Bright lights shimmered along the walls and ceiling of the massive arrival lounge at Dubai International Airport. I dragged my luggage behind me, admiring the beauty of the architectural masterpiece that is Dubai International Airport – world’s busiest airport.

Slowly, I meandered through the sea of humanity, glancing around my immediate surroundings. That was when our eyes met. She smiled broadly; almost invitingly. Her ravishing smile would make just about any man sell his hard-earned birthright. I looked in the opposite direction, avoiding her immaculately beautiful stare. I have never really been the type to shy away from a girl, but when you are in Dubai, you have to remind yourself that you are not in Los Angeles, London, Chicago, Frankfurt or Paris.
Different rules apply in Dubai when it comes to love and relationship. So, in Dubai, when love springs out of the corners unannounced, you’d be right to think, to hell with romance. Anyway, slowly, I turned in her direction for a clandestine peek. Our eyes met yet again. She smiled elegantly. Her infectious smile left me almost paralyzed. I felt an abrupt weakness in my knees. My palms began to sweat profusely. She wore a pair of fitting white trousers, a blue long sleeve shirt with folded sleeves and a pair of at brown leather shoes. On her head was a scarf that modestly covered a fraction of her black glossy, long hair.
Her eyes were bold – you could almost hear them speaking to you, waving glamorously and beckoning amorously at you. When she smiled, she had a ravishing dimple on the left side of her cheek. D–n! She is beautiful, I thought to myself, managing to stay on my feet. My legs were terribly weak to the marrow. I hauled my luggage towards the exit door, fixating my eyes firmly on the giant revolving doors ahead. I could not resist another look over my shoulders though. Carefully, I turned my neck like an owl scanning the horizon. My eyes searched frantically through the sea of human heads darting in all directions.

For a moment, she was nowhere to be found Where has she gone? I wondered my thoughts were almost audible Then she reappeared from nowhere found. Where has she gone? I wondered, my thoughts were almost audible. Then, she reappeared from nowhere. She was a short distance behind me. I turned sharply, looking ahead.
I could hear the frenetic drumming of my poor heart, beating painfully in sheer anxiety. You are in Dubai! Be careful, otherwise you’d end up in trouble, a quiet voice whispered to me deep within.
“Hello,” she said. Her voice was even more beautiful. It sounded like Celine Dion doing a rendition of ‘All by myself’.
“Hi,” I tried to say, but my throat was terribly dry. I can’t say whether my anxiety originated from the fear of walking in the slippery corridors of love in Dubai or from her stunning beauty.
“So, are you visiting Dubai for the first time?” she asked in perfect English. She was right beside me by now. Her perfume caressed my senses, leaving me utterly mesmerized. The glow of her smile almost left me swooned.
“Yes…yes…yes, I am…I am visiting Dubai for the first time,” I managed to reply, floundering and stuttering. Maybe they sent her to test me, I thought. Why would she be talking to me? What does she want? A girl that is possibly from UAE chatting me up at the airport? What is going on? I could be in trouble already for messing around with a girl.
A million thoughts flitted through my poor, beleaguered mind. “Great. I am from Dubai. I am just returning from a trip to France – Paris to be precise. Have you been to Paris?” “Yes, I have,” I replied a bit less discombobulated. My frayed nerves were not settled by any means.
“I live in London…erm…erm…I have been to Paris a few times,” I explained. “I am Azzah,” she said stretching forth her hand. I nearly peed in my pants. Why is she offering her hand for a handshake? Am I supposed to reciprocate? I stood there like a statue. My brain went dead. Every passing second felt like a light year. I could feel a ball of sweat lazily rolling down my forehead almost tauntingly. My palms felt like River Niger cascading down a rocky terrain. I quickly rubbed my palms against my jean in an effort to dry out some of the sweat. Seriously, for a moment, I thought I had gone deaf. Everything stopped. Froze.
Her hand seemed to have been hanging in front of me for years. Sluggishly, I stretched forth my hand. I looked around quickly, wondering where the police would jump out from their hiding spots to arrest me. I looked around; every passing male looked like a plain cloth policeman. One man smiled at me casually as he hauled his luggage past us. Yes, he is one of them! I thought. As soon my palm meets hers, he and his men will pounce on me and drag me into detention, I thought stressfully. Who has planned this against me? I wondered fearfully. For a split second, I held my hand in mid-air. Perhaps, my relatives in the village have engineered all this by virtue of some powerful witch doctor.
That has to be it…otherwise, why would a smashingly beautiful Arab girl be chatting me up in Dubai? I stared into her eyes, looking for some form of deceit, in case she was working with the secret police to hunt down a black African in Dubai. There was no sign of deceit in her eyes – well, I did not spot any, but given the state I was in, I could not have deciphered anything though. I nearly fainted as my hand reached hers. Slowly, I felt her tender, soft palm rob against mine. It was a rather brief handshake. I wanted to hold that tender palm of hers a bit longer, but at the same time, I wanted to stay alive.


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