By Omari Jackson
Vanessa Brown’s eyes met mine and the message seemed clear to me, and I responded in kind. A smile came across my face, and I turned to look at her.
She said, “Hi,” and smiled.
“Are you a Liberian?” I said, shaking my head.
“My mother is a Liberian,” she said, “and my dad is a Ghanaian.”
“Good,” I said, “have you been to Liberia before?”
She said, “No.”
I knew she was one of the children born in the United States, and had not had the chance or opportunity to visit the countries where their parents originated.
Vanessa’s voice was soft, and her eyes were delicate and curious.
“Can you give me a number?”
She said, “Yes…” but did not finish the sentence.
I nodded my head, and I could not hide the excitement that was building in me. It was not that I had not seen Vanessa until that time. The truth was it was the very first time that I was taking the time to chat with her and to at least come to know her.
All the time I had seen her, she appeared to be a wonderful young woman of great promise, for she was so young, and the promise was too clear for me to see. She seemed in her early twenties. Her body was athletic, meaning she had been keeping eyes on her weight. She had on a nice pairs of jeans, which complemented the blouse she wore.
It was clear she was a woman of fashion, though she was now working for NCR, whose Suwannee location, I had been assigned and where we were checking each other’s up.
I said, “What’s your name,” and turned to look away, for her smile was like a magnet, which I could not ignore.
“Vanessa,” she said, and smiled again.
“I need you to call me.” I was becoming fond of her, a secret admirer, the reason being that my spirit was taking her and loving her. It was like meeting a friend for the first time and a part of you suggesting there should be some personal contact.
She said something which I did not hear, and I went closer to her to hear it.
I said, “What did you say?” straining to hear her.
“I don’t have a phone,” her soft voice breaking the silence in my brain.
Which was strange but I did not voice it up to her.
I said, “Why?”
She smiled, and I could read a sense of unhappiness in her face. Nonetheless I probed on and staring her in the face, I heard her soft voice penetrating my brain.
“I owed a lot on my phone and so until I pay it,” she said, “I may not be able to call you.”
I said, “How much are you talking about?”
“It’s big,” she said.
I kept my focus on her face, as we walked towards her area of assignment.
“How much is it?”
She said, “It’s like two hundred dollars.”
She was given me this message two days after I had hoped to hear from her, but did not.
“I see,” I said.
She said, “That’s why I could not call you.”
I said, “You don’t make any effort to call me, for I can raise the money in two weeks for you.”
After some seconds she said, “Ok I’ll try.”
It took a couple of days, and when we met, she stressed on the phone problem again.
“Do you have a facebook account?” trying to find another medium to communicate with her till the phone problem was solved.
She said, “Yes.” She turned around, and I walked alongside her.
I said, “Can you give it to me?” She rolled her eyes, and I could see a smile on her face.
“Ok,” she said, and smiled her usual smile again, swinging her hands back and forth.
What I was learning from Vanessa was that anytime she smiled, her beauty would enhance her image, and my heart would go out to her. It was a strange feeling, and the idea that I always wanted to see her became more pressing.
I was no kid and therefore I could handle any situation of that nature. However, that I would always want to see Vanessa was what excited me.
Though I could not get her facebook information, a social network, I consoled myself, saying, “She would be back here tomorrow.” That assurance kept me sane, as I waited for the next day to come. But why was I too much to know about Vanessa? What was happening to me? I could not find an answer to satisfy my questions.
It was just that I liked her and therefore I had to make the extra effort to get to know her a little better.
But suppose she continued to indicate that she had no way of calling me on the phone, though I already gave her my number?
Then of course I could explore the avenue to provide her with some assistance. Was that the best way to begin a friendship with such an incredible, but charming woman? I examined the issue but I could not come out with a reasonable answer. But that did not stop me, and did not lessen my desire to see and speak with Vanessa Brown again.
So on the third day when I saw her, I was elated, and shouted at her as she walked along with a couple of her workmates.
I said, “Hi Vanessa,” and my voice was so high that she heard me and turned, and with a smile on her face, indicated with her hand that she would come near me soon.
“I didn’t get the facebook account as you promised,” I said, with a smile. I was following her example, and it was a good thing.
Vanessa smiled, and explained she did not see me the previous day, which was the truth.
I said, “Can you give it to me today?”
She agreed, and said she would see me later.
And lo and behold, before she left that evening, she returned with the facebook information, and though I was far away from my station, she lifted her hand, and when I nodded, she placed the piece of paper on the computer I had been working with.
Few minutes later, when I held the piece of paper in my hand, I saw her “email address” and smiling at it, I placed it in my trouser pocket, with firm satisfaction.
Though Vanessa was out of my sight, I could still hear her soft voice in my ears. This was a wonderful experience.