Author’s note: We’re back to When Love Finds You. Read all previous episodes here and please do leave your comments. Hearing them is a pleasure and I find ways to grow through your corrections and encouragements and all the character expectations. Agian thanks for 2016. I pray this year is even better with you. And oh, next week, we’ll alongside our usual posts do a poem sphree to review 2016. Do make a date. Now to our story.
Sule drove out of home exhausted. His eyes were heavy, like barrels of water were hanging from it. Perhaps they were. He took the left turn from the Madina Welfare road and made for University of Ghana. He is driving Fatima to school. As he always does. And today, he couldn’t face his mum. He hardly can after their arguments. He sighed and threw a mint into his mouth. Wherever a sound sleep was yesterday, it wasn’t certainly in his room. He could feel the weight of all the unresolved pieces of his life as he stopped in traffic at Okponglo.
“Giovanna is ecstatic.”
Fatima pinched Sule on the shoulder, throwing her earphones off. She’s been chatting non-stop with someone on Skype. So it was Giovanna. Sule thought, his eyes were fixed on the road. What does it take to be back in school, a budding adult without the responsibilities? The more he listened to his sister’s giggles and slow, piercing laughter, the more he wished he could time travel. He was certain now, he would do anything to trade places with Mr Who. Just to be him till he could figure out what to do next. Funny, Mr Who was to him the dumbest TV serial, growing up.
“She has missed you bad then.”
Sule took the turn into the University campus. He drove by the stadium at the snail-pace as custom for reopening. He was sure he’d be on his last child with his wife before it gets done. He’s always been sure of that.
“Not me. You.”
Fatima winked at her brother. Sule frowned.
“How can she miss me when we haven’t even met?”
“I told you she’s crazy.”
“I’m sure she is.”
Fatima released her thumb from the mic sign on her WhatsApp. She grinned and showed the phone’s screen to Sule. She had tricked Sule into talking and sent it as a voice note to their girl’s group. He shook his head, taking the road towards the traditional halls. He’d pass by and head for the pent hostels. The only name you know before you do that of your first course on Leg’s campus.
“You’re going to let her think I’m not too cool.”
“She doesn’t think so. See.”
Fatima held her phone to Sule.
“Crazy just like I like it?”
Sule read the message, amazed.
“Is she a believer?”
He asked as he turned into the only available parking space in front of the New Block C. He didn’t get an answer. Fatima sprung out of the car and Tara’s ID was blinking on his phone. He looked at his watch as he slid the green answer button with his finger. He was already an hour late for their office space scouting. She must have called zillion times already.
Tara’s voice came through like a snore.
“Hey.” Sule faced the hostel, his hands on the car door. “I’ve already worn you out from all the waiting?”
He didn’t want to imagine how bad she may be looking, by the front door, peering every second to see if his car will show anytime. Tara laughed. Her voice was the middle ground of a frog’s croak and a bird’s song.
“I was wondering whether it’s too late to call and have a day off.”
Sule smiled and paced. He kicked the air in joy. He was already exhausted to have gone office scouting himself. He turned towards the hostel’s entrance full of glee. His eyes caught an available office space on an advertisement board. That’s when he saw Giovanna speeding towards him. He would have backed away but there wasn’t really any corner to hide here.
“Absolutely fine Tara. You’ll tell me the story about whoever kept you up too late when we meet. Bye.”
Giovanna landed on his chest as swift as his phone landed in his pocket. She stayed on him for a full minute. He could feel her breath on him. He hoped she wasn’t sniffing him, smelling his perfume. She cut away and smiled broadly at Sule. The corners of her lips lifted graciously to meet the stretched corners of her eyes. She had fine beautiful lines showing around her eyes. They stood round, big and clear in a lovely way. A way that shot his mind back to…He wouldn’t let the thought sit. She was a beauty, fair, her height ending under his chin and her hair, what he’s heard women call natural for five years now, was bouncy curls. She must be a half-breed, Ghanaian father maybe with a white woman. He nodded his head politely, unnecessarily and took three steps back, further towards the bonnet.
She stretched her hands straight, every nerve could have been seen standing in honor. She gripped Sule’s for a firm handshake. Her sheer confidence swept across him as their hands parted.
“The girls dared me about an unforgettable first impression.” She said plainly, her lips now shut but her cheeks raised still in a pleased smile. She continued explaining. “I am not one to back down too.” She must have seen how awestruck and close to ghostly Sule looked. She laughed and stopped as soon as she started and threw her hands towards Fatima and two more girls standing two cars away. “I’m also a believer. Christ Chapel International.” She said and took long strides back and fell into line with the three girls. The four shot their amused eyes on Sule. Fatima shuffled her way through the introduction. Sule thought the time was standing still.
“Tina.” Fatima said and a tiny dark girl with a fancy weave and blonde at the tips waved. Sule was sure she’ll weight nothing more than 40Kilos. “Naa Moley.” Fatima pointed to a light brown shaded lady. Her nose stood pointed on her curved face. She had an innocence that was a pull. Sule waved back. “Of course you’ve met Giovanna.” Fatima said, a naughty smile lurking around her lips. The three girls had the same look too. “And I’m Fatima.” She said and then the laugh poured out from their lungs.
“And you all did have your devotion and prayer times.”
Sule added his own twist and got the laugh rising into sounding storms. He shook his head, waved a long goodbye and jumped behind his wheel.
“Take care of your selves. I know Pent boys.”
He screamed and drove away, the gaze of two boys turned fully on him as he sped out of the hostel area. He inscribed into his brains that he’ll have to talk to Fatima and find more about her musketeers. He sees their snaps and has no reason to think they’re bad influence but he still will. By his second turn to join the road back to Okponglo, he was sobered.
How am I supposed to shed the guilt?
Sule said as he waited for the traffic light to spell go. He saw Sessy in Giovanna. The way she’s impulsive and care-free and bold and funny. That was his Sessy. And then on the night of his graduation from his MSc, he rode her to her home. And he knew he shouldn’t but he stayed. And he woke up lying by her naked. He had run out to her bathroom out of fear, called Tara, weeping and left without waking Sessy. Two weeks later, Sessy called pregnant. His world crumbled and he, trapped in. He was barely a man. He had no job but the part-time at an unpopular gym; he was not legible to be married, feed a wife, raise a family. They had sobbed together – him, Tara and Sessy and drove Sessy to an abortion clinic. She never came back and he never did. He wonders if Tara has.
The tick-tock ring from his phone liberated him. He always felt shackled when his mind walked this path. Kobby was calling. He charged unto the road as the traffic light turned green and tapped his Bluetooth receiver.
He called almost every male adult in Ghana Chairman. And not only him. The word was the absolute title used by guys. Boss was another. Think of any title that shows respect. Fatima says it’s cheesy and overrated. He, Sule, didn’t think anything of it.
“Chairman.” Kobby responded. He sounded upbeat. “Akoa, I can’t take up the lady oh.” The blow came at Sule. He’s hoped Kobby will take Dzidzor off his hands. He’s planned an abstemious friendship with her. Now, that’s not close to happening. Not if it was even a daydream.
“Boss. I hear you. Thanks oh.”
Kobby said and was off. Sule sheered unto the left road through the roundabout and packed at his space in front of Paps. Instead of hopping out and using the other entrance into his office, he dialed Dzidzor’s number. She came through. He stilled.
She said. Her smile warmed the call. Sule was sure of it.
“Hey.” He said, allowing his words run. “My partner can’t book you for the sessions. Meaning you’re stuck with me…” Sule laughed, mostly to himself and continued. Dzidzor chuckled. Sule sensed her hesitate. “I’d like it if we can meet to discuss the schedule that can work for you. I don’t have much work at my end today.”
“Great.” Dzidzor paused. “I’ve got a work overload here so I can’t afford lunch…”
Sule said, disappointed. Dzidzor spoke on.
“…but you can take the trouble and drive over to my work and we can talk about it.”
“Your work today?”
Sule wasn’t certain where Dzidzor’s office was located. He’s never been to Target. Tara had done all the correspondence after his second meeting with Dzidzor and kept him in the loop. He had been at the forefront of granting various TV and radio interviews as Target secured for him. Being on TV a few times in Ghana makes you quite popular. He wasn’t a celebrity, not close but he avoided catching attention that is uncalled for. Besides Ghanaians can easily trick you into giving away tens of boxes of pizza for a course you haven’t even heard of before once you’re cornered in the public glare.
“Yes today. You don’t have to worry about finding my office.” Dzidzor laughed, sharp and brief. “I’ll wait at the reception.”
“Thank you. I’m on my way.”
“Looking forward to a flexible and easy schedule.”
Dzidzor said and hung up. She sat down satisfied. She was wrapped in a warm air of deep excitement. She wasn’t one to drool over a crush. She would be a blunt lair to ignore however she was happier Sule himself will be her new instructor. She’s done quite well on her own with her mum’s coaching via YouTube fitness trainers. She thinks she’s lost more than 5 kilos already. At least she’s had to fit some attires already. She glanced at her desk. She had more than five open files poring at her. She flipped them close and shut her laptop. She’s glad there isn’t Junior and his snooping to worry about once Sule walks through her door. Wherever he went last night, he’s still not up to even call in for a day off. His secretary hasn’t been able to reach him all the ten times she called and she doesn’t exaggerate.
Sule joined the growing traffic on the Shiashie stretch and wondered what bad joke God must be pulling on him. He’s barely in good terms with Him, God. He won’t, he knows, until he gets home tonight and patches up with his mum. And they both decide how to bring his dad into the picture. He sighed and frowned, his mind jerking him back to the office space advertisement he saw at his sister’s hostel. He scanned the other side of the road. He’d be stuck in a forever traffic if he turns around to join it and check the ad out. He scratched his head and stared ahead and like providence, his eyes fell on the inscription at the back of a rickety trotro, perhaps bound for Osu and definitely not road worthy. It said His thoughts aren’t yours. His ways you can’t reach. Bro, chill. The inscription was a summary, if you may, of Isaiah 55; the eighth and ninth verses. Sule laughed. He has taught that scripture to his church’s singles group on their third meeting in August. Dzidzor and Matey were seated together. Matey’s hands were glued on hers, forced. His eyes won’t stop looking. The hot polluted air around him instantly held a chill that washed over him and then was gone.
Your lead Lord.
Sule said and set his head into several nods to the chirping of his own brain. Whatever the Lord is doing, he had no clue and he’s not going to kill to find out. He’s grown to know just following was the better option.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017.