Read Previous Chapter XX. Also look out for the first poem reviewing 2016.
The ten floors storey that houses Target welcomed Sule. He stepped into the enormous space and was soon engulfed by the echoing emptiness, but for the enormous water dispenser and coffee machines that watched the entrance on both sides. The ground floor of Target held sitting areas, obviously for waiting guests like him and a large reception desk manned by a female beaming with smiles; the perfect front desk officer. He stood and scanned. And the colours spanning the floor and walls immediately coup d’etated Sule’s senses. He would have closed his eyes, folded his arms and inhaled, welcoming the warm embrace they held but he can’t. He would open his eyes perhaps at a psychiatry. The security personnel who had started ogling him would have gladly ensured that. He was certain. He smiled and curtsied to him and the receptionist, nodding his head politely and aimed for the waiting area. He took out his phone, pinching into his messaging app. After two letters, the realization hit him.He’s here to meet Dzidzor, again.
He felt himself beginning to feel coy. He hurriedly sat. Why does it feel like he was back in High School, form one and gazing into his first crushes eyes. Now, he can’t even remember her name, a delicate Ewe name that flowed on a tongue like his dorm mates unceasingly described the famed Akple and Fetridetsi. Oh, she was Ewe too. Sessy was Ewe too. Dzidzor is also Ewe. He laughed, amused to himself. Two ladies – white, but Ghanaian, black, and still Ghanaian – entered the hall, glanced Sule’s way, one drawing the other’s attention. They lingered their look on him, giggled and were in the elevator before he could decide what to do with the eye contact.
They’ve perhaps recognized me from TV.
The thought sprang at him and made him sad for a split second, banishing his racking nerves temporarily. Mention your name one time on prime time and that will be it. Currently, you don’t need to do one thing worth celebration. All you need to do is to get some minutes in front of the camera with a popular presenter and you’re a celebrity. And he wasn’t even close to that. He’s always wondered how Anas would have gotten ground for his feet. He tapped on the green kite on his phone and sent the message.
He was as brief as his brain could manage. Brief is his go to when his nerves start misbehaving like they are.
“And I’m here.” Dzidzor played on his words, smiling aptly. Sule lifted his face and freed his eyes to slowly meet hers. “I stealed off to get samples of a billboard just a minute walk away from here…”
She pointed to the room she was telling Sule about; Target’s little printing press. Sule’s mind had veered off the conversation’s path. He stared at her wondering. He’s not been this close to her for forever. In church, he was mostly seated away from her, and Matey. Or he was standing, taking the singles class through discussions. When they closed, he’ll usually hang around and allow her leave, saying his meticulous goodbyes from afar, forgetting being too careful sells out true, deep seated feelings. Sule smiled and put his phone away, standing right after. His throat dried and his feet took on twice their weight. His eyes might have dilated because he could see every detail on her face. Her thin and smooth eyeliner, the pink gloss that made her smiles shine and her beautiful neckline accentuated with a single neat gold necklace. He could have shut his brain and his senses would have gone on by themselves to be held captive by Dzidzor. He noticed she has perhaps lost some kilos.
Sule’s tongue found the words as he blinked to now. He recollected quickly what Dzidzor was talking about previously. Oh yes. The printing room. A sample of billboard ad. He had it.
“Yes. My office is three floors up.” Dzidzor said, already leading the way to the staircase.
“Naki hi.” She waved at the receptionist. “Mr. Ofori, morning oh.” She smiled happily to the security personnel and waited for Sule to catch up. Sule realized the greeting also meant he’s getting a free pass. No sign ins and security checks.
“I do mostly stairs now.”
Dzidzor told Sule, memories of their lunches together pouring nostalgia into the moment.
“Makes my work easier.”
Sule retorted and walked with her. He was captured by the finesse with which each painting hang on the walls. He marveled how much they must have cost – these fortunes. He was impressed, very, with the sleekness of the attires that passed him by. He was constantly reminded with each step towards Dzidzor’s office of how far he really has lived from the whole corporate environment. His days at GIMPA has been his last.
“There’s my office.”
Dzidzor stood halfway at the entrance to her workspace and beckoned Sule to the other halfway. They stood side by side.
“Warm and petite.”
Sule remarked, scanning Dzidzor’s office. He saw two vases with bouquets, one sitting on Dzidzor’s desk, the other on a coffee table close to the windows.
“Opposite to me.”
Dzidzor commented. She laughed and led the way into the office. As Sule lounged, he studied the vase on the coffee table by the sofa. He noticed a note hanging from it. He chuckled to himself and took his eyes off. Sure, it’d be from Matey. He’s pursuing Dzidzor so hard. Makes him remember David’s description of he, David, wanting God like the deer for the water. He may as well get her. The thought made his throat tighten. And what if he does get her? He would lose her. And he will forever. Once she’s married, there’d be no time to wonder whether he should step up his interest. He caught Dzidzor’s eyes. Her smile shot through him like chilled Asana on a warm sunny Saturday in Accra Central and he could swear it told him you may come too late. Dzidzor was by her fridge. He wanted to sprint to her side, do the one knee and get the ring later. He sat and tried to smile back. His heart racing to his thoughts.
“So,” Dzidzor sat back, her smile firm on her face. “I have water and pineapple juice here. Or I can call for coffee or something else.”
Sule said, straining to relax.
“Water.” Dzidzor put the bottle of water by him adding a straw. Sule’s eyes questioned her. “For sipping.”
She sat and took her tab.
“I’m thinking of a three days in a week plan. So Tuesday, Thursday and I’ll be at the gym on Saturday.” Sule nodded. “How much weight do you think I’d lose with a plan like this?”
Sule almost laughed. Dzidzor was more direct than he’s imagined her to be.
“That’ll depend on the intensity of the routines we use. But within a month, we can look at between 5 to 10 kilos.”
“I lost close to 5 kilos in about two weeks so I think I can grind to this goal.”
“I noticed your clothes.” Sule smiled. “Then you already know a lot.” He said and took notes on his phone.
“Not too much. I read about cardio and strength and interval training mostly.”
“Impressive. You should then know your routines will incorporate these.”
“I do.” Dzidzor said. “I think I do.” She said, clearly second guessing. Sule laughed.
“You’re already doing great. By February next year, you’d be at a healthy weight and focusing on keeping healthy.”
“I can’t wait.” Dzidzor laughed. “Are the days fine by you? I didn’t pick Wednesday because of Mid-week and Friday because of the singles meeting.”
“Fine by me.” Sule, typing on his Google calendar. “After work will be the time, obviously.”
“Yes, after work.” Dzidzor repeated. “At my place.” She said and stared at him with pleading eyes. “I hope you’ll say fine to this too.”
“Fine.” Sule said, his head slanted, a boyish smile spreading across his face. He made ready to leave and then remembered. He’s forgotten what a trainer never should. “Dzidzor.” He called, his tone hinging in seriousness. “You already are on a healthy diet.” Dzidzor nodded. “Do you have any condition I should know as your trainer?” He asked. Dzidzor looked at him.
Do you mean a condition like Bulimia?
She should have asked. She didn’t. She put up an apt smile, her lips pursed and said no.
“We’re on then. I’ll meet you at Zongo junction at 5:30 pm and follow you home.”
Follow you home.
The words made Dzidzor happy. She didn’t know but she was happy and she wanted to accept she was.
“We have a deal.”
She said, their second meeting at Tahil sprung at her. Sule stood, the bottle of water and straw in his hand.
“I like your office very much.”
He said, as a compliment and walked out. Dzidzor followed him. She closed the door halfway and briskly caught up with Sule.
“Your place I here is getting crowded nowadays.”
“True. After you did your magic.” He teased. His relaxed self was taking over. Talking to Dzidzor now felt like they’ve been friends from his Junior High days. “I’m currently looking for an office space.” Sule said as they started descending the first fleet of stairs. They were about stepping on the first stair of the next fleet and an elderly man pulled Dzidzor into a hearty hug. It was Sefa.
“I have missed you god dad.”
“Me too, my sweetheart. I decided to surprise you and the old man.” Sefa said. He was full of cheer. The cold war going on within his soul banished from making any appearance on his face. Sule looked on. He hasn’t seen someone this cheerful. Maybe he has, few hours ago on Legon campus. He nearly chuckled but stopped and looked closely at Sefa. He may have seen his face somewhere. He listened as he chatted on with Dzidzor. The fog started to clear then. He had been at his home twice. Never came in. He was at the door, all the two times talking with mum angrily and desperately. But he had stopped coming when his dad left. And he never came back.
“Hi young man.”
Sefa’s hand was already clasping Sule’s.
He responded and smiled as courtesy demands.
“Uncle Sefa, please I’ll be back. Don’t go till I come.”
Sefa said and was gone. Sule watched him go and continued to walk down with Dzidzor. Even if he remembers right, he can never ask him who he was and why he came to their house back then. He chided himself for dwelling, even if briefly, on what may not be a memory at all. He walked behind Dzidzor and resumed his position by her side when they were at the reception. He nodded and smiled to Naki and Mr. Ofori, smiled at a few more people who started to gaze at him and was happy to be back in his car. Dzidzor stood by it.
“Drive safe and please greet Tara for me.”
“I will.” Sule said and drove out, carefully watching his back through the rearview. “Hey.” He stopped and called Dzidzor, who was almost entering the building. Dzidzor looked back at him. “Get a new journal and a pen and bring it along tomorrow.”
“Oh. I’ll.” Dzidzor responded. Sule nodded.
“You already have gym clothes?” Sule asked, shouting, out of necessity.
Dzidzor shouted back. Sule thumbs-upped and drove off. His whole day defined by his meeting with Dzidzor; thoughts of Sessy and his experience with Giovanna almost non-existent.
Dzidzor watched him go, smiling. The cool, clean air of the morning was slowly being replaced by smoke filled ones. She stood and still inhaled deep. She was sorry she didn’t tell Sule about the Bulimia but she was excited about starting this journey with him. She kept her joy firm, banishing thoughts of how Sunday with Matey will turn out. He did not make it yesterday to her delight but will this Sunday. She made for her office full of glee. The pale clouds overhead and the unfriendly sun could do nothing to wane her glow. Not even a rainy storm can.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017.