Read chapter XXXI here. And I’m hoping today’s chapter will earn me more points from the sympathizers of Kate and Kwaku. So here goes.
Your mother never died. She is in there.
Sefa’s confession was a loud echo now in Kate’s head, making it spin. Her hands were in Kwaku’s. She was glad he hadn’t walked away like her Papa. Yet she hates that she needs him this much. She didn’t want to want anyone anymore. Kwaku peered at her cheeks, being home to tear lines and pain he never thought he would see. He has wondered a billion times in these thirty minutes what the right words would be to speak. He settled on nothing — no words can carry his love across her heart as gentle and warm as he intends. So he has sat by her side after following her back to the visiting lounge and now, as he is driving her to the Awoonors.
“What should I do?”
Kate was as faint as her thoughts were. She wouldn’t have asked. Especially him. But then again she’s conferred with him on every important choice of her life all these years — him and her Papa after God. She hasn’t known any other way.
Kwaku adjusted in his seat at the realization. She was asking him, seeking his opinion. Once again.
He kept his answer brief. Perhaps too brief. But he didn’t want to come across as patronizing, as trying as hard as he feels about winning her back.
“You’ll come with me?”
Kate’s wall was crumbling. She let it. She’ll need someone besides the two parents by her. She can’t burden Dzidzor. She should worry about Sule, fronting him or Bulimia or both. She only has Kwaku now.
Or you only want to have Kwaku.
Her conscience nagged her. She looked at his hands loose around hers, his other hand holding the steering wheel and the one on hers leaving only when he really needed the help to navigate. His eyes were fixed straight ahead and now and then falling like a shadow on her face and then gone. She looked and felt a tinge of affection rush down her chest and into her tummy. She really asked because she only wanted her husband to be here — to be her second self.
“I said I’ll come.”
Kwaku said a second time.
“Sorry.” Kate nodded. “Thanks.”
They both kept their eyes on the road: the tar and white lines for pedestrians and the hawkers of any thing imaginable that were lined up. Kwaku took the turn to their home.
“I only have Chinese leftovers.” He took his hands off Kate’s and steered to the front of their gate. “Fried rice and beef sauce.”
Kate nodded as Kwaku drove through and packed inside their garage. She was home but her mind wandered back to almost an hour ago; the faces of Jonathan and Senam Awoonor and Dr. Fafa. She had felt the betrayal like scabs. She had been angry at them. But only briefly. They weren’t her father. That isn’t why she choose to come with Kwaku. No. She came because she wants to sob on her own bed, hold her own pillow to her chest and feel the warmth of her own home — even if she has no clue what her tomorrow will bring.
She took Kwaku’s hands and climbed out of the car. She stood a few more heartbeats, letting her home embrace her. Her mind skipped weeks back. The last time she’s shared a car space with Kwaku. He has let her go, not even bothering to get the car door. And now… She dissuaded her mind from running off into any further lands. She followed Kwaku to the door, her feet failing to carry her, her and all the troubles of her one life. She watched Kwaku open the door to the hall. She entered and stood still, leaning on the wall.
What now Lord?
The nagging of her heart formed into soft whispers of prayer.
Trust in me. I am your everlasting rock.
The response came like a knife and slowly, she felt it cut loose the strings of distrust for God she’s battled with the many nights she’s dared to hold on to Him, to His unfailing love and promises she’s imbibed into the farthest depths of her heart all these years.
Kwaku jostled her out of her one jolly world beginning to form. He pressed the light switch and Kate shut her eyes briefly. She opened them and the concern pouring from Kwaku’s face came at her.
“I’m fine.” She said and moved from the wall towards the kitchen. “I’ll warm the leftover.”
She pulled the freezer open and found the packs. She tossed them into the microwave and set it to cook. She preferred it for rice always. Kwaku stood at the door and watched. After about three full minutes, he walked to her side, his steps hesitant.
She looked at him. He scratched his beard, uncertain. He risked and took her hands. She let them rest in his, the tinge she felt in the car back and somewhat multiplying through her. She didn’t withdraw. Why was his presence doing this to her? It’s been only two months. Only two months. She screamed it inside, ordering the electrifying feeling to stop. She stood still, tensing.
“This isn’t a right time at all… ” Kwaku hurried his words, hoping she’ll understand, blind to her rising attraction. “…but I want you to know I really will choose you every day after God from now on. I’m going to get help. I’ve already informed the church. I’ve been taken off the eldership. But I’m willing to start from scratch for us. Please forgive me. No woman deserves the pride and uncertainty you lived with. But if you can trust me to lead us again, I pledge to do better…I… “
When Kate didn’t cut it, Kwaku looked at her, then in her eyes, he saw the spark that made him sure of her being his and only his the many times they were this close, all in the open during their courtship. He saw the spark as intense as he hasn’t known it before.
He cupped her cheeks, brushing his fingers along them. Then he saw the fear outlining the lower lids of her eyes. He hugged his wife, holding her to himself as close as he could as though learning the language of her being.
“I’ve never loved anyone but you Kate.” He hoped his words will kill the fear attacking the desire she’s feeling for him. “I only love you, you, Kate Gabrah. I’ve prayed every night these thirty one days for when I’ll hold you like I am.”
Kate’s chest rose in slow breathes and she finally rested in Kwaku’s arms.
Thank you Lord.
He said and held her shoulders.
“I mean that I love only you. I meant every other pledge I have made.”
Kate nodded and set her lips easily on his. Kwaku held on to her, each short and rushed breath holding promise of another delight filled night beside his wedded wife in their bed. But he held on to her last kiss longer and broke them apart.
“I love you Kate…and I really want this…” He said each word with care and the tenderness he has ever had for her. “…but I don’t want this to be first.” He hoped she won’t be shamed or take this for his rejection of her. “… I want us to talk…and pray…and I want you to see clearly what we’re doing, feeling…”
Kate nodded, ashamed and relieved and happy. She cleaned the tears stinging her eyes and turned to the microwave and then back to Kwaku. She kissed him quick on the lips and then nose and fell into his arms in a forever embrace. For the moment, the ugliness of her past has no hold on her. In Kwaku’s arms, the truth about her mother, her fears of her marriage and of the future can never find her. She loved that her husband is back. Even if she didn’t know how to stay by him. She’s going to do what she was told — trust God.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017.