Here’s to one of our reader friends, Afua Pokuaa Agyeman-Duah. We hope you enjoy your character. We’re into celebrating our reader friends. So here goes our story.
“There’s someone at the door for you”.
Mrs. Ofori screamed from downstairs.
“I’m not expecting anyone”.
Pokuaa screamed back tired. She hated people dropping by without prior notice, as was typical of most Ghanaians, more especially today.
“He’s inside now…”.
Pokuaa almost yelled.
“I’m off for the Women’s meeting down the church hall. Since you don’t seem like someone who’ll be eating soon, I’ve refrigerated your food and remember to check the mail for the feedback about the scholarship…”
“Mum, I said who?”
“And your dad will be back tomorrow evening instead of this night and I think he’d rather have his Mifi back in his room. Also prepare to explain why you wouldn’t go to church today nor open your door to me”.
And she was off.
Her mum wasn’t even listening to her; a major reason why she wanted to move out so bad.
She pulled her blanket over her, tucking the edge under her neck, sat up and looked at her wall clock. It was always a good sight no matter her mood because it had cute pink rabbit ears on it and maybe because it was from James.
She smiled, rested her head backwards on the bedpost then she remembered someone was inside for her.
She hadn’t imagined leaving her room till she at least had the strength to face another good day.
It was three days now since they spoke and she’s shut herself here since.
Her mum was out till yester night and her dad is currently at the Northern region visiting some paternal uncle she didn’t even know of till the previous Sunday.
She dragged herself off the bed, slipped her feet into her Charlewote and drew the curtains in her room apart.
She’s kept them closed since Thursday afternoon, after she got some excuse to leave her part time job at the hospital earlier than normal and got Friday off too.
Her boss should have noticed her drawn dead face to have allowed her off almost two days.
Or it was a miracle because Sir Joe as they called him was hard on matters of absenteeism.
Her mum had said he was inside. She wondered who it might be but she knew who she hoped it wouldn’t be.
The thought made her sober up.
Why she wasn’t clutching her heart, crying and totally broken, she was yet to find out.
She heaved a sigh and grinned.
She had concluded it might be because she was just attached to him.
She had always planned not to fall in love with him anyway.
The only real thing that stuck was the shock of the ended relationship.
Her life had been so peaceful till James showed up at her church with his dad. His dad was at that time, May 2001, being posted to her church as the new presiding pastor.
“And oh meet his son James Ayettey Ayettey”.
She had chorused the name with the Catechist as he introduced the family to the church.
They hadn’t met but thanks to Koryo, she knew about how James made the girls in his church go hay wire even before he arrived with the family.
That is what made her first notice him.
She after hearing Koryos definitely exaggerated he is so fine and well-mannered wanted to see exactly what extra besides these a guy could possess to make almost every lady fall face down for him like that.
And she saw it, his ash flat sneaker, ankle-length trousers, well tucked in Lacoste and very simple watch was physically an enough answer.
She noticed him since out of sheer curiosity.
She closed her door and jumped the stairs, two at a time. It was her way of getting happy and it didn’t matter who was waiting anyway.
She jumped the last stair and almost landed on her face rather than feet. For the first time, the anger rose in her.
How dare him show up here?
She stomped towards him.
The words were almost out of her lips when she did a quick u-turn and coughed, pressing her hands on her face.
She didn’t want to cry.
It has never been her way of expressing anything – maybe gratitude.
Now she wanted to just grab her pillow, throw it around or hit on her bed, talk with God and then sit with Him and sometimes with some music till it was all fine.
“How come you didn’t give me any notice you’ll be coming?”
She turned and sat opposite him towards the stairs.
“Your phone couldn’t be reached. I called severally”.
“You saw my mum at church I believe. You should have told her something”.
Her voice was rising and she tried hard not to just blow it all out on him.
“Let him go, please“.
She whispered with head bowed.
“I am sorry I just dropped by. I know l shouldn’t be here after Thursday. I just came to… “.
“… check if I’m fine? I am Aye”.
His shoulders dropped a bit.
“I wanted to be sure”.
“You can be now”.
“It’s not like I’m dying after a break up James”.
“I just wanted to be sure”.
“Well I’ll get over it. I mean us. Ill have to eventually”.
James smiled cautiously.
“I’ll have to as well and I’ll have to face my dad squarely. He always dreamt you the perfect daughter-in-law. For him you’re full of life, easygoing and you have the beautiful heart of a child”.
Pokuaa smiled, then grinned.
“Tell him I’ll make it up as a daughter only if he’d like”.
“I think he’d have to settle for that.”
She nodded and sat back, throwing both legs into the settee.
“Thanks. We’re doing well keeping cool“.
She muttered, turned on the TV and put it off again.
The room fell into an awkward silence.
James obviously didn’t have anything more to say.
This and more was why she wanted him away from her.
Her anger was slowly fading but she felt something else she couldn’t place her hands on. It seems she was drawn to him.
“We can’t make it. I wasn’t attracted to you and I don’t want to keep us going nowhere.”
That’s all he said that funny Thursday afternoon after three years and called it quits.
He had called her over for lunch and her truly feminine instincts assured her this wasn’t like any other lunch date so she concluded he might propose.
After all it was 2 years since they both left their respective University lives behind.
The idea of a proposal had both excited and scared her.
She didn’t know if she really loved him but she knew she would love living with him; she at least knew him better than any other guy she ever got close to.
“I should be going”.
James announced. He didn’t seem to have the heart for the awkwardness either.
Pokuaa nodded and took her Charlewote.
“I’m grateful you went through the trouble to check on me”.
It was at least nice to be nice. He did what some guys wouldn’t. In fact, Fii never did.
She shook her head at the thought of Fii.
“The immature guy you wasted a precious year with.”
That was her mum’s description of him.
She opened the door, allowed him out, closed and leaned on it.
“I can’t take you any further. I have to stay back.”
James took her hands, hesitated a while and clasped them.
“I’m sorry I hurt you”.
Pokuaa looked at him. She mumbled out what she found the strength to settle on after that Thursday.
“I’m also sorry I led us on. I was just attached. Probably too much”.
She stared in his face. He tried a smile, nodded and walked away. He seemed hurt. Maybe he’d hoped she loved him.
Pokuaa stood at the door, grasping her hands.
She couldn’t stop gazing after him.
She could see his supposed playful announcement to the youth group that they were dating in October 2001, when she was still taking notice of him and they have had barely 5 detailed conversations.
That started their relationship.
He never really proposed afterwards.
She was going to miss everything about him, even this weird visit.
He did everything right throughout.
He called religiously daily, he never missed any important occasion – her grandma’s funeral, her birthdays, her graduation day, even her lecture-free days.
He took her on lunch dates, night dates, breakfast dates, whichever he could put his hands on.
Her best friend had suspected he’d walk away saying he didn’t ask her out; he didn’t.
What she didn’t think she would feel was how her heart was beating now.
He nodding and walking away left a feeling that confirmed something else she always thought rather not the truth.
“I’m beginning to love him.”
She laughed, stared at her hands and reached across for her shoulders.
“Lord I’m beginning to love him. It was love”.
She held her hands again and sat down on the door step, eyes popping out.
The realization struck her.
The shock had been because she actually loved him.
Charlewote: A Ghanaian traditional slipper; often preferred in colour black.