Welcome to XXVIII. We’re getting close to wrapping up and I’m excited about just how far we’ve come. Thank you for taking the time to read this story and sharing (all the facebook sharing I see sometimes even shocks me) and leaving your comments. On top of it, thanks for your patience with the weeks I didn’t show with a chapter. So here’s today’s chapter. We have Tara and Kwaku bringing us not more happiness but definitely more suspense.
“Be sure to have fun.”
Tara said and put her phone on her bed, her legs cramped into a comfortable seat. She sighed and smiled, tears lining the edges of her eyes. She could hear her parents squabbling again, her drunken dad’s voice risen too high. She chuckled to herself, thinking. Sule was on the phone, telling her about dinner at Dzidzor’s. He was happy, too happy to be going and so she pretended she was also happy, too happy he was going; he was getting a life — perhaps thinking of chasing a girl, chasing Dzidzor.
For the past month, the more she considers the possibility of Sule ending up with Dzidzor, the more she realizes she will have to leave. Not run away. But leave so they both will enjoy their steaming love without her presence to cool anything. And looking in the eye of this alternative hurt. It hurt too bad: more than she imagined it, more than she could ever prepare her heart for. She lifted her bible back unto the pillow resting on her limbs; the way it was before Sule called. She stared at the words spanning Genesis 29:32-35. The whole of that chapter was the text for Sunday School at church.
And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the LORD has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”
She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the LORD has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.
Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.
And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.
She read through them, out loud. The words slid off her tongue, every sentence ripping at the wrappings around her heart and exposing her. Her heart began to pound and she rushed for her door knob. She snapped it lock and when she was certain her room was occupied by only herself, she let loose the tears that were tearing at her soul. She’s never thought of herself as Leah. She’s never thought she’s been living her whole life waiting for Sule to confess his love for her despite her resolve that she won’t make for a good wife for him. Well, till the Sunday School and with undoubtable confirmations now. She was Sule’s friend when he went for Sessy. The three of them were friends and she was closer to Sule and he chose Sessy. After Sessy died, she was his backbone. She was his life support; she held him up.
But she knew too much to make for a lifelong support; the way he allowed himself slip into bed with Sessy, not being man enough to accept a pregnancy and never letting the family know the truth — he, Sule, is the man Sessy got pregnant with. She was his little diary — too much a store of his dirt. She could love him but she may never forget the cries of Sessy that wake her on certain days and the weakness she’s witnessed in him countless times. Yet, she has lived her days wishing he’ll sit across her someday and confess how much he’s loved her, before Sessy and after her. It shouldn’t matter she’ll say a no because she knows she wouldn’t be a good wife.
She heaved a sigh and allowed herself rest from the hard rising of her chest to the stream of tears that flowed down her face. In that moment, she was gripped by a sudden thought.
You haven’t forgiven him.
Her whole being shook as the thought raced through her. She hasn’t forgiven Sule? What was there to hold against him? And in that instant, she was by Sessy, telling her she’ll be out of the theatre soon, being her friend. Her hands were on Sessy’s, Sule standing by too distraught to make eye contact with either of them. Sessy’s last tears traced down her cheeks and she had smiled. The very last smile she ever will see on her friend’s face. That day, Sessy stayed in the hospital, tucked away in a corner of the mortuary and she headed home with Sule, loving him and hating him. Her eyes started to water. She bullied herself to dig up more. Why did she stay if she hated him? Why has she wished all her life for him to love her? Why?
No one wants you.
She remembered the exact words from her father the first time he ever beat her. Her mother was out cleaning at a hotel and he had gotten mad because she, Tara, six years old didn’t put his fork the way he likes it on the serving tray. His hand slapped across her face, throwing her down. She had crawled under their same settee as now and wept her bitterness and those words were woven into her very depths the moment they left his lips.
No one wants you.
Through primary school, junior high, senior high and the university, the prophecy of her father has been indeed true. She never fit in. She was different from all the other kids. She was different, except when she was with Sule. Sule is the one who has wanted her all of her life.
The awareness of who she has been, how she has lived, trapped her into her own dark world. She pushed further into the door and giant sobs raced out of her. As her heart slammed in the corners of her chest, she spoke the only words that stood strong over her.
I forgive him. I forgive him.
She said the words faintly as she sobbed and then she shouted them with every ounce of strength left in her soul. As the words left her with every breath she took, the ache that robed her heart began to fall. She has never known she will experience such freedom twice in her whole life.
First on the day she called Jesus Lord and now, the day she is allowing him be.
Kwaku walked through the gates to his home on wobbly legs. His nerves were giving way. He forced his key into the lock and turned the bunch twice to get himself inside. He rushed to his bedroom. He sat, dropping his briefcase to his knees all in a breath. He touched his lips and feared the energy surging through him. What had he done? He had meant to be in church and join Kate for the dinner at the Awoonors. Rather he dropped Kate at church and rushed to the office. Suzzy called. He had left his wife at church alone. He undressed and rushed into the bathroom, allowing the shower hit gently on his body. He rubbed himself harder than he ever does when too tired from work, wishing with every scrub that he would be cleaner, free from the pangs of guilt and the delight of pleasure conflicting in his heart and stealing his peace of mind.
I shouldn’t have gone. I shouldn’t.
He repeated the words as though in them he would find solace, a balm to restore the needed calm for his raging soul. After the bath, he sat thinking and then he decided to drive over and join the dinner. He hadn’t stayed through work till the time he had thought he will. He wanted to find Kate and hold her in his arms again. He would remember how her skin feels brushing against his. Her perfume will take over his senses and he will be where he has to be — with his wife. He was up, walking briskly to the door. He has to be with her. He has to.
Will you tell her?
He questioned himself; he probed his honesty and he stopped and walked to the settees, sinking into them. The weight of guilt heavy on his shoulders. He exhaled long.
He was at work, seated across Suzzy in her office – the little space each lawyer occupied in their large firm. The building was empty. Sunday isn’t a working day. If people had extra work, they’ll meet at home or eat out to finish it. No one wanted to be boxed into an office on a Sunday and return to it on a Monday.
He closed his eyes. Suzzy was walking over to him, his head was down. He was tired out. She had agreed on a fifteen minutes break. He had felt her face stare from under and he had flicked his eyes open. Her face was on his, blurred but bold and full of another thing he didn’t know. He had lifted his head and Suzzy was standing on him, unbuttoning his shirt and letting her lips slowly on his filling all of his senses. He hadn’t stopped her. He couldn’t; not even himself. She stopped. She smiled that victory smile. His heart pounded. The hair on his skin stood. She had whispered to him, taken his briefcase, empty, and his phone and led the way to her car. She lived blocks away. Every step towards the car was a conflict but he followed. They were few minutes from turning into her junction when he came to his senses. He was married. Suzzy wasn’t his wife. Kate Gabrah is. Only then had he jumped out of the car, snatched his briefcase and phone and jumped into a taxi. He permitted himself get angry at Kate because she didn’t seem to want to make any effort to understand his work as he spent more and more unjustifiable time with Suzzy; the one who understood him, his work.
He opened his eyes with tears filling every space in his lids. He saw the pained eyes Kate followed him with for their second honeymoon. He saw the tears she shed the first time he confessed and the weariness in her steps the days following. He looked at his ring, traced his fingers over them and hugged it to his chest. He resolved and punched her number onto his dialer. Fear soared through the silence. He feared this time, he may lose his wife.
Find all previous chapters HERE.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017.