rose to her feet, “I’d better be going. I came to apologize and I did.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“You didn’t actually apologize, Linda. You just mentioned that it was your intention to do so.”

“All right. I’m sorry for running out of your apartment, for not answering your calls or answering your text messages. Satisfied?”

“Well, I guess that will have to do.”

“Well, I better be going–“

“Have you had lunch as yet?”

“No.”

“Have lunch with me. My treat.”

“If I have lunch with you, I will pay for myself.”

“Fine. We’ll go Dutch. Now, will you have lunch with me?”

“Sure.”

He stood up, grabbed his jacket and pulled it on. “Let’s go.”

As they stepped out of his office, Balinda asked, “Aren’t you going to introduce me to Engela?”

“Sure.” He took her to the large corner office. The door was open and Engela was sitting at her desk.

Her face brightened in a smile when she saw Jimiyu. “Come in,” she bid him. “Are you here to invite me to have lunch with you?”

“Well, I’m on my way to have lunch with my cousin.”

Engela’s eyebrows arched. “Your cousin?”

Jimiyu moved aside so that Balinda was visible. “This is my cousin, Balinda. Balinda, this is my boss, Engela.”

Engela stood up and held out her hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Balinda.”

Balinda shook her hand. “Likewise.” It was true, she acknowledged resentfully. The woman was very beautiful. She hope the jealousy she was feeling wasn’t evident on her face as she forced a smile.

“Are you visiting Cape Town?” Engela asked her.

“No. I live here. I was in the area and thought I would come by and see Jimi.”

“And now you and he are going to have lunch.”

“Yes.” Balinda could see that Engela was an older woman. Obviously, she had an eye for younger men. Why did it have to be Jimi?

“Well, enjoy your lunch.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t rush back, Jimi.”

“Thanks, Engela.”

“It was nice meeting you, Balinda. You’re welcome to stop by the office again.”

“Thank. And, it was nice meeting you too.”

“See you later,” Jimiyu said to Engela.

“See you later.”

Engela sat back down after they left her office. She wondered why Jimiyu never mentioned his cousin Balinda to her before. She sensed that Balinda didn’t like her but why? They had only just met. She had noticed how she seemed to be sizing her up. Why? Did she have a problem with white people? Did she have a problem with her cousin working for a white woman? But why?

Maybe she was jumping to conclusions. Maybe she was reading too much into things but she couldn’t shake the feeling that Balinda didn’t like her. Had Jimiyu told her about the two of them going out for dinner on two occasions–the theater and to her brother’s wedding? If he had, maybe Balinda didn’t approve. Maybe she had a problem with interracial dating.

But, Jimi and I aren’t dating. We are just colleagues who like working with each other and enjoy each other’s company. What’s wrong with that? All right, I admit that I’m deeply attracted to him and want to have more than an professional relationship with him. Perhaps, Balinda sensed that and that’s why she was so aloof towards me. Well, cousin or not, it really isn’t her business what Jimi does and with whom he does it with. When he returns from Kampala, I will find out from him if he would have a problem dating me because we work together, I’m older than him and I’m white. Hopefully, he won’t.