Authors note: Go here for previous chapter
“Hey” Kwame said when Esi showed up at the door.
They were supposed to be at Hotel Royale by 8:00am for Esi’s interview and it was 6:30 now – quite early for Him but the drive to the hotel is an hour and fifteen minutes with traffic and he was hoping they’d have 15 minutes to settle before she’s called in.
A family friend, also a church member owns the place. Kwame got to know the place will be vacant by the ending of August from the receptionist. They’d attended church together and were in same ministry. She’d be moving to Cape Coast after her wedding. The news just got to him in time – when he was hoping Esi would quit her job. He didn’t inform Esi about it though – how he knew about the job. He wanted her to work and earn it – the way it’s supposed to be.
“Hey” Esi replied. She came out and locked the door. Her dad had travelled to spend the weekend somewhere she wasn’t sure of and she was used to that.
“Are you ready?”
Kwame said, looking at her. She was dressed in a brown office attire with little make – up and a pink one – inched heel. He’s been praying about asking her out for some time now and with every passing moment, his attraction for her seemed to grow. He’s been waiting for her to be his sister in the faith first before he steps forward with anything – if God wills.
“Yes” Esi moved to lean on the wall for support. She was nervous and hungry. She skipped her meal last night practicing for the interview and even fell asleep in front of her dressing mirror. She hopped she could get some breakfast on the go before the interview.
Kwame looked at his watch. They had to be leaving but he wasn’t sure Esi was alright.
“Esi are you okay?”
“Okay then.” He didn’t want to insist – maybe she was just nervous because it’s her first real interview and he understood that.
“So can we go now?” He looked at his wrist watch again. It was now 6:40 and that meant they were running late.
“Yes. Of course.” Esi said, leading the way to the car Kwame drove in with. She looked at it from her window when she heard the sound of a car approaching their apartment.
Kwame opened the front door for her and she sat in. She glanced at him as he sat down. She hadn’t noticed him all this while. He was casually dressed unlike her. He was in shorts and a t – shirt with a sandal. She turned her face when she realized he was noticing. She exhaled. She could even smell his perfume. Why did she have to notice every detail about him? Maybe it was love, maybe it wasn’t but none really mattered. She’ll get over it or it’d just die. He’s been nice alright but he didn’t seem attracted to her. He’d have tried something like all the men do.
She chide herself. Kwame hasn’t been all the other men. He was different. She stole another glance at him. And maybe it was because of that difference that attracts her. She threw herself into the seat and told herself to relax but she couldn’t.
She wasn’t just nervous from the interview; she wondered how things will be after she gets the job.
Kwame started the car, pulled out of the front yard unto the road. He glanced at Esi.
“Are you okay?” he said, trying to negotiate a curve to join the main road.
“Not really.” Esi exhaled. “I’m a bit nervous but I think that’s okay. It’s my first proper interview.” She smiled at herself.
“Sure. I was worse than you for my first interview.” Kwame reminisced. “You’ll be fine.”
“And I’m hungry.” She added. “I skipped supper yesterday.”
“Sorry oh.” Kwame teased. “I got us some hot coffee from Breakfast and more. It’s in the back seat.”
Esi turned around on the seat, raised her body, lurched forward and stretched for the rubber bag she saw. She sat back, opened one cup of coffee and started sipping.
“It’s still hot.” She took another sip. “And perfect for the weather.”
She tapped Kwame.
“Thank you. It was thoughtful.”
“I’m glad you like it.” Kwame drove on into the second lane. He had to join the road leading to Cantonments. He could see the traffic ahead. He looked at his watch. Just an hour left. He prayed the traffic wouldn’t be that heavy. He hated the idea of showing up late.
“I didn’t know coffee had being added to their product range.” Esi held on to the plastic cup. She wanted the heat to warm her palms. August in Ghana was a cold season but this year’s seemed too much.
“It’s not surprising you don’t. They started recently. “I got to know because it’s a regular now at the office. It’s creamier.”
Kwame joined the traffic. He sighed and turned on the radio. The morning drive on sunny fm is one of his favorites. There was nothing better than cool Christian music in the morning. It soothed his soul, redirected his focus and reminded him everything still is because of God.
Esi put her cup down. She turned to Kwame.
“Can I ask you something?”
“I’ve never seen your dad nor heard you mention him.”
It was more of a statement. She didn’t want to pry but she wanted to know if he had one.
Kwame shifted in his seat. The traffic light turned green and he started driving. He didn’t intend to ignore the question but it wasn’t one he expected or liked talking about.
Lord. He said in his thoughts. I have to answer that right.
“I have one.” He said looking on ahead. He wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable in front of Esi but he didn’t want to allow it. He did have a dad, one who knew him even before any other one did and he was satisfied with that though he misses the one he never really knew.
“But I don’t really know him. He left when I was three and I’ve never seen him since.”
A tear drop trickled down his cheek. He whipped it away smiling.
“It hurt to know he left us but I’m only full of love for him now. I sometimes wonder how guilty he might feel and how lonely it must be for Him.”
Esi frowned, looking away.
How could he love a man who left him alone with his mum? She didn’t have the strength to. She hated all of them – her mum, her dad, her step – dad and all those friends he had.
Kwame drove off the main Cantonments road onto a dusty road leading to the hotel. He smiled at Esi.
“We’re almost there.”
She nodded. Her mind was somewhere else. She wanted an answer. How could Kwame be full of love for his dad when he hurt him and why couldn’t she just let all those who hurt her go?
Kwame looked at his watch. It was 15minutes to time. He pulled up in front of the security check at the hotel and waited for the security guard to show up. He tuned down the radio. He had forgotten one detail about his story.
“God healed me Esi.” He beamed. “He healed me from all the hatred and filled me with love.”
She nodded. That was her answer. God had showed up yet again and this time, her heart seemed to affirm it. Everything now was pointing to Him.
The security guard came to the car from the checkpoint.
“Good morning sir.” Kwame turned to him.
“Interview?” the man asked and stretched his hand for something and Kwame handed him a small card.
“Okay. All the best.” He smiled heartily and allowed them in.
Kwame packed at the visitors spot and took Esi’s hands.
“Can we pray?”
Esi nodded, but not surprised. Kwame wanted them to pray through everything. They prayed when they were putting her CV together, prayed when they e-mailed it, prayed when they got a response. She was shocked they didn’t pray before starting off from her home. Now, she was sure he forgot.
“Lord.” Kwame started. “We are glad and grateful for this opening for Esi. We have bare 5 minutes for her to be called in and we ask that you take control. Lord, our heart’s desire is that you get her this job and show yourself to her in a way she can’t deny your presence. My desire Lord is to soon have a sister in you in her. Lead her Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Esi whispered amen. She didn’t know how to properly respond when Kwame said his prayers and ended with “My desire Lord is to soon have a sister in you in her. Lead her Lord”. It was starting to weigh on her thoughts. God seemed to have helped Kwame alright but what if He didn’t work for her. What if she trusted Him and got disappointed?
She took a quick look at Kwame. He seemed to have worked for him. Maybe she could trust Him. She was still thinking when Kwame opened the door for her. She hadn’t even noticed when she got off. She let the thought slip. She’ll make a decision maybe after the interview when she finishes the books Kwame has given her to read – Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. She knew only the latter and loved his Chronicles of Narnia.
She grinned and stepped out of the car. She’s never dreamt a gentleman like Kwame will be showing her out a car.
“Thank you.” She smiled at Kwame, picked her bag and followed him into the building. She looked around. It was a five storey building with a beautiful architecture. What she loved most was the flowers that have beautifully surrounded the front to the entrance. Nature was one thing that she used as an escape from her crazy world. She’d lean on the wall of her porch and admire the trees, birds and the sky.
“Kwame.” The sharp voice of the receptionist startled her. She hugged him and shook Esi’s hands.
Esi looked on. She didn’t know Kwame knew anyone here.
“You must be Esi.” The fairly short lady said to her in delight.
Without waiting for an answer, she introduced herself. Kwame stood smiling.
“I’m Eva, Kwame’s friend and church member.”
Esi smiled and nodded politely. Kwame came to her rescue.
“Forgive me Esi. She’s a friend as she said and she’s always like this – the warmest person I know by far.”
Eva laughed and returned to her position behind the counter. Kwame and Esi moved closer. Kwame gave her the letter and she keyed in something on her PC. She smiled broadly at Esi.
“You have five minutes to get to the room for the interview. You’re the only applicant being interviewed today. Please take the first fleet of stairs, turn left and walk straight ahead. The room is the third. You’ll find the panel there. All the best.”
Esi said, smiling out of courtesy. She was starting to get nervous again. This time worse than back at home. What was she going to tell the panelist? That she completed SHS and did what? She had neither a diploma nor a degree. All she knew was the secretariat course she took at New Jauben.
She took Kwame’s hands. He squeezed it.
“God will be there with You. Trust Him.” He smiled at her.
Esi took her bag, smiled at Kwame, looked at Eva and started up the stairs, the words of Kwame resounding in her ears.
God will be there with you. Trust Him.
She walked on to the third door, Kwame listening early to the sounds of her heel. He relaxed in the settee when he heard no other sound. He’d pray with her, maybe chat with Eva and wait.
Esi stood the door of the third room but she couldn’t turn the knob. She tried a third time but couldn’t and stepped back. Her heart was racing, tears were gathering in her eyes. Walking up here, in those few minutes, her whole life has been playing before her. How could she face the panelist with any right answer when her whole life in itself was wrong? This was the only good thing she was doing for herself. She leaned backwards on the wall opposite the door, the words of Kwame resounding in her mind.
God will be there with you. Trust Him. God healed me Esi.
She shed tears silently. She looked at her wrist watch. It was exactly 8:00. Any of the panelist could come out and chance on her. She had to do this. Maybe He’d work for her.
“God” she muttered. “I don’t know why I’m talking to you but it just feels right for me to. You seem the only person who can help me now. Kwame said you’ll be here with me. He said I could trust you. He said you healed him. God I trust you. Please be here with me.” She heaved a sigh. “Amen.”
Relief and a sudden peace rushed over her. She held her breath, smiling, tears trickling down her face. She’d never known this. The closest to it she’s known has been from watching the birds sing, trees move to the tune of the wind and the clouds shift looking ever blue and beautiful. This was too different to be described and she didn’t want the moment to end. She clutched her bag. He worked. He worked.
“Thank you.” She whispered. “You worked. Thank you.”
She glanced at her watch. It was 8:03. She was 3 minutes late but nothing compared to those three minutes.
She cleaned her face with her handkerchief, walked to the door, knocked and turned the knob. She knew now she’d make the decision. She’d take the obvious choice that’s been staring at her for over a month now. Maybe finally she could trust.