Hoodie, sunglasses. He was sure that no one would recognize him. It wouldn’t be good for his image if his fans found out that he was anywhere near here. He could just see the headline now: Brazilian soccer great, Affonso Sousa caught hanging a tie on the wishing tree. What could the man who has everything be wishing for? Fortunately, he came at a good time. Very few people were there and they didn’t seem to notice him.
He took the tie out of his pocket but he stayed where he was, looking at the tree which was laden with brightly colored scarves, ties, kerchiefs. This is ridiculous, he thought. He was so hung up on Imka that he wasn’t thinking straight. He thought about the first time he saw her.
It was at the beach. He was chilling with his friends when she emerged from the water like a Nubian goddess. His eyes nearly popped out of his head and his stomach did flipflops. Never in his life had he ever seen such a beautiful woman and she was coming towards him.
“Hello,” she said in English. “I’m a big fan of yours.”
He scrambled to his feet. “You know who I am?” he asked. Behind him he could hear his buddies snickering.
She nodded. “Of course. You’re Affonso Sousa.”
“Yes. What’s your name?”
“That’s a beautiful name,” he remarked. Beautiful like you.
“It means water. I read that you moved to Cape Town.”
“Yes. I have family and friends here. Besides, I love the place and…the people.”
They stood there chatting for a while longer and then she told him, “I have to go.”
“When can I see you again?” he asked.
She smiled. “Soon,” she said before walking away. That was three weeks ago and he hadn’t seen her since. He went to the beach several times after that day but she wasn’t there. He tried to forget about her but to no avail. He had to see her again or go insane.
And here, he was, holding a tie in his hand about to put it on the wishing tree with only one wish on his mind–to see Imka again and ask her out. He took a step forward.
“Now, what are you doing here?” an amused voice inquired and he swung round, startled. Imka stood there, head cocked to one side, grinning at him.
It took several minutes for him to recover from his surprise and to realize that he was not imagining this. She really was there. “I could ask you the same question,” he managed to say. His heart was racing and he couldn’t prevent his gaze from running eagerly over her petite figure in the red halter top and white close fitting jeans. And she really rocked the Bantu knot hairstyle.
“I was just passing by when I saw you.”
“But how did you know it was me?”
“I saw you when you drove up. You didn’t notice me. You weren’t wearing your hood or sunglasses.”
How could he not have noticed her? He pushed the hood off his head and removed the sunglasses. “So, you followed me in here?”
She nodded. “Yes. I figured if I wanted to ask you to have lunch with me, I had better follow you in here.”
His eyebrows rose. “Lunch?”
“Yes. Unless you have other plans.”
“No, I don’t have any other plans.”
“Good. It’s a beautiful day. We can walk over to the restaurant.”
He stuffed the tie back into his pocket as they walked away. He didn’t need it any more. He’d gotten his wish plus a lunch date.