As if awaiting an impending disaster, the beautiful brunette briskly walked behind me. And, of course, it wasn’t before long when she caught up with me, strolling down the promenade, my bag around my shoulder, completely immersed in Oscar Wilde’s luxuriant book – The Picture of Dorian Gray. I looked at her, and at once her clear hazel eyes fixated themselves generously onto mine. I quickly retreated, feeling as though I was marching into an unfamiliar territory that belonged to someone else.
She was pushing a pram, where a baby lay watching his/her surroundings with profound enthusiasm. The brunette looked at me, uncommonly, from time to time, as if wanting to ask for something. But she seemed too elegant for someone who would implore a young black man of something, I thought and kept walking. She seemed a bit hesitant, as she walked beside me, perhaps cognizant of some inexplicable implications. I felt as though she wanted to talk to me, yet she restrained herself, and though she tried to be as undemonstrative of her emotions as she could be, her unnaturalness gave her away instantaneously. And I, just like any other hot-blooded male would have interpreted these fleeting moments of eye contacts as an open invitation to bond with the beauty, but let me bring to light the location, and perhaps things might be a little clearer.
We both walked side by side on the bridge in the above image, waiting for a vessel to transport us to the other side of the river
Thames. When the vessel pulls in, there is a flight of stairs to descend in order to get to the lower passenger deck. The vessel was pulling in when this happened, and I being the only other person there besides her and her baby, took her uneasiness and fleeting looks as a way of communicating instructions and insinuating her objective without really “wanting” to ask me for help. She wanted to ask me to help her with carrying the baby buggy down the stairs, but she felt uneasy in doing so!
When the vessel, James Newman as it was called, pulled in, we both approached the stairs, on which occasion she crouched to pick up the whole buggy and lift it down the stairs, fumbling. Was she out of her mind risking a fall down 15 steps? Or was she too proud?
Regardless, I sensed she wasn’t willing to ask for any help and gladly offered it myself, being the good-natured person that i am. ;) “Need help with that?” I asked
“Oh Yes, yes, please”, she answered, quite relieved that I asked. I was slightly startled by her reply – very eager she was.
I held the front of the buggy and as soon as I lifted it and started descending the stairs, the baby’s magnetic eyes gripped me and I smiled contentedly to which the baby replied with a piercing laugh and an infectious smile. It was a very beautiful baby indeed and that served as my reward. Babies have a natural tendency and charm to attract and captivate anyone with whom they came in contact.
When, on the other side of the river, I helped her ascend another flight of stairs, again out of own accord, she smiled and said “Thank you, than you very much” inaccurate even in articulation.
I still didn’t understand why a simple act of asking for help proved so difficult. Wouldn’t I be justified in accusing her of xenophobia?