Ok, so I know I started this story way back in 2012 but I'm just not ready to let it die and become a story I started but never ended. So, as part of my repentance as a lazy writer, I made time to continue with it. Unlike me, I'm very sure it'll be hard for anyone to still remember what the whole story was about in the first place so I'm going to put up links to the first four parts before I continue. And oh, I did realise some mistakes while re-reading the older parts...When I initially started the story, Bill wasn't called Bill. He was called Jay. Please don't ask the reasoning behind the choice and change of names because I truly have no reason. Anyways, I came across a number of Jays in the first two parts I think. I'll be changing them though but if you read before the change happens, don't be too confused. Just take it as his second name ;)
It was already Friday. Saturday was virtually here! Marianne had sorted out all our travel issues. Both Ralph and I did not need visas. I, because of my dual citizenship and Ralph, because he had just returned from studying in the States and still had a valid visa. I however had to leave a day earlier than Ralph because he had some personal issues to attend to before travelling. I passed by his work station on my way out at the close of the day.
“Ralph, see you in Seattle on Monday. Marianne just told me you’re on a different travel itinerary because you have some things to sort out before travelling.”
“Yes o my guy. Charlie, my kid sis dey come do engagement this Saturday wey I for wait den take my “akunta sika” before I leave. The way I take good care of am for e husband, I for wait then take my money myself.”
I found what he was saying funny but he had this all too serious look on his face which stopped me from bursting into laughter. I had to agree with him.
“Charlie, what you talk be true. E be very important say you take the money yourself. Anyways, we go crush when you drop. Make sure you take the hotel details and ticket from Marianne before setting off.”
I patted him on the back and turned to head out the door when I remembered I had not informed Amy of my trip. I wasn’t obliged to, but I felt common courtesy required that of me. True friends had to keep each other in the know of things like this right? I dragged myself back to her work station and heaved a sigh of relief when I was met with an empty desk. I picked a bright pink sticky note and pen from the table and left a message on her monitor. That will surely get her attention.
Hi Amy, I stopped by to let you know I’ll be out of the office for two weeks with Ralph. Bill.
That was all I wrote. I didn’t see the need to give her any more information than that. I called out to Ralph on my way past his work station the second time,
“Don’t forget to have a look through the presentations I sent to you. I’ll really appreciate your comments and input on how to make it more interesting.”
“Make you no worry my guy. I go search time do that give you.”
I just hope you don’t make any insertions and comments in pidgin.
Now, I wasn’t sure if what was supposed to be said in my mind came out loud. I panicked at the thought that he’d heard me, and laughed at my paranoia.
“E go dey your mail inside by Sunday gbeke”
Now, I knew he hadn’t heard me. He wouldn’t have continued in pidgin if he had heard me. Would he? Ah well. There are better things to wrap my head around than this. I picked up my ticket and hotel details up from Marianne on my way to Mr. Daniels office to say goodbye. He was on the phone when I went in. I’d braced myself for a minimum of 30 minutes wait, and was surprised when he ended the call and decided to give me a brief lecture on how to go about representing him well. I was grateful for the coaching though.
Berth was all dressed up looking like she was waiting for someone to pick her up for an outing when I got home. I could not hide my surprise. She was in this floral print strapless dress that flowed from her waist to her ankle. She had on no jewelry save for a pair of tiny gold studs in her ears. The only hint of make-up I caught on her face was clear lip gloss but she looked stunning! The sight of her made me feel weak in my knees. I don’t know why I still feel that way after all these years. It has been three good years since I first set sight on her and felt the very same weakness I was feeling in my knees on that day. Up until that point, I wasn’t a believer in love at first sight. It took Berth to convert me.
“What’s up? Where are you going?”
“Where are we going?” She corrected me with emphasis on the “We”.
“That’s for me to know and you to find out.” The twinkle in her eye as she said this was unmistakable. “Hurry up and change into something more casual.”
I was tired and had really been looking forward to rest, but whatever plans she had for the evening had got her on a high. I wasn’t ready to burst her bubble, plus I knew I was going to miss her for the next two weeks. I was out in less than 5 minutes after I changed into the first pair of jeans and polo shirt my hands touched in the dark of my wardrobe.
She opted to drive us in my car. When I was seated she turned to me, a mischievous grin slowly spreading across her face.
“You have two options. I either blindfold you till we get to where we are going, or you promise to keep your eyes closed from now until we get there.”
I opted for the latter. All I had to do was rest my head against the headrest and take a power nap. I explained that much to her – that I would use the opportunity to take a nap that will make me a very fun companion for the night. She didn’t seem bothered by that. She had her jazz to listen to.
I jolted out of my sleep screaming “Jesus Jesus” when the car screeched to a halt. My screams for divine intervention were met with laughter from Berth. It took a few seconds for me to realise that was how she’d planned to wake me up from my nap and that all was safe. I looked around but could not make out where we were. It looked as if we had just driven into the centre of a movie set up on a Caribbean island!
“Where are we?”
She just looked at me with a knowing smile and said, "It takes a few minutes to take it all in.”
That did not answer my question. But I nodded in earnest agreement.
“This is out of this world.”
I could hear the sound of music from a distance and could smell khebabs on fire though I hadn’t seen any other human since we’d arrived. We stepped out of the car. Berth took off her slippers, holding them in her left hand while wrapping her free arm around my waist. We walked towards the ocean and sat in the sand to watch the sunset. She picked her phone from her dress pocket and turned it off. I also picked mine to do same. I noticed I’d received a message from an unknown number but decided to not ruin the lovely moment with the love of my life. I turned it off and placed it back in my pocket. She rested her head against my shoulder and I reached for her hands. We were both content to just sit in the silence and watch the sun in all its splendor take a bow down the horizon. Except for the occasional sound of music that was carried towards us by the winds, the only other sound I could hear was the roar of the Atlantic and of the waves crashing against the rocky sections of the beach. I turned to kiss her just as the space which was filled with the bright orange sun was now nothing but clouds that still had orange hues race across the sky. I swear I would have gone on kissing her till daybreak had she not reluctantly broken it off and asked that we go have dinner. I turned to look around but could not sight any restaurant. She held my hand and walked me towards what appeared to be a forest of coconut trees to the right of where we had parked, giggling in excitement at my apparent daze in taking in how the evening had turned out.
Nestled in the middle of the forest of coconut trees was this cozy restaurant with an ambience which cannot be explained. It can only be felt. We made our meal selections – I went for banku and spicy grilled tilapia with green pepper sauce. That was what the menu said. It was just “kpakposhito” which must have been ground in heaven because I’ve never had hot pepper that tasted so heavenly with banku and tilapia. She opted for Rice and beef sauce which she swore was nicer than my option even though she left half of it and joined me to eat the banku.
We took a walk along the moonlit beach before going back to the spot where we had been sitting before dinner and talked the night away. I did not want the night to end, but I knew full well I had to get ready for my trip the next day. Berth read my mind.
“We should be heading back. You need to rest before your trip.”
The ride back home was tranquil and silent. It was a comfortable silence. It wasn’t until I entered the bedroom that I was reminded of the fact that Berth was really moving out the next day. Her packed bags were lined at the foot of the bed. They seemed to be taunting me. Telling me to hurry up and marry their owner If I didn’t want them out. I shook my head and said to them,
“Oh shut up! Would you?”
“Who are you talking to?” Berth was perplexed as she walked in and caught me speaking to myself.
“I was just silencing the voices in my head telling me that I’m going to lose you if I allow you to move out tomorrow.”
When did I get this good at fabricating on the spot lies that could go past any lie detector? This particular one was not actually too far fetched from the truth though. Was that not the implication of the conversation the bags and I were having?
“Sweetheart, thank you so much for tonight. Your spontaneity in coming up with such plans is the definition of romance.”
“Awww, I’m flattered. The smile of gratitude on her face warmed my heart. Thanks for not turning me down. I knew you were very tired coming back from work. But I also knew we had to do this. I just wanted to prove to you that my moving out is not because I do not love you. A woman’s got to do –“”
I did not let her end her statement. I walked towards her and cupped her face in my palms.
“I’m going to do what I have to do as a man. Do not worry yourself thinking about when. It’s going to be sooner than you think.”
I bent my head and planted a kiss on her forehead. She released herself from my embrace, mumbling an excuse of needing the washroom. I knew she was going to cry, but I did not stop her.