Owen

(5)

“You haven’t told me much about yourself,” Rachel says as we are seated.

I tell her about Pauls Valley, my tour of duty in Viet Nam and my love of running and playing guitar.

“You’re a guitar player? Get out of here,” she says in mock surprise.

“Yes. I mean, not professionally.”

“Still, I’d like to hear you play sometime.”

“I’ll play for you when we are settled in our assignments.”

“Do you know when they’ll tell us?”

The waiter approaches and wants to know if we are ready to order. We haven’t even looked at the menu.

“Take your time. I’ll be back soon.”

The restaurant has local Malawian food, the Nsima, as well as chicken, meatballs, and steak. Plenty of choices. When the waiter returns we order.

“Have you eaten food like this? African food?” I ask.

“Not really, but I want to try. Hope I don’t get sick.”

“Why would you?”

“Well, my stomach acts funny sometimes, you may say. Especially when I eat something I’m not used to.”

“You’ll be okay. Let’s enjoy the moment.”

“I asked today when they’ll let us know where we’ll be stationed,” Rachel brings up the subject again.

The waiter has brought our food. He places it in front of us as he adjusts the settings.

“Enjoy,” he says and leaves us alone.

“I heard it will be on the last day of training.”

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we both get the same town?”

I’m glad Rachel spoke what was on my mind.

“I agree. We shall see,” I say.

We take a taxi back to her place, as it is getting dark. I sit close to her. We continue talking. She likes Barbara Streisand and the Bond movies. The taxi drops us a few feet from her place. As we walk to the front door I have my hands around her waist.

“I had a great time. Thanks for the dinner too.” Rachel says as we face each other.

“Me too. It was good to get out.”

She starts to walk towards the door. I hesitate a bit, but then pull her towards me. I feel her soft bosom against my chest and her warm breath as I kiss her lightly. She doesn’t resist.

“Good night,” she says turning towards me as I watch her open the door.

“Good night,” I say adding “we should do it again.”

She smiles one last time before closing the door. I wave and start walking back towards Mr. Aguda’s house. I am defying the warnings not to walk alone. I decide to do it anyway. I’m a man and I can run fast. A couple of boys cross me but nothing happens. They are talking loudly in their dialect and ignore me. I sleep well that night.

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