So we left off with Freda feeling there was going to be a change, remember. Enjoy this read and let us of course know what you think; your comments are important. Here we go. And don’t worry, you can catch up if you missed out on the first two parts of this story. Read Not For Me I and the Not For Me II first. And now here we go :)😐😍.
“You never really said why you left.”
Kwesi stared into my face with his elbows etched on the table as though he was leaning into me.
There were too many things but the real ones were those I didn’t want to talk about.
“You were too tired of my pity party?”
He seemed so eager for an answer and I completely side with him. The other party deserved to know what was so dissatisfying to cause a person who so professed love to them to suddenly not want to share even a single moment.
My fear was not what to say, it was how to say it so it didn’t hurt. He never actually did anything those years. I was the one who failed my vows. It was for better and for worse.
“Was it the adoption?”
I shook my head. I couldn’t possibly tell him it was just all about me and not him; not even about the marriage.
“Then why did you leave?”
“Because you, I mean I couldn’t…”
“The pack of Kelewele sir.”
And the waiter saved me. I couldn’t be more grateful.
“It’s 30 Ghana Cedi please for the two.”
He gave Paa the bill.
“And your water ma’am. Enjoy your evening.”
He put the glass of water before me and briskly walked to the table opposite us.
Two people had just arrived, hand in hand. He was going to take their orders obviously. They were so in love. I could see it in their eyes, how the guy stared at the lady, how she smiled and gently hit him. They most probably weren’t even aware of the open surrounding. And the lady wore a sparkling ring. Maybe a diamond.
It made me jealous. This could have been Paa Kwesi and I.
I sighed and sipped on the water. It was flavored and here, at Sisi’s, was one of the places in the entire world I’d take this and feel the taste swell in my mouth.
Kwesi pushed one pack towards me and opened the other, tasted and put it away.
“They haven’t lost the piercing ginger taste for all these years.”
“And you haven’t lost praising Sisi’s food all these years. Have you?”
He smiled again.
“I couldn’t come here after you left. Every dish I dared to order the three times I tried reminded me of you so I gave up coming.”
And I dressed up in this attire again just to remember you and leave.
Tears stung my eyes. I blinked and swallowed.
“You won’t tell me why you left, would you?”
I shook my head. I wish he knew I just couldn’t.
Kwesi took my hand and kissed it. I pulled away. The warmness of it was drawing me in. Why was I still in love with him?
“We are not married Kwesi and this is public.”
I reminded him but I doubt he heard me.
“Would you believe it if I say I still love you Freda?”
“Haven’t you met any other person?”
I said it smugly.
“I didn’t allow myself to because I know you still love me.”
I smirked to discourage him.
“I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you.”
“So you don’t love me?”
I lifted the glass of water, sipped and gripped unto it. I didn’t have an answer.
“Freda, it’s written all over you that you do.”
Kwesi moved to the empty seat by me. I put the glass down
“Why won’t you give us a chance?”
My heart was thumping. I didn’t want him close. My body tickled. I still loved him. I knew the day I put those divorce papers down that I’ll still love him.
Kwesi lifted my chin.
“I just want my wife back Freda. I want the woman who made me want more out of life than just a career back.”
“Kwesi you’ve done better with yourself without me.”
“I have only because of you. You took me to that church where we found Christ.”
“And I found Him because you led me to the altar that night. You wanted the best for me always and I just couldn’t…”
And my eyes gave way. I couldn’t sit there. I took to my heels, tissue on my mouth.
I sat on the toilet seat and wailed.
“You never should have made me come Lord. You gave me a second chance so I could just hurt him more.” I grabbed my chest and sobbed harder.
“He led me to that altar, gave me the best and I just couldn’t love him back when he needed it.”
My head was aching, my nose was reddening but I wept on.
“I wanted to win so bad every time that I won and destroyed the marriage he worked so hard for. It was 6 years of so much love from him.”
I couldn’t stop myself, Kwesi did.
“My…errm…my wife went in there and it’s been a while. Could I possibly go in and get her. She’s not feeling too well.”
I heard Kwesi’s voice from outside. I was terrified. I didn’t want him to see me like this. His care will soar through the skies and my love for him would open up with it. But I didn’t care again. I didn’t care if I lost.
“I don’t want to win again Lord. Don’t make me win Lord.”
Before I could say more, he was in and peering over my cubicle.
My head was hung. I couldn’t see him but the way he came in, lifted me and led me out said more than I could have seen written over his face.
He set me in front of the sink, asked for a few more minutes from other ladies outside, washed my face and dried it with his handkerchief.
“You need to take some medicine”.
Paa Kwesi felt my forehead and picked his phone after showing me to our table.
“I’ll call my friend’s pharmacy to see what we can get”.
“No I’ll be fine”.
I didn’t want to cause him anything more.
“I thought you said you didn’t want to win again”.
I smiled. He heard me.
“Should I take you home after the medicine is in? The pharmacy is just 5 minutes’ drive away from here”.
I nodded, relished the care on Kwesi’s face as he made the call.
“He wouldn’t be long.”
Paa Kwesi reassured me.
“And I know you cried because of me. I’m sorry I pushed you.”
“It’s fine.” I found my voice quickly. I wasn’t willing to win anymore anyway. “You truly want to know why I left.”
I didn’t even know if I wanted him to know but it was better he did at least. He could see me in a better light. Probably he’ll fall out of love with me for good.
“You are willing to talk about it?”
He wanted to be sure I wanted to.
He nodded and fell into silence. I looked up. I couldn’t look him in the face.
It was the first time we were talking about it in so many years. It felt so tensed but it was fine.
“I left because I was too selfish to share in your heartache.” I paused, searched his face for a reaction but his eyes were just glued on me as if he was predicting the words I’d speak.
“You deserved to have adopted but at that time my career was getting important.”
I could see the colour drain out of his face but he kept his composure.
“Plus I had too many fears of what you might turn into. You never did anyway but you became something else I wasn’t prepared for. Your guilt pushed me away. I couldn’t bear seeing you like that.”
“You left too late too. It was almost midnight.”
Kwesi was playful and solemn.
“On that night after drinking, I wanted to come to you rather than lay in my cold bed in the guest room but I was too overcome with anger.”
“You have every right to be angry with me.”
I was one selfish woman. I even stopped cooking during some time. It wasn’t that he didn’t want the meal. I couldn’t stand seeing him when I had to serve or sit across him to eat.
“Pardon?” I wasn’t paying attention. A guy was walking towards our table and he was familiar. Kwesi followed my gaze and saw him.
“Ma man!” The gentleman grasped his shoulders smiling broadly.
“I didn’t expect you to bring it yourself.” Kwesi looked overly grateful.
“You would have done this if you were in my shoes. Besides it keep from the last time we crush.”
The gentleman came closer, took my hands and shook them gently. Then I remembered where I knew him from. He was Nana, the guy they set me up with and he sounded much tamed now. What time could do to humans, change creeps in so slowly we sometimes don’t notice we’re changed. I laughed.
“Your wifey dey laugh”. Nana said cheerfully and skidded off.
I wasn’t listening to what they talked about but I couldn’t stop laughing.
“You remember the boastful Ashanti man?”
Kwesi laughed as he waved Nana goodbye. He was pulling out of the parking lot.
“Yes.” I still was amused. “He’s changed so much.”
“You don’t want him over me some years down the lane now, do you?”
I laughed harder.
“No I don’t.”
“It means you want me?”
“Well…” I took the prescription from the table, took the pack of medicine and swallowed two pills. “…You said no before Nana came in.”
He was quite disappointed but I didn’t want to just throw my heart out to him. Where the conversation will end was important to me and I wasn’t interesting in leading it.
The night was getting older now and quieter, the air from the breeze was colder and the music in the background was casually complementing.
“Yeah. I said no. I wasn’t angry with you. It wasn’t entirely. I was angrier with myself for carrying such baggage into the marriage and for not being man enough to handle the pain.”
“I should have no matter what being there too and I wasn’t. If we had adopted and I was only not so bent on having my way I could have saved us.”
“You weren’t the man in there. I shouldn’t have put you in the spot like that, the way I did asking for the adoption. I should have warned you somehow.”
“You didn’t know I would hate the idea that much. You were trying to save us and I just…”
“And you could just let us stop this and give us another chance.”
And we were back to that.
Did I deserve the second chance myself?
“Kwesi I think you deserve someone better. I hurt you and I won’t risk it again.”
“And perhaps you know that better someone?”
“I would love to meet her. You know someone who would never hurt me?”
I kept quiet. He lifted my chin, took my hands and clutched it.
“I’ve been praying about us ever since my life got together. I couldn’t move on because He promised me tonight. And when I bought the house again because the new owner never got to decide when to move in and I decided to sell it again through the same agent, I didn’t know you would show up but you did. I believe he’s giving us a second chance.”
He held on to my hands and searched my face.
I covered my mouth and whimpered, overwhelmed. Here I was, just entering my late thirties and being given the chance to fall in love all over again.
Don’t walk away a second time.
His words resounded.
I looked Kwesi in the eye for the first time without any shame.
“I want the second chance.”
The coolness of the breeze couldn’t compare with the peace that washed over me.
He pulled a box from his pocket, knelt down by my table, called the attention of the whole restaurant and pulled out a glittering ring.
“Would you give me another chance to love you Freda?”
I nodded, laughing and crying to cheers and flashes of cameras. Kwesi most probably had some people in here for this occasion but now I didn’t care how plush it was. I didn’t walk away a second time and I’ll soon have my ring on again. It mattered more than being out of the celebrity gossip corner.
“Can you hear the music?”
Kwesi leaned in and whispered in my ears.
I smiled. It was one of my favorites but not country. It was a song from Kyle to Kelsey Kupecky I loved.
“You want to dance?”
And so here I was in Kwesi’s warm embrace, his arms wrapped around my waist, swaying to the music. I rested on his shoulders, seeking a shield from the wind. There wasn’t any place better to be.
Divorce was also not for me after all.
* It keep from the last time we crush – it has been a while since the last time we met.
*Kelewele – a Ghanaian side dish or snack made from cut ripe plantain, soaked in blended pepper and ginger and fried.
* Ma man – My man.
* Your wifey dey laugh – Your wife is laughing.