Othello and Dinner with Engela

Othello and Dinner with Engela

It was Sunday evening and Jimiyu was on his way to pick up Engela. They were going to see Othello at The Pam Golding Theatre. He really didn’t feel like going but he couldn’t back out now–not when he had called Engela back shortly after Balinda had literally run out of his apartment to say that he was available.

After Balinda had left, he sat there thinking about her, remembering the kiss and longing for her. If only they weren’t related. He had tried to rationalize their relationship but he couldn’t deny what was written in the Bible. Even though it didn’t explicitly mention cousins, the words, “You must never have sexual relations with a close relative, for I am the Lord.” A cousin was a close relative so Balinda was right. It was wrong for the two of them to have sexual relations with each other.

What was he going to do? He couldn’t go against what was in the Bible but he couldn’t deny his feelings for Balinda either. How were they going to move on with other people when they loved each other? He knew that it would kill her to see him with another woman just as it would kill him to see her with another man. Should they both remain single for the rest of their lives? He couldn’t imagine spending the rest of his with anyone else. Was he going to spend the rest of it pining for a woman he could never be with?

Would it make sense to avoid Balinda as much as possible? Would that make the situation easier for him? What about when they had to see each other at family gatherings? And what if she showed up with a date or he showed up with a date? Would either of them be able to hide their jealousy? Maybe he should resign from his job and return to Kampala. That wouldn’t work either. No matter how much distance there was between them, it wouldn’t change how they felt for each other. It wouldn’t be fair for him to become involved with another woman or to get married. In his heart and mind, he would be unfaithful. He had to face the fact that Balinda had ruined him for other women.

Before he returned Engela’s call, he called Balinda but she had turned off her cell. He didn’t leave a message although he was tempted to. What was the use? When he called Engela, she was very pleased to hear from him.

And here he was now, getting out of his car to open the passengerside of the door for her to get in. She had been waiting outside of her house for him. “Hello,” she greeted him brightly.

“Hello.” He forced a smile.

“I hope you don’t mind but I thought that we could go for drinks or dinner after the show.”

“We can go somewhere for drinks and something to eat. My treat this time.”

She smiled. “How about Prashad Café?” It was a family operated vegan and vegetarian restaurant owned by the Baxter Theatre where they were going.

“Sounds good.” He had been to the restaurant a couple of years ago with his mother when she visited him. Balinda had been there with her mother. Balinda. He had to stop thinking about her and yearning for her. Grimacing, he closed the door when Engela got into the car.

She did most of the talking on the drive to the theater. The seats they got were very good and he enjoyed the show. Afterwards, they went to Prashad Café. For the starter, she had the Spinach and Feta samosa and he had the Punjabi Samosa. For the main course, she had the Vegetable Jalfrezi and he the Chicken Korma.

“Jimi, I still can’t believe that you’re single. You’re so handsome.”

“I can say the same thing about you. You’re single too and you’re a very beautiful woman.”

“I’ve dated a few times but nothing came of it. What about you?”

“I was in a relationship once but it didn’t work out. I haven’t dated anyone since.”

“Oh. Are you still carrying a torch for her?”

“Yes–a lot good it’s doing me.”

“Maybe you just need another woman to help you to get over her.”

“Maybe.” No one, not even you can help me to get over Balinda, he mused. You can try but you will be wasting your time. “How do you like your Bombay Crush?”

“It’s delicious. What about your Mango & Turmeric Lassie?”

“It’s very creamy. You should try it the next time.”

“And you should try the Bombay Crush if you’ve never had it before.”

“I’ve had it before.”

“I hope the food and drinks are as good as these at my brother’s wedding.”

“Where is the wedding reception taking place?”

“The ceremony and the reception will be at Suikerbossie Restaurant & Estate. The bridegroom and bride will be spending their wedding night in the sugar cottage before they head off for their honeymoon in Mozambique.”

Jimiyu sipped his Lassi, his expression inscrutable. Mozambique would have been the ideal place for a honeymoon for Balinda and him if only…He didn’t finish the thought. What would be the point?

Engela didn’t seem to notice and she continued talking about the wedding and how she was going to see people and relatives she hadn’t seen in a while. Twenty minutes later when they were outside of her house, she invited him to go in for a drink or tea but he declined. “Thanks for coming with me to the theater and for dinner.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to come in for a while? I can fix us some Rooibos tea.”

“Thanks, but I really need to be getting home.”

“All right. Enjoy the rest of the evening and I’ll see you tomorrow at the office.”

“Thanks. You enjoy the rest of your evening too. See you tomorrow. Goodnight, Engela.”

“Goodnight, Jimi.” Impulsively, she hugged him and then, waited until he had gotten into his car and driven away before she let herself into her house.