The Amor experience
“Foye!” She heard Miriam’s excited scream seeping in through the slightly open room door, growing louder as she approached Foye’s room; her footsteps thudding up the stairs. Foye groaned inwardly, pulled the sheets over her head and braced herself. She crashed into the room, Foye could find no other word to describe the way she entered the room o. Miriam bounced happily on the bed shaking her much to her discomfort.
“Guess what?!” She asked gaily
“What.” Foye responded dryly”
“I said guess now”
“Ok” she said sitting up and putting on a happy appearance, “you’re about to leave my room and give me small peace?”
“Be serious jor” Miriam said slightly sulking.
Her mood was dampened a notch so Foye indulged her, knowing fully well she would regret it later.
“Ok,ok sorry na, someone cannot play with you again?” she tickled her side eliciting a smile, “Amor restaurant got sponsorship?”
“Yeessss!” Miriam shrieked again joyously.
She suddenly assumed a serious face, “that means you’ll keep to your promise shebi?”
Foye rolled her eyes “ugh! Whatever.”
She had made a deal with Miriam and her twin sister Mercy that if ever their dream of bringing love under one roof in the form of a restaurant ever got sponsorship she would wait tables at the said restaurant. Foye had laughed in their faces when they had first proposed the idea and called them hopeless romantics which had propelled Mercy, in all her feistiness, to place a wager; which Foye was about to fulfil. It was going to be a long valentine’s day for her…
The day had been a drag, worse than her regular day; her boss had mandated the wearing of red to work that day to celebrate val’s day. Some had even brought gifts which was good and all but she hadn’t seen the point. Gift giving and love expressions should be an everyday thing abi? She soliloquized. Someone had further infuriated her and gotten her a set of bathing salts and body spray. As in what? She had body odour or something? Now it is about to get worse she mused as she shrugged into a white shirt with the AMOR logo emblazoned in gold threading encrusted into it’s left breast pocket fabric. Things we do for friends fa she breathed. The past three weeks had breezed by so quickly inspite of her pleas. She mentally prepared herself for the night, even practiced a few fake smiles in front of her mirror.
As she drove into the venue which was a recreation park by day, she was fascinated to see that the drive way and entire premises had been lined with dainty jars with candles flickering in them. They looked like a million fireflies scattered all over the place. She had to give it to her friends, when they said candlelit dinner they had meant it, this was beautiful. Overhanging Chinese lanterns were strewn all over the place and there was a slight breeze. Even the weather seemed to agree with the setup.
A live band was performing. She was late as it was and hurriedly parked at a designated spot because the chaperons had insisted on order regardless of who it was. At the door, she was checked in by officials with big smiles. She hurried to the kitchen area and was taken aback by the aromas that wooed her senses. She looked around her momentarily stupefied at the quality of meals being prepared and the care and order being put into dishing them out. Steaming pots, frothing cauldrons, grilling, baking and frying everywhere yet not a single person was barking out orders angrily. She spotted Miriam in a white apron, sleeves folded, kneading flour and laughing at something someone she couldn’t recognise had said. She looked a mess but very happy. Foye’s eyes caught a sample of the menu for the night underneath a tray. She pulled it out and studied it, her breath caught in her throat as she saw the prices of these well-made meals was next to nothing.
Foye couldn’t understand it. She twirled around observing the motions about her. These people looked happy to serve. They seemed content even. A tray of food was passed to her. “Table four” the quiet looking lady had directed smiling. Somewhat dazed, she went back out into the sitting area. As she served the young couple at table four; newly-weds, she noticed how enamoured they were of each other.
She found herself smiling genuinely when they said thank you. A middle aged man was performing a rendition of Timi Dakolo’s “iyawo mi” to his heavily pregnant wife. Normally she would laugh at his offkey singing but there was so much heart behind his voice and love in his eyes that she watched him, tray in hand, as he sang boldly on stage his gaze solely one woman in the room. She never thought things like this existed in reality. The whole setting looked like something out of a movie. Mercy came on stage still wearing her waitress’ outfit and played the guitar to a classic tune.
Foye was serving yet another couple when she noticed a man sitting alone at a table sipping his drink casually nodding his head to the music drifting about. She had seen him before but went about her business barely paying him mind but a cursory glance at her wristwatch told her that had been three hours ago. Disturbed at why he was alone at such an occasion and surprised at why she had even cared, she approached his table. Date didn’t show? Was what she had planned to say but when she spoke she heard herself blurt out
“Care to dance?”
The man’s surprised face mirrored hers.
“Err…now?” He asked looking questioningly at her stained apron,
“Yeah why not?” She braved; knees weak, heart thumping.
She held out her hand and he placed his warm hand in her open palm and she led him to the dance floor. They danced for a while talking about mundane things. He was a cool person and had a nice intellect. But Foye felt a sense of accomplishment from putting a smile on the face of this stranger and on that of those she had waited on. Suddenly he pulled away from her and she jerked back embarrassed,
“Shet! I forgot I’m here to work o.” she muttered apologetically,
He grabbed her hand as she made to hurry away.
“Wait” he implored his eyes sparkling with something she read as mischief.
He made his way to stage as she stared on.
“This song is dedicated to an amazing woman that made my night bright by showing love to a lonely stranger and the wonderful minds that decided to bring love, music, good food and magic together in one place, the world needs more of you and less of me”.
He proceeded to sing John Legend’s You and I. Tears brimmed in Foye’s eyes as she caught Miriam and Mercy goofing around, giving her thumbs up and winking. This wonderful experience had been made possible because they had chosen to love and share that love. They had created a place where they could bare their hearts and show the love in it. A place where love was tangible not just words in a book or movie or on a person’s lips. A place where the love was so real it floated about the place like a cloud. The night came to an end all too soon for her. Her new friend stayed behind to help them pack up, laughing and playing around. At dawn they walked off into the rising sun, her fingers intertwined with his.
If you missed Amire’s Christmas Dinner last year, then you should not miss the Amor Dinner.