The first day I met her, “beautiful” was the last thing on my mind. The dress she had on was terrible and her face told the same story.
There was nothing more unattractive than a woman uncomfortable in her skin. Yet here I was, 10ft away from the most insecure woman in the room, in the ugliest pink dress – and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
She sat there staring down at her hands in her lap, and shifting in her seat. I thought about different ways to start a conversation but nothing sounded cool enough. I thought about taking the empty seat next to her, but my palms were sweaty just thinking about walking towards her.
The DJ announced that it was time for single ladies to gather on the dance floor as Beyoncé’s voice was screaming “All my single ladies’ through the speakers. I watched as she started getting up and then sat down again. Weird. Was she single or not? At this point, I was convinced that going over to speak to her was a bad idea.
While the bride teased the excited ladies by moving her bouquet back and forth, I meandered in her direction and lingered.
“Not your scene, is it?” I had to speak loud enough to be heard over the music. She looked at me, smiled politely and shook her head no.
Before I could think of a second question to get her to talk, she went back to staring at her hands. Her entire demeanor was putting a full-stop to the conversation I was about to make.
By now, two women were struggling over the bouquet and everyone was laughing. An awkward laugh escaped my lips as I casually took the seat next to her.
“Pink is a good colour on you,” I lied. Why was I lying?
She smiled, “It’s my favourite colour.” She looked like she was going to say something, but she stopped.
“I’m Kweku.” I reached out for her hand.
“Baaba,” She said, and placed her palm on mine.
five years later
Now, waiting for her to come back from the ladies’ room, Kweku, didn’t know what to say. His right knee was aching from being on it for too long.
He was holding a tiny suede box, and sweating profusely.
Baaba stepped into the private dining room. She was looking down at her shoes as she usually did when passing through a doorframe. She looked up when she was four steps away from Kweku.
She gasped and Kweku blurted, “It was the pink dress.”
Baaba’s face slowly moved from excitement to the expression of “Huh?”
“When I saw you for the first time. That was the ugliest pink dress I had ever seen.”
She couldn’t see where he was going with this.
“…but I couldn’t look away. The dress was hideous on you- but you looked beautiful in it – the most beautiful person I have ever seen.”