So many questions peppered Jimmy, while his feet heavy with reservation, made their way towards the person, he disliked to like. His brain beat against his skull like a warning to pull back. With each step, his inner voice kept screaming …not today!
Similar to every other time, Jimmy prepped his mouth and mind to engage his guest. He was nearing the entrance when he caught a white movement on the left side of his peripheral vision.
A walking beauty he thought, but he couldn’t put a name to the face. He watched her going down the path even as he kept going towards Eliza. The woman seemed so happy and she had this peaceful expression that drew on Jimmy’s inner turmoil. There was also something else about that caused him to stop. He paused and tapped his chin trying to recollect in his mind, where he’d seen her before.
With no ill-will, Jimmy completely forgot about his visitor. Like a moth to the flame, he fluttered away and headed straight to the woman in white.
He ran up and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around and graced him with a smile that warmed him.
Jimmy how are you?
Woman: Good and yourself?
Jimmy: good – now.
The woman raised an eye-brow
Woman: Now? You weren’t happy before
Jimmy: I wasn’t sad but something was disturbing me
The woman nodded her head and held Jimmy with a stare. The expression on her face, struck a nerve. It reminded Jimmy of someone…someone he had met a while back.
Jimmy: I haven’t seen you around these parts before. Are you new in town?
Woman: I should ask you the same thing.
Jimmy: Why is that?
Woman: Well I lived in Willow Creek for almost fifteen years now and I don’t ever remember running into you.
Jimmy (whistles): that’s because I didn’t live here for that long.
Jimmy: I recently moved here about 3-4 months ago.
Woman: From where, if you don’t mind me asking.
Whenever someone asked him about where he came from he would always give a vague answer. Up until this point he never had difficulty answering such inquiries because he’d give the same answer. Standing before the beautiful woman, Jimmy felt the need to tell her and he didn’t know why.
Jimmy: I’m from Sunset Valley but I was born in Pleasantview
Woman: Pleasantview? My great grandparents, on my father side, were born there but a few years later they moved to the Caribbean islands to retire.
Jimmy: Nice. So where were you born?
Woman: I was born on the same island but before I turned five, my parents moved here.
Jimmy: how old are you now, if you don’t mind me asking
The woman eyed him and she took a slight step forward.
Woman: Sorry, but have we met before?
Jimmy: I believe we have but I’m not sure. What is your name?
Navah? Jimmy could’ve sworn he heard the name somewhere before. He repeated the name in his head while gazing around, as if he’d find the answer. He spotted Eliza and like a sledge hammer, his memory knocked him.
…Beautiful name. What does ‘Navah’ mean?
Jimmy: Yes, of course… you are the young woman, I met at the Burners & Builders gym.
Navah’s eyes went from confused to recognition. She lit up.
Navah: Oh my goodness! You! H…how are you?
Jimmy: I’m good…I guess
Navah: It’s amazing, I usually come to this part of town but I rarely see you.
Jimmy: that is something. My home is out in the open, I can see almost anyone who passes by. Its a wonder I haven’t seen accept for this time.
While Jimmy was talking to the beautiful Navah, Eliza was waiting patiently for him.
Eliza: What is Navah doing in these parts? I thought she was on vacation? How does Jimmy know her
Jimmy: I take it you have a friend in the area because there are no shops around these parts
Navah: Actually they have a beautiful park that’s along this same path. I love going there for inspiration
Navah: I’m a painter. Sometimes when I’m doing a piece I come here for ideas
Jimmy: you look like you already have an idea. You have this peaceful, glow about you.
Navah blushed and rubbed her neck
Navah: Oh…Th…thanks. Doing what you love will do that to you. So…what do you do
Jimmy: nothing at the moment just here…you know
Navah (chuckles): right.
Jimmy: I ‘am not a lazy man if that’s what you are thinking but I haven’t be able to find employment
Navah: Really? I find that hard to believe
Navah: There have been new jobs opening since last year. It’s one of the reasons why people from all over have been moving here.
Jimmy: I can’t say it’s my reason
Navah: Okay…what prompted you to move here then?
Jimmy: Life. It has a way of bringing you to places you never expected to be and meet people you’ve never thought you’d cross paths with.
Navah chuckled and did a glance behind Jimmy. He turned to see what she saw and his hand slapped his forehead. He forgot all about Eliza. She was pushed from his mind the minute he saw Navah.
Navah: Apparently you have a guest
He hated to admit it
Jimmy: I do and I believe you know this guest
Navah breathed and glared before she looked down.
Navah: We had a minor falling out and at the moment we are giving each other the silent treatment… staying out of each other’s way.
Jimmy (surprised): ‘Minor falling out?’ … your tone seems to suggest that it is more than that.
Navah: well that depends on her
Jimmy chuckled and glanced back at Eliza.
Jimmy: What happened?
Navah: a misunderstanding
Jimmy: who is at fault?
Navah: we both are….anyway I love to stick and chat but I really have to go.
Jimmy: Oh…ok but before you go would you mind giving me your number. I’m still trying to know my way in this city and since you’ve been here for a long time it would be useful to have your contact.
Jimmy didn’t know what came and conked him on the head. All he knew was that he didn’t want to lose communication with Navah. Despite the connection she had with Eliza, he was intrigued by her and he wanted to learn more about who she was.
By the expression on her face it was evident that she was uncomfortable with request. For a minute she kept looking at him like she did before when they first met. She scanned his face and bit her lip. Jimmy could see she was contemplating in her mind if he could be trusted.
Navah (nervously rubs her neck): S…s…sure
Surprisingly she did. She gently took his phone and quickly punched in her number. Their hands slightly grazed as she handed back the phone.
Jimmy: When would be a good time to call?
Navah: Today is fine but later on in the afternoon.
Jimmy: Sounds good.
A bout of silence came between them and they stood staring at each other. Jimmy didn’t know what to say to cut the conversation and it was evident neither did she.
Then without even a blink or thought Jimmy made a move and embraced Navah. She being startled, giggled and gently patted his back. Jimmy tightened his hold and chuckled to himself recognizing the same sensations he had felt with Mara. The only difference was, this embrace made him feel at home.
After releasing Navah, Jimmy smiled at her and she waved him good bye. He stood there for a long while grinning cheek to cheek. He could literally feel his teeth glimmering in the sun.
In the midst of him being mesmerized something nagged at him.
What caused her and Eliza to have a falling out?
Speaking of which…
Eliza, who seemed to had waited patiently, lost her tolerance. Jimmy could see her grumbling and by the stopping of her feet he could see that she was extremely unhappy. He honestly could not blame her, because he outright left her stranded – he purposely ignored her. A small knot of guilt did formed in his throat but he forced himself to let it go. As much as he was certain she was angry, he knew it would not be long before she came back again.
He was hoping the latter would not be the case.
Later on in evening as Jimmy was prepping to call it a day, his phone chimed in his back pocket. Taking it out, he glanced at the ID and, an immediate excitement rushed over him.
Navah was calling
Without even thinking it over, he pressed “accept”
Navah: Hey Jimmy. I hope I am not calling at a bad time.
Jimmy: Absolutely not.
Actually she was but Jimmy chose to let it slide.
Navah: I don’t make it a habit to call people after certain hours but I wanted to invite you over for lunch tomorrow.
Glancing up at the sky, Jimmy repeated the word to himself, while feeling slightly caught off guard by Navah’s invitation. He thought she was uncomfortable with him because she did show resistance when they had exchanged numbers. He was about to ask her what prompted the invite, but a quick glance at Pancake residence, made him realize this invite couldn’t have come at a better time.
Navah: Hello…Jimmy are you still there.
Navah: Do you mind having lunch tomorrow at my place.
Jimmy didn’t even blink
Jimmy: I don’t
Navah: great. I’ll text you my address.
Jimmy: alright. What time do you want me to come?
Navah: does around 12 or 1 pm work for you?
Jimmy: either time works for me.
Navah: alright…I’ll give you until one
Jimmy: Sounds good.
After exchanging pleasantries, Jimmy hung up from Navah and decided to head to bed early. He wanted to be up at the crack of dawn so that he could take care of his garden, clean up and be out of the house before noon. The invitation from Navah made him eager because he was glad for a change.
The following morning, Jimmy was up early. He took his usual jog around the block; tended to his well growing garden, and last but not least had a steamy shower. By the time the clock struck ten, he left his house.
Around 11:30am, Jimmy found himself in Oasis Spring. With a bit of time to spare, Jimmy decided to take a make stop at the rattlesnake juice bar before heading to Navah’s house.
Karla Nicols, the regular bartender, who usually tended to Jimmy whenever he visited, greeted him with bright smiles.
Karla: Hey stranger it’s been a while since I’ve seen you around these parts
Jimmy: Hey yourself.
Karla: We have a special for today and guess what the price is?
Jimmy laughed catching the jeer Karla made at him. It was all good.
Jimmy: I’m sure you thought of me while you made this special for today.
Karla: I sure did.
Jimmy: that’s very thoughtful of you…so
Jimmy stretched his words as he eyed Karla.
Karla: So what?
Jimmy: What can I…. get for $4 dollars?
Both Jimmy and Karla laughed together and the sound was exquisitely harmonious.
Karla went and sat beside him with a cheerful glint in her eye
Karla: What has gotten into you? Every time you come in here, you are always sour, looking sad, upset, depressed, upset, and gloomy
Jimmy rolled his eyes and chuckled
Jimmy: Would you quit it.
Karla: Come on you have to admit I ‘am right.
She was but Jimmy was not going to let her know that
Jimmy: It’s a new day and outside is beautiful
Karla: When is outside never beautiful. This place has never seen a drop of snow.
Jimmy: Then that should answer your question
Karla: Hmmm…you know the things people say about you is so true.
Jimmy (grins): And you’re going to tell me what that is
Karla: Yes! You are very evasive.
Jimmy shrugged while signaling for the bartender
Jimmy: What can I say, I’m a very private individual. I am not one to talk much.
Karla: No you’re not but looking at you now I can see something has changed.
Jimmy: well I haven’t been here for a while so you would see something.
Karla nodded her head and she stared hard at Jimmy.
Karla: You maybe a private guy with lots to hide but with my line of work, I can see and read people well.
Jimmy: Really? So tell me Miss Karla, what do you see?
Karla: A man who has been touched by something or someone.
Jimmy was about to respond but the bartender came to take his order. Karla patted him on the shoulder and then left. He stared off in her direction amazed at how well she was able to read him. Not many people were able to do that unless they were that close to him.