Heya! It’s been a while right! I hope you guys have been good. I want to start by apologizing for taking too long on this one but you know,…“Good things take time.”….So I’m grateful for your patience with me on this journey. Ok, so now that we’re here let’s see what Will and Fafa have for us this week.
PS: This time, we’re taking the story from Will’s perspective. If you haven’t read the previous episode, please do. Enjoy!
The weather is extremely nice today. The blue skies, bright weather, cool breeze, and occasional smell of food coming from my neighbour’s house, coupled with the sweet-scented smell of roses from the backyard, all mix together in my nostrils as I seat my posterior on the wooden chair inside our summer hut outside, drinking in the beauty and serenity around me. Ha!-It surely feels good to be out in a long while. Two weeks isn’t that long from other people’s perspective, but for me it is. It’s not that I’ve not been going out exactly, but just being out here in the open, purposeless, taking in the environment, and not because I have to take another obligatory trip to my therapist’s is nice. It signifies progress—at least to my mom. The therapy sessions aren’t as bad as I had assumed they would be. In fact, they’ve proven to be quite helpful.
Why had I not thought of doing this earlier? My therapist beseeches me on almost every visit to try and come out, partly due to my mother’s incessant complains to her that I’m always indoors, and partly because she claims it’ll do me good to take in occasional breaths of fresh air. They act as if the air in my room is not fresh enough. Well, I’m out today, and it’s not because of her, or my mom’s constant pleas, although I notice how overly happy it makes my mom, just to see me out here on my own accord.
Actually, I’m here because I’m expecting to see someone—Fafa. It’s been three days since her last visit, and as usual, I was apathetic towards her. I don’t know what’s wrong with me though,—always acting contrary to my true feelings whenever she’s around. I want to talk to her, I want to ask her to stay longer when I see her leaving, and I want to hear her laugh that hysterically drunk laughter from the bar—for some reason.
‘So how do you expect her to do that when all you’ve succeeded in doing for the past few weeks is scaring the poor girl away with your insanely cold attitude, Will Kwabena Gyamfi?’
Hmm. The only time I hear her laugh now is when she’s with my mom, which I know also, is the only other reason why she keeps coming here. I had not meant to be that grumpy and cold towards her the first time, but I had not successfully cured myself of the embarrassment of having to face someone I thought I’d never see again, and especially in such a state. It’s been hard to take off the mask since then. I see her cringe—behind those flat grins she gives me—anytime she’s around me and we lock eyes even for microseconds. But I feel quite the opposite, I feel happier just knowing she’s around. But I guess she thinks I hate it when she’s here. And that’s my fault, I know.
Matter of fact, I hated it, for just a little while, until I started loving it and wanting to see more of her every single day. Initially, I’d hated it because she reminded me of everything I was not—her strength, her resilience, and more so, her never ending will to keep on thriving so beautifully, regardless of whatever.
And I’m the one who’s called Will?— how ironic for someone who gives up his will to live so easily, huh.
Those usual three-day-interval between her visits, now feel like decades to me, as I anticipate her arrival each time. It’s funny because I anticipate our thirty-second chats and locking of eyes too, with me still acting all glum, and her wanting to escape as quick as possible to my mom—her safe haven. I beat myself up almost every time, promising and willing myself to be nicer the next time, only for me to repeat the same routine all over again.
My worst experience by far, is the first time she stayed for dinner. God, I abhor that dinner till date. Already, I’d messed up myself by being utterly rude to her in my room, seeing how eager she was to find an escape route. ‘Why did I do that?’ Well, good question but I wish I knew the answer too. I noticed from the way she left, that exiting my presence, was quite the relief for her. I had not known she’d be at dinner and seeing her had sent me into a spinning world of discomfort. In my head, I was going to make up for what happened upstairs, by being nice, and making small conversations. Somehow, the words never seemed to reach my lips let alone escape it. The only words I could manage to spew, when our gazes met for the umpteenth time, was to ask her to pass me the salt.
Good Lord! Not only was I an uninteresting sight, now I had successfully carved myself into one weirdo who likes his jollof rice a bit more salty. Every crease of skin on her forehead was asking, and I could hear them, loud and clear like, ‘Who the hell sprinkles extra salt on already cooked jollof rice?’ I saw the shock, boldly written on my mom’s face when I made that odd demand, but it was too late. Only God knows how I managed to shove those spoonfuls of really salty rice down my throat. Later that night, I had a mild diarrhoea—but diarrhoea, whether mild or not, is bad, you know.
I check my phone, every now and then, as I notice the sunlight dimming from a distance. It is almost a quarter past 3pm and Fafa isn’t here yet. She’s usually here before 1pm—sometimes she even arrives before midday, so we end up having lunch together. Of course, she and my mum chat away while I pretend not to be interested.
I wish I could find out from my mum whether or not she’s coming today. She’d know, but I can’t ask that all of sudden. I sit for the next twenty minutes, my attention on nothing in particular, hopefully awaiting the sound of the doorbell. Just then, I hear it and leap to my feet almost impulsively, startling my mum who was on her way to answer the door herself.
‘You never answer the door,’ she says, leaving her sentence hanging as if it were more a question than a statement.
‘Well, I was outside so I thought I’d get this one.’
‘Alright,’ she says smilingly.
I can literally see the joy seeping through her gleaming brown eyes and for a brief while, I really ponder over what would have become of them if I had truly gone for good. Would they still shine so brightly?
I open the door to find one of our neighbour’s children, Araba, at the entrance. Apparently, her mom sent her to ask if we have a rake to spare—they are clearing some weeds in their house. I close the gate with a disappointing bang, after handing her ours. I come back to my hut and stare at the concrete floor. I check my phone again—it’s almost 4pm. It is obvious she’s not coming today. But why today of all days when I’m this eager to see her. Without giving it much thought, I enter the house and get myself into some black pants and a dark blue round-necked shirt, ready to bolt out the door, when my mom’s voice echoes directly from behind me.
‘I’ll be right back,’ I say, and bolt, before she even has another chance at asking me any other question.
Ten minutes later, I’m en route to Fafa’s house, studying the houses along the pathway, to be sure I’m on the right track. I’ve been here once but it doesn’t matter—I’m not one to forget a place that easily. I get to her house—exactly where I dropped her off some months ago, when she’d been too drunk to realize how she even got home. Now that I’m finally here, I feel a bit awkward and stupid. What am I going to tell her? I hesitate, then summon the courage to knock on the wooden door. I hear the shuffling of feet, and seconds later, the door flanks open. Yeah, it doesn’t take the skill of God to detect the genuine surprise scattered all over her youthful, slender face. Of course, I would be flustered too if I were in her shoes. I feel suddenly guilty, barging in on her like this.
‘May I come in,’ I say after a while of awkward stares and smiles and exchanges of pleasantries.
‘Sure,’ she says rather quickly.
‘It seemed you’d never ask,’ I say jokingly after I enter.
‘Sorry about that. I’m just, you know….’
‘Shocked? Flustered?…Yeah I get it. I’d be too if I were you.’
‘Not really. Just pretty unexpected.’
‘Sorry for just barging in on you.’
‘No, it’s okay. Although, if you had been just a minute late, you’d have come to meet an empty house. I was just about going to my friend’s place. She lives around the corner.’
‘Oh, sorry for getting in your way then.’
‘It really is no problem Will,’ she says cheerfully, then adds almost as if just remembering, ‘Water?’
‘No, I’m fine. Thanks.’
‘Nice place,’ I add.
‘Thanks. I cleaned up today, actually,’ she says smirking.
I know she said that to make me laugh, and I do. It feels kind of familiar, sitting alone with her for the second time, sober this time round. I don’t know how to ask her why she couldn’t make it today without sounding expectant.
Somehow she senses, and says jokingly, ‘Don’t tell me you’re here because I couldn’t make it today. You miss me already?’
In my head, I’m screaming, ‘Yes, precisely’ but I couldn’t dare say it out loud.
I just give her another silly smile. I’m actually glad she’s joking around and leading the conversation. It’d have been really difficult for me to start. I can still feel the tension between us, even though she’s trying her best to make me feel at home. Sitting inside her evenly lit room, gazing at her fair-coloured face, her sharp eyes, and thin nose and full lips. All I see is a beautiful face and a kind soul, reflected through those shimmering dark pupils, staring right back at me. And in that moment, I know I made the right decision by coming here.
‘Actually, I’m here because I have a favour to ask of you?.’
With her brows raised in a quizzical manner, and her lower lip curled to a side, she says, ‘Really. Let me hear it.’
‘Erm, I was wondering if you’d like to accompany me to my next therapy session.’
‘When is your next visit?’ she asks after few minutes.
I see the many questions tearing at her lips but I also know she won’t ask—at least for now. She’ll stay calm and allow me to spill at my own pace. Because of course, she’s Fafa, the ever patient—a trait I observed since the past few months I’ve known her.
I request to take my leave, and she doesn’t object. I wonder whether it’s because she doesn’t want to come across as pushy, by asking me to stay longer, or she just wanted to go see that friend of hers so badly. Either ways, I leave as quietly as I came, anxious for our next meeting, which hopefully, would be much longer than this.
Yay!….Welcome to the end of another wonderful episode today as well. Hope you enjoyed reading. As always, I’m thankful for your readership. It means so much, you’ll never know. Do leave a comment for your girl and don’t forget to click that ‘share’ button. Till I see you next time, be safe. Bye.