I thought to write to make up for the post I missed last two weeks. Thanks to great reader friends like Loretta who push me to be consistent and who give me sleepless nights to my delight. Thanks, Madam Boham. So here’s XXVII. Read previous chapter, XXVI here.
The first drop of rain that hit the roof of the security guard’s little room and sounded towards his window sent volumes of relief through Sefa’s heart. There was no way Dzidzor will let Kate out through the rain. There was no way she’ll be here to see Fiona. He didn’t move, he allowed his body show no signs of what gratitude he felt. He kept his jaws set, his lips tightly fitted on each other and his eyes questioning every dignity out of Fiona. He wondered what her absence, after all this jumble, will do to him: the many ugly memories she’ll leave in her wake after this visit. Fafa was seated between the two characters like any good arbitrator. Just that she was making no headway. Fiona loosened the scarf on her neck and tried to reach for Sefa’s hands. He pushed them away and made sure his expression said back off in his loudest voice.
“I don’t have a right to be here. I am sorry I tried calling her but I want to see my little girl.”
And those words threw Sefa off. His calm self was worn out. He stood, paced back and forth two times and stood above Fiona, closing her in.
“Your little girl died the day you left her sleeping in our bedroom alone and run off with whatever he-goat got your attention.”
“I was wrong to have ever put her or you through living without a mother or your wife.”
Fiona’s words were hardly heard. Her head was bowed, every regret she felt weighing it down an inch more.
“You aren’t my wife and she isn’t your daughter. You can take the matter to court for all I care.”
“You know I’ll lose before I even try to make a case out of it.” Fiona dared look back into Sefa’s eyes. “I only want to see her and if she won’t have me again, I’ll be gone.”
“She wouldn’t want to see you. She doesn’t even know you exist.”
“She doesn’t know I exist?” The words slowly escaped her lips hanging on to the shock with which she said them. Kate doesn’t know her? She should. She must. She is her mother.
“I…I told her you were dead.”
Sefa sat with his own shame holding on to him. He should have never told his daughter that. Never. No matter how upset he was with Fiona, Kate didn’t deserve to grow up believing a lie.
“You told her I am dead?”
Fiona looked from Sefa to Fafa.
“I didn’t know how to explain your absence.” Sefa felt his heart beating, aching, all the pains of being rejected for dollars and snow forming crystals in his soul. “We were just about celebrating our 5 years and you took off. I couldn’t gather the courage to tell her you left us.”
“That isn’t all the reason.”
Fiona’s tears fell with her words. They may have been married for few years but she knew Sefa like her second self. He must hate her by now.
“No. I disliked you enough to wish you dead. So I told my daughter that.”
“I deserve it. She doesn’t.”
Fiona took the tissue Fafa handed her and sniffed. An uncomfortable silence took over the room. Fafa cleared her throat and smiled. She wanted to remain unaffected at large. She hoped she was here for the good reason she’s trusted God made her their friend for.
“We have to behave and find a proper resolution.” She scanned the faces of both parties. Inside of her, she hoped they’ll move past forgiveness and find lasting love. She hoped they’ll find their marriage again. She only thought she could love because of these two. “Can we start with forgiveness?” She kept in her tone with a good measure of the empathy she believed they’ll need to know she feels for them. No one should be asked to go through heartbreak like they both have. But no one should be asked to live with it either.
She smiled generously at her. Fiona’s head went down again.
She called the man she’s known to have lived so fully all these years. She had never suspected he was in a bad shape after Fiona left. When the possibility ever surfaced, she’d chide herself and let it go back to sleep till Sefa’s first surgery; and now his Congestive Heart Failure diagnosis. Sefa nodded. His whole body screamed from weariness. Fafa smiled again. Sefa was the one suffering most in all of this. No doubt.
“Sefa will go first.”
Fiona announced and nodded to Sefa to talk.
“I can’t…” He said the two words and he had nothing more to say. His was battling with his conscience – and the words in them that have stolen his peace for days unend.
And when you die?
The same question was nagging at him again. This time, he couldn’t ignore it. Almost instantly, he saw what he had to do. He was kneeling by his bedside, casting his cares unto the one who has first cared for him in any situation.
“I need time.”
He said and sat down and he felt the crystals in his heart melting.
Fiona looked at him. Through the cold days and the hot summers and playful springs, she only wanted one thing, to be able to say sorry. And she did that, daring to look into the eyes of the only man who truly loved her; the man whose heart she knows nothing of now. Fafa hugged Sefa and led the way out of his home. Between watching Fiona go, jumping behind her car wheels, seeing Kate walk in and into her father’s apartment, she was convinced she was about to witness a miracle. She watched as Kate sat with her father on their balcony. She waved at them, smiled and drove off, her heart singing her favorite line of Sinach’s Way Maker.
Way maker, the miracle worker, promise keeper, light of the darkness, my God that is who you are.
Friday evening didn’t not come early enough for Dzidzor. She was exhausted from work. She had gone to meet Freda, the owner of Tahil. Their meeting had taken an unexpected turn; Freda may rather want to put the place up for sale. Perhaps that is what has wearied her – the fact that she has worked so hard and could end up with a sale notice rather than a CSR project. Then there was the longing for Sule. She has never felt fiercely for a man like this, not even Matey. It wasn’t enough that she saw him on Thursday or even this evening at their church’s singles meeting. She was beginning to be afraid of being so drawn to a man. She was driven to prayer because of the fact.
The more she prayed however, the more she loved him, wanted him. God must be playing a nasty prank on her. She became sure he was this morning. She stashed the desires of her heart and bagged them away. She didn’t know how to deal with it. Sule would have said tell God about it. Thursday’s scripture, verse 19 of chapter six of the first book of Corinthians, led them down an interesting path. Sule had concluded the discussion with those words: tell God about it. They would have succeeded in turning yesterday’s session into a bible teaching class without her mum’s inquisitiveness. Obviously telling God hasn’t been working. She thought of Wednesday’s visit from Kate and the new revelation. She sure has told her mum about it. But she wished she could do more, pray more for her best friend and quit winding up praying for herself, her heart and fears whenever she prays for Kate, for her marriage. She chuckled and lay down, tugging at the ends of her sleep shorts. Her mind rebelled, taking her back into time, into yesterday.
Sule was by the lifts, his eyes soft and filled with delight. They had prayed and she was fitting on her trainers well.
“How has Wednesday been without me?”
His voice held the boyish slant he’s had for a while now around her. She smiled. She was pleased the way he teased her.
“Wednesday was fine. Kate came to visit. I had a marathon of meetings after she left and wound up with Matey for dinner.”
And she knew she shouldn’t have said that. Sule’s eyes seemed to blur. He had blinked and smiled, a half painful smile.
“I now know understand the absence from mid-week.”
That was all she succeeded in saying. Sule turned the conversation. They read the scripture and he explained what it had to do with weight loss. Bottom line, we do not own our bodies to do with it as we please based on how we feel or do not feel. She had bought into it. When Matey left, she ate to fill the emptiness: she was wrong to. God owns her body, not her. She realized she’s been wrong with Bulimia too. As Sule pointed out, the solution was to tell God about it, not eating her way to death and cutting off her church family like Matey had consulted with them to break her heart.
And you are not your own.
The phrase was written into the very language of her soul; that phrase will never leave her. Today, the more she meditated on it, the more she realized she didn’t need Bulimia. She turned and lay face down, thinking to Sunday. She closed her eyes. Who would she be with? She’s been wondering since Kate made it clear the men in her life will all be in one place. She sighed. She’ll be with Kate. Sule and Matey can both stay with her dad and Kwaku. She picked up her phone as it beeped. Sule had sent her a message. She tapped on it and read, every word increasing her craving for his presence. He has a family emergency tomorrow. She typed ok into the reply and sent it, putting the phone away as she did. She lay back again, willing her heart to stop skipping. She shut her eyes and hoped sleep will bring her an escape.
Do I love him?
She let her soul search. She knew the answer too. She loves him. She has wished countless times he does too.
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©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017.