Papi Grande: A Meeting Over Sunflowers

Oh my goodness London is hot. I could as well be in the Caribbean oui? Hot no ass… and there is no quarter, because they don’t believe in air conditioning in this country, fans aren’t so easy to find and well ice trays are equally difficult to put your hands on.

I went out knocking about with Ms. G and her daughter and neice a couple of days ago. It was nice, Ms G. although we don’t see each other all the time, she’s so crazy although she says I crack her up, the point is we crack each other up and we’re very bad in buses, striking up conversation with whoever is close by and lawd, oi, don’t let them have a baby or a toddler, the two of us turn into cooing tantes at the drop of a hat.

The day I was going to meet Ms. G, I stopped at Queens Park Station to buy some flowers for her. I’ve taken to buying flowers for my friends. Not consciously mind you, it’s more like I see these little flower stands and think about my friends and buy them something pretty to brighten up their hearts and surroundings…. because I’ve been doing it for myself, so I’d like to do it for them as well. I’m sure it’s Oshun doing it, because the flowers are always yellow or white….

Anyway, this day I’m standing there eyeing up some huge sunflowers when this huge, tall, tall ass brother walked past me. He had to be six foot four or something… tall. It’s so rare to see such a tall black man I had to stop and admire that broad expanse of back… it was like acreage…. as he walked by. He must have caught a look at me too when he walked by… because as I turned back to the sunflowers, I noticed him looking back at me out of the corner of my eye.

I kept watching him out of the corner of my eye… and he kept walking… and kept looking back. So the third time he looked back, I mouthed hello at him, then went back to choosing the flowers. He was quite down the road when I mouthed my little hello, but did you know that brother turned around and walked slowly and confidently back to me. He stood next to me, while I paid for the flowers. I tried not to be too nervous, because check it: I am short. I am short, short, a little smurf… even though I am a plumper. So he towered over me. It’s been years since I’ve been attracted to a tall man… actually since Boobie, who was six foot five in bare feet, I’ve only been really attracted to average height and decidedly short men with the exception of RRB. I digress…

So that brother stood there, and as soon as I had finished paying for three huge sunflowers for Ms. G, asked, “Are those for me?”

I laughed, “No! They’re for a very good, very old friend of mine.”

“Do you have a minute?”

“Uhhh…” I was already walking to the cash machine. “Well I’m going to do this machine, right now.”

“I’ll wait.”

And he did and I didn’t hurry either. I must give myself credit when it comes to these fellas… when I like them, they could never say I act dizzy. I’m always cool and detached (until ya give me the good dick and then you know, ‘flame fucking on, oui?’) and they never know how nervous they make me.

My stomach was fluttering as he stood at the entrance of the station, mere feet away, and politely waited for me. I punched in my numbers and made my request and waited for the plastic and wire brain to spit it out, my stomach pulled in, thankful I had the presence of mind to put on a pair of pants that showed off my ass and my Ann Harvey black top I bought on sale that shows off my abundant cleavage. Also that there was still some remnant of wavy curls in hair after last week’s

When I was finished, I stepped over to him, the sunflowers between us and told him I was going on the train… but we shared a few words. He’s Nigerian–what is it about Nigerian men and Yoruba men in particular, I wonder although I’m sure I know the answer–and Yoruba, and he speaks English proper (Thank Osun!) with a decided English accent.

He said he didn’t want to keep me, and asked if he could call me sometime so we could talk. I gave him the number, and he called my cell to make sure he got it right. Then he said he’d call me around five o’clock. I said sure, and off he went and off I went.

Got my day pass for the transit system and got on the tube and went to go meet Ms. G, down at Putney East.

I always have a good time with Ms. G. It’s good to have a friend I’ve had for twenty plus years here in England. We didn’t have much time to hang out though, because I was late getting to her because of Tall Man. Oh, and because I walked out of the house and was nearly to the station when I realised I had left home without my iPod. Quelle horror! So you know I had to turn back and go get it. I ain’t spend all that money to listen to people sniffling on the tube, babies screaming and the sound of iron grining on iron without a soundtrack. It’s just as well, because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have had that marvellous experience with Tall Man. It was to the sounds of The Yoruba/Dahomey Collection – Orishas Across The Ocean’s ‘Ochun Talade’ that I did the whole Sunflower/Tall Man thing. (A sign?)

Anyway, he didn’t call at five o’clock that day. He didn’t call then, nor yesterday. I wondered if I had frightened him off, because I did ask him point blank if he knew about his spiritual tradition and commented (yet again) how sad it was that so many young Nigerians didn’t know anything about their history and heritage. That was when he asked for my number, so I don’t know how scared he was of me then.

So, by last night when my mind ran onto him and why he didn’t call, I wasn’t anxious, just you know getting inured to male bullshit. (At least I really hope so.) I went to sleep early for a change, and woke up early this morning.

When I unplugged my cell phone to plug in the hot water kettle to make coffee, I noticed that I had a message. I clicked to read: Hi! How are u doing? I’m so sorry that I have not called since the day we met. But you should know that I am thinking of you. Speak to you soon.

I replied: I’m fine, how are you? How come you didn’t call me?

He texted back: Delaying tactics. Just a joke, work. Can I see you today?

I replied: :laughing: Maybe.

He responded: I guess the answer is yes. What time?

I replied: You don’t know that I said yes. I said I might.

Two minutes later he called. We chatted for a few minutes, and he asked me out. He said he’d come to the train station at 6 o’clock and then we’d go somewhere. So I went out that afternoon, passed down by mahie, then passed down Oxford St., and picked up some cheap t-shirts and a very pretty white skirt.

I got home early enough to catch a little nap, blog a little and make some dinner and I began to get ready. I was very intrigued by this big, big man.

Six o’clock came and went, and he was nowhere to be found and couldn’t be raised on the telephone. I wasn’t bothered, until about 7 o’clock when I had to ask myself, “What is this man playing at, oui?”

He finally called about 7:30pm to tell me he had been caught up with some work thing, but he was on his way. It still took him another two hours to find his way to me.

By that time however, I had completely given up on him and was ravenous, with very little to eat in the house. So I put on my pretty skirt (a purchase from last year when I first came up to England and realised it was hot and I had nothing ‘summery’ to wear and couldn’t boil in the heat), my new t-shirt and jacket, de-docked my ipod, grabbed my bank card and went to go get some money and food. I was just about to crest this little car park a minute’s walk from train station when he called me to say he was at the station. I stopped walking, and thought to myself if I really wanted to go still even though he was horrendously late.

A little voice told me to go, so I told him I see him in a second. I walked around the corner and there he was. All of him…. towering above me.

We walked, and talked. Walked down to see if the park was opening, but of course at 9.15pm it was not. So we kept talking and walked aimlessly. We passed The Salusbury, which was overcrowded and loud as usual, and kept right on walking. In fact we went further down Salusbury Road, than I believe I’ve been since I lived in Queens Park. We saw another pub (I forget the name now) and it was much quieter, and went it for a drink.

We sat after much deliberation in a large booth occupied by another black couple; in fact the only black people in the joint. He was a perfect gentleman, solicitous in every way.

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thegoddessroom

The Vault

sungoddess

mermaid, dayo's mama, water priestess, writer, web developer, omo yemoja, dos aguas, obsessive reader, sci-fi fan, trini-bajan, combermerian, second life, music, music, music!