“Um, Marcus, could I see you for a moment?”
“Sure,” he responded, excusing himself from the group gathering of his friends as he followed Allison outside the building onto the car park.
The place was still packed with cars, as it was only about thirty minutes since service had ended. The place would only really become bare after about an hour or so, with all the after-service meetings, official and unofficial, coming to an end by then.
The two came to stand by one rather old Toyota Corolla. Marcus had his hands in his pocket, wondering what it was that made Allison want to have a private conversation with him. They barely ever spoke to each other; he could boast of having a deep bond with his colleagues at work than her.
“Um, Marcus. There’s something I wanted to ask you. I just feel like it’s necessary I do. Umm… do you have feelings for me?”
Marcus was taken aback. If there was anything he didn’t expect, it was her asking such a question.
“Okay, scratch that. Have you ever had feelings for me? Like the time we worked together? Did you like me?”
Marcus really didn’t want to answer the question, but that would probably make things ugly, and he had no intention to spark up anything of that sort. So he nodded his head. “Yeah, I once did.”
“But why didn’t you ever tell me?”
He sighed. “Simple. We spent quite an amount of time together, and you said enough for me to know that what I wanted would not work. What I desired is a long-term relationship; I’m not a fan of just falling in love for the sake of it. But every time the concept of relationships came up, you expressed a straight-up personal non-preference for it. You mentioned how you don’t want to marry, how intolerant you are of proposals from guys and how you’d bluntly shoot them down. Then that period where you just stopped talking to me, with that reason you gave? Come on! It was obvious.”
“Okay, just answer me this question. Assuming I had said something, that I had officially proposed to you. Would you have said yes?”
“That’s not the –“
“Please, Ally, please. I answered your question quite smoothly. It’s as much of a yes/no answer I require as you did. Would you have said yes?”
Now it was Allison’s turn to sigh. She looked up briefly, then said, “I definitely would have said no.”
Marcus shrugged. “See? I could see it plainly. I mean, your words were more than enough to advise me that this would not end well.”
Allison then took a hold of his hand. “But… isn’t there a chance to start over?”
Marcus was now really puzzled. He wasn’t expecting this sort of behavior from Allison. She was the type of girl who wouldn’t even hug a guy, and on a number of occasions where he had tried what she was doing, she had briskly whisked away her hand. She took the “Don’t Touch Me” mantra to a whole new level when she was in her element, so this was quite confusing.
And that’s what he said. “Uh, Allison, I’m confused. What’s going on? Start over as in?”
“As in how we once were quite close. And maybe go down that path. I was pretty radical back then, I admit it, but things are slowly changing. And I was wondering if…” she trailed off.
No need for her to finish the sentence, though. Marcus knew what she was getting at.
He sighed within himself this time.
“Allison, I won’t lie, I was pretty crazy about you back then. I remember all the time we spent together, even as just friends, and it was always a highlight of some sort for me. It was great. But things have changed. It’s been almost 2 years since the fire died, and really, I have no intentions of going back. In any case, I already have a lady in my life.”
The soft grip on his hand grew limp with that last statement. Her face was a portrait of disappointment.
“Look, Allison, I don’t wanna be a jerk, that won’t get me anywhere profitable. But after the attitude and all, I really lost it all for you. I’m glad if you’ve changed, but the truth is, I love Temwani. She’s a wonderful girl, and life is amazing with her. Yeah, by the way, she’s Zambian. Never thought I’d date a non-Ghanaian! But really, it’s too late. When I wanted you so bad, you had shut your heart off totally. Now it’s too late to start over. Maybe we can talk more, but nothing more than that. I’m sorry.”
She nodded, head down. “I understand……. I guess I should be going now.”
He wanted to tell her to wait, but, that statement had suddenly activated an awkward atmosphere that was not strange to either party. Staying there any longer would only cause more discomfiture between the two. So he muttered, “Sure. Uh… next week then.”
She mumbled a response, and the two went their ways.