The evening looked quiet promising, things in place as usual and people strolling in and out of of Martin Hilder. Dila wasn’t surprised as that was the single reason she visited the eatery at all. Martin Hilder has managed to maintain the reputation of “best and most concise eatery in town”. Dila had lived in denial of that fact for as long as she could remember until a friend literarily bundled her to the eatery and forced her to have a taste of what she called “Martin Hilder’s finnest”. Dila had since fallen in love with Martin Hilder and had now made it her choice each time she saw the need to hang out. It was fast becoming her abode for Friday evenings.

As she sat down at her favorite spot this particular evening, she couldn’t help but notice the catchy and mouthwatering distinctive features of a young man. He was seated alongside another young man who seemed to be a friend. They talked in low tones or what appeared so as Dila could barely make out what they said from where she sat. She kept staring, oblivious of the fact that she had been found out.

The young man was dressed in a red T-shirt and what looked like a dark blue jean with the most marvelous sneakers Dila had ever seen. She wasn’t a fan of sneakers but this particular one caught her fancy. Maybe it had to do with its particular owner. Whenever he smiled, Dila fought so hard to swallow, a lump suddenly building up on her oesophagus. She couldn’t remember the last time she had seen a man that handsome. She just couldn’t take her eyes off.

Her mind suddenly drifted to the last man she had seen, that handsome. His name is Peter. Maybe “was”. She wasn’t sure if he was still alive or dead but everything in her earnestly prayed for the later. Peter was the perfect definition of “her worst nighmare”. She still remembered the day she met him. It had been a very busy afternoon and she had had a terribly stressful day and her car had stopped in the middle of nowhere just when she was about going to get something to eat. She was hungry, tired and angry with little or no energy left for anything else.

She could remember waiting for a taxi, a little away from shedding tears when his car swift past. She had been so lost in thoughts that she didn’t notice when he reversed, alighted and was standing right beside her. She smiled as she recalled how he had helped out with everything from getting her something to eat to fixing her car. But the smile was short lived as the grueling pain from their parting scene soon took over and a tear made its way down her cheek.

“Are you okay?” came a voice from across her table, startling her. She almost jumped out of her seat when she sighted the particular young man from a few tables away. She took a quick glance at his table to be sure she wasn’t day dreaming but saw no one. “Even his friend is gone” she mumbled to her self.

“Excuse me” came the young man again. The confusion on his face was unmistakable and Dila wasn’t surprised. “He must think am weird” she said to herself, making sure he didn’t hear this one.

“I wasn’t talking to you” she said. Smiling, she readjusted herself on her seat. She was suddenly feeling hot. Worse was the part where she couldn’t make an eye contact with the young man. She had thought he was “hot” when he was 2km away, now that he is only 5cm away, she wasn’t sure what to say nor how to describe him. One thing was certain, he was very much more handsome than she had thought.

For the first time in as long as she could remember, she hung her head in the presence of a man. “Its pretty much normal, am sure he has this effect on all the female folks” she convinced herself. She didn’t like how he was making her feel but also didn’t want to make herself feel worse by narrowing it down to “his effect on me”. She hadn’t realized how much lost in thoughts again she had been until his voice came, again jolting her.

“Are you sure you are okay” the voice was now filled with concern. “You obviously have a lot on your mind. I know we just met but you can talk to me. I promise to listen and not judge” the voice was reassuring, this time and Dila was immediately thrown back to how nice, calm, understanding and patient Peter had been with her, of course until the dreaded incident. How was she sure she could trust this young man seated in front of her right now.

Its been allegedly five years since her ordeal of a relationship with her supposed heartthrob, Peter and she wasn’t sure she was ready to as much as confide in any man. Her unparalleled attraction to this man was a surprise to start with. For five years she had consciously lived, intentionally boycotting the male folks. She had no intentions of falling unto the edges with anymore guys. She was determined to spare herself anymore heartaches.

“Hey, my name is Kenneth. I’m a Civil Engineer working with Bills and Henders coperation. We have a contract in town. I live in Abuja but my family members reside in Lagos. I’m single…

“I don’t remember requesting for your portfolio” Dila snapped, irritated. You are rich, I get that, stop rubbing it on my face! She was looking at him straight in the eye for the first time since they met.

“Alright. Am sorry. I only thought a little familiarization will get you to trust me in the tinniest bit possible. I just want to help. You look so troubled and I couldn’t just ignore that. Like I said, am here to help. You can confide in me”. He spoke with so much sincerity that Dila felt sorry for venting her anger on him.

They began with ordering some food. They talked and talked until the restaurant owner came to remind then that it was close of work and she was ready to lock up. It was at that point that they noticed how deserted the eatery was. They were literarily the only ones left. Dila smiled as she got up from her seat. It had been a lovely evening.

For the first time in 5years, she wholistically discussed “the Peter incident”. After aborting Peters child as he instructed on a bid to salvage their relationship, she had suffered some complications that led to Ashermann’s syndrome, a condition that could adversely affect her ability to carry a child to viability and Peter had immediately taken to his heels saying he wanted nothing to do with a half baked good. Dila had been too broken to speak to anyone. As the memories flooded, she shook her head as they made their way out of Martin Hilder.