Aasia was puzzled. She was puzzled by the curly-haired boy sitting next to her on the bench. She was puzzled as to why he was talking to her. She was puzzled as to why he wanted to get to know her.
Holding up her hand, she cut him off mid sentence. “Why are you here?” She bluntly asked, her face giving nothing away.
Taken aback, Waseem erred before he furrowed his brows, offering the only answer he could think of that wouldn’t scare her away. He couldn’t possibly tell her that only moments ago he saw her walk into the campus coffee store, and that he felt compelled to follow her to find out who she was.
No, that would definitely freak her out so instead he opted for a neutral and unconvincing response. “I go to campus here?”
Aasia rolled her eyes and dismissed his answer immediately. “No, I mean why are you here, sitting here talking to me?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Er- because pretty much no one on campus comes up to talk to me?” Aasia offered, shocking Waseem.
“Well I don’t believe that for a second.”
“Well you should… Seriously though, why are you here?”
Waseem weighed his options. He could conjure up another bad lie, but Aasia would probably see through it and leave. So he settled for a simplified version of the truth.
“Because I’m curious.” He admitted.
“About?” She asked.
“You.” Was his simple response.
Aasia didn’t have time to be flattered. She shrugged her shoulders and gave him her most honest reply. “There’s nothing to be curious about. What you see is what you get with me. I’m a plain Jane.” And with that she grabbed her backpack and stood up, making her intentions clear: she wanted the conversation to come to an end.
“I think that backpack is a far cry from plain Jane.” Waseem remarked, with a smirk on his face. That damned backpack, he thought to himself. It was the reason he saw Aasia in the first place.
“Leave my backpack alone.” She said defensively, with a hint of a smile playing on her lips.
“No no, you misunderstood. I like it. It’s quirky.”
“Quirky?” Aasia asked, as she angled her brow and questioned his word choice.
“Yes, quirky. Do you question everything that is said to you?”
Her response shocked Waseem. He didn’t expect her to laugh but she did, and her bubbly unrestrained glee filled the air. He smiled as once again he was unexpectedly affected by something as simple as the sound of her laughter.
He waited till she caught her breath then folded his arms over his chest. “Come on, I’m not that funny.” He said, in an attempt to carry on the conversation.
“I’m sorry, your question was just- it was just so… honest. I mean, I’d expect it from my best friend but not from a complete stranger.”
“Hey! I’m not a complete stranger.” Waseem said in a defensive tone, as he began to list all that they knew about each other. “You know my name. We go to the same campus. We’re both studying the same course.”
“How do you know what I’m studying?” Aasia asked in an alarmed tone.
He smiled and pointed to her backpack where an array of colourful pins were pinned onto the front. There was a videocamera, a camera, a mic, a television, a book, and a few others.
“Visual arts?” He asked, hoping he was right.
Aasia smirked. “Actually, you’re wrong. Communications. I want to be a journalist, but I assume you’re doing visual arts?”
He nodded his head eagerly and patted the space next to him on the bench. “I’ll tell you about my degree if you tell me about yours?” He said it in a joking tone, but you couldn’t miss the hope that was entwined in it too.
He was clearly not letting go of Aasia that easily, not just yet. He had more to ask, more to know and so he waited for her to give in. She sighed, rolled her eyes then walked back towards the bench and sat down.
“So tell me Miss Journalist, why do you want to be a journalist?”
Aasia was momentarily at a loss for words. In the past, when she was asked this same question it was by her parents for all the wrong reasons. They would hear her out then attack her, discourage her, poke holes in her justifications for wanting to become a journalist and offer her minimal support in her quest.
She paused before answering the question, channelling her journalistic passion before looking at Waseem. “To me, honesty is everything. It’s up to the journalists of today to uncover the truth. How else will we move forward as a society with corruption and lies intertwined in everything that we do? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t at least try to make the world a more honest place.”
Aasia had spoken with vigour, determination and motivation. Her response had moved Waseem and it took him a moment to snap out of his amazement to react to her.
“I- wow. I mean, that’s amazing. You’re really passionate about it huh?”
She nodded her head and shrugged her shoulders in a way that only she could make look cute. “What about you Mr visual arts? Are you going to be the first South African director to win an Oscar?”
Waseem laughed and scratched the back of his neck in a nervous way. He didn’t have his future all figured out yet, at least not like how Aasia had. “Not quite. I mean- I’m doing it more because I love film. I love seeing things through my camera and I wanted to study something I would enjoy, you get what I mean?”
“Yeah. It’s exactly why I’m doing communications instead of medicine or law… which is what my parents want me to do. I don’t want to waste my life doing something I won’t enjoy.”
“Exactly! And honestly, it’s a good thing you aren’t doing medicine.”
Aasia raised an eyebrow and glared at Waseem. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Lets just say,” And he paused for dramatic effect to riddle her up even more. “You’d scare your patients away.”
Aasia gasped and was about to defend herself, whilst giving him an earful but she didn’t have the opportunity to. Waseem was already jogging back to his friends as she gaped at him in shock. He had nearly reached the doors to the coffee store when he suddenly turned around and waved at her, screaming out loud for everyone on campus to hear, “See you tomorrow Aasia!”
She blushed scarlet red.
And that was the beginning of the beautiful budding friendship, relationship and marriage of Waseem and Aasia.
A thousand and one apologies for the delay in this chapter!
I’ve been buried under university work with assignments and upcoming exams.
On the bright side, today was the first day of Spring in Toronto, so yay! Sunshine! Warmth! Greenery!
I hope you guys enjoyed the post.
Have a lovely week.