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My word: A New Year's love story

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She was a book lover, he was a tinkerer. Whatever he got his hands on, he had to open and explore. And whatever he discovered, he vowed to make bigger and better. And he wouldn’t stop until it became so.

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But when they first met, they clicked over something totally different. The last box of Marie biscuits at a small petrol station shop. It is what he liked to munch on when he was tinkling and what she liked to nibble on when she was reading.

But here, on a cold Christmas Eve night, they were nothing but two hungry 'travellers'. There were other biscuits in the shop but they both wanted these ones. Neither of them would let go of the box.

And so, after a quick discussion in the convenience shop aisle, they agreed to step up to the counter. They would put some money together and pay for the biscuits and then they would split them squarely in the middle. Seven and a half biscuits for each.

Then each of them would get in their respective buses and enjoy the biscuits for the rest of their trip.

And so they did all that.

But just as her bus pulled out of the petrol station, she looked out the window and saw him waving at her. Then he pointed at the biscuit he held in his hand and mouthed the words, “check the box”.

When she looked at the box, she realised that he had only taken out one biscuit. Inside the box was the receipt from the convenience store with “same place and time Dec 31” scrolled on it.

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Years later, a little girl listened intently to the story of the Marie biscuits. When the storyteller, her Aunt Eddah, paused and got a faraway look in her eyes, she leaned forward in her little stool and poked her aunt’s knee.

“Go on Aunty, did you go? Did you go and meet him?”

Aunt Eddah turned to her little niece and smiled.

“No I didn’t.”

The little girl hadn’t expected that answer. “But why?” she asked stamping her foot.

“Because I was too afraid to love.”

When Aunt Eddah saw the sour look on the little girl’s face, she smiled and turned to her.

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“But I went again the next day and I found him there. It turns out he ran the garage there.”

The little girl’s eyes grew bigger as she stood up and smiled. “It’s Uncle Peter, isn’t it?”

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Aunt Eddah smiled shyly and said, “Maybe you can go ask him.”

She watched as the little girl ran off into the little dark garage where her husband lay under a car, tinkering with something.

Then she turned to the book in her hand and finished the half-eaten biscuit her niece had 'gifted' her.

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