‘Mum come in.”
Sule said as he heard the knock on his door. Suzie Tafuah entered the room and made sure the door was shut behind her. Sule knew what it meant. He’s about to be in one of the lengthiest conversations in history. His mum always does that.
“Mum please wait.”
He whispered, pointing to his headset. His mum nodded. She sat at his study. She took a book and flipped, staring at each page, a few seconds, as though she understood the many gym instructions contained in it.
“Sure Kwaku.” Sule laughed. “Man, I appreciate. I’ll drop by one day – surprise you and Kate. Hey and I’ll be praying about the office issue. Still be looking out for me too. Oh…”
Sule laughed long and took his headset off. He shot his look at his mum, making sure she saw she has his full attention.
“Was that your GIMPA friend?”
Suzie Tafuah asked. It doesn’t matter she met and knew Kwaku years ago when her son, Sule, was pursuing his Msc. She made sure to remember every relationship that is important to Kwaku. She tried to be both parents for him and never complained. She wonders why he is complaining and acting out ever since his father came back.
“Yeah mum, Kwaku. You know he’s married and with a very good job. We were catching up.”
“Alright mum. So what have I done wrong?”
Sule said and bit on his tongue. He knew how to always make the conversation start off rough when he knows exactly what his mum was about talking about. Suzie Tafua ignored him.
“You realize we haven’t sat to have a single nice conversation since you started your business.”
“Since dad came back.” Sule interjected. He couldn’t help himself. His mum gave him a look that told him she thought him unbelievable. “I was trying to put what you said well mum.” She kept her look on him. He kept explaining himself. “I started Paps two months after dad got back remember.” After he won’t stop complaining about how I wasted money on an MSc and yet threw my whole time into making a part-time job at a gym a full time one. You kai Maa. Yeah, that’s when I started Paps with the coins I had left and went on to buy half of the gym I was part-timing at.
Sule wanted to say this and more but he knew he can’t look himself in the mirror without guilt should he.
Suzie Tafuah took the book she was looking at previously. She kept it in her hands.
“Sule, you know you are my first son. My only son.”
She paused a while after those words. The realization of her statement took forefront. Sule was her only son, her only reminder of his father and yet their child most opposed to him. Fatima is a father’s girl. Before coming up to Sule’s room, she was snuggled beside her father, watching her favorite TV show – the Cosby show. Praise TV, one of the family’s favorite digital channel, has started airing it after a long time of no air play after it ended.
“Your relationship with your father affects you more than you may want to consider. You have to allow him shape you for life. He’s here now and the only thing you know how to do is avoid him. You hardly talk to him in the mornings, you hardly do in the evenings when you do make it down for devotions. You treat him like he doesn’t exist. You…”
“I know. I treat him like he doesn’t exist because he doesn’t. He would have if he was there when I needed a father. Where was he when we had the show me your dad day at school ma. Do you remember?”
Sule’s eyes glared. The memories of his class three days running to him. He was in his home attire, blue shorts with a crisp white Lacoste his mum had gotten him the day before from a second-hand clothing stand at Madina tucked in. He was ecstatic. Their assistant principal, Mr. Duah, had succeeded in making the day feel like the way a trip to La Trade Fair during his times felt like. The initiative was in every school in the Madina municipal at that time. An NGO started it to increase fathers’ involvement in their children’s education. He had his backpack behind him and his lunch set in his right hand, his left hand free for his father’s. The day before, Dawud Tafuah, his father had lifted him up and raised him so high, as high as his eight-year-old body was amazed, and promised him he’ll make him the happiest son there is in his school. W’anibegeye s3 mey3 wo papa. He believed him. And he sat by their makeshift dining table waiting for him till he fell asleep and never saw him again till after he was too grown up to need a father to make him the happiest son there is.
“Sule. He’s here now.”
Suzie said, her eyes heavy with tears.
“What if I don’t need him now Maa. He never even apologized when he came back. He just walked through the front door on one rainy day with you holding it open for him. You both called me down and expected I’ll forget everything and fall into his arms for a long hug.”
“You’re a Christian, Sule.”
Suzie appealed to the one thing she knows holds of all of Sule together.
“Stop it mum. Please.”
Sule dropped his legs from his bed and cupped his face. His heart was pounding and he was near tears. Talking about his father always upsets him, like this.
“I won’t stop Sule. That man downstairs is your father. He gave you life whether or not he’s been a good father. Why won’t you give him a chance?”
Sule was silent. He knew why. He won’t give him a chance because he wasn’t in his life when he needed him to let him see he had many choices. He craved a father to talk about Sessy’s pregnancy with. He was barely a man then. He was confused. He would have given him the chance should he have even kept contact so he could talk to him. Suzie talked on.
“He is your father. He is Fatima’s father. He is my husband. We all forgave him. Why won’t you?
Why won’t you?
He contemplated his mother’s words.
“He hasn’t said he wants forgiveness.”
Sule spat out the words and sat bathed with shame. He taught otherwise at youth service every single service forgiveness was a topic. He could hear himself quoting Jesus about leaving our gifts at the altar to patch up with people, even when they were the offenders. His father doesn’t need to ask for his forgiveness before he forgives him.
“I’ve always questioned what they teach you at that church.”
Suzie Tafuah said and was gone. She was a strong catholic. She’s been from birth and she was certain to be till death.
“I’m sorry Lord.” Sule stared at his feet. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
The words from Proverbs he memorized during the first month of his new birth in the University found their way to the centre of his thoughts.
“That’s right, isn’t it?” He said, wretched. “Every word I spoke tonight has always been stewing in my heart somewhere.”
“I don’t know.”
Fatima grinned and entered her brother’s room. She tapped the door, pushing on it slightly. Sule shook his head. She made herself comfortable beside him. She is his twenty-year old, 5 feet 8 sister.
“I heard you and mum.”
She said after a while.
“We were loud?”
Sule asked, not looking at her.
“You were throughout. Mum sometimes.”
Fatima talked with every care she felt for her family. She doesn’t know much. No one ever really explained where her dad was when she was born. The few times Sule tried, Suzie will shut him up. But Sule was always like her father. So when one rainy evening, five years ago, a man showed up wet and asking after her mother when she got the door, she didn’t know how much was about to change in each of their lives. He was later introduced to her as their father. Sule won’t stay around. He bolted to his room and locked the door. He wasn’t out till after about another full day of starving. She was just glad her daddy was back. And she had easily gotten along with him because he was to her just like Sule, older and bigger.
“I think Dad heard you too.”
She said, hoping he’ll pick up what she meant.
“I’m sure he did.”
Sule looked sideways, his hands wrapped in each other.
“Your vacation has been over for a week.”
“I’ll leave for school tomorrow,” Fatima said. “I wanted to tell you.”
“We’ve paid all fees?”
“Mmhm. I have 300 cedis left over.”
“Pocket money for September?”
She hugged his bent back.
“Mum and Dad said they’ll do the provisions and food stuff.”
Sule tried to sound upbeat.
“Goodnight big bro.” Fatima said and was up. “I think you can go talk to dad. Then after please check my snap. Crazy Giovanna said hi to you.”
Sule laughed. Fatima walked out, praying Sule will go talk to her dad. She couldn’t get the look on his face off. His brows were furrowed and yet dropped, he kept twitching his mouth in many different directions. Sule hung on to his sister’s words.
I think you can go talk to dad.
He thought he should too. And really after his mum’s unsavory comment about his church. Rather, he took his phone and unlocked it. He scrolled on his WhatsApp, taking note of a lengthy voice note Tara had left him. Before he could tap and play, his phone notified him of an incoming text message. He tapped on it and read.
My new gym instructor has been run off by my dog. More than a month ago. Do you think you can fix me? And to reply your text. Yes, I’m doing fine. Work is crazy, however.
He sighed and run his fingers over his lips. He hasn’t thought Dzidzor will reply his texts after the church incident. He took his chances the Friday night after they met at Tahil. He’s kept it however at texting. He doesn’t want to take the relationship any further. He didn’t know what he wants besides a new place for Paps.
Sorry. Lol. I’ll check with Kobby. Goodnight.
He texted back and moved to Tara’s chat on his phone. He lay on his back as he tapped the voice note to play. He listened and laughed appropriately, his heart on his rocky relationship with his father and his new budding friendship with Dzidzor.
1. W’anibegeye s3 mey3 wo papa – you will be happy I’m your father.
2. Kai – remember
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2016.