For the rest of the day, it felt like Greg was trying to make up for the days he had been away, as though he wanted to squeeze all that missed time into the few hours that we had.
For the first time ever, my phone seemed to ring more than his, and he eventually insisted I turn it off; then reciprocated the action by turning his off too.
“Let the rest of the world wait,” he said defiantly as he put them away.
We made love; him being gentler than usual, probably out of a fear of hurting my still bruised body, but with the same intensity we always shared.
And we talked about love, life, and everything in between. After talking for ages, we fell into a comfortable silence, which Greg broke while getting up so suddenly he startled me.
“Let’s go for a ride,” he said excitedly.
“What? Where to?” I asked in confusion, wondering what had brought this on.
“Nowhere; let’s just drive around for a while,” he shrugged, like his suggestion was the most ordinary thing in the world, while already climbing out of the bed to put it into action.
“Why? What for? What if people see us?” I fretted, my own confusion growing by the minute.
“People aren’t going to see us; it’s almost ten, and if that isn’t enough darkness for you, my windows are tinted, the traffic isn’t heavy at this time, and we won’t be stopping anywhere for long enough for us to be seen,” he tried to reassure me.
“Alright, so maybe we won’t be seen, but you still haven’t answered my first question - why?” I persisted.
“Do we have to have a reason to go for a ride? I like to drive around, and tonight I want to drive around with you,” he shrugged. “Besides, I’m sure you haven’t been out of the house in days; so, it will do you some good to get out.”
He was right; since the attack, I had kept myself cooped up indoors, hiding my battered face from any prying eyes, and I supposed it would be nice to get out, especially with no-one watching me.
So, although I still did not understand Greg’s sudden craving for a late-night drive, I brushed it off as one of his random, spontaneous moves and got up.
“Give me a minute to get dressed,” I smiled.
We drove along the Jinja highway, every now and then branching off onto feeder roads and weaving in and out of them, until we got to Lugazi.
Only then did we turn to head back to Kampala. During the drive, Greg played one of his albums; it was one that I particularly liked, and I found myself singing along to most of the songs.
Greg sang too, and occasionally paused the CD after a song to tell me about the inspiration behind it, or a funny story from a time he performed it.
We did not talk about anything serious; just music, funny escapades from our pasts, and our childhood and family memories.
At the house Greg had been my lover, now he was simply my friend. I think I liked it that way; there was so much ‘heavy stuff’ going on in my life at the moment that it was refreshing to indulge in light matters for a change.
When we eventually pulled up in front of the house a little after midnight, there was a relaxed smile on my face, and the worry lines that had creased around my eyes over the past few days were gone.
“Mission accomplished,” Greg smiled at me.
“What mission?” I asked in confusion.
“To put the smile back in your eyes; they had a haunted look when I arrived today, and I was determined to get rid of it before I left. That look is gone now; so, mission accomplished,” he explained smugly.
“That’s what this was all about? The sudden need to go for a drive?” I asked softly.
I was very touched; not just that Greg had recognised my state of mind, but that he had gone out of his way to try to do something about it.
“I care about you, Stephanie; I need you to be alright,” he said earnestly, taking my hands in his in a tight grip to emphasize his point.
I believed him and it made all the difference in the world, for although the situation was still a mess, I was not facing it alone anymore.
“Thank you,” I whispered softly.