Lunch Conversations

“Gosh, I swear I’m going to have leave Danny if he doesn’t learn how to stay down longer than 3 minutes. Yes, I said 3 minutes, Imani!” Luisa was off to her usual rant, talking about how her boyfriend, Danny, needed to learn more about reciprocity and the importance of being enthusiastic.

“I think you should talk to him. Really sit him down and tell him that he can’t be a selfish…*ahem*...lover.” I made a face of utter disgust at the fact that the word ‘lover’ had actually left my mouth.

“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to. I’ll do it tonight,” Luisa said mundanely. She opened the lid to her salad bowl and stopped with her fork in mid-air. “Have you done it yet?”

Oh god, why did she have to ask me, as if my answer had changed from last week’s lunch date.

“Who me?” I said, scrambling to take a bite of the stale whole wheat bread that I didn’t actually want. “Ummm, no, not really,” I said, starting to breathe a little bit heavier. “I’ve been pretty busy you know. High school, then college, now working full time. Don’t even get me started on how much time it takes to be a committed member of Team Flash.” I laughed uneasily.

Luisa cocked her head to one side and gave me one of her ‘I’m not judging, I’m just analyzing, but mainly judging’ looks. “That’s a fictional universe, Imani. It doesn’t count as a deterrent. Why haven’t you done it yet?”

I didn’t know how to tell Luisa that my biggest deterrent was fear. I was scared to be that up-close-and-personal with anyone. I didn’t even like visiting my dentist because his fingers had to be in my mouth the whole time. Perhaps it’s because my dearest grandmother used to tell me that even kissing could lead to pregnancy, or because my pastor said that sex is a sin before marriage. Whatever it was, I didn’t have the burning desire to lose my virginity the way that my friends had. I was 24 years old, living in New York City, and my only real desire was to fall in love for the first time.

“I guess I want it to be special. And I know that you’ve said that special is overrated, and that’s definitely true for some people, but I know that I need an emotional connection.” I put the stale bread on the table and waited for her reply.

“That’s fair,” Luisa said, cracking a sympathetic smile. “We’re all different. Hell, I wonder what would have happened if I had waited for an emotional connection.”

“But your first time wasn’t bad was it?” I asked, intrigued.

“Not at all! She was great. The perfect one night stand. Very respectful too. And British,” she laughed at her own statement. “What do you think it would be like to sleep with only one person your whole life?”

“That sounds like a dream to me!” I said too enthusiastically. “And the way that I’m going, it’ll be my reality. I’ll wait so long that I’ll only be able to do it once on my deathbed. So, I’ll let you know.” We both burst out into laughter in the lunchroom. I stuck my fork into her salad bowl, and we carried on with our next conversation - why the restaurant always sold stale bread.

Thokozile Zimba