The last but one chapter. We’ve come far. Thanks to you who read and to you who read and dropped those comments. Let’s finish hard.
Sule’s eyes stayed on Hassan, his father’s. He could see the way his father’s eyes stared blankly at their cream wall above the stairs. At first, when he was gone, their family photos were lined up on the wall. He had taken them down when he got back; perhaps guilty of all the innocent faces that stared him back each time he walked up and down. His sister, Fatima, cried every night for a full week and then gave up. They’ll never return. They all gave in. He realized he’s been fidgeting with his fingers. He smiled, nervous and cleared his throat for the umpteenth time.
“I asked mum to tell you because of course I want to talk with you…” He shied away from the weary eyes of his father he’s been staring into all this time. “… I want to because we’ve never talked about you leaving, you coming back…”
The grief he had felt, the hatred when he came back and the shame upon knowing his father, this man, is the cause of the sorrows of another family, Kate’s, were seeping into his heart. He could feel them. He cleared his throat again and with it, shut down the tears.
“What exactly do you want to talk about?”
The question was harsh. Sule decided to smile; to be proper like an obedient Christian son.
“I’ve already said it.”
“You want an apology?”
The next question shot through him. It stung – like his first crab bite. And like then he wanted to yell. He didn’t. He let the fury soak in. He said nothing. No one did, till after about five minutes. The father spoke, no, he presented his defence.
“I see how you look at me ever since I returned…like I’m the devil…like I destroyed this family. Your mother has told you all you want to hear. I know she’s warmed her story into your mind – how I left her and run off with another woman. I just wanted to make money for us and she wouldn’t agree…”
“We wanted you, not money. If you stayed…”
“Life would have offered you better? You’ll be a better man?”
Sule’s tears didn’t fall. They were stuck into his chest, making it to rise in uncomfortable ways.
“No. We would have had a better father.”
The slap landed on his face with his last words. And Sule laughed. He laughed so hard he was afraid he’d be mad when he stops.
“Why won’t you face it dad. You left us. You never showed up in my school. And when you did you offered no apologies. Men take responsibility. You run away from it.”
“How dare you?”
Hassan tried to stand on his other feet, the proper feet.
“I just thought you’d feel a little sorry dad. Or you’ll pretend and here you are instantiating what you did, the aches you’ve watched as limp with all these years.”
“I’m not sorry for wanting better for you.”
He was about walking away. Sule studied him. He’s never seen pride hang on the very skin of a man like he saw in these seconds. He stood and faced his father.
“Daa, I am sorry… for yelling…for talking back…I just hoped you’ll be sorry.” Sule paced in the space between them. “…I love you and I forgive you…” Hassan stood still. His Jaws were set and his lips formed into an ugly pout. But Sule could see his eyes were changed, different, like he felt something. Hassan shoved his son off his path… “Please wait.” Sule climbed unto the first stair, blocking his path. “I’m going to ask a girl I’m in love with out soon. I want you to know. She’s Dzidzor. And I know the family of the woman you run off with. I told them you’re my father.”
“It’s your life.”
Hassan spat his reply back cold and without a single look back, made for his room. Sule heard his mum’s steps towards the rail upstairs. He lifted his face to hers, smiled and looked away.
He buried his face into the settee when he was sure not a soul will be awake. His fears of never knowing the normal from a father crouched on him.
He prayed, his words short and his heart breaking. And then like he’s never heard clearly before, he heard the voice.
I am your Father, son…
The moment was like an entry into the many times God affirmed Christ. His hear swelled with warmth. As God continued to speak, he allowed his tears stream. He was safe in the arms long enough to sweep his entire life into an incredible embrace. He’ll hold on to that.
For Dzidzor, Christmas Eve arrived too soon. She wasn’t ready. To say, her heart wasn’t ready. She stood by her large mirror watching her other self stare back at her.
“What do you think?”
She sat and frowned. Her door swung open.
“Sweetheart, you just look so gorgeous. Black never looked better on anyone.”
Dzidzor laughed. Her mum’s enthusiasm was sure to rub off her; even if she’d rather be glum.
“Sure? Better than yours on you?”
Senam halted in her tracks. She faced her daughter as though the bracelets she was unwrapping wasn’t before her minutes ago.
“Of course you’re going to be the prettiest thing this night. Right behind your Momma.”
Dzidzor laughed harder.
“I love you mum.”
“Me too.” Senam said and was back facing the bracelets she was unwrapping. “Oh not this one.” She hurriedly wrapped them up and put them back.
“What are you looking for?”
Dzidzor whisked her chair and faced her Senam.
“The gold jewelry pack your dad got us on his last trip… I thought I put it in your room for un-boxing later…”
She pulled the drawer of the wardrobe and smiled.
“They’re such a beauty.”
“Mum, bring them out first.”
Senam set the box on the dressing chair, grinning as she lifted each jewelry.
“Won’t you like to wear yours?”
Dzidzor shook her head.
Senam brought the bracelet and strapped it on Dzidzor’s wrist.
“Alright Maa. Bracelet is enough.” She examined her mum and leaned backwards on her chair. “Maa.” Senam lifted her head. “Why are so happy? No, what’s the word, rapt?”
Senam grinned and hurried away.
“Lipstick and mascara and blush, blush.” She said with an almost melodious flair. “Dzi, lipstick, try red.”
She winked and vanished from Dzidzor’s doorway. Dzidzor laughed, shocked. “Nude is the new red mum.” She shouted back. “Plus its comfortable.” She said and studied her face, her mind back on her thoughts before her mum strode in. What will happen after today? She’s not stopped thinking about it. She’s looking like half of her weight now. Sule’s done with her. Matey is not in the picture anymore, not even photo bombing it. He is still recovering. He wasn’t coming for the dinner. They barely talk. Kate and Kwaku are too in love now. Kate didn’t even do the usual sleepover before events this time. For a long while in years, she’s not felt as alone as this week. It’s been good, helping her cling to God, engage more often with the Holy Spirit. She was only growing anxious of where clearly her heart will step next.
Your way still.
She said one of the quotes from her church’s The Woman’s Magazine she’s strung into her heart this month. She lined her lips, filled in with the NYX nude she’s used every morning and swept her lipstick on it. She smelled it, like usual, laughed at herself, blotted, did a second sweep and sat back.
“Dzi, daddy’s calling.”
Her mum’s voice was a whisper and she knew well what it meant. She swept the mascara on her lashes, applied her blush, picked her nude heels, hurried to the door, rushed back to spritz some spray, grab a shawl and her purse. And she stood gazing at herself, for the first time wondering why her mum insisted on a late shopping for the dinner and bought her this dreamy black dress. She’s never been a fan of her love for black. And why has she been calling her Dzi? She lifted and dropped her shoulders and run out. When her hand hit her switch off, her phone beeped with Sule’s face. She rushed down the stairs, taking two at a time as she read.
Already here with Tara. Too early but* *grins*
Dzidzor read the message a second time and told herself not to care. He was Tara’s all along. Tonight, she is going to love this life given her no matter what. Sule or not. She wasn’t sure of that but she was determined to laugh hard at everything. Her mum’s joy has rubbed off her and would stay. She looked up at the stars and laughed.
PS:Now I don’t want to end☺😄. Writer problems. Let’s do this next week.
© M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2017.