One time I planned to host Leo. When he reached my residence, he called and asked me to go downstairs and pick him up. For all the times he visited, I would pick him up from the parking lot.

But not that day.

As I slopped down to the ground floor, I reached the part leading to the last set of stairs. These steps directly faced the entrance. Leo and the gateman were bent over the registration book.

Instinctively, both looked up when they heard my footsteps. From the look on his face, Leo wasn’t expecting me. However, when he set his eyes on me, he pointed at me and said something to the guard, signaling that I was the one he had come to visit. He then looked down to continue writing. However, just as fast, he looked back up and stared at me; the task at hand completely abandoned. Likewise for the gateman. I froze momentarily when I saw them. All this was happening within split seconds.

In my mind, I knew I was meeting Leo outside. The sudden turn of events caught me unawares. The stares made me nervous.
I knew I was smart. I looked and smelt good because I had put in a little more effort than usual…but.

My eyes met Leo’s and immediately I looked down. He just did that to me. I needed to breathe.

I prolonged my stare at the floor just to make sure I was breathing. When I thought I had regained my composure, I looked back up. Leo was frozen in his position; still bent over the table and looking up at me like a child would stare at a candy jar. Those seconds felt like an hour.

Somehow, my brain remembered to work. I slopped down the steps, my gaze focused on the stairs. I looked at the steps and nothing but them. I convinced myself that it was okay to look down because responsible people look where they are going. Right? Goodness, those are the most difficult steps I have ever climbed down! It is difficult to fathom that I always skipped down those very steps mindlessly, without a care a in the world.

Lucky for me, the two gentlemen figured the attention was making me uneasy and they went back to the assignment of registering Leo in the visitor’s book.

Did Leo love me? -Yes. Did I know it then? -Nah. In the first weeks of our relationship, he asked me like a million times, “Where is home?” And each time I would tell him. I did not understand why he was so interested in where I came from.

One time he asked again and I told him he was asking the very question for for the third time. He responded, “Only? I have asked about five times”.

I won’t forget how I always tried to run from cooking for him. But he was very persuasive to the point that I found myself cooking alone one day -even when we had agreed that we would cook ‘together’. When I asked why he badly wanted me to cook for him, he replied, “I need to know so that I plan on what to say in case they ask”.

Maybe that should have been a sign at the time that he was really serious about me. But like you all know me by now, I was definitely clueless.

The End.

Disclaimer: The names that feature in this story are fictitious. They were made up to protect the identity and privacy of those involved.

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