For better understanding, read Chapter three first.
Kwame cleared his throat. He was glad he met her. He wondered why she was home rather than at work but that he’d ask later.
“I didn’t mean to say things as it came out. I just want you to be doing something decent to earn money. Please forgive me.”
Esi smiled. She was hurt no doubt but she didn’t understand why Kwame wasn’t like any other man.
At least not like her step-dad or his friends. They never even said sorry after all those nights.
A look of hatred started forming on her face. Tears stung her cheeks. She turned away and wiped it quickly. She didn’t want him seeing her in tears again – at least not yet.
“I was hurt Kwame. You should know. You can say anything to me but call me that. I thought about it and figured you really meant something good. So I got over myself and let it go. You are forgiven.”
Kwame smiled. He loved her heart. How she could forgive and let go easily. Maybe it was just in his case but this was the second time he had got into her books if so to say. The first was about her choice of food. They ate out once. He made a comment about her food. It was a silly remark supposed to bring laughter but she took offence. That was when he learnt his first lesson – not everything should be said.
He passed his hand over his face. This wasn’t the only reason why he came here. He needed to hear her decision.
He looked around. They were on the porch to Esi’s apartment; one she shared with her dad but it didn’t look as though he was around. The place was nice. He’d been here but just to the gate. The house was smaller than his and less lively but the décor was pretty – a lot of bright colours. He knew Esi might have chosen and probably even decorated. That’s one of the many things he liked about her. She had a way with colours that made her look gorgeous. Maybe one of the reasons he was physically attracted to her.
He turned to her.
“Your dad isn’t around I guess.”
“Okay. So you didn’t go to work today?”
She nodded again.
“You know” Kwame said looking straight ahead. “I don’t know quite what to say when you start your series of nodding. It makes me feel helpless.”
He turned to look at her impassively.
“I’m sorry then.” She stood. “I didn’t offer you anything. Forgive my manners. What would you have?”
Kwame nodded. Esi stared at him bug – eyed.
“You would have something then. Water or some juice.”
She knew he wasn’t one to taste alcohol. Kwame nodded again and burst out laughing.
Esi sat helplessly with a smile.
“I get it now.”
She joined in the laughter. Kwame turned to face her. Her laughter was hearty.
“So why aren’t you working? I mean you should be at work now”
“Yeah with that”.
Esi shifted in her seat dropping her legs on the coffee table.
“I quit. Walked in this morning and handed my boss the letter.”
She looked at Kwame managing a smile. Kwame held her hands. Her face was saying it all. It wasn’t an easy decision. He could see it. He didn’t know the proper words to say. Maybe this was enough.
“I’d wanted to stop doing that job before anyone mentioned but it seemed impossible. Every night I climbed unto that dance floor I fought shame but I had to do it anyway. It looked like my life and I was living it till yesterday. The decision has been staring at my face all this while. Even before I almost got raped but I didn’t have the strength to walk away. I knew deep inside that it wasn’t right.”
She started sobbing.
“All the men I looked up to told me this is all I’m made for – that I’m just a toy with the duty of fulfilling the pleasures of others. That’s all I’ve ever known.”
She started choking. Kwame hugged her, holding her firm. She held onto him. She felt safe with him – the very first male who has walked into her life for her and not for what she could offer. It was soothing to be with him.
Kwame looked over her shoulder, mouthing a prayer. He knew only God could give real comfort.
He’s had to go to him many times himself. Times he didn’t understand why there was so much evil in the world made by a good, loving God. Times he couldn’t live with the truth about his father. He went to God often to get the same answer.
Author’s note: If you enjoyed reading this, you can read the #Ch3 here.