It was a nice, beautiful sunny afternoon. Caesar was walking towards the neighbourhood's closest supermarket and deep down he had a gut feeling that the weather was about to change for the worse. The gorgeous cocktail-blue sky was beginning to darken into gravel-grey.The Clouds looked like airy anvils drifting under the gleaming disc of the sun to form large pillows of clouds which started blotting out the sun. Caesar knew he had to hurry. In no time he had arrived at the supermarket. He proceeded to pick up a few items from the rusty and dusty shelves. The queue to the counter was considerably long. He looked out through the window and the sky was completely tar-black and dark clouds were hanging up the sky. It looked as though it was about to rain. Little taps of rain could occasionally be heard on the window. He shook his head, worried by the sight he was witnessing.
"It is about to rain cats and dogs," he said under his breath. He ran his hands over his face and let out a soft muffled sigh.
Then he looked a little further down the line and there stood the most beautiful lady, the lady of his dreams. Her ravishing beauty almost took his breath away. Of course, Caesar knew who she was. Everybody knew who she was; every single soul in town knew her name. She was Wendy. She had a burnished complexion and a shapely figure joined by a wafer-thin waist. Her saccharine sweet lips looked blossom soft. Her coal-black hair tumbled over her shoulders.
The tiny drops on the window soon became pitter patter. The people outside started running for cover and umbrellas flung up the air. Clouds spat out beads of water. The people in the supermarket had worry written all over their faces as they heard the murmur of the rain outside: it sounded like the buzzing of angry bees. Everyone seemed to have a sense of urgency except one person, Caesar. He was completely charmed by Wendy's beauty. His gaze was completely fixed on her: he seemed to have no worry in the world at the moment. Not a single one!
He watched her closely. Every single movement she made never went unnoticed by him. A set of dazzling, pearl white teeth gleamed as she blew gently over her ruby-red fingernails: she was probably getting rid of the dust that was in abundance on the shelves. The line moved slowly to his liking, but to the other people's disadvantage, they all seemed to be in a hurry to serve at the counter and leave.
Soon, it was Wendy's turn to pay for her items. She rummaged through her purse presumably looking for money. It seemed to take her forever finding the money to pay the cashier. She felt spasms of panic as she could not find a single coin in her purse.
"Hurry up lady!" Snarled a voice from behind.
"I can't find my money. Why don't you give me a minute I get it from my car?" She asked, in the sweetest voice she could conjure up. Her eyes pleaded with the cashier as she tapped her glossy manicure against the granite counter.
"I cannot do that," replied the cashier. By then, his face was openly dripping with disgust. Her eyes rolled, indicating her frustration.
Then at that moment, a bright idea came to Caesar. He confidently brushed his way past the other customers and headed to the counter. Everyone gave him a curious look.
"Let me pay for the beautiful lady's shopping if she will allow me. We honestly would not want to spend more time here with the harsh weather outside," Caesar said. The customers behind him mumbled in agreement. She studied his face apprehensively for a while then gave him a nod in agreement. He added his items to the count and paid up for them. She said thank you though Caesar could not hear a word because of the deafening noise made by the rain: or was it because he was more concerned with watching her pouty lips than the words she was saying? She quickly made her way out of the supermarket.
He followed her almost immediately but the rain was too much. He had to find shelter before he got drenched by the rainwater. He took shelter under an old oak tree hoping and praying that it would see out the pouring showers. In no time, droplets of rain began to drip from the leaves.
A blue Audi came to a grinding halt next to the oak tree. The driver honked at Cesar twice. He did not move a single muscle, he stood still. The driver then rolled a window down. That was when Caesar had a good look of the occupant of the driver’s seat smiling at him.
"Hope in!" She shouted. She could not be blamed for shouting. So much rain was falling that all sounds blurred into one long whirring noise. He hesitated for a minute but got in the car. The cold was becoming unbearable. It took him a minute to get comfortable.
"Thanks for saving me back there, where are you headed, I can drop you there?" She asked.
"8 town," he answered.
"You stay in the ghetto?" She asked inquisitively, looking obviously surprised.
He gave her a long hard look.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way," she tried to explain looking very apologetic, "I am actually passing by their. I'll drop you."
She turned the ignition key and the engine came to life. The journey was so quiet. All he could think about was the reaction she would give when they reach 8 town. Wendy seemed to read his mind, she kept telling herself to act with at most understanding once they reach 8 town.
There was an eerie silence in the car. The only noise that that constantly punctuated the silence was that of the sleety rain that fell impartially on the roof of the sleek car. Everyone seemed to be deeply wrapped and absorbed by their thoughts. The silence was becoming too much, Wendy could not bear it anymore. She had to break the silence!
"You know it's funny how we have not introduced ourselves. I am Wendy. What is your name?" She asked, barely taking her eyes off the road.
He was glad she broke the silence. He was contemplating doing it himself. He was glad she did it first and saved him a whole lot of stress. He had to rethink the idea of telling her that he knew her name. It would have sounded very weird.
"I am Caesar," he answered,"take the left turn please." They were fast approaching 8 town and by then, the constant whooshing of rain on the roof of the car had gradually faded in the background.
This was a ghetto that needed no introduction. The distinct pungent smells that occasionally punctuated the freshness of the air was the first indication that you were given to know you were already there. Then came the muddy houses and open sewers. Welcome to 8 town!
"You can drop me right there please," Caesar said pointing ahead at the entrance of a salon that was by the road. She did as requested, she stopped the car right at the entrance of the salon. She looked around through the tinted car windows. Caesar noticed as discomfort spread over Wendy's pretty features as a couple of half nude children walked by happily running after a rugged hand woven ball; they were all barefoot. The expression on her face was easy to read. It was crystal clear that she was nervous too.
"You have never been here before?" He asked. A question to which she nodded in agreement.
"Why don't you come in with me for a minute and have a glimpse at my first class mansion?" He said jokingly with a belief settled firmly in his heart that she would never agree to such a proposal.
That was where he was wrong and absolutely wide off the mark. Curiosity had gotten the better part of Wendy. She had always wanted to know what it feels like to be in the ghetto. She smiled at him, opened the door slightly and motioned him to follow her out. Caesar turned his head slightly to look at her; he was in total disbelief. She looked pleasantly back at him.
"Are you taking me to the 'mansion' or are you going to sit there staring at me?" She asked in a sarcastic tone and with a lovely grin on her face. His heart almost went into a frenzy. He fidgetted, giving her a goofy look while trying to piece together an excuse so strong that will make her stay in the car. Only silly ideas came to his head. He picked up the bag that had his shopping and stepped out of the car. . He made his way to the salon, Wendy hot on his heels. Caesar made his way to the door of the salon, whispered something inaudibly into the ears of the lady at the entrance and then pointed at Wendy's car.
The journey to Caesar's house, from the salon, was short but it required a whole lot of fitness. They had to jump a couple of open sewers, hop on a couple stones in the middle of large pools of water and all this while trying to maintain their balance and not to fall. Caesar was already used to the routine. However, he could not shake the niggling little voice in his head that had him wondering whether he should be taking her to his house. He was questioning himself for one reason and one reason only: how would a girl from a well known rich family react to the conditions of the ghetto? Wendy was trying her best and so far not to fall, she was doing great. Caesar stopped at a black gate and waited for Wendy to catch up with him. He motioned her to get in.
Several very old women sat around a table at the entrance of the small compound. They appeared to be mending clothes. They all obviously seemed surprised to see Wendy. The smile of the oldest woman, if such a thing were possible as they were all ancient looking, disappeared as soon as she saw Caesar's companion. If looks were arrows, they would have died instantly from the glares she shot at them. Within moments, the other women who sat with her followed suit with glares of their own.
Caesar ignored their stares, held Wendy's hand and led her past the women. A couple of chicken squawked their displeasure as the two disturbed their late evening feast. They scattered away as the two made their way past them. Caesar then unlocked a door to a house in the furthest corner and welcomed her in.
The house was small, so small that a mouse would have trouble turning around. However, it was well kept with drastically outdated furnishings. It had a musty smell like there was a water leak somewhere that had not been corrected. Wendy was not impressed by the "mansion" but she pretended well enough for Cesar not to notice.
To be continued..................