LIZZIE'S WORLD: Heartbreak at the hotel

Shopping done, I decide to have a nice, long lunch. But I don’t feel like eating alone. I decide to make a phone call.

Saturday February 20 2016

Shopping done, I decide to have a nice, long

Shopping done, I decide to have a nice, long lunch. But I don’t feel like eating alone. I decide to make a phone call. ILLUSTRATION| JOSEPH NGARI 

By LIZ LUNDI
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Shopping done, I decide to have a nice, long lunch. But I don’t feel like eating alone. I decide to make a phone call. Fishing my phone out of my bag, I am surprised to find it already ringing – and the caller is no less that the person I had been planning to call: Harry. Wow. This Secret stuff is pretty efficient.

“Hi!” I trill when I answer. “I was just thinking about you.”

“Heh, yes, were you?” he asks dryly. Hmm. He doesn’t sound so enthusiastic to hear from me, which makes me wonder why he is calling me in the first place.

“What’s up?” I ask, this time my tone taking on a rather serious aspect.

“I was wondering if you might be free to meet today.”

“Yes,” I say, perking up once more. “I was just about to call you to see if you were free for lunch.”

“As a matter of fact, I am,” he says.

“Great!” I reply, and we make arrangements to meet in an hour’s time at a nearby restaurant. An hour gives me just enough time to get a quick manicure, which I do, and then I make my way to the restaurant to sit down and wait for Harry. While I do that, I shoot off a quick text to Louise. “Hey, this book of yours works like magic!” I write. “Everything I am wishing for is coming true in seconds. Wow!” A few short seconds later, Louise pings back her reply: “Really? I’m happy for you but I am a bit worried; you’re supposed to learn how to do it correctly first. Are you sure you’re applying The Secret the right way?” Hmm… I wonder why Louise is being doubtful. Shouldn’t she be happy that I have finally learnt at least one useful thing in my life? Also, the fact that I am about to meet with Harry and maybe, finally, get our act together, is proof that I can truly have anything I desire if I just wish for it. I am just about to reply and tell her all these things when Harry walks into the restaurant.

“Hi,” he says when he reaches me, leaning over to give me a quick peck on the cheek. “You’re here early. Were you waiting long?”

“No,” I say, putting my phone away and signaling a waiter to bring us our menus. “I literally just got here. How are you?”

“I’m fine,” he says. But he does not look fine. In fact, he looks quite distracted. I am confused. I thought Harry would be happy to see me. I even got my nails done for him. Why is he being so distant?

“Shall we order?” I ask. “This place has some really great pasta dishes. You might want to try one,” I point out.

“No, no thanks,” he says. “I can’t stay, so I’ll just ask for a glass of juice.”

Whaaaat? He ‘can’t stay’?! But I had planned this long, leisurely afternoon lunch! I was sure he would appreciate me finally paying him some attention, so why, all of a sudden, is he in such a hurry to leave my presence!?

I put the menu aside and stare him straight in the face. “Ok, what’s going on, Harry?” I ask.

“What do you mean?” he looks at me and blinks. I think that’s his way of trying to look innocent and unaware of the impact of his last statement.

“Quite honestly, you call me up for lunch, and then when you get here, you act like the last place you want to be is here, with me, eating. Why did you call me?”

Harry sighs and sits back in his chair. He’s avoiding my eyes. My eyes narrow. I am about to open my mouth when our waiter approaches us.

“Your orders, sir, madam?” he asks.

“Yes, I’ll have a glass of passion fruit juice,” Harry says.

“Make that two,” I add.

“And for lunch?”

“No food,” I wave my hand.

“Oh, you can eat if you want,” Harry says and I feel like exploding.

“No food, thank you,” I say pointedly to the waiter. He nods and scurries off.

“Back to you,” I say. “Spit it.”

Harry sighs, his shoulders heaving, as if he is gathering courage. Then finally he says, “Look, I need to apologise to you, for leading you on.”