I co-wrote this story in 2015 with Gerard Nartey via whatsapp. He’d write one paragraph and I would write the next, even though we didn’t have any idea what kind of ending the other person had in mind. I don’t know why I never published it then. Happy reading and cheers to spontaneous writing!
His eye lids weighed due to gravity. He kept wake to hear she’d arrived at home so he could tell her. It was important she knew, and it had to be that night. She’d put her phone on airplane mode to conserve battery in the event she arrived to meet stark darkness at home. She didn’t like being kept in the dark, it was far beyond her journalistic nature to be informed.
She was inquisitive, that one. Very observant too. It was near impossible to keep anything a secret around her. It was half past 10, now he was worried. It could get really dark at night where she lived. The trees on the way to her house had formed a sort of canopy which kept the sun rays at bay during the day. At night however, the moon could barely seep through the branches. It made the walk home even more eerie. Absentmindedly, he picked up his phone. He was going to wait ten more minutes and then call Ruth, her sister.
Her line was engaged. Kathy said she strongly suspected Ruth was in love. She showed symptoms. He argued that the ‘signs’ rather than ‘symptoms’ were familiar to her because they were similar. She threw a karate punch at his gut, not powerful enough to knock the wind out of him entirely, but enough to bully him into toeing her line of thought rather than the benefit-of-the doubt nonsense he was predisposed to advocating. “Love is a disease, a mental one” she said, daring him to counter. If he had a tail, it was tucked between his legs at that moment. He was reminded that she was perfectly capable of warding off an attack in her eerily quiet neighborhood.
12 minutes past 11.
He tried her sister’s number again. This time it rang but she didn’t answer. Worry had rudely plucked the sleep from his eyes. He had to tell Kathy today. His phone buzzed and he picked it up expectantly. It was not Kathy, just an Instagram notification. He had never been that much of an Instagram person, but once again Kathy had done her magic. Her argument was that if he didn’t get with the times, he would become a boring old man. So he obliged. It turned out that he enjoyed being there more than he let on.
It was interesting how addictive it could get. There was something exciting about peering into a person’s life through their pictures, status updates and comments. There was this nagging urge to document things, this craze of creating a certain impression about one’s self. Someone had commented on a picture Kathy had put up of the two of them. He liked that picture- he was saying something and Kathy was looking up at him with an adoring smile on her. He smiled at the memory and then dialed Kathy’s sister’s number again.
‘Hi Ruth. Is Kathy home yet?’
“Who this?” Ruth’s tone bordered on kurt.
“I shock for you Ruth.”
He continued, “This is the sexiest voice you’ve ever heard.”
“Oh Patrick, it must be the reception in my room. Hey boo!”
“Azaa girl” She laughed.
“But you better than anyone will know where Kathy is. The way the two of you are like two peas in a pod…”
“Hey, hey, hey sister girl. Hold it there…”
“My guy, no long things. If you like Kathy, look sharp. I will lobby for you.” She paused a moment. “She just got into the house, should I give her the phone?”
“No Ruth, I’m sure I’ll hear from her soon. Chic, I beg don’t say anything to her. To be continued.”
The line went dead.
Kathy settled into the large sofa reserved usually for her Paa as they affectionately called their dad. Ruth sat adjacent her and stared hard at Kathy.
“Do you have a problem, Ruth?”
“Should I write you a list?”
Kathy couldn’t help but smile, then she burst out laughing.
“What do you want?”
“To give my sister a hug.”
Ruth got off her seat and plunged into Kathy with the full force of a bear hug. She got up to leave after that and suddenly turned, almost as if it was an afterthought.
“Does Patrick have a girlfriend?” Ruth asked.
“Do you like him?” Kathy retorted.
“I’ll marry him tomorrow if he asked me. He is such a gentleman. I mean, if he can put up with you, then he can definitely handle me”, she answered with a mischievous smile on her face. Shaking her head at her sister, Kathy was reminded to call him.
Relief washed over him. She was home, safe and sound. Even though she was often fearless and fierce, he had this urge to protect her.
‘Glad you are home safely’
‘Kinda cute that you were this worried. Isn’t it past your bedtime?’, she teased.
He smiled, knowing that she was also smiling on the other end of the line.
‘I have something to tell you. It could not wait. Two things, actually’
‘Ok, I am listening’. Her voice quivered slightly-it was rather uncharacteristic of her. He himself was nervous and kept pacing up and down in his room. His palms were suddenly sweaty and the saliva in his mouth seemed to have evaporated. This could change everything…
‘I have been accepted into a five-year doctoral fellowship in Denmark. Two years, Master’s degree and the subsequent three years for the doctorate degree. It starts in January, so I technically have only four months before I leave. The second thing is that I am in love with you. I have been in love with you since the day you silenced loud mouth Kow, in SSS 2.’
Silence reigned. He knew she was thinking, trying to process everything he had just said. He was also thinking about all the things he did not say- that he didn’t want to lose her, that he hoped they could work it out.
‘I’ll wait for you.’