I am the only one alone there. I know it and everybody else knows it. Everybody has arrived in groups or in pairs.
But I do not mind, and the guys at the restaurant are used to me. At first, they had looked curiously at me. Everytime I arrived alone. I always did the same thing. I ordered the same food, sat at the same table and read a book. Sometimes I did not eat, I just drank something. They now smile at me when I come in. I don't really care what they think of the fact that they never see me with anyone. It does not bother me. Their thoughts, their assumptions.
Today, they have a reggae band playing. I order the usual and sit alone in my usual corner. I am enjoying the music. The band is playing and I am having a good time. A young couple ask if they can sit at my table. I wave them on. Of course. Somehow, me in my corner, and the couple in theirs feels comfortable. We smile at each other from time to time. They watch my bag when I go to pee or buy a drink. The band plays on.
Two guys come in. The two guys are also having a good time, and then one of them leaves. Immediately, the other looks uncomfortable. His eyes start roving and I am praying, hoping they will not end on my table, but they do...
He begins to circle me. I decide to go to the dance floor instead, mingle among people, see if I can throw him off, perhaps he would think I am with a group of people or something. I find a good spot right behind a group of spanish people dancing. I begin to dance. They smile at me. I am hoping it will work.
After a couple of minutes, I notice the guy is right behind me.
Shit! this is worse. I leave the dance floor and go back to my table. He follows me there. The young woman there catches my eye. I get a look of sympathy from her.
"Do you like to jump?" he asks, smiling.
I get a whiff of bad breath...say it isnt so...
"You like rastafari? you like to jump?"
I assume he means "dancing" or something...so I smile back and say...
"Yeah, its okay"
He asks me where I am from, I tell him. Then I tell him he is from Ethiopia. He looks surprised.
"How did you know?"
I point to the scarf around his neck, with the ethiopian flag...
He says his name is "Zariah" or something that sounds like that. We shake hands. The young woman is looking curiously now. Then he says he is going to the toilet. I wonder if this will be a good time to bail, before he comes back. But why should I allow him spoil my evening? I was having such a good time before he showed up. So I go back to the dance floor, I close my eyes and begin to move to the music...
all of a sudden, I hear my name...
"Jump, waffy, jump"
What the fuck is this with this "jump" thing anyway? and why the hell is he not jumping then? I smile at him and continue my slow movements. When I see he is staring at the band a bit longer than usual, I go back to my seat. He realizes after a few seconds that I am no longer there and comes to sit beside me.
"You don't like to jump?"
"I am cool how I am" I say.
"Don't you want to dance anymore?" he asks
"I am cool"
"Do you have rastafari in Nigeria?"
All of s sudden, a couple at the end of the dance floor break into some kind of "swing dance". I begin to cheer them on...they are very entertaining. He is throwing her up and down, etc...
"They don't know what they are doing, that's not for reggae" he says
"Who cares? its fun" I say
"But that is not the "real" reggae" he says
What exactly is wrong with this imbecile? I think. Of course, its not for reggae.
I keep looking at the couple...
"They don't know real rastafari"
Is he really going to go on about this? Everybody else was clapping and cheering them on and this guy was shaking his head from side to side...
"Don't you want to jump?"
Is he fucking back to this jumping thing again?
This time I ignore him and just keep clapping.
The band stops playing. I begin to gather my things.
"Are you going? he asks
"Yeah. I have had enough. But you go and dance, enjoy yourself" I say.
I walk out of the restaurant and all of a sudden I see him beside me.
"Good night" I say as firmly as I can and begin to walk fast without looking back.