“Will you stop honking? The light is yellow not green!”
Sefa Addison stuck out his head and told off the man two cars behind him. He’s been honking for almost five minutes when they’re all already upset to have to stay in this traffic on a Saturday morning. Whatever was happening in Ghana! If not cattle and sheep in Tamale, marching on roads, it’s traffic in Accra. He exhaled when the traffic lights finally turned green and glued his eyes on his GPS. He should be at Kate’s in about twenty minutes. He’ll make it thirty supposed he meets some masquerades in funeral clothes partying and blocking the street. He let himself pay attention to the streets – busy and usual. His conversation with Jonathan Awoonor flooding into memory. He’d come for his test at Korlebu earlier in the week, booked a hotel for some days and decided to see his friend yesterday. But he was busy of course. With office work and his wife. So this morning about 4am, they sat on his rooftop, watching the clouds clear and pave way for the day. He had told him most of his struggle and the new diagnoses.
“Kate should know earlier my friend.”
“I’ve been considering that possibility.” He had said, looking into Jonathan’s eyes. They screamed with concern for him. “Don’t you think her world would be crushed?”
“Yes. But not knowing till she has little time to come to grasp with the reality will be worse.”
“I love her Jona. She’s the only family I have left.”
“I know. Life throws us paddles when we’re most unprepared to man the canoe.”
Jonathan had put his hand on his friends shoulder, gave him a gentle squeeze and returned to sip his decaf coffee, staring at the day about to break. He also sipped on his tea.
Sefa took the last turn to Kate’s and braced himself for the last long drive. He went back into time; five years ago in Jonathan’s life. His wife, Senam started feeling aches in her breast. A small lump was found after a week of examination. She couldn’t be consoled. The odds hang all around against them. Her mum had died from breast cancer and she could possibly tow that ugly line. Jonathan was hit hardest by the news. Dzidzor, his daughter had to be strong enough to hold the family up. But of course, the lump shrunk and no more had been found year after year of examinations. Life was bleak for Jonathan then, those almost six months of testing, waiting, testing and waiting so he knows his friend understands. His condition however may never go away miraculously. Did he just think may? It will never go away. He’s been handed the death penalty earlier in Dr. Fafa’s consulting room. She had of course tried to make hearing the news easier. They’ve been friends since the mid-seventies. They met during the A levels. Then in Legon. Those were the times porters waited on students as though they were royals. They’d be noted about meal times and they’ll file out like Otomfuo’s royal entourage. They’d been close friends, very close. They and Kate’s mum. They loved to be at the front rows for concert party performances. A smile lifted against his will from the corners of his lips. They were a trio. Everyone knew them. Not that there was any other way. The student population was small at that time anyway.
The other thought that has been bothering him, the one he hasn’t shared with anyone, not Jonathan, not even fully with himself jumped at him. Could this also be the appropriate time to tell Kate about her mum? I mean if he’s going to upset her that in about maximum of five years he’d be dead then he should as well tell her the truth hidden for all her life about her mum. The truth that she isn’t dead but very much alive and possibly still with the low-life she jilted them for.
Waves of cough hit him. He hit his chest slightly for relief. He had his answer. He won’t. See what only thinking about her does to him. He could die from just trying to mention her name. Her name. He hasn’t thought of her as a person for a long time. And the times she found her way into his mind again, he thought of her as only a memory. Never as a person having a name, a life, and friends. He’d find another time to tell Kate that. Today he’ll tell her what he needed her to know – he’s been diagnosed with a heart condition. His GPS lit up and beeped right after. He was there. He looked to both sides of the road and wondered which of these plush houses belonged to his son-in-law.
Sefa parked his car to the left. He stepped out, pressed lock on the remote and pulled at the doors to be double sure. He took in the serenity of the neighbourhood. The lawns in front of the houses were manicured perfectly. The air here was lighter in his nostrils and the breeze was amazing. His skin was almost tingling to it making him instantly sleepy. He better find Kate and get on with the day. He’ll have a flight to catch to Tamale by 7pm. He peered into the houses and spotted Kate’s car, the Toyota he gave her on her twenty-fifth birthday. He hurried towards the door and rang the bell.
In a blink Kate was hurrying towards him with the most surprised and love-filled eyes he’s ever seen. She seems to have seen him before running out her front door.
She screamed, flung the gate open and fell into his embrace. She’s needed a human presence all morning. After Kwaku left and she made a phone call to a friend about Suzzy Adofo. God just knew how to answer. Sefa pressed on her gently and held on to this moment, his own need surfacing. How many months has it been since he felt her in his arms like this. Here she was now. His princess. His own little Barbie. He let the preciousness of the moment wash over the darkness he’s been fearing for months now. He breathed in and remembered to do the one thing he’s not done in a long long while. He prayed, thanking God for his girl and asking him for help. He knew if he’ll make the journey ahead, he’d need Him, His help.
The sun hit the side mirror of Dzidzor’s car, shining rays on her as she walked towards the back to grab another bottle of water. She’s not done any exercise this intense and exhilarating all at the same time. When she gets home, she’s going to call off the arrangement she made with her new fitness instructor. They’ve just had one session anyway. She gulped down the water and caught Sule’s eye. He was jogging lightly towards her and talking with Tara who was packed up to leave. At least that what it seemed. They were having some sort of conversation. Tara had her hands to her hips and almost laughing. Maybe they were teasing each other. That’s what they’ve done the whole hour they’ve been here anyway. That and a bible study. If she never met them again, this much was made clear to her today. They were people of faith who know their faith is their life. Period. Sule stopped by her. Tara did same shortly and smiled politely towards her. Her eyes, those beautiful cream eyes however had more to say. She saw that the whole time today. She was beginning to think Tara was jealous of her being here and having Sule take her through the sessions but she let the thought go as fast as it came and resigned it may as well be nothing at all. Tara could be tired from that weight lifting, push-ups and biking.
Sule smiled exhausted.
Dzidzor mouthed, swallowing the rest of her water and waving her bottle.
“Thanks for coming. Tells me I’m forgiven.”
Dzidzor laughed and gripped unto her bottle. She should be thanking him. She knew it wasn’t true but she felt as though half of her body’s total fat has been slated into two. One part left on the treadmill and the other here with her.
“Thank you rather. Was good coming out here. I didn’t know Ghana has such good gym instructors doing eight to five too.”
Sule attempted a shrug and elbowed Tara as if to say did you hear that? She pushed Sule’s elbow away and smiled that same polite smile. Dzidzor smiled too. Then looking at Tara’s face, she knew instantly she shouldn’t have said that. Actually when the words flew out of her mouth she hoped there was a way to gather them back in and keep them unuttered. She sounded like a hood girl hitting on a gym instructor in a Black-American TV series. Tara’s looks confirmed her fear. She decided to leave. Her work with Paps inn was done anyway. The team will take over the running of the advertisement and other finalized marketing strategies. She won’t be back here too. She’ll definitely sack her new instructor and hire herself a good one in the days coming. Sule had mentioned she should hit the gym at least thrice the whole week and she’ll see her weight melt off her.
“I’ll leave now Tara and Sule.” Dzidzor said, making eye contact with each as she mentioned their names and smiled. “I had a wonderful time. When I’ve lost a few pounds more and we meet somewhere I’d be glad to show you two off.”
She turned to the back, dropped her sports bag and bottle. She realized she shouldn’t have said the last sentence too and clenched her teeth in panic. You’re saying too many wrong things lady. She returned to Sule and Tara and nearly got into her car to speed away. Sule cleared his throat and rubbed his hands together.
“We had a wonderful time too Dzidzor. I just need a favor.”
He looked like he was bothered to ask.
“Tara here needs to use our car…” at that Sule stifled a laugh and shook his head and continued. “She needs to run a few errands before she goes home. She won’t be going my way but you will so I was wondering if it’s okay, you drop me off at Adenta. The whole family has gone to my uncle’s for a get-together…”
Dzidzor said the words before she thought. She’ll be riding with a client who’s invited her over to his gym to say sorry to his uncle’s. They’ll definitely talk. Then what next, exchange contacts? He only had her work line still. Up to this point. Already she’s thought about her conversation with Kate that maybe the guy she’s waiting for is Sule a number of times.
Tara nodded once in her direction and pulled the keys out of Sule’s side pocket. She hugged him for a while, the two giggling as they did. The scene before her screamed a billion words at Dzidzor. She was possibly thinking Sule will hit anything off with her? He had Tara. Every action of theirs said so. She rested in that strange comfort. Sule is taken. Tara is the girl. And She, Dzidzor is just related to him by work which is over already. There’s no reason to believe otherwise. Tara pulled out of the pedestrian walk Sule’s car previously occupied and with a final wave to Sule wound off unto the main road. Sule turned his attention to Dzidzor.
“Thanks.” He blinked, his attire completely taken over by sweat. “I’ll have to change and I’ll run back here very quick.”
He said and again jogged away. Dzidzor noticed the easy way he attended to her in the gym today. He laughed, cheered, run to her side like it was the most normal thing. He was sure at home in the gym doing what he loves. His comment on her IG made more sense to her every single minute she spent in there on the treadmill and then doing some strengthening exercises. She was slow but he made her go beyond her limit. She run for ten seconds with the speed at a crazy rate she can’t remember two times. As he returned, toweled, dressed up and his cologne closing up the distance between them, she was sure he never wore a suit to work. He seemed a very casual person. He may have worn one only when he had to meet her. Tara was very casual too. And they were the couple. She got into the car, ahead of Sule and waited for him to get in.
“You’re dressed up too. Great.” Sule said and seemed to catch his breath. Dzidzor drove onto the road. What did he mean by you are dressed too?
“You said I’m dressed too.” Dzidzor joined the main road from Madina Estate to UPSA and looked at Sule amused. He sounded like they were old friends.
“Oh. Yes. My uncle can be insistent on having friends join in if you show up with one. He’s a pastor.”
“Oh. I see. My Aunt’s husband is also a pastor in the UK. Dad says he invites strangers in almost every half hour. I doubt I can stay anyhow.”
Dzidzor kept her eyes on the road as they joined the main Madina road headed for Aburi. Adenta is on the way about ten minutes’ drive without traffic. She hoped so. The rest of the journey was quiet. Sule looked exhausted, almost sleepy and Dzidzor kept her eyes on the road. They turned off the main road unto a dusty stretch. Three houses and they were at Sule’s uncle’s. A lanky fair boy instantly opened the gate, smiled at her and urged her to drive in. Sule almost laughed. He shot her a sorry look and got out of the car into his uncle’s hearty hug.
“And the lady?”
He asked as Dzidzor stepped out to greet. It was good manners to do so.
“I’m Dzidzor. A friend.”
The last word made her giggle inside. A friend really?
“Oh nice nice. Akwaaba. Come on in.”
“I’m sorry but…”
Dzidzor’s words of protest trailed away into the very crazy wind blowing against a giant mango tree beside the house, where Sule’s uncle with his palm on both their backs urged them towards. Sule shot her a final look to say well, you already are here and then was lost in various arms giddy to embrace. Dzidzor looked around the family. In an instant, she saw Sule’s dad no doubt. He looked off, a little unexcited. And she saw his mum and another girl who had his eyes and nose. She exhaled and took the seat that was offered her. The back of the house is breathtaking. Simple but breathtaking. Dzidzor loved the huts, the pool and the lampstands by the lawns. She could have dropped Sule by the roadside as he insisted to save her this but she decided to take him farther than that. Now she was with his family. Whatever comes, she was going to enjoy it. And she may invite him over her own family gathering to be in late August. That is if God wills and they are what they both said, if they became friends. Even if with Tara in the picture.
Author’s note: We’ve clocked 10 chapters and yes thanks to you I’m excited to always write more and more. I totally appreciate the comments and sharing and even those who call to remind me it’s Wednesday so I won’t have an excuse; Loretta Orleans Boham honey. So we’re getting somewhere with this story with every new chapter. I’m learning a lot from these crazy characters of mine. I believe you are too. If you’re left behind, lol, you can find all the chapters here. So see you on another Wednesday. Till then be in His care.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah, 2016.