Is age just a number?

At thirty, Renee was starting to feel desperate. Her biological clock was ticking fast. She stalked her ex’s bio on social media and realized he was married, happily. She couldn’t beg him back, it was too late. She wanted to settle too but suitors weren’t coming her way.

Yet Renee had this good job, a human resource officer in a well known successful company. She was paid well thus she had a house of her own and a posh powerful guzzler. Her power and wealth probably intimidated men but she doubted it because some of her friends and colleagues, sharing the same status as her, had been married to equally or wealthier men.

Renee was beautiful with even a nice body figure because she turned heads here and there but the brave ones that gathered enough courage to ask her out were married, and Renee hated drama. She knew dating a married man was recipe for a telenovela.

“Excuse me madam, it seems today your usual steak with potatoe will not be accompanied by veggie salad. The grocery woman did not bring her usual supply of vegetables.” The young waiter said with a regretful tone.

Great Grills was her hideout eatery. She frequented there when she wanted to be alone, to take a nice quiet lunch all by herself away from her noisy colleagues who loved the Fish and Chips joint that was only a few metres from the company offices.

“No problem at all. Just serve it as it is. But I hope you have my favourite soft drink.” She told the waiter who had been nervous at first but her response seemed to have relaxed him. He smiled at her and turned to get her order, prompting her to get her eyes fixed back at her phablet.

“Here we go!” He said as he carefully placed the cutlery on her table. Renee leant back for him to set the table but in the process her phablet slipped off her hands and fell down. Both of them gasped. But the waiter was swift to bend with an aim of picking it from the floor but it wasn’t his day.

His not-so-expensive smartphone that had been in the right breast pocket of his white coat fell off too down to the ground with a crushing sound. He tried to grab it before it landed on the floor but was a second late. Renee watched the frustrated look he had when he saw the broken screen of his phone. He even had forgotten Renee’s. He picked it up and made a gesture of a prayer of gratitude then laid it carefully near her. She laughed at his theatrics.

“Thank God yours hasn’t even got a scratch. If I broke that one I would have to sell my home back in the village to repair it.” He stated.

“No! It wouldn’t be your fault, I am the one who dropped it accidentally, not you. In fact, it’s my fault that yours has a shattered screen!” She argued, taking his phone from his hands to inspect it. It was severely damaged.

“No. This phone is as good as done. I should recompense you.” She remarked, feeling sorry for ruining the gadget that seemed to be so dear to him.

“Madam, I can’t allow you to do that. It was just an accident. I will take it for repair and it will be as good as new.” He responded. Renee insisted on compensating for it but he was adamant she shouldn’t. She gave up but the guilt wouldn’t allow her to forget it. She had seen the devastated face he had worn when he saw it break and could not live with that.

Renee also suspected that with a waiter’s wage, the repair would leave his pockets dry. She had her lunch quickly, paid the bill and went back to her office. As soon as she finished up her work, she hurriedly closed up.

Renee drove along the streets searching for a suitable phone shop. She did not mind how much she would spent. All she wanted was a masculine like,high quality phone.

“Yes, this will do.” She said, admiring the tech device she had chosen. “Here is the cash.” She addressed the happy sales agent who rarely met customers that did not bargain on price like Renee. “That must be a lucky loved man.” He whispered to his colleague as Renee got into her car with the new device in her hands.

She wrapped it carefully and then drove to Great Grills and stopped at the gate.

“Pssst!” She called the watchman who ran to her obediently.

“Please pass this cargo to the light skinned waiter.” Renee realized that she had earlier never been concerned with reading his name tag.

“Jayden?” He asked.

“I am not so sure if that’s him.” She replied.

“It’s him. He is the only light skinned waiter. The other two are dark, darker than me and there are only three of them. The rest are ladies.” He opined and she first laughed at his comic remarks then sighed at the explanation that made sense.

“Well, make sure you personally deliver this to him. Is that clear?” She ordered.

“Of course madam.” He said, saluting at her as she prepared to drive off.

Renee felt the wave of guilt run off as she drove home. A feeling of excitement filled her instead. When she got home, she warmed the previous day’s left overs and ate them happily then went to have a shower where she sang and danced more enthusiastically than she did other days.

“Oh My God I am late for work!” It was the next day. Like greased lightning, she prepared herself amused that she had overslept like somebody who had one too many for the road the previous day.

“I still feel drunk, yet I didn’t sip anything alcoholic yesterday!” These were her inner thoughts. But what Renee felt wasn’t a hangover. She couldn’t explain the feeling. One had to experience the feeling to understand it. A person in love could possibly elaborate on that feeling.

In a few minutes she was at the company’s premises. The watchman waved at her . She stopped and saw him rush to his room cum office then come with an A4 envelope. He handed it to her. It had a hard copy inside it.

“Who is it from?” She asked surprised that someone had decided to ignore email and chosen the traditional ways of communication. The watchman said a messenger had brought it.

Renee drove in to the parking area, parked her car, picked her envelope and handbag then took the lifts to her office. She sat down and opened her envelope carefully only to realise that the hard document inside was a laminated drawing of her.

She was in the back suit she had worn the previous day, seated at her much-loved seat at Great Grills Eatery. She was holding a fork and knife seemingly eating a plate of potato chips, steak and veggie salad. The drawing looked so real, like a photo image. She turned it round and saw carefully arranged words handwritten at the centre.

I cannot express my gratitude to you in words, only in a picture, for a picture is like a thousand words. Here is my thousand words of thank you. Let this picture always remind you that you are a special woman with a special heart. Thank you.

Renee grinned at the message . She held the picture close to her and closed her eyes. Then she unshut them and read the words again. She hastily put the drawing back in the envelope, put it at the far end of the table and switched on her computer to focus on her job.

Even though she pretended she was attentive at what she was doing, thoughts were racing her mind every corner. He is way too younger than you. He was only being nice for your generosity. None of his words expresses romance. He is a waiter for God’s sake, Renee! She put her hands on her face as if in anguish, hating what she was feeling. Her heart was yearning what her mind was warning.

TO BE CONTINUED-

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