My family loves going out. We love trying out new places and just enjoying good food. I mean, who doesn’t, right? Growing up, we knew all the hip places in town. Sometimes, we didn’t even eat there, we feel the vibe or decide if it was worth being on our radar.

I remember one such occasion. I’m not sure what we were celebrating that evening, but we were all dressed up with Chinese food on our minds. We had seen this new place open up and we wanted to try it out instead of going to our usual (and favourite) Chinese restaurant. Adventurous gang of five.

Upon arrival, we notice that the restaurant is almost empty and the windows are open, but we do not think much of it. It was a new place after all. A kind waiter brings the menu and we excitedly place our orders. That’s when we noticed the flies.

Houseflies. Many of them. Coming and going as they pleased. Like the polite group of people we were, we called the attention of the waiter and asked that something be done about the filthy creatures. The waiter agreed and excused himself. Moments later, this man returns with one of those flat things. You know, the ones used to swat insects? The fly swatter? Yes, that one. He gave one to each of us and suggested we whack the flies that were getting on our nerves. We laughed. He couldn’t possibly be serious… Could he?

He was. This man walked away and left us to deal with our problems. It wasn’t funny anymore. What in the world had we gotten ourselves into?!

My mother, God bless her heart, was furious. However, she chose diplomacy. We hadn’t yet paid for anything, nor had we eaten anything. So, we got up, and left. The people were shocked. But we were even more shocked that they were shocked. Were they really expecting us to be battling houseflies all through dinner? Ugh!

It was a good thing we left when we did. When we got to the door, we saw the waiter walking towards our table with the first course. If we had been seated, courtesy and home training might have made it more difficult to walk away. Talk about sexy timing!

So we bundled ourselves into the car and drove over to our favourite Chinese restaurant where our old man waiter-turned-friend greeted us with warmth and made our entire evening delightful.

Sometimes I wonder how much heartache we can avoid if we can just muster the courage to walk away.

Dr Nyameba 💜