Hi there, how have you been? Welcome back to another episode of WMY. I’m happy to share this with you all, my lovely readers and cherished fans out there. May we all be blessed and safe during this unkind era. Don’t lose hope, continue praying for the world. We shall soon overcome 🙏. However, let’s endeavour to be productive in our little ways. And have fun too! The previous episode was lit so in case you haven’t read, you may want to check it out. Have a nice read…
My Saturday mornings are pretty hectic. That’s usually because I save most of the chores for weekends. Usually, I clean, wash, cook, and sweep the compound if it’s my turn—today is no different. There is a basketful of laundry waiting to be done, plus the house is a bit messy since I’ve been too busy to tidy up all week. I gather the mental courage I need to force myself out of bed as the clock strikes five. I need to get these chores done in a flash, so I can head over to Will’s place. His mother called yesterday saying she had some stuff for me to pick up whenever I could pass by. Personally, I also have something to give Will, so I might as well pass by today. Not long after I begin my washing, I hear my name in a distance. I know immediately who it is.
‘Fafa,…Fafa, you’re in there?’ Pamela echoes in that tiny, sing-song voice of hers, which gives her pronouncements a sweet little lilt.
‘I’m behind the house Pam,’ I voice back.
‘What’s up baby girl?,’ she says, popping her head in the corner, her face still rumpled from last night’s sleep.
‘Chores! That’s what’s up,’ I sneer at her.
‘Sorry oo. Madam Busy-busy who doesn’t even get time for a friend anymore.’
‘Mm-mm. Pam please, don’t start. Please!,’ I say, trying my best to sound and look offended at the same time.
I know just about what’s coming when Pam starts out like this. Pam is my best friend whose house is just a stone throw from mine. We’ve been friends since our Senior High School days. Luckily for her, her family stays here at Kotei, so we would always come around to enjoy home food the slightest chance we got during our school days. She is the reason I have my job and a place to live. Her mom put in a good word for me which led the landlady to give me a discount on the rent. She literally has been my life saver. Recently, she has been accusing me of spending all my time with Will and neglecting her, which of course, is not true. We are practically together almost every day of the week, both at home and at work, so I don’t know what she’s talking about. I think she wants something to make me guilty about just because I’ve made a new friend she doesn’t know.
‘I’m sorry Ma,’ comes the reply.
‘Good, you better be,’ I say in my high uppity tone.
‘Crazy girl,’ Pam snickers, and we both burst into laughter.
‘Well, I just dropped by to see what you were up to this morning.’
‘Well, now that you’ve seen it, why don’t you help a friend out,’ I plead.
Pam imitates what I say in her funny sing-song voice while I roll my eyes at her. My phone rings just then, and when I pick up, it’s Mrs Sue at the other end. She called to ask if I would be coming around today. I respond in the affirmative but promising to be a bit late.
‘Is that our in-law?,’ Pam asks snickering, right after I end the call.
‘Really Pam. You know what? I’m not even going to give you the time of day okay.’
She bursts into her ridiculous laughter once more. As I walk past her to go and dry my first batch of washed clothes, I deliberately splash some water on her, which earns me a slap on the back.
‘Ouch, you silly girl,’ I scream in pain.
I reach the house around two in the afternoon, tired out from my morning chores. Thanks to Pam and her crazy little self, I would have finished a lot quicker though. For the first time I’m uncertain of who’s going to show up at the door if I ring the bell. Previously, I’d have known right away that it would be Mrs Sue. Few minutes later, the gate flings open to reveal an ever smiling Mrs Sue.
‘How are you my daughter?,’ she asks, as I enter.
‘I’m very well Mom. And you?,’ I reply smiling back.
‘God’s grace has been sufficient for us my dear,’ she says.
‘That’s good to hear. We thank Him.’
‘Amen,’ comes the reply cheerily. I can easily tell Mrs Sue is in a great mood, and that things are going on well at home.
‘Let’s go in. I just have these foodstuff I bought from the market yesterday. I’d love for you to have some.’
‘Aw Ma, you shouldn’t have bothered. But thank you very much.’
‘Oh it’s nothing at all my dear. You don’t have to thank me. You’ve nothing short of a daughter to me,’ Mrs Sue says placing her hand on my shoulder. I smile at her shyly. Since I don’t know what else to do or say, I ask about Will’s and his father’s whereabouts. I’m told his father went out to see a couple of friends and should be back any moment soon.
‘As for Will, you know the usual. Want to go and say hi before you leave?’ Mrs Sue says, and we both giggle.
‘Sure. I’ll head up there now.’
I leave Mrs Sue behind in the living room and head upstairs to Will’s room. I knock gently on his door. He opens, and before I can speak, he swiftly shuts it in my face. Seconds later, the door flings open again, with a silly grinning Will on the other side of it.
‘Come in,’ he says quickly, again, before I can utter a word.
‘Hey,’ I say quite flustered, ‘What was that all about?’
‘Oh nothing really. I thought it was my mom. So had to get some few things in place when I saw it wasn’t her. Sorry, didn’t know you were coming today,’ his grin returning back in place, as though it never left.
It doesn’t take long before I notice the cans of paint and brushes aggressively pushed under the bed. In his haste, he’d done such a tardy job at hiding his secret. The drops of paint on the floor even give him away faster. I fight hard to resist laughing out loud.
Snickering, I blurt, ‘What kind of ten year old game is this? If you want to hide something so bad, you might as well do a good job at it.’
I tilt my head to the direction of the bed to show him his pathetic work. He growled and plopped on the bed.
‘Oh shoot,’ he says slapping his forehead,— I cackle.
‘But why are you hiding it from me? It’s actually a good thing that you’ve started painting again,’ I say, genuinely happy, albeit perplexed by his action.
‘I know but I just wanted to keep it secret for a while. I didn’t want you saying you want to see my paintings and stuff. And now my surprise is gone.’
‘Well, half-gone technically. I still haven’t seen the painting yet, have I?’
‘And I can’t show it to you even if you asked.’
‘And why is that?’
‘An artist never shows his work until it’s complete. The first rule of art.’
‘Hmm,’ I scoff. ‘Who made that rule?’
‘I knew it. Fine. I won’t ask to see it. But you can at least tell me what you’re painting right? What is it about? Nature?, humans?,…’
‘Nope, I can’t. It’s considered the same as showing you,’ he says half smiling, half giggling.
‘Will, those rules are ridiculous. Come on.’
‘No, they aren’t—they are perfect. But I’ll make an exception for you just this once since I’ve been caught me anyway.’
He turns around, opens a locker behind him, and pulls out this wide canvas with a painting of myself on it. My mouth is aghast for a while. When I finally realize, it’s too late and I close it abruptly out of sheer embarrassment. I’m glad he doesn’t mention it. I’m impressed and yet upset at the same time.
‘Will, that’s drunk me,’ I say in a tone I suppose exudes calmness, hoping it’ll hide my inner displeasure.
It didn’t, for he senses it and breaks out laughing, making me aggravated the more.
‘Yeah I knew this would happen,’ he says finally. ‘You don’t like it and that’s fine. I’ll keep it. It was never meant for you anyway.’
‘What? No, I don’t have a problem with your painting. If anything, I think you are an excellent painter. It’s just… couldn’t you paint any other noble image of me except this one?’
‘I wanted this particular one.’
‘Why? So you could have a good laugh while you were at it? Aw, how genial of you,’ I say not even attempting to restrain the sarcasm in my voice anymore.
‘Of course not. Fafa, listen to me. An artist needs inspiration to paint. And this beautiful friendship that we have, it started from somewhere. Noor Unnahar puts it brilliantly in her poem when she says, ‘Like the anger of fire shapes the metal, like the sorrow of a writer creates poetry, everything that is beautiful doesn’t always start beautifully.’ So while you may not be very fond of the circumstances under which we met, for some of us, it was the beginning of something beautiful, and will forever remain a memory to be cherished.’
Quite frankly, I’m flattered and flustered at the same time. I honestly did not intend for him to get all emotional on me, and for that, I feel the slightest pang of embarrassing remorse for being so uptight.
‘So what are you now? A poet or something?,’ I say less viciously.
‘You could say. I’m a lover of the arts, and poetry my dear, is one of the purest forms of art,’ he croons while sliding dramatically across the room to the opposite side of where he formerly was.
‘Well whatever Mister Arts-lover, can I move on to the real reason why I’m here?,’ I roll out the words together with my eyes.
I reach into my bag for the sparkling rose wine I brought, a Special Reserve Gecko Ridge Pinotage 2013, and place it on the small desk beside his bed.
‘Wow! Looks nice. Somebody is up for a drink tonight. You should have said so earlier. Glasses?’ Will chants excitedly.
‘First, you’d have to get those glasses yourself. And second, I’m not drinking with you.’
‘Then why did you bring that here?. You know it’s not nice to enjoy a good wine alone.’
‘That’s why you’re going to be sharing it with your dad,’ I say matter-of-factly. When he doesn’t protest or ask any questions, I take the opportunity to finish my mission.
‘Will, I know you don’t hate your father, and you must know way better than I do, that he doesn’t hate you either. No parent hates his or her child. Although sometimes we find it hard to relate to their way of showing us love, there is no doubt that every parent wishes well for their ward. Your father wanted same for you. In all his transgression, if you looked at things from his side for just a tiny moment, you’d know he was doing everything for your own good. At least, he was doing what he thought was good for you. I really wish you and him could just sit down, and have an honest, man-to-man, father-and-son conversation. I see it in his eyes every time I come here, that he really wants to make amends with his son.’
‘Then why hasn’t he tried?’ Will utters quiet frankly, surprise and calm hinting in his voice.
‘Because he needs your permission Will—you haven’t given him that yet. When you were at the hospital, and I’d always come around, never for once did your father come to visit. When I asked your mom why? She said it was because he blamed himself for what had happened to you, so he couldn’t stand coming to see you. I know he still feels the same way, even now that you are fine. So you can’t just wait around for him to come to you. It won’t happen. As a girl who lost her dad at a very young age, I have something to tell you. Nothing can ever replace the absence of a parent in your life. I used to think as I grow older, and time elapses, it wouldn’t hurt anymore but boy was I wrong. Even though, the memory of his loss isn’t as painful as before, I’m always reminded of what fate and destiny robbed me of—and that is time with my dad. They never gave me enough time with him. But you have been blessed with that Will. Which is why I can’t stand you taking it for granted. All because of what? Pride, ego, who was right, or who was wrong? Whatever it is, trust me, it won’t matter in the end. Do what you know you have to do now while time is still on your side, for tomorrow is never promised. I don’t want to see you regret it, so please, try and fix this. You know you want to, and so do I.’
I wipe a few tears lurking at the corners of my eyes as he stares at me solemnly, totally taken aback. He hadn’t expected that, I know.
‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cry. I just get emotional whenever I talk about my dad,’ I sniff quietly.
‘No, it’s fine. How old were you when you lost him?’ Will asks, still looking dazed.
‘I was nine. He left for a business trip and never came back. My mum and I, we waited for him at our usual spots at the dining table. But he never came back. He’d had an accident on his way back and passed, we’d later learn from his work associates.’
‘Wow! That must have been hard to take in.’
‘It was more than hard. We were devastated. Sometimes I can’t believe mom and I made it this far without him. We thought we wouldn’t be able to. But here I am,’ I say forcing on a smile.
‘That’s why you’re so strong.’
‘Mm, am I?’ I say quietly laughing. ‘Well I’ve got to be on my way,’ I say getting up.
‘So soon,’ he exclaims.
‘Well yes. Since I’ve accomplished my mission here and you have to get on with your painting, I think it’s only right that I leave. Just so you know, I expect a report the next time I’m here—that wine was expensive,’ I say jokingly with a serious expression.
‘Then why did you buy it. You could have just told me.’
‘Because I wanted to be a little dramatic about it. Besides, men like to talk over good wine so I figured it would help….’ I let my voice trail off at the end of my sentence.
‘Of course. Typical Fafa style. Pretty, smart, kind and dramatic. I’m touched, I must say,’ Will says in his sarcastic humour tone.
‘Oh please. Also, I’m taking that painting with me so you better hurry with it.’
‘What? I thought you hated it seconds ago?’ he says looking genuinely confused.
‘Well not anymore. Wasn’t that the whole point of your poem, pep talk, Mr. Arts-lover?,’ I say with my elbows digging into my waist, my palms stretched out and extending away.
‘Oh no!, I can never understand women,’ Will exhales, shaking his head.
‘Good. You shouldn’t,’ I say with a ruthless smile while heading towards the door, ‘See ya.’
‘Want me to escort you?,’ I hear him call from the room.
‘Continue painting,’ I reply and shut the door, scurrying down the stairs to the living room, where I bid Mrs Sue farewell and leave my regards for her husband.
Just when I step out the door, my phone starts ringing again. It has been ringing for quite a while and I had ignored it. I take it out to see ‘Dzifa’ glaring boldly at me from the screen. I gently press the power button and put it back inside my bag. I hurried down the road to get a car back home—I still have some few things to get done before the day ends. At the main gate to my house, my phone buzzes, this time it’s the message notification tone. I pick it out to check the message. It’s from Dzifa.
‘Fafa, Mom’s very ill. Please call me when you see this,’ reads the message.
My heart skips a beat, and another. I pause to inhale. I stare at my phone for sometime, as if I could not believe what I just read, as if staring so hard at it will make the words disappear or rearrange themselves somehow to mean differently. I inhale deeply for the second time, then slowly, I begin to dial Dzifa’s number.
Yay!!! You made it to the end of today’s episode as well. Thank you for passing through. Leave a comment for me to know how you’ve enjoyed the story so far— and which is your favorite episode?🤗. And please tighten your belts, there’s more to come. Told you it was going to be a long ride.
Till next time. Stay safe and stay home!