What crazy thing have you done because of a crush?

A man and woman in love.

Photo credit: Photo I Pool

What you need to know:

  • Stories carry history, carry dreams and, of course, have the power to align and misalign, as Chinua Achebe would say.
  • In my world, stories carry the heart of people in a way nothing else can successfully do.

On Saturday, my childhood friend, Debbie, and I decided to check out the Egypt and Middle East expo. I’d have preferred to have one of my quiet, introverted Saturdays but since Debbie and I have not seen each other for close to half a year, I quickly pushed things off my schedule when she suggested that we go.

Also exciting to me was the prospect of experiencing a similitude of the Pyramids of Giza, or seeing a mummified Cleopatra VII… Okay, to be honest, I do not know what I expected to see at the expo. But, for my friend Debbie, and for a memory-promising enterprise, I was willing to go all out.

Everything was going on normally when we arrived at the expo centre. I didn’t see any historical figures from my archaeology relics but there was a colourful display of jewellery, house décor items, bedding, carpets and floor rugs, furniture, utensils, the usual milling of people at places like that, and so on.

We moved from one station to another: buying a few things but mostly taking pictures and chattering excitedly. Until we got to one of the stalls with saris (female garments originally from India, according to most sources), and Debbie decided to get one. I wasn’t keen on getting any of that, and so I willingly held on to Debbie’s bag and cardigan as she tried on one sari after another.

I was lost in my own thoughts, wondering why the expo did not have a section with art or a book stand with some of their biggest literary exports such as Nawal el Saadawi and Elif Shafak. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed looking at what was on display but nothing connects me with people deeply the way their stories do.

Stories carry history, carry dreams and, of course, have the power to align and misalign, as Chinua Achebe would say. In my world, stories carry the heart of people in a way nothing else can successfully do. Think about it; inventions, cultures, religion and even power, are communicated and carried forward through generations by the power of stories.

Anyway, whenever I managed to tear my mind from what was going on in my mental space to look at Debbie excitedly fit the saris, it was to mumble things like “that colour is good on you” “I think the other one looks classier” “I generally stick to earth colours because I don’t have to worry too much about contrasts with my skin” …

Until I noticed this nice-looking gentleman, one of the sellers, firmly by her side. He was helping her choose the colours, adjusting the arms, lifting the mirror up for her to see herself, and, of course, complimenting her. I was standing a little distance from where they are but from all the laughter that was going on and the occasional shy looks, I could tell the conversation was more than just sari colours and patterns.

When she rejoined me, her purchase in hand, Debbie was excited. “I got it at Sh1,000,” she said as she put the dress in her bag. I know Debbie cannot bargain to save her life, so how she moved the price from the original Sh3,500 we had been told to the shocking Sh1,000 was a story she needed to tell me without skipping even a comma.

Simply put, the guy had a crush on my friend and so she didn’t have to work so hard to bid the price down. Debbie told me the guy was excited that they were wearing similar colours, which he probably interpreted to mean a destiny connection of sorts. I had also noticed how the guy was staring at her the whole time, which I pointed out to Debbie.

“I think if his boss was not around, he would have given me the dress for free,” Debbie said, and we both laughed.

This story reminded me of the crazy things men have done or said to me because of a crush. The weirdest was last December when a high school student (I knew he was in high school because he told me) who thought I was in high school, too, walked up to me, sized me up and after confessing that he has been watching me for a while and he likes me, said he had a way of smuggling me out of my parents’ compound on the New Year’s eve, to take me to a place where we can have fun before we both return to school.

The details of that story are for another day. But I just find myself thinking about the level of risk some men are willing to take for a stranger!

What is the craziest thing you have done because of a crush?

The writer is the Research & Impact Editor, NMG ([email protected]).