Thursday, 13 September 2012

Bill's story - part 3

I wrote this sometime last week,,,don't know why I'm now posting it!

I managed to make it to the office in one piece, and it wasn’t until I got there that I was reminded of the existence of a being called Amy. I caught a whiff of the perfume she’d been wearing yesterday immediately I entered the building. By the time I made it upstairs, it was as if the whole hallway had been sprinkled with a bottle of her fragrance. I pictured her getting into the building before anyone else to sprinkle the fragrance there just to torment me. I laughed at the mental picture I created of her doing it - Just like in the local movies where juju concoctions are sprinkled in the corners of a room using some sort of broom. I was still laughing when I stepped into my work station.
“Looks like someone had a goodnight!” Kwadwo observed as he made his way towards me. “Fill me in, man” He was already perched at the edge of my desk with an expectant look in his eyes. I noticed Amy from the corner of my eyes, and there was a battle going on in my mind as to the approach I was going to use to handle her. She showed no signs that she had seen me come in, but I swear I saw her ears perk up when Kwadwo asked me to fill him in.
 “I brought breakfast, are you interested?”, I lured him out to the kitchen.
“Where’s the breakfast?” he asked when he noticed I had nothing for him.
“Berth is moving out”, I announced. He forgot all about the breakfast.
“You must be kidding me! Did you cheat on her?” He dragged out a chair and sat down, his eyes fixed on me all the while.
“My guy, I did not say she broke up with me! I said she’s moving out.”
“But what’s the difference? Trust me, the probability of her moving back in is non-existent”, he sounded so sure of himself.
“Well, she promised to move back on condition that I marry her.”
“That is blackmail! She never came across to me as one capable of that.” He said this with a twinkle in his eyes. The earlier despondency in his eyes, which I believe was borne out of pity for me, was now turned into one of fascination. He was clearly fascinated with Berth’s move.
“It is not blackmail. She is just holding me up to my own words.”, I jumped to her defence even though I was angry with her. “I just have to put things in place and ask her to marry me.”
Our privacy was invaded by other colleagues who had to use the kitchen. On our way back to the office, I flippantly asked Kwadwo to remind me to tell him something later. Back at my desk, I figured an email to Amy will be in order.
“Hello Amy, I had wanted us to make time to talk about the happenings of last night, but on second thought, we’re better off not talking about it in person. As I told you yesterday, I’m going out with the woman I intend to marry, and no one can come between us - not even you. Don’t get me wrong, you’re hot and all that, but I’m sorry, I’m committed to someone else. The most I can offer you, is nothing more than true friendship.”
A few minutes after I had hit the send button, she walked up to my desk. I hadn’t read through the message before sending it, I had just been typing whatever came to my mind. The sight of her walking towards me caused my heart to beat faster. This surprised me because I could not tell if this was because of the message I had just sent, or because of something else I could feel but not explain. Maybe, this inexplicable feeling had more to do with my notoriety with being drawn to danger.
She offered herself a seat. “Goodmorning Mr. Mensah. Forgive my bad manners, I should have called to say thank you for yesterday. My supervisor looked through the designs, and he was very impressed with my input.” If she read my message before walking up to me, she showed no signs up until this point that she had. The perfume in which she had doused herself was too much for me. I let out a loud sneeze.
“I’m glad I was of help.” That was all I said back to her while reaching for my handkerchief to stop the next sneeze.
She made a show of walking back to her desk with her heels loudly clicking against the tiles, before returning to add, “I forgot to let you know I got your email. I didn’t reply because emails are not my thing. I just use them for official stuff – I like to discuss personal issues in person.” Her voice dropped to barely a whisper and then she said with a wink, “I’m willing to take you up on that true friendship offer though.”  She offered her hands, and our true friendship was sealed with a handshake.
I felt a sense of relief and trepidation wash over me when I let go of her hands. Relief from the fact that the encounter I had been dreading was over. The feeling of trepidation had more to do with the inexplicable feeling her presence and that handshake had caused. I knew for a fact it wasn't love. Heck!, it wasn't even like! It was one of those things you could never quite place a finger on no matter how hard you tried.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Bill's Story....Part 2

Berth was up waiting for me when I got home – I knew she would. “You must be tired”, she said, taking my brief case from me. “Should I warm your meal for you or you had something to eat already?”
I had not eaten anything since my lunch at 1pm, and I was starving! But knowing Berth very well, she would sit through supper with me, engaging in little talk. I was not ready for that. There were too many things going on in my head, and I’ve come to realise through living with her that you don’t mess with anyone who took a short course in psychology. They are more than professional psychologists. She thinks she has me all figured out although I always tell her she is only right 10% of the time. Tonight however, my fear of the probability of the 10% being right was 100%.
I fed on some junk whiles working, so I don’t feel hungry.”  That in itself was not a lie, and I made sure to look straight into her eyes whiles saying it. Amy offered me some coke and chips when she moved over to my work station. She had wanted me to look over some calculations her supervisor had asked her to submit by the next morning. That excuse sounded much more plausible when she said it to me then than now. Looking back, I wonder why she had two packs of snacks with her.
Berth’s voice brought me back to the present “Should you wake up hungry at 2am, it will be in the fridge. I’ve to get to work early tomorrow so it’s an early night for me.” She placed the food in the fridge and headed towards the bedroom.
“I’ll soon join you. I just want to listen to the late news.” 
This got her to stop in her tracks. “Did you mean to say soccer highlights or late news?”  She teased. Shoot! I mentally kicked myself. Everything was going fine up until now.
“I meant both. Is there not a sports segment in the late news? Go on to bed love, It’s only the highlights I want to watch”.
 I turned on the TV, and sat in the couch directly opposite it. My eyes were fixed on the screen, but my mind was back on Amy, trying to figure out how to go about putting her in her right place the next day. I’ll just tell her that Berth is not just a girlfriend. She is the woman I plan on marrying, and therein lies the difference. I almost jumped out of my skin when I heard laughter behind.
Oh my God! Jay,” Berth managed between fits of laughter, “since when did Cartoon Network start showing the late news?”
That was when I noticed I had been staring at cartoons all this while. I laughed in spite of myself.  “Work was so stressful today, I figured I’ll be better off watching cartoons than filling my mind with all the negative news going on around the world.”  This time, I patted myself on the back mentally. That was such a smart thing to say! “What brought you back here?”
She ignored my question. “Well, over an hour of cartoons doesn’t seem to have done the trick. You still look stressed. Come on, let’s go to bed.” She turned off the TV and I followed her to bed.
My heart literally skipped a beat when once I turned out the lights and settled into bed, she mentioned my name. That was what she usually did whenever we “had to talk”.
Yes dear?” I squeaked.
“My dad called me today with good news. My kid sis got admission into the medical school”
I turned to face her “That’s fantastic!”
“There’s a little problem,” She went on. “He suggested she spends her first year with me as a day student.”
I didn’t see the problem with that. “And how is that a problem?”
She let out an exasperated sigh. “You seem to forget that I am no longer living on my own as I’ve got them to think. They’ll kill me if they know I’m living with a man I’m not married to.”
“We’ll find a way around it.” I knew very well this would be a big issue with Berth and her people, but I also knew it wasn’t the end of the world.
“Well, school starts in 3 weeks for her so we’ve got to think fast. If Adwoa were one who knew how to keep her mouth shut, I wouldn’t have been up thinking about this. But trust me Bill, I know my sister.”
“Tell your parents you’ll pay her boarding fees.”
“And you think that solves the problem? What happens when she’s on holidays?”
I could tell the next form our discussion was going to take. She was going to say something along the line of “Why don’t you just man up, go see my parents and lets formalise this thing?”
My guess was right – the very same wordings.
“I thought you had an early morning tomorrow? Why don’t we discuss this after work?”
“That is what you always say when you want to avoid an issue. “Why don’t we discuss this later?” Well, today, we are going to discuss this now.”
Wow, she was angry, I could tell from her tone. She turned on her bedside lamp, and sat up in bed. There was clearly no running away from this. I sat up and scooted closer to her, wrapping her in a hug. “Listen to me love, you know you are the one I’m going to marry. There’s no fear about that. We just-“
She disentangled herself from my hug.“Bill, you’ve been saying this to me for the past one year. I don’t doubt you, but seriously, when is it going to happen?”
“Sooner than you think.” I meant my words.
“Well, I’ve decided to move out. I’ll only move back in as Mrs. Mensah.”
She caught me off-guard. “When did you decide on this?”
“Oh, just now. I decided as I spoke the words.”
I could tell from the fierce look of determination in her eyes that she was serious. “Where are you moving to?” I managed.
“Have you forgotten I had just renewed my tenancy agreement before you convinced me to move in with you?”
“So when are you moving out?”
“Tomorrow, after work.”
 “What can I say to make you change your mind?”
“You know what to do Bill, not just what to say.” She smiled, kissed me on the forehead and said goodnight before turning off her lamp.
"What a day!" Yes, I actually said that out loud. She gave no sign she even heard me. She only repeated goodnight and went to sleep. "Goodnight" I replied.