I know it has been a long wait. It was for me too. So I was thinking why not start the week with a great feast so here we are. Let’s get into Freda’s world and while we are at it, let me here from you. You my readers are such an encouragement… 😍😍😍. So here we go…If you are new read the Not For Me I.
He gave me his number again and then called.
I didn’t want to pick up but I couldn’t stop my fingers. It was three days and I was frightened to hear his voice again. Its calmness had changed my very stable life I tried to build without him – I cannot sleep, I cannot laugh and I could not go back to Kumasi. I found a good excuse for my boss; I was sorting out some business and would be back in a week’s time.
That night, I laid on my bed in pain but the tears wouldn’t fall. All these years and I was still under his spell. I laid clutching my phone and hoping he would call or that he wouldn’t.
And he did.
“Kwesi” I picked up and stuttered.
His “Yes” sounded like the very first time I heard his voice over phone after the party; just deeper. Back then, I did not want to be the one to call. I did not want to come across as desperate. And I was thrilled he did just like I admittedly was now.
“Are you still there?” The concern etched in his voice woke me up from my daydreaming.
“Yes…Yes…” I said nodding.
I could see him here, his loving worry drawn all across his face like the days he’d return from work and not find me in the kitchen. He’d roam the whole of the house till he found me, often locked up in the books in our library and then he’d yank me up into his arms with a broad smile.
I smiled and stopped myself.
What was I doing drifting too far into memories? Kwesi might have moved on now – even if not with another woman, he should be over me.
Then also, I had another life to return to. I would just go on, apologise and make an appointment with him to return the keys somehow without meeting him.
But Kwesi spoke first.
“Can I meet you?”
“Do you think we should?”
I wanted to discourage him. I did not want to risk him. He had suffered a lot already with me. Plus the request was unexpected.
“Don’t you think we should?”
He’s always been this way. Trust Kwesi to turn you around somehow.
“I don’t want you getting hurt any longer.” I wanted to be frank. “I’d never make you happy.”
The thought of the words I spoke shamed me. Why didn’t I make it work the first time?
Then Kwesi laughed heartily. I told you he was like this.
“Don’t be too hard on us. You made me happy every one of those 6 years. Well, you mostly did.”
He made me smile.
“You remember that night beach party we organised for only the two of us?”
“It was the silliest thing you made me do.”
“I made you do a number of things.” His joy was waning away my deep-seated guilt.
“You did. I don’t know why I booked a musician and ordered all that food. Perhaps I just wanted to please you. You were my world.”
I took the phone off my ears.
“You were mine too”.
I allowed the words to stay in my heart. I didn’t utter them.
I wasn’t going to lead this conversation on. I had only two things to do – apologise and let him have the keys back.
“Kwesi. I am sorry for walking out on us like I did. I was just selfish and childish. I failed us, couldn’t stay with you through your pain. I should have been just there till you were better even if I wanted to leave. You have every right to…”
“…to get my wife back?”
I gasped and fell into silence. My lips couldn’t part to allow any word. They were quaking. I don’t know how long I stood silent. I didn’t even know if he was still there on the line.
There was so much certainty in his words. He meant it. I knew he meant it. I shook inside.
And then, I threw the phone into my bedside locker and coiled on my bed. My heart was racing. The tears flowed freely. I didn’t have to cry.
I laid for a while and allowed the words to resonate. He had said he wanted his wife, me Freda, back. I should call him and tell him I also needed him back. But then again I couldn’t.
My phone rung till I slipped into sleep.
The daily annoying loud sounding alarm woke me. It was totally forgotten. It was 4 pm and my mind was made up.
I don’t deserve someone like Kwesi. He is too loving. I strode into the bathroom.
You don’t have to. Don’t walk away a second time.
I froze, toothbrush stuck in my mouth.
Don’t get me wrong. I was not afraid. At least not at this voice. It wasn’t mine and it wasn’t my conscience. I knew it was the Lord. And what was He saying?
I spat out the toothpaste, rinsed my mouth and jumped into the bathtub.
I laughed hysterically.
“You want me to go back. No Lord you want Kwesi to have me for a wife again?”
I laughed again. My voice shot through the ceiling.
“No Lord. He deserves better.”
I sobbed silently.
What better can I give him than his very half?
I heard him and I was not continuing the exchange. At least I thought I would not.
I washed quickly, towelled and buried my head in my drawer. It still smelt fresh.
Yes, I was in our house and that was my drawer. It was exactly the way I left it. That night, I packed three dresses, a trouser, five tops and my office attires. I left my favourite clothes behind. I wanted him to have a memory of me and he had kept them.
But why were they not out of the drawer since the house was sold? I didn’t want to think of the possible answers. Maybe Kwesi owned this place even after he sold it. But that would be impossible. Or maybe he knew I was coming to town and so he set it up exactly as it was before.
I shrugged. Perhaps he never even sold it.
I dug out the blue dress. It was knee-length, pencilled to the end with a deeply cut low back and overlaid with lightly coloured Ghanaian beads at the neck, as if creating its own necklace. I slipped into it and gazed in the mirror.
Kwesi was right behind me, holding the beads and gazing down with me. I could see him. It was the dress I wore for our last date night out after we got married. It was the meeting point of every emotion I could feel now.
“You love it.” He said those words so effortlessly that night. It wasn’t a question. He knew everything I felt.
You’re his better half, Freda.
“It was disastrous to be five years ago.” I shot back angry at myself.
I held my hair into a loose bun, put on my heels and picked the clutch.
I had a date with myself. I was going to the restaurant, to just sit at the same exact spot we fell apart and then drive to Kumasi. I’d send him the key through DHL. I was sure now.
“Hey. I’m done sorting it out. Yes. I’ll show tomorrow. Thanks Yaw.”
I was too busy talking to my boss to notice the rooms downstairs were all lit up.
I walked carefully and quietly into the kitchen. Someone could have broken in but my heels were sure to give me in, the tiles coupled with would make it obvious I was in here. I took the heels off, tip-toed and got hold of a frying pan from the cabinet.
Yet again, everything was intact like in my wardrobe. But I couldn’t dwell on that now. A thief was nearby and I’ve seen too many movies to be sure digging up buried memories weren’t the best in situations like this. I squinted and walked backwards out of the kitchen. If the person was in the kitchen, it would be dangerous to walk out with my back. If he was walking in, at least bumping into him will afford me some time to recover and hit him hard into unconsciousness.
And I did bump into him, turned, was about to hit him with the pan when he held my wrist. His arms were strong but the grip tender.
“Be more careful in here.” He took the frying pan, put it back and returned.
It was Paa Kwesi.
I exhaled and sank unto the floor.
“You do know I could have died out of shock or fear.”
“Yes.” He nodded and held me up.
“We have an unfinished conversation so I decided to come by.”
“I don’t think we do. I was actually on my way back to Kumasi. I would have returned the key when I got there but since you are here now…”
“You are going back to Kumasi dressed like this?”
He stared at me in disbelief.
“True. I thought changing my clothes would help. As in make me smell fresher. I set off without thinking I’ll need clothes to change.”
“You were never good at lying Freda.”
“I don’t need to convince you.” I wanted to get away from him before I did something silly.
He wore the same smell as when we got engaged, had his sleeves rolled up and had left his beard to grow back. How come I didn’t notice those details the day we met?
“You don’t.” He smiled and sat in the table opposite me. I was at the diner.
“I came by to ask one last favour of you.”
“Mmhm.” I thought to make him unwelcome and then get him away. I wanted this moment quickly done with.
“I want a last date with you. And then you wouldn’t hear from me again.”
I stared at him. I wanted a date too. Well I did earlier.
Don’t walk away a second time.
I answered Him. It was a second time and I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
“I’m saying fine.”
“Great.” Kwesi opened his arms and led me out of the room.
It was just like our date that night. I couldn’t shake the feeling off. Something would change. Exactly what would is what I didn’t know.