“You do this with all your home clients?”
Dzidzor said between short gasps. She was spent. Her heart was beating as her thoughts wondered who Sule actually is. She slowed the treadmill, her legs feeling detached from the rest of her body. She was asking Sule about the prayer and the bible discussion he began the training with. She knew about their Saturday bible study. She knew it was a thing between himself, Tara and Kobby. His mention of her getting a notebook never left her thinking she’d be writing bible verses or discussing them for gym sessions.
“I try…the prayer. The bible discussion is new, to me too.”
Sule threw her bottle at her and leaned by the control, looking at her chubby cheeks and the sweat over them. She was tired, obviously and she is also pretty. Very Pretty. He had never really taken the time to notice. How pretty was she inside? The thought made him smile, unknowingly.
“Why are you smiling?”
Dzidzor got off and sat by the wall, smiling.
Sule joined her.
“You didn’t realize? You smile involuntarily?”
“I think so.”
They both laughed.
“Thanks for accepting to train me.”
Dzidzor looked at his face. She liked the set chin and lazy beard, there but not there. And she liked that he was spiritual and that he showed it.
“Which means I didn’t lose my job?”
“Why would you think you will?”
“I don’t know. I just did. Not everyone will appreciate memorizing bible verses as part of a routine. The stress about healthy eating plus the grueling workout sessions is enough.”
“I haven’t thought of the word. Maybe other trainers.”
“So you enjoyed me?”
“I didn’t say so.”
“Alright. I won’t take the compliment.”
Dzidzor laughed, quietly and got up, her eyes were on the weight. She stepped on it with a foot.
Sule screamed. She turned and looked at him.
“Fast food results isn’t why we’re training. We are doing so to be healthy. We check our weight once in two weeks.”
“And celebrate the progress with dandelion and orange blend.”
Sule sat back. Dzidzor stood by the weight.
She hissed to herself. Patience is the one thing she most probably needed most. Patience and an image. Sule, checked his watch and started packing his bag.
“Can we recall the lesson for today without consulting our books?”
“Yes sir.” Dzidzor played along, her tone thinned and shrill. “Our aim is to be healthy people, living life fully. Our plan is first to lose weight and then to keep the right weight. The verse is I Corinthians 3:16, our bodies are God’s temple which deserves to be given the best treatment. As Jesus, we drive out all that isn’t well representing of God out of it, and excess weight is one.”
“Amen.” Sule laughed, clapping. “Sir owes you candy.”
“Thanks.” Dzidzor smiled. “Prayer?”
She scratched her hair. She made a note to remember to wash. She dreamt of the feel of mint on her scalp and that coolness that sweeps her whole body with her conditioner well massaged into her dense kinky hair and waiting to be washed off. Sule prayed. Dzidzor walked him out of the gym, both their bodies drenched with sweat. Sule followed her from behind. Why God impressed on him discussing scripture with Dzidzor is still not clear to him. He sighed and held on to his gym bag, hanging from his shoulder. They walked on a pavement between manicured lawn and fencing trees. And then they went past a swimming pool, covered and then the walls of the hall and were by the front porch before Sule could stop marveling. He wondered which other parts of the house was left to be discovered. He could walk around the place all day and not be bored. They walked to his car. Dzidzor watched as he tossed his bag into the backseat and take his place behind the wheel. From the first day she met him, she’s admired him and today, she was beginning to trust him. Sule looked at Dzidzor.
“Can I go?”
“Yes.” Dzidzor nodded and then she was awakened. “No. I mean, no you can’t go.”
“I won’t move a millimeter.”
Sule teased. Dzidzor frowned and then grinned.
“Thanks.” She said. Her hands fell by her sides, responding to her edginess. “Do you have plans for Sunday?” She asked, praying she’d sound as far from her voice in her mind.
“So you can make it for dinner? ”
“I’d be glad to come.”
“Mum will be excited you will.”
“Alright.” I will be excited too. Dzidzor took strides back as he sped off. “Sunday after church.”
“Sunday after church.”
Sule repeated and drove away, fighting the urge to take a second look at her. Sunday after church. He’s been given an extra day to meet her. He needn’t make one. Good God. He laughed and sped down towards Oyarifa. Life was just beginning, too fast.
The air hugged Sefa like a warm blanket on a cold dawn. But the air was rather cold, holding on tight to his body. He wished it would rush inside of him and swim through his whole being. He wanted it to calm his insides more than he wanted it for his outside. And he knew air wasn’t what he needed. His knees by his bedside will do but he wasn’t ready to.
And when you die?
The question nagged at his conscience. It has been for days now. Ever since he moved in to Accra and spoke to Fafa.
She called me.
Sefa received a call from Fafa three days ago, the Sunday he packed into the two bedroom apartment at Dansoman. He had thought of East Legon, or any neighbourhood closer to Kate first and changed his mind. She would nag him about moving in with herself and Kwaku and his resolve will crumble. So, he paid for this home and got a bag and enough money to last till he checks into a hospital to die. Morbid but he was not afraid. He had a bigger fear, his own private Goliath. The talk with Fafa, his doctor and good friend flowed to him. He had barely gotten two shirts unto a hanger for his wardrobe when his phone rang. He had expected it to be Kate – calling to invite him over to dinner. He had gone for the phone, ignored the caller ID and pressed it on his ears. Fafa’s voice came through.
How’s my darling boy?
Her merry voice echoed in his ears. And he knew instantly it was Fafa. Darling boy is her phrase. He had choked on laughter at her attempt to be sweet. She was sweet, of course but between the three of them, she had been too plain to be too sweet. That is why she stopped a degree in marketing halfway, joined her father in London and pursued a medical career. Marketing was too sweet for her. She told them, him, on her return. They were at the airport restaurant. Kate sat quietly on Fiona’s hip, a two-month old baby without a care. When she was three and finding the words to speak, Fiona got obsessed with the states. There were talks of how life in the states will be, he listened to her, said his own, and dreamt with her. Then it stopped being a dream. Fiona wanted him to do everything to get them there. He wouldn’t. American visa did and she left them. She already had four years ago. She moved out of their home and spoke only to Fafa. Fafa will let him in, he’d go and trace the men he thought she’s with till she stopped talking with Fafa and called one more time the day she arrived in America. And the next time, the call Fafa called him about.
She called me. She is here in Accra.
The next two sentences followed darling boy and he was completely lost in the whole chat afterwards. Fiona is back means facing the truth – that Kate’s mother is her, that he’s hated her for all his life, that he can’t talk with God, is not willing to talk with God, because his rage is all he has besides Kate, his bubbly self and a lost love more than twenty years ago. Maybe thirty. He’s even lost count. He hit the switch on the radio and allowed the silence fill the atmosphere. His eyes were on a distant bright yellow light far away. He closed his eyes, ready to sleep on the balcony and his phone rang. He checked the ID. He pressed on the side button and put it on speaker.
She responded. He could see her eyes twinkling from hearing her voice and then blackening from her knowing the truth. He tensed and swallowed. She wouldn’t. Not now.
“Papa, do you know any Fiona?”
Kate asked, sounding distracted. Sefa stood, the question jolting him up.
“Dad, did you hear me?”
Kate asked, anxious. She must have remembered when last he went dead on the phone like this. He hadn’t told her, wouldn’t but since his condition, she’s read enough to know he can faint anytime. Sefa felt his jaws numb. He could hear Kwaku in the background.
“Is he on?”
Kate replied. A few more questions and answers flew back and forth. Then he heard Kwaku say he’s reaching for his car keys. Sefa coughed then. He had to speak now, here on phone.
“Kate, I’m hear. Your dad is fine.”
“You scared me.”
Kate’s voice hardly came clear. Her throat was tightened.
“A cough hit me.”
“Sorry.” Kate offered. “So do you know a Fiona?” She asked again.
Sefa chuckled, one which suggested the question couldn’t be serious. He answered.
“I may. From work…and all these years of living.” He paced, calmer than one would expect.
“Good. One Fiona called the home line asking for your number. We wanted to check.”
“That’s fine. Let her have it and I think you can block her after. Just so you aren’t disturbed by my friends again.”
“Will do dad. In fact, I’m sending you her contact rather.”
“I wouldn’t mind.”
“Goodnight.” Kate said. “I’ll be over tomorrow with your soups and stew. Prepare me your asankam meko and plantain.”
“I’ll add Koobi and eggs.” Kate giggled. “Goodnight.”
Sefa dropped the phone on the wall and fixed his gaze on the yellow light staring right back at him. It changed to Fiona, holding a bouquet in one hand and a knife in another. And then it changed to his favorite bible verse all through these years. Cast your cares unto him, for he cares for you. And he knew he wouldn’t. Fiona has showed up too early but he wasn’t exhausted. Not yet.
© M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017