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A Month Later…

On a Wednesday afternoon, when she made it to her therapy session, she met Ato in the parking lot. He had just ended his session and was on his way out.

They spent some time talking, surprisingly, finding common things to chuckle about, “would you like to go out for drinks on Friday?” Ato asked just when they were about to part ways. He looked decent in his long sleeves white shirt, blue jeans trousers, and bright smile. As much as the invitation felt tempting, Lisa declined. She said she had plans with a friend and didn’t want to cancel. Ato expressed understanding and let it go.

When they bumped into each other two weeks later, he asked again. Lisa found another excuse to turn him down although for a second she wanted to say, “yes, why not,” because Ato came across as a smart, funny and down to earth. She didn’t see anything wrong with going out with him. But again, she knew herself too well and didn’t want to give in to anything that could derail her efforts.

She had made incredible progress, staying in check and focusing on self-nurturing. At some point, she would love to date again, but as of now, she loved the woman she was becoming more without men in her life— independent, strong and determined— she loved the new Lisa. Hopefully, with time she would meet a new partner who would complement her. Until then, she was taking her time. So she came up with another excuse and turned down the date.

****

On Saturday, Korkor and Peter visited Lisa. The two had been seeing each other quite steadily since their date and Korkor figured Peter should meet her best friend if he was going to be in her life.

The three were sitting in Lisa’s hall, chatting and laughing. Some things about Peter echoed Ato; his stature, dark skin and sense of honesty, they were all traits Lisa identified in Ato as well and for a minute, as she sat with the two, she let herself think that maybe it wouldn’t be bad to give Ato a little more of her attention. After all, he seemed like a genuine guy, considerably different from all the other men she dated in the past.

Five weeks later, after his Wednesday session, Ato waited to see Lisa. It didn’t take long for her to come through the door, strutting deliciously. She stopped in her tracks when they made eye contact and Ato released one of his infectious smiles. Lisa smiled back, “Am I the reason for this?” she asked softly.

“Yes,” Ato replied as he stood up to meet her, “you know me too well now, don’t you?” he clearly was excited to see her.

She laughed, “I try” They were standing face to face now, “what’s up? I hope I’m not in any trouble?”

“Nothing too big we can’t handle,” Ato smiled.

“Okay, let’s hear it then,” she kept her smile intact too.

“Why don’t you want to go out with me?” Ato asked forthrightly, looking into her eyes, “I’ve been trying to get us to sit at a table for months now and every time I ask, you have something coming up or going on,” he paused, made a goofy face which made Lisa laugh, “I really don’t think you’re that busy, Lisa”

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