Champagne Hello: A Story from an Asocial Black

by Sandile Mkhize

     Unlike most stereotypes, on the 3rd week of the month, me and the boys decide to hit the scene with notable deep pockets. Without knowing it we’re surrounded by so-called progressive hipsters who know their champagne money is for textbooks and food bills. In the mist of all this madness, we walk in and then it happens. We have never met but at first, second, third glance i know it’s you. As much i have indulged in the local quaff, i don’t have the courage to step up. Standing under a black chandelier lit sky, all tongues confess your skin speaks sex. There has never been you as far as i am concerned. The squad passes comments about the girl in the red dress, but i have noticed much more. “ I bet she’s around”, they say. Her hair was midnight-black and it flowed over her shoulders. She had saccharine lips complimented with the stunning halo-white teeth. She is beyond perfect. i crack a smirk from my well groomed face. i never obsess about things i know from face value, but this is different.

 

Then comes the time to scheme an approach but i have noticed four guys (everything from an EFF to a Denzel looking motherfucker) approach you. Politely you dismiss their efforts but i wonder why i would be different. As pathetic as it sounds, at this point i have lived a hundred different lives shared with you in my head. We have been poor, we have had kids, and the only constant is “we are together.”

 

i can’t share this, because the truth is i’m not the guy you’re taking a home tonight. i’m in the corner watching you flirt and i’m right over here. Why can’t you see me, i’m thinking. “i’m the type to take cooking lessons to prepare your favorite meal. i appreciate the effort you put in so i would never mix the terms manicure and pedicure….” But then, we catch eyes.

 

Now my world is fucked. An exaggeration so accurate, i was struck by lightning. i realize how you have wounded with your smile and you’ve probably laughed when some bled. Most misinterpret your sly satire as arrogance but i see it for what it is; elegant wit. You cannot be convicted because you’ve earned your degree and nature has been kind to you. Suddenly, that look with a supplemented smirk gives the impression you like what you see. After countless failed attempts of plotting to get to you, we finally “randomly” bump into each other at the VIP bar. Waiting for then unerring moment to strike is more demanding than most would think.

 

i say: Hello

 

She says: Hello handsome

 

i giggle as it is clear you have had more than is apparent. Trying to make it work i ask empty questions about the night. To my surprise you cut me off and ask why i said hello. i have no response. “Nice to meet you” she says.

Fuck i blew it.

 

The shortest conversation i’ve had in this decade. i console my ego by thinking if it was meant to be, then it will be. Now an hour has passed since our encounter and i notice something. There is a guy sitting next to you that is clearly not welcome in your space. Your ladylike manners don’t compliment this poorly constructed interpretation of a man. It’s time for this degenerate to leave. We catch eyes again but this time i walk straight up to you. Without hesitation i pass you a glass of water accompanied by “sorry i took so long honey, who is your friend”. Themba he says. i make it clear to him he is not welcome. He kindly removes himself before i’m forced to implement plan B, a Mike ‘Iron’ Tyson haymaker!

 

We are now enchanted by conversation and we start learning each other’s souls. i have never spoken to a lady that has challenged and shared my views in a club. Truth is, i was educated on certain topics, but the highlight was how we’re so irritated by how the word melanin is now on the tongues of “clever blacks”. i didn’t say it at the time, a few statement you said helped to further decolonize my mind. Since the inception of this boon conversation, we have spoken nothing but a foreign tongue. You point out how we better describe who we think we are better through our colonizer’s mind than through our Mother’s tongue. Ngiyaxolisa. The club and music soon becomes irrelevant when we start talking about love.

 

We agree that love that is not madness, is not love at all. We agree that we should find someone that brings out the best and the worst in us. We agree that we shouldn’t waste time looking for the perfect love, instead we should create it. We agree it is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person. We agree we are all born for champagne and love. We agree to love for the sake of loving can be destructive and angelic. We agree that as much as we have been hurt, to fear love is to fear life. We agree there is no power to love, it can give life and it can validate death. We agree there is more pleasure in loving than being beloved. We agree the only abnormality is the incapacity to love. We agree the greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. We agree the fact that love is of two kinds, one which commands, and one which obeys. The two are quite distinct. The passion of commanding love gives rise not the passion to obeying love. The essence of this love is not the same just as one who receives cannot understand the joy of giving at that moment…..and most importantly you definitely agree there is a woman at the beginning of all great things!

 

After this 2 hour 49 minute conversation, i know she could ruin people’s faith with casual lies. She could promise you a conspiracy free Nkandla. We talk about life in the suburbs and how we would prefer black neighbors because there is something empty about calling Johan umakhelwane. Truth is this is the most romantic conversation i’ve had with a woman out of my league. i am smitten.

 

As the night draws to an end, i know that asking for your number would taint the beauty we just experienced. My intentions are not to just baps anymore, i would love to share some food and contraband with you. So we agree that next week same time same place.

 

Friday comes, i stand at our spot and i look around……………

Notes

The “i” small cap is a conscious imagery of not being bigger than the group.. The Cartesian principle is “I think therefore I am.” In Afrika we say, ”i am because we are and since we are, therefore i am.”