About four chapters to call it a story people! I’m excited. Happy reading.
The dewy air held on to the bare skins of Dzidzor and Sule as they used the sidewalk outside the Awoonors’ large compound to the gate. The silence between them was thick as anything. Sule occasionally bit his lower lips, beating himself up on why he ever opened up. He’s only ever risked it with matters that won’t hurt the future he saw forming whenever he lay on his bed. Dzidzor hated the way she received his news. She was sure this is going to be the end. She had told him just days ago how his own response to the discovery of her bulimia had her off for days. And now, here she was doing the same thing she had so talked about, the very thing he said sorry for countless times the days after. Soon, they were standing by the large gate, staring at the outside with their lone thoughts. Dzidzor turned to Sule, her eyes lowered.
“Perhaps you should wait for Kwaku.”
That would have been the natural way for things to go. Sule would have hung around waiting for Kate and her husband to show up. Then the three will leave together. That should have been the natural way if she had not been so taken aback by the news if her face had not been a clear board of her heart.
“No. I think it’s best if I go.”
Dzidzor played with the insides of her sweat pants pockets.
“I should be. Dropping that news on you like I did wasn’t wise. I …”
“You did nothing wrong.” Dzidzor hated the guilt enveloped in his whole demeanor. “Friends tell friends things.” She hesitated. “I could have reacted differently…I was just shocked…and I guess tired of all the craziness happening in such short time.” Sule listened. “The bulimia, Kate and Kwaku almost splitting up, then Kate’s supposed dead mum coming back, Matey’s accident and the little secret of drunkenness.” Dzidzor’s heart weighed on her. “I could have almost married that guy.” She laughed like she couldn’t believe it. “I would be the wife of a faking drunken Christian just like that.” She sniffed. “Now your dad is the man Kate may never want to see. And she’s my best friend and you are my…” She found Sule’s anxious eyes for the very first time this night. “…I don’t know who you even are.” Her words sounded quieter and died in a whisper. She tried to laugh.
“I’m that rude Instagram guy.”
Sule attempted teasing. Dzidzor chuckled. That is how they had met. Sometimes, she even forgets that’s how they really did meet. She had posted a collage of pictures showing her at where her flesh shows most in response to an online article she read. Sule had come along her comment thread and told her to just lose the weight. She had been devastated at his coldness and then she met him in person the fateful morning at Tahil while he was desperate to pitch in the right marketing for Paps inn, his business. He had contacted Target and she handles new clients so, she came. Sule had run late for their meeting. She had found out he was the guy from Instagram only seconds ago from Kate, her best friend, and Sule had walked in, very different from the guy she thought him to be. He was immediately physically striking and uncomfortable in his flying tie, pulling at it unconsciously to loosen it. His eyes had told her he was uneasy; how he had been till friendship struck.
“What do we do?” Dzidzor pulled them back to the conversation before their workout started — the one in which Sule told her his father is the man Fiona, Kate’s mother had run away with. She now can never shake his face off hers; the expression he wore the only one time she saw him. “Have you told anyone?”
“I haven’t told anyone.”
Sule smiled. The question didn’t call for it. However, the person he was talking with did. He liked that she was this way, never leaving the important questions unasked. He had been through a worse drill having Target take over Pap’s marketing for when they would have gone out of business without the help.
“Not even Tara?”
Sule shook his head.
Not even Tara.
“I’ve told only you. Not even my sister and Tara may never know. She’s resigned from Paps and I haven’t brought myself to place the call.”
“Tara resigned? Why?”
“Because of you.”
He bit his lower lip and looked away. He shouldn’t have said that.
“Why would she leave because of me? I don’t work with you. You’re only my instructor, trainer, friend, church-mate…oh…” Dzidzor gasped. “She thought we…”
“I think she does.”
They stood hushed full three minutes till they heard footsteps towards them. It was Senam, wearing the familiar scowl Dzidzor knew not to earn all her growing up years.
“Dzi, who keeps visitor’s in this Aburi dew late around this time?”
“I shouldn’t have. Just that Sule was really going and we got caught in small talk.”
“Yes please.” Sule corroborated Dzidzor’s story. “I’m leaving now.”
“I think you can go along with Kwaku and Kate. At least to Madina.”
Senam said and left their side. Walking towards Kwaku and Kate. So they’d surprise Senam, they had packed away from the usual visitor’s spot, right in front of the large lawn overlooking the side of the front porch.
“She’s made up her mind.”
“Robust…” Sule stared down the trail Senam walked. “…and caring.”
Dzidzor cringed. Sule smiled.
“About what to do, if you can put off telling Kate, I’d like to talk with my old man first.”
“I can put it off. I don’t want it even told her…I don’t know.”
Dzidzor kicked her feet against a tiny stone sitting at her feet.
“I understand.” Sule watched her worried face in the dark. He wanted to hug her and promise her he’ll be here till they figure out who he is to her. Rather he said “About us, I think our friendship can handle whatever happens.”
“We’re friends then.”
Disappointment showed as Dzidzor spoke.
“I like to think very good friends and…”
Dzidzor watched Sule’s cheeks rise slightly into a smile. He ended every text to her with a hashtag of those words. Precisely because she didn’t like them.
“Yes, but I thought something closer.”
“Yeah.” Sule’s smile was of mischief now. “Hashtag gym partners.”
He burst out laughing. Dzidzor kicked his shin slightly.
“I’m sorry. It just came. I couldn’t stop it.” He laughed harder.
Dzidzor’s longing flown through her words. The reality of having no one to call hers hitting her. Sule noticed.
“Like love.” His heart beat a little faster as he repeated her words. He instantly did not want to ignore her earlier comment about being married to a fake drunken Christian anymore. He cleared his throat and stood straighter. “About Matey, were you going to marry him?” He asked, his heart’s speed doubling.
“I would have.” Dzidzor was loud for only the two of them. “We were going on dates a lot after the dinner. Those two months I saw less of a godly man in his character but I would have said yes I think.” The more she spoke, the more she feared how blinded she had been. “I think I just wanted someone and he was there.” She cleared her throat. “Long story short, he had the accident the night we were to have dinner…” Sule knew that detail from Kwaku but she let her talk. “After the accident, his mum found an engagement ring.”
“But you wouldn’t marry him right?”
“No. Why would I?”
Sule relaxed and stayed pensive another whole minute.
“Erm…you should go and join Kwaku and Kate. They must be waiting for us.”
“True.” Sule steadied his bag’s strap on his shoulders and bridged the gap between them, hugging Dzidzor. They stayed that way another minute. “Thank you for talking.” Sule stepped aside. “And goodnight.” His phone beeped. He picked it out of his pocket. Kwaku sent a text. He tapped it open and replied.
“You were right. Husband and wife are ready. I’ll wait here for them.” Sule moved his bag to the other shoulder. “So we received the invitation for Target’s end of year party.”
“24th of this month.”
“December is already here.”
“Hard to believe.”
Dzidzor surveyed the faded grey sky overhead, the mansion she calls home and the trees outlining the paths in the compound. Twenty-nine is so close. She tried not to think about it.
“When we’re done next month, I wonder what I’ll do with my evenings.”
Sule folded his arms.
“You can come visit.”
They both chuckled. Kwaku drove towards Sule, pretending to hit him. Sule shook his head and got into the back seat. He waved Dzidzor and they drove away.
That night, when he closed his bible after his reading, he lay watching the moon from his open curtain and listening to the whistling of the breeze. The beautiful story of Boaz and Naomi he had just finished reading in the book of Ruth were enough to hold him spellbound. Yet, there were Dzidzor’s words in all of their conversations floating in his heart. He didn’t know how not to be smitten by her anymore. He tossed and pushed his pillow under his head. Twenty-fourth is enough weeks away and now, he knew what to do. He will tell his parent’s about Fiona and how much he’s told Dzidzor, call Tara and pursue the only other thing besides living for the Lord he knows he will regret not doing.
He was about redeeming his waiting love.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah.