Today, I bring you the concluding chapter of the short romance read, Loving Pain. I hope you enjoy it. I should appreciate your comments and feedback if any, on my blog. Thank you.
CHAPTER ONE – THE BREAK
It paid to be patient. I had always known that, and if nothing at all, I could recall my grandmother’s voice admonishing me to be patient in all situations and never chase after a man. However, grandmother had gone into the other world for a while now and couldn’t possibly know that I had done my share of chasing after Kofi. I had to agree with her though, that it does pay to be patient for I had waited patiently to end a relationship that had been going nowhere from the beginning.
My friends had seen the light long before I had. But I guess my mother who had been enamoured of him just as I had been, had fanned the flames of my love for him and I had loved him with a passion which had defied imagination.
As usual, he was about a half hour late for the date, speeding up the house in his latest toy, a Ford Escape. He offered no explanation for arriving late. That had always been his style and I had long stopped asking. He placed a rather cold peck on my cheek and as I looked up to his handsome face, I could not help but wonder what had kept me glued to this man for two solid years. Sex? Maybe, because it had always been good, but then as my dear friend Esi was fond of saying, ‘you don’t marry sex, you marry the man’. In this case, the man, Kofi was not marriage material and though I had known that for some time now, I had made excuses for his cheating and generally irresponsible attitude; but not anymore because I had to move on.
“Ayele, you look tired.” He said, as he sat down next to me on the couch. So he had noticed. For some time now, he had hardly noticed me and how I looked. The compliments, which had been lavish, were not forthcoming anymore.
‘I had a busy day at work.” I said, and then saw that for the first time since I had known him, he felt uneasy.
“Do you care for a drink?” I asked, him, trying to make him ease up.
“Er, no thanks, Ayele.” He looked everywhere but at me, and I decided to let him stew some more, before asking him the reason for his discomfort. Maybe I should withhold my news?
Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, Kofi took hold of my hands in his and looked at me with unreadable, disturbing eyes. Here was I, trying to find words to end a two-year relationship and yet as I looked back at him, mesmerised, I knew instinctively that Kofi had something important to tell me. Would the magnitude of his news surpass mine?
CHAPTER TWO – NEW BEGINNING
A few weeks after Kofi’s visit, I sat behind my desk in the office lost in thought. I had a deadline to keep. The marketing company I worked for, NEXUS was about to be taken over by one of the biggest names in the advertising and marketing industry, Origin 8 Saatchi and Saatchi. It was not a bad move, considering that NEXUS had been going nowhere since the CEO lost his wife. Admittedly there had been a series of mismanagement issues by some of the executives over the years, but somehow, the boss had held tight, until his wife’s unexpected death through childbirth. Origin 8 was bailing us out, with fat checks for those who had opted to move on. I had been offered a good position as a sales and advertising executive with the portfolio of managing GTP, one of the major textiles companies in Ghana.
I couldn’t wait to start with my new job; I saw it all as a new beginning. Now, as I cleared my desk I couldn’t help dwelling on Kofi and his bombshell. “Ayele, I don’t know how to say this, but I want us to end the relationship.”
“What!” I had been shocked at his words, stunned that he had beaten me to it. And then it hit me. Kofi had just released me from an unpleasant task.
“But why?” I needed to know and at that moment I hated myself for the desperation in my voice.
He felt uncomfortable as he said rather lamely. “It’s better this way, trust me, Ayele. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings.”
When he heard my brittle laughter he stared at me, surprised. ”Are you alright?”
“What did you expect?” I shot back, angry with him for doing this to me.
“Maybe I had better leave now, Ayele. But I thought it would be insensitive on my part if you should hear of my impending engagement to Bridget from another source.”
I was speechless and the pain of his betrayal sliced through me. So Kofi had been unfaithful again, but this time was actually making a major commitment. The unshed tears in my eyes told me that his exit from my life had not been sweet as I had thought.
“Excuse me, Are you Ms Ayele Addo?”
I shook myself from the reverie. A deep voice, sexy perhaps, interrupted my thoughts and I turned towards the door. Somewhere in my wanderings, probably swivelling in my chair, I had turned my back to the door, and so I hadn’t heard the knock. And then I stared, blinked and stared again, my heart going zing! What a sight!
CHAPTER THREE – MILES APART
“Get hold of yourself Ayele, the guy is only a driver with a Senior High School Certificate.” Esi murmured with exasperation. We were sitting at a table for two at Rhapsody’s in the Accra Mall. “Besides, you’ve known him for only a couple of months.”
“He is a driver with a future, Esi; and three months is more than enough time for me to get to know him and fall in love.” I replied stubbornly.
“Can you hear yourself? You have a Master’s degree, for heaven’s sake. Besides, it’s too soon after Kofi. You could get disappointed again”
I laughed, shaking my head. “No I won’t because this time, I chose with some care.
“What do you mean? Are you saying that Chris’ background will ensure that he will be beholden to you? But that is too calculating.
“Esi, don’t get me wrong. Kofi had all his credentials and yet he made a fool out of me. I admit that it did cross my mind, Chris’ background and all. But he worships me and for once it is refreshing to be the recipient of such deep devotion from a man.
“It’s because you have the upper hand, Ayele and I think your Chris is an opportunist.”
I shook my head sadly at Esi. “You are wrong, my dear. Chris is sensitive to my needs. Listen, when two people are in love, issues like education shouldn’t matter.“
“Really?” Esi sounded sceptical.
“Yes. He will soon write the access programme to enable him to enter the university. And despite the gap, we share so many things in common.”
“Hmm, you have it all worked out, don’t you?”
“The point of getting a degree in the first place was for me to use my thinking skills. Esi, as my best friend, can’t you be the first to be happy for me? I love him dearly.”
“So why does your mother hate this whole relationship?”
I sighed. “Mother is another matter altogether.” Grasping her by the hand and I forced Esi to look into my eyes as I spoke earnestly. “I’ve never felt this strongly about a man before. Not even Kofi. Chris is good to me, he treats me with so much respect and cares deeply for me.” I paused and then smiled mischievously, “and he is good in bed….”
“I know, my friend. But I’m worried for you. Just be careful and take the relationship one day at a time.”
That reckless streak in me made me disregard Esi’s words.
CHAPTER FOUR – CHRISTOPHER
“You’ve been going out with this girl for how long?” My mother asked me with some difficulty. As usual, I had to bend to be able to make out her words, through the slur. I guess I should be used to that by now, but anytime she spoke, the sheer effort of trying to make herself understood made me want to weep. This is what stroke can do to a loved one.
“For about six months now, mama.” Irrationally, I knew I would never forgive Ayele for allowing her insensitive mother to come storming into our modest home to heap insults on mama for me loving her daughter. We did not need any reminder of our poverty.
“You’ve introduced her to me and I’ve observed her as she comes to visit you, though I’ve kept silent. My son, do you love her? “Is she the one for you?” She whispered, doubtful.
“I love her so much, mama. She is the love of my life. But I will not see her anymore if that will make you happy.” Mama deserved this, at least.
“I see.” Sighing wearily, she closed her eyes for such a long time that I feared she might have fallen asleep. She certainly looked exhausted after exerting herself in such a manner and I felt some shame.
When she spoke, I was dumbfounded. “Chris, your father never stepped foot in the classroom, even though I had some basic education. My parents were against our marriage and I didn’t listen because I loved him. They were proved right; he left us when you were only two years old. I love you too much to stand in your way. Maybe you will be luckier than I was. I give you my blessings.”
I was weeping silently by now and could only mutter, “Thank you, mama.”
“Don’t weep, my child. Your girl’s mother is a fool. She does not know love; she has never loved before; she does not know God, for God is love.”
I had to smile, but mama was right. But wasn’t Ayele’s mother also right? What has a driver got in common with a sales and advertising executive who might soon do a PhD? Nothing, absolutely, nothing! I drive my boss around, pick his kids from school and stuff like that. It puts money in my pocket and enables me to take care of my sick mother.
Deep in my heart, I knew that despite my mother’s blessings and the deep love I had for her, I had to make some serious decisions. Could I go on seeing Ayele after what her mother had done?
CHAPTER FIVE – AYELE
“Ayele, you ought to tell him about the pregnancy, at least.” Esi said, not for the first time. It was a Saturday and we were in my room at home, relaxing on my bed. I was about five months gone; it had happened the day he told me it was all over. The knowledge of his baby growing in me somewhat assuaged the pain and despair of losing him.
I stared forlornly at my friend, not seeing her at all. Chris’ words had cut deep into my soul that fateful day in his room.
“My love, it is over between us.” He had said softly.
The sorrow in his eyes made me realise that he was serious and I felt a sharp pain in my heart. “Why?” I whispered, afraid to breath.
“I need to find myself.” He said simply and the anguish in his voice tore at my heart. Chris had never felt inferior to meand I know that I’d never made him feel insecure. I had always found him intelligent and world wise. All he lacked was the paper certificate to prove it.
He had taken me in his arms, weeping hard, trying to make me understand the desire in him to make something out of himself before he could have me as his wife. I told him I didn’t care, hadn’t we said that we could be together while he pursued his dreams? He had even enrolled for the access course so why the sudden change of heart? Someone had interfered. I knew it. When I found out who it was, I was sure to do something bad to that person
I did not ask him to re-consider. There was no need. I just gave myself to him to be loved totally and completely for the last time. I desperately needed him to erase the agony and emptiness that had crept into my soul, into my very being, if only for the moment.
Somehow, I managed to live though the days. My work kept me busy and Esi filled my days. My nights were full of memories of his love, his laughter, his sweetness, his warmth, his gentle touch, his kisses, his essence and his seed that was growing in me and somehow through the pain of losing him, I knew that fate will bring him back to me one day. Until then, I will wait.
I was jolted to the present by Esi who was gently shaking me. “Hey, come to earth, what is the matter?”
“I’m fine, Esi. What were you saying?”
“You always do this sort of thing, Ayele, stop thinking about Chris. It will harm his baby.”
“Yeah, but you know, I can’t stop thinking about him, ever. He is my soul mate.”