I’m happy to bring you this chapter. The past two weeks was silent because life happened and I’m yet to get into a good writer’s habit of writing every day. How has life been? I hope you missed me and of course, your characters and so let’s dig right into XXXVIII. Two chapters more and we’ll call it a wrap. Happy reading. And yes please, find all previous episodes right here.
“A call would have been okay.”
Tara sat right on the edge of her bench at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park. She was on bullying her clothes to fit in two suitcases for travel when Sule called; the day he called. The conversation had been brief and filled with a handful of giggles and light comments they shared because Sule brought it up. His reason for calling had been simple. At least over the phone. He wanted them to meet and talk. About what he didn’t say. She also didn’t ask. She was about to. She would have. Then she remembered there wasn’t a need. Perhaps going blank and clear will be better. She can be more truthful that way than having two whole days between the call and their meeting to premeditate and get the right answers. She had prayed. That was the only action she thought good enough to take. That has proved the only action good enough to take for a month and more. Now, here she was seated with him at a place she only came to on expensive school trips even though she was in Accra all her life.
“We are here already.”
Sule didn’t try to argue. He smiled back at Tara. He looked trim. His hair was cut short, his face shaved and his lips had balm on them. He wore a blue T-shirt which fit on nicely and showed slight traces of his muscles. He wore it on a fading black jeans trousers Tara was sure she hasn’t seen before. Tara smiled back. She could catch the awkwardness in the air between them and fit it into her handbag. Here she is with Sule, her best friend for all of her life she’s been aware of and there were no more words to pass between them. She looked over at him again, now wondering why he looked like he did.
“Want to take a drink?”
Sule asked Dzidzor. He was instinctively shading his eyes with his left hand from the scorching heat from the sun.
“I wish there were coke. A glass and ice and lemon. A lot of lemon.”
“A lot.” Sule repeated, nodding, smiling and pretending to be scribbling. “We can search. There should be a genius with these jars and juices around. We may be lucky and find one with ice and lemon for coke.”
“I don’t believe this miracle will happen but let’s try.”
Tara got up and helped Sule up.
“So you’ve always liked a lot of lemons?”
Sule walked beside her, falling back one step.
“Few months ago.” Tara played with her purse. “Kukua invited me out someplace with her husband. Every glass on every table had lemon. I tried and took to it.” She laid her purse down. She escaped catching Sule’s eyes.
“Oh Kukua. How is she?”
“She’s alright. She’s two months down with a baby.”
“So a baby shower in six months or seven?”
Sule stood straight scanning for a stand that reads drinks or juice or a name in the family.
“Perhaps but I won’t be here. I won’t miss it though, thanks to Skype.”
Sule squinted and smiled. There was a stand he didn’t expect to see. But there it was; Coke in Jars. He turned to Tara. “There’s our magic stand.” They walked to the stand and returned with two jars of Coke, ice with too much lemon for a day.
Tara pressed the jar against her cheek. She closed her eyes dreamingly. Sule laughed and found them a seat. He searched her face.
“You won’t be here?”
“Yes.” Tara spoke like a clog had been pushed down her throat. “I…” She licked her lips, trying too hard not to show the sadness in her soul. “My uncle invited me to the states. I’ll be doing my masters, get a job and see where life leads.”
“You’re going to the United States.” Sule echoed the words, shaking his head and then pausing to come to terms with what he heard. “When was I going to know?” His voice wasn’t stern or demanding. He spoke with a consciousness of what little of their friendship he had left.
“I would have told you.” Tara swallowed then she smirked. “You don’t think I can go and live a day out of Ghana and tell you nothing. Do you?”
Sule didn’t say anything. He had no appropriate response.
“I’m sorry. I should have told you earlier. I didn’t know how to tell you. We hadn’t spoken for a long time and I didn’t think it was appropriate to just dump it on you like that.”
“I’m not upset.” Sule dropped back onto the shoulders of the bench. “I’m sad… I’m hurt I let this happen.”
“Don’t be. I’m not leaving because of you.”
“Are you because of Dzidzor?”
He’s been wanting to ask her all this while.
“Not entirely.” Tara lowered her eyes. “I want a fresh start.”
“Away from me? From Paps?” Sule struggled to keep his emotions from bursting through. “You gave your entire life to Paps. It was our dream together from scratch. Why would you walk because of Dzidzor or any other woman? You are my best friend, Tara.”
“I’ll still be from anywhere in the world Sule. Let’s not make a big deal out of this.”
“So why did you leave?”
Sule sat his jar beside him.
“To start afresh. Life should be lived for the right reasons.”
“Paps isn’t a right reason?”
“No Sule. Please don’t misunderstand me. Paps is my world too. I’ll cherish every memory we built. I was with Paps, with you for the wrong reasons. Leaving was the best choice.”
“For you or me?”
“Sule, please. Don’t make this hard on us.”
“Is it because I never showed interest beyond friendship?”
Sule questioned. He obviously wasn’t listening to Tara. She sighed and sniffed.
“We weren’t meant to be.”
“So that’s it? You left because I wasn’t seeming like I’ll be falling in love with you anytime? Is that it?”
“No.” Tara stood, one knee bent on the bench and her eyes staring at the National Theatre across the street in a distance. “It’s more complicated than that.” She held onto the bench with both hands. “I had not forgiven you for Sessy’s death up until months ago. In my mind I had but deep inside I hated you for not being man enough to stand up for her.” She sat back down. “I’m over it. I prayed and all. But I know you’ll be with Dzidzor. I thought it’s best I leave.”
“I’m sorry.” Sule’s eyes glistened, from his tears and the sun rays. “I run that day in my heart. I stood there but run in my heart.”
“You didn’t know what to do.” Tara took Sule’s hand. “We were all so afraid.”
“I most of all. I should have been responsible. I knew better. I’m just good at running and leaving it all behind.”
“At least you called me.”
“Because I couldn’t allow myself let it happen twice.” He cupped Tara’s hands with both of his. “I’m also sorry I didn’t speak up earlier. I love you Tara Tafuah. I sincerely have and do. Just that however hard I try, I can’t seem to be attracted to you in other ways.”
“It’s fine.” Tara withdrew her hand and smiled. “I’m not Dzidzor. I’ll get used to that. More reason why I need to leave so you enjoy your love without me to think of.”
Sule’s remorse was written over his entire face.
“No need to be.”
He squeezed Tara’s hand. She nodded and quickly brought on another subject. She knows why he called now.
“So, how is Tahil’s purchase coming in?”
“Good. We should be moving in there latest February next year.”
Tara crossed her legs and picked out her phone. She sipped on the Coke and threw into her mouth some of the lemons.
“Very fast. Kwaku is handling the paperwork and Freda wants to sell and be done with it. When are you leaving?”
Kwaku frowned after drawing in a straw full of his Coke. The ice had melted and watered it down.
“In two weeks.”
“Two weeks? That’s like magic.”
“Magic is your favourite word today?” She shook her head. “Well, my uncle was pretty fast with sending money and the processes. Thanks to God I have my passport already.”
“I’m happy for you. I’m just not too happy.”
“Thank you.” Tara wriggled her nose at Sule. “So about Dzidzor; when are you going to ask?”
“I’m still thinking. But soon. I’ve talked with her dad.”
“I see. Yours?”
“I’ll do that tonight. Hey. You’re leaving in two weeks. You can make it for the Target end of year dinner.”
“That’s next week?” Sule nodded. “I can.” Tara opened her calendar on her phone. “What’s the date?”
“24th.” She typed it into her Calendar. “Evening right. I’ll be there.”
“Come oh. Wear that dress.”
Tara laughed. She raised her eyebrows.
“That dress erh. Sure thing.” She stood. “Maybe we should walk so I make good use of the discounts on the hair products in this fair.”
“Alright and I can talk you up-to-date on my life and Paps.”
The two walked into the hair category of the fair. When Sule was driving back home, he knew he had God to thank for his day. Early on, he had met Dzidzor’s father at his Barbershop and then afterwards, they talked about his desire to court his daughter. Then he met up with Tara. At first, he had not believed she’ll pick his calls let alone show up. Then there was their conversation. He had not experienced so much grace from another human like he did today from Tara. Finally, he can let his heart find peace. He parked into his usual spot when he got into the house and hurried inside. He glanced at his watch. It was a quarter past seven; thanks to Tara. She shopped every hair product possible and made him drive her to at least three seamstresses to pick up her dresses. He had missed his bible school teachers meeting. He was about to miss the one with his dad too. He took his first stair up and looked towards the hallway. The TV was still on.
His father answered. Sule got down and went to him.
“Is she sick?”
He was shocked. His mother never sleeps early. His father is the one who usually does.
“She’s tired. She decided to clean and rearrange the whole kitchen and our bedroom today.”
Sule muttered and sat.
“She did tell me you wanted to talk to me.”
His father lowered the TV’s volume and fixed his attention on Sule.
“Yeah. I told her to inform you. Thank you for staying up.”
Sule rubbed his palms together. He readied himself for a difficult conversation, the grace shown him with Tara stayed with him as a promise to cling to for this moment also.
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017.