Author: Lerato Annie Lehlabathe, Food, Relationships

My knowledge of food is quite limited. As a child we weren’t exposed to a wide variety of different kinds of food. My mother loved gardening and used to plant vegetables in the garden of our home. Therefore, as a child, her vegetables were the only kind of food I was familiar with. There were also animals at home; cows, sheep and some chickens. Whenever one of the cows had new calves, we were always excited because that meant a change in our daily diet; from eating mom’s vegetables to now having fresh milk from the cow.

So it was humiliating for me when I went out on a date with a new boyfriend I had met on campus during my first year of study. Khettie was his name. He took me to a very nice restaurant. It was spring and the weather was lovely, but since I didn’t have any pretty dresses, I’d had difficulty in finding a proper dress for the date that morning. Anyway, I just wore one of my simple summer dresses. The restaurant was in town, which meant we had to take a taxi from Roma, where the university is, to Maseru.

When we arrived, we were welcomed by a waiter, who ushered us to our seats. We were then given big books which I learned later on were the ones where the menus were written. Inside the restaurant, the food smelled nice, it was quiet and calm. Khettie took the menu and after peeping through, raised his hand and called upon the waiter. He then asked me if I was ready to make my order. I shook my head and said, ‘You can go ahead, I’m still deciding what I will take.’ I was clueless about what kind of food I should choose: I honestly had no idea at all what to order. I went back to the book in front of my eyes, staring at what was written, trying hard to search for any word familiar to me; but all the words were new to me.

Now my heart started beating hard. I then listened to Khettie ordering. ‘Pizza,’ he said. So I said to myself, I shall order pizza too even though I don’t  know what it is. I then proudly raised my hand and looking at Khettie, said, ‘I’m ready to order.’ When the waiter came, I happily said, ‘I will take pizza.’ The waiter then asked me which one. I was puzzled for I didn’t know they were of different kinds. So I just told the waiter that I would have the same one Khettie had ordered. I was also asked which drink I wanted. Ooh my goodness here we go again, I said to myself. Since I only knew Coke, even though I hadn’t liked it the first time I had tasted it, I asked for Coke – because I didn’t know what else to say.

As we sat together keeping each other company, Khettie broke the ice between us and asked me what I liked doing during my spare time on campus. I told him I loved going to the library, though I didn’t know if that was an appropriate thing to tell a new boyfriend. However, he genuinely seemed interested, and then I went on to tell him about my passion for drama. He was a good listener, I admired him for that. Even though we were having this lovely chat, at the back of my mind I wasn’t relaxed at all. Something wasn’t sitting well with me; I then realised it was because of the pizza I had ordered. I kept asking myself a lot of questions, what if the pizza isn’t the type of food I enjoy, what will I do? What if it was something chilli? I didn’t like food with chilli, the thought of it made me sick in my tummy. I kept wondering if I would make a fool of myself when the pizza finally came? If I did, what would Khettie think of me? These questions kept bothering me.

At last the pizza came. It was something I had never seen before but it looked yummy! Khettie began eating his pizza; he seemed to be enjoying himself and I realised that maybe it wasn’t that bad after all. However, something else astonished me; he was eating with a fork and knife! How can someone eat with both a fork and knife at the same time? I now paid full attention to what he was doing, wondering will I be able to do that? I waited, scared to make a move. I was hungry but hesitant to start eating my pizza since I was worried how was I going to eat with those? Well, a fork is more understandable, unlike a knife, I thought to myself. Khettie soon noticed that I was not eating and asked, ‘Why are you not eating?’ With a shaking voice, I responded, feeling ashamed, ‘I don’t know how to eat using both a fork and knife at the same time.’

He looked up at me with wide eyes and then laughed. I was hurt, how can he laugh at me. When he saw tears coming to my eyes, he stopped and said, ‘Oh Annie, I’m sorry, I thought you were joking.’ I was no longer interested in what he wanted to say next. I excused myself from the table and ran to the bathroom. He stood up and followed me. When I entered the ladies room, I could hear him calling me. I ignored him and shut the door behind me. I was furious and ashamed at the same time and then went straight to the mirror and looked at my face. I was able to breathe in and out for a moment and take in what had just happened. Khettie was a nice person, this was one thing I had noticed about him during the previous weeks we had started hanging out. So I cooled down and opened the door. Leaning against the door of the bathroom, he held my hand and apologised. I fell for his charm and we went back to our table smiling at each other. He demonstrated to me how to use a fork and knife.

The pizza tasted delicious but because of the humiliation I had put myself through, I didn’t fully enjoy it. I wanted to go back to campus. So I lied, ‘Khettie, I have an assignment due tomorrow. Do you mind if we go back to campus, please?’ I think he must have realised I was lying; he just nodded his head and then asked me to wait for him to finish eating. He said I could take mine with me; he called the waiter and asked him to wrap my pizza as we had to hurry back to campus. I felt relieved when we left the restaurant.

*****

When I arrived in campus after Khettie had accompanied me, I was in a hurry to taste and explore my pizza without any audience this time. However, it was cold and tasted funny as it kept on making cracky sounds whenever I tried eating it. As time went on, Khetthie was always busy and with that we ended up going our separate ways. I believe he realised I wasn’t that type of girl he was looking for. Soon he lost interest in me and never invited me to a second date… lol.

 

 

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