For days now, I’ve been out of touch with my story telling self to write anything worth the reading – writer’s block. Then again, I’ve been battling with being the kind of writer I expect and the kind of writer you would love to read. I know, plenty thinking and believing of false truths. But I’m back now and we have a chapter to read so let’s dig in. This is where we left off last week.
I have decided to surprise my papa.
Kate hurriedly tapped send on her Samsung to Dzidzor and sat back, smiling satisfied at herself. She peered through her window wondering what commotion was that at the traffic intersection. She shook her head and waited patiently for the police to clear them through. Obviously, they had pulled two gentlemen out of their cars because they were in these baby ruffian dreads, hip-hop attires and earrings, one two in both ears. She chuckled and looked away. Perhaps the police should be reoriented. Thugs won’t come like thugs in broad daylight now. Kwaku never looked like a man bent on infidelity. She felt the shame heat up her face. How has she come to think so low of him? Why was it too hard to forgive this one? She didn’t dwell on the thoughts for an answer. She didn’t want one. She navigated unto her dad’s street and remembered to smile that happy smile she had when she thought of dropping by on him like she is. She waved Fii who waved her through. She packed at one of the many spots for the visitor’s cars and run down the short stairs to the ground floor. She could chat with Fii later, find out about his school and plans. Straying will only let her Papa see her before she could scream surprise like when she was his little girl — with no cares, with no husband, with no troubles, no decisions to make except which candy she’ll like, which socks will look bright enough, which dress will twirl as she twirls. She stopped at his door excited. She would have entered the lock code and sprung up on him but she didn’t. He had a visitor. Maybe three other people rather and there was an argument. She heard her papa’s voice shoot up in protest. She’s only heard him like this once when Medical School wanted to pick a boy over her. She hesitated and stood, pressing her ears against the door to listen.
“She is my daughter too Fiona.”
She stepped back and tried to remember. Fiona is the business friend who called her home and same one whom her father and Dzidzor’s parents had gone to meet two months ago, at the Sunday dinner — the last day she saw her husband, Kwaku. Same Fiona. She put her ears on the door a second time. She heard nothing, not even a murmur. If she didn’t know better, if she was the bubbly girl in primary one, she would have run for a hideout thinking they know she’s listening on. But she knew better. She decided to knock and enter; her dad won’t have the lock on with visitors in. She didn’t have to. The door cracked open and Kwaku was outside and suddenly, staring into her blank eyes. A full minute passed, both their hearts beating to their many conflicting emotions.
What was he also doing here?
She couldn’t get to ask her question. He took hold of her arm, without requesting, and led her to the public sitting hall the apartment provided for occupants to meet other occupants without having them come into their rooms, their personal space if they would rather not. She stood by the wall and pulled her wrists off his grip, her face tainted with every word she didn’t want him to hear her say.
Kwaku bowed his head and slipped both hands into his trouser pockets. They stood silent for a full minute and he held her look.
You did? You left her? For me?
But Kate didn’t say that.
“Too bad.” The words escaped her aching chest before she could stop them. “Maybe you love her.” Her face was set into a snob.
Kwaku’s words were a plea. He took a step close and stopped. Kate’s eyes had become a glare screaming for him to back off. “It’s you I…I…” And he couldn’t finish his words. She would be in the right not to ever want him. “I saw the condom.” He said that rather.
“Would you have used it?”
Kate eyes were still a cold glare.
Kwaku lowered his gaze. He played passively with his thumb.
“You didn’t have the chance to.”
Her distrust stabbed his soul.
“I chose you.” He stumbled with his words, unsure how far into her being they’ll go. “I love only you, Kate Gabrah. It’s you.”
Kate believed him. She dismissed that she did, that she can. “This isn’t why you brought me here.” She gave life to her feigned disbelief.
“No.” Kwaku stepped back and dodged Kate’s piercing eyes. “I thought you shouldn’t be in there…when I found you at the door…I was excusing myself too.”
Kate’s features softened. Kwaku understood.
“He’s fine.” He reassured her. “I think we should sit here till they’re done. I’ll go let him know you’re here so he comes to you.”
Kate wasn’t going to back off.
“I don’t have the right to tell you.”
She pored at him, questioning every integrity in him. It cut across his heart and made him weak, his resolve to say no more than was appropriate.
“I don’t have the right. One of them should tell you: your father, your mother.”
When Kate repeated the words, that’s when he realized he had already given the truth away. She always did this to him. He could never hide anything from her, however long it stays his secret, his truth alone, she would draw it out of him.
“I am sorry.”
He wanted to pull her into an embrace and heal the pains of her heart — the ones he caused and the one she’s about to bear.
“No. My mother died remember.”
Her disagreement was without the shock, the wondering. She was sure. She couldn’t have another mother anywhere. Her dad said she’s dead. Her dad never lies. He never did. Kwaku had no words to say. She let her eyes lay on him briefly and licking her lips, she left the hall. She went to find her father. Kwaku followed.
Sefa met his daughter right at his door. When he went to the balcony and caught view of Dzidzor’s car he knew she was in the apartment. He was only glad Kwaku had gone out of the room. He knew he’ll find Kate and keep her away. He knew that much of his son-in-law. Kate hugged her father. She lied across his chest. It didn’t reassure her. His breathing was hesitant. She retreated and begged him with her eyes.
“Is it true?”
Sefa’s eyes welled with tears. He wished he could say no, save her the late night tears for a while, even if a day.
“Yes.” Sefa’s fears floated to the top. “I lied Kate. Your mother never died. She is in there.” His tears run down as he pointed his feeble hands to his room.
Kate stumbled to the wall and accepted its unfailing support. She blinked hard. So hard she hoped her life will hold together. She gaped from her father to Kwaku. The irony hit her. Right here, the only two men she’s loved all her life, the only who have known all of her were each holding a part of her soul and shredding it. Her sobs came in bounds. Sefa stood watching her, helpless. He has always known how to comfort her. Always but today, but now. He went into his room, all the failings of his life hanging on to each step he took.
Kwaku knew he couldn’t leave. He can’t walk off. His vows at the altar rushed to him — to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, from this day forward — and his restraints were gone; the nagging guilt he has slept and woken with these sixty-two days. He rushed to his wife and held her to his chest. As her heaves met his throbbing heart and her tears wet his chest, his own tears pleading to fall, he knew he wanted this woman. He needs her more than his next breath.
Somehow, he will make her trust him again.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017.