Author’s note: So I thought I’ll make up for the post I missed on the elections (Ghana’s elections) and yeah, here we are. Please do say something in the comments before you go. Also, read previous Chapter XVII, find all other chapters here. Have fun.
“He said Matey has sent you two bouquets and you both have had five lunch dates…”
Kate grimaced, her eyes steady on Dzidzor. They were on Skype, video calling. First, it was Kate who didn’t want to get out after Sefa’s. Now, Dzidzor is the one too preoccupied with work for a regular meet up. So they resorted to video calls via Skype.
“It’s true Kate.” Dzidzor blurted, furrowing her brows. “He’s coming on so strong.”
“What does he want?” Kate asked, evidently pissed.
“He hasn’t said what he wants but I think we all know what he may want.”
Dzidzor smiled. She was doing her best to get some of the rage for Matey off Kate’s chest. She knows how her best friend can be. When Matey walked out, Kate was the only person who was so outspoken about his hard-heartedness. Perhaps she was offended more than she, Dzidzor, was.
“I’m not about asking what you think Dzidzor. You know what I think but it’s entirely your decision.”
Dzidzor laughed at how Kate threw her hands up.
“Alright. I’ve got to go.” Kate came closer to the laptop screen and grinned. She heard Kwaku’s car making its way into the Garage. “My husband is home. My soup is still boiling.”
“Fine. Go on. Tell him I said he should be a nice in-law and drop by sometime.”
Dzidzor pulled out her tongue at Kate and burst out into laughter.
“I’ll let him know.” Kate took off the headset and quickly put them back on. Dzidzor was still on. “And Dzidzor all the best with mid-week. And please say hi to Sule for me. I hear he churches with you. And please let’s meet soon.”
Dzidzor studied her best friend. She looked happier, better than her plain self weeks ago. Her guts keep telling her there has been more to Kate than her dad’s diagnosis.
“And Kate.” Dzidzor’s face dropped to the unpleasantness of the words she was about to speak even to her own ears. “Dad has invited Matey over for dinner this Sunday.”
“Yes Kate. Pray with me.” Dzidzor looked over her shoulder and saw Junior coming towards her direction. She could guess why he was striding forward like that. She sent Kojo for a control meeting about the Tahil project yesterday she should have attended. He obviously didn’t like the fact. “Bye Kate.” She plunged her earpiece from her ears, shut her laptop and picked her bags. Five minutes past 5 pm is past closing time. She isn’t going to entertain a conversation.
Kate put her headset on the coffee table. She shook her head, a smile tugging along the corners of her lips. Each Skype moment with Dzidzor showed her how much she has missed sitting with her to talk in the real world. She sighed, cheerful. She unlocked the doors, hurried to lower the heat under the soup and dashed to the bedroom. She had taken Kwaku’s suit off the line and kept it on the bed. She picked it up, got a hanger to hold it and passed her hand over to smoothen it. She was glad she remembered to have it off before Kwaku walks in. She knows how much he hates the smell of fresh laundry on a bed. She passed her hand a second time over the pocket and felt the texture. Her hand touched something soft. Probably she had washed the suit with something still in the pockets. She swooped her hand inside and brought it back up hastily. She gasped as she stared at her palm. Kwaku walked in. She hurriedly shut her palm and put her hand behind her.
Calm. Kate calm. There is always an explanation. Work could have organized a session and he had it as a souvenir. Or you know anything.
She fell into Kwaku’s hug, smiled as a wife should when a tired husband is home and walked into the open washroom. She yacked the door shut and slowly, wishing she’s been trapped in a bad drama series, she opened her palm and stared at the condom she’s just found in her husband’s suite.
A condom? What will Kwaku be doing with a condom in his suite?
The obvious questions circled in her mind and heart. She couldn’t bring herself to say them.
Is he and Suzzy…?
She pushed the thought to the corners of her mind. She won’t believe it.
There should be an explanation for this. There is always an explanation.
Kate thrust the condom into her back pocket, murmured the only positive thought she should be thinking and walked out the washroom.
“Soup and banku?”
Kwaku met her by the guest room. She nodded and hurried to the kitchen. He entered and came beside her.
“So when are we celebrating my birthday?”
Kwaku stared at Kate. He was sure she didn’t remember yesterday was his birthday. And he wasn’t offended. He married a woman who is excited about everything but birthdays. He knew a day will come like yesterday in their marriage.
“Oh sweetheart.” Kate turned to him. Her tone was dead. Nothing of her usual euphoria was present. “We’ll fix a date. I’m sorry. I kept thinking yesterday meant something but I couldn’t guess exactly what. If you had made it earlier, we could have celebrated.” She smiled and turned back to the soup. The smell of goat meat was all up in the whole house.
Kwaku feigned a long inhale.
“I’ll be okay with just this treat the whole year.”
“I’m sure you will.”
Kate responded and got the ceramic bowl. She poured the soup slowly into the bowl and with two napkins sent it to the dining table. She followed with the banku, spoons, water, handwashing soap and napkins. They sat by the dining table, Kwaku said prayer and they ate. The meal was silent. Kate couldn’t bring herself to respond well to the many points of conversation Kwaku brought up. She felt guilty she was sulking. And yet she was angry at Kwaku. However the condoms got into his pocket, she was angry he allowed it.
“So do you want to go out to the mart at the junction for some ice-cream?”
Kwaku offered. Something was wrong with Kate. He didn’t know what but couples cheer up each other. He wanted to do that – cheer her up.
Kate bundled up the bowls and dumped them in the kitchen sink. She came back for the napkins. Kwaku stopped her midway.
“Kate, what’s wrong?”
“I’m not myself, yes. I’m tired. That’s all Kwaku. I’m tired and I have thoughts running around in my head.”
“Okay.” Kwaku sighed concerned. “Sit. I’ll clear the rest of the table, do the dishes and we’ll talk about the thoughts jogging around in your head.”
He smiled. Kate nodded and sat. She knew she wasn’t going to talk. Kwaku left with the napkins and placemats, wiped the table off. He returned.
“I could lie to you that I’m thinking about Dad. But that won’t be the whole truth.” Kate smiled sadly at Kwaku. “So I’ll tell you what’s all up in my mind when I’m really ready to talk about it.”
Kwaku nodded, hunched his shoulders and released them.
“Thanks.” Kate kissed him slipped on her Charlewote. “We can go and get the ice-cream and talk about the birthday party.”
Kwaku punched the air and slipped into his slippers. They locked the doors and walked hand-in-hand, climbing leisurely to their junction. Kate laughed as Kwaku narrated how Matey almost got into a fistfight with a motor rider who cut them off on their way for lunch this afternoon. She held on to his side and studied him. Their concluding devotion on 1 Corinthians 13 creeping into her thoughts.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
As they reached the mart and Kwaku started picking and showing her brands and flavors of ice-cream, she wondered if their brand of love will overcome whatever she’ll find out about the condom. Will she have faith in him, for them? Can she continue to hope for the forever after they promised each other? Is their love strong enough to survive, to breathe, to live? She blinked away tears and smiled as Kwaku decided on four different flavours from four different brands and waved them at her.
I’m determined to find the truth Lord. Just help us to be able to live above it.
She prayed silently and drew in both lips into her mouth.
I’m with you always.
The assurance of God swept over her. She smiled, ready to take on the world – even if it comes with truth that could hurt.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2016