Hey people! Remember this guy: Chris? Well, he finally got back to me so here’s what happened with him after that devastating experience…Enjoy!
Narrating the story to me, Chris would have liked to say that he walked away happy and relieved that he had dodged a bullet; that he had the best time the next day and each day subsequently was better than the preceding one…the truth was vastly different.
Walking into his self-contained tiny flat that night and swinging the door shut, it all came crashing back in full force and he sank to his knees, tears streaming freely down his face. The thumping within his chest intensified and with each beat he felt pain.
All this time, and of all days…
His eyes fell on the wrapped painting he’d gotten a professional artist to make of the two of them. The plan had been to have it delivered to her flat the next morning by courier as an early morning surprise. Now it just seemed like the first of many dry bits of ash in his mouth.
The air actually felt thinner for a second and though the tie around his neck was already loose he ripped it off as he gasped for air – panic attack! He’d heard about this from a friend before who seemed to suffer them every morning before a major exam and he’d laughed it off “Kwesi paa, small exam wey you dey fear so?”
Mercifully, he never realized when sleep took him as he lay on the shaggy carpet. And that was the last night he slept for over an hour at a time for the next 3 weeks…
Squinting at a particular beam of sunlight that had squeezed through the point where the halves of the window met aimed straight at his face, Chris groaned at the habitual headache that accompanied his waking hours and turned over in his bed and away from the unwelcome illumination.
As if on cue, a sharp rapping on the main door to his flat interrupted his attempts to gain the last vestiges of his dreamless sleep. In annoyance, he flipped his pillow over his head and burrowed deeper into his blankets, trying to shut it out. It continued for almost 5 whole minutes before cutting off abruptly. Before he could heave a sigh of relief, however, his phone started trilling the complex but annoying ringtone he had assigned to Sammy Addai!
At that very moment he would have thrown the nearest adequately weighty object at the fellow’s head if he was within reach but instead contented himself with throwing a very juvenile but silent fit because he knew from experience that the bugger wouldn’t let up until he picked the call. That was partly why he’d given him that tone in the first place – resistance was futile.
Huffing in irritated resignation, he heaved himself up to pick the call.
“Hello,” he answered in the most sleep-heavy voice he could summon to hide the annoyance he was sure would creep into it, also hoping Sammy would take the hint and hopefully keep it brief.
“Yeah, I’m testing the new sleeptalking feature on my iPhone!” he answered irritatedly.
“Oh for real?! Kwɛɛ! You be the guy o!”
Sometimes Sammy’s inability to process sarcasm made for the most unsatisfactory results eh…
Shaking his head in disbelief with little hint of sleep remaining now, Chris spoke in a longsuffering voice.
“Sammy, this morning call dierr, whatsup?”
“Oh Chris, it’s me knocking at your door. Come gbele me eh?”
“I’m coming,” Chris ground his teeth in frustration. Saturdays were supposed to leave you at peace, or failing that, with the least amount of stress manageable. Sammy was one heck of an unwelcome pest this morning.
He unlocked the door and Sammy stalked in dressed as if on his way to a wedding.
“Bros, hurry up and get ready – I’m taking you out today!”
Chris was now at the end of his rope and started shaking his head, putting together the most polite words to say buzz off without hurting the guy’s notoriously soft feelings.
“Uh uh,” Sammy raised a hand in his face and shook a finger at him. “We’re going to a function at my uncle’s house and I want to introduce him to you – he is madly dusted and may be able to refer you to some law firm or something – don’t say I didn’t do anything for you before now.” He quelled the rising protest on Chris’ tongue with the same wagging finger, pointing it back towards the bedroom and bathroom.
For the longest second Chris actually considered bundling the fellow up out of his flat unceremoniously….up until he grinned and the haze of early morning grumpiness parted and fell away under Sammy’s unrelenting optimism. Shaking his head, he turned around without another word and trudged off smiling wryly. Maybe this is what I need – a good distraction. The way I pick my friends eh…
An hour later Chris found himself seated in the beautifully decorated garden behind a bamboo pavilion as the main part of the wedding ceremony went on closer to the centre, having been abandoned almost immediately by Sammy. He was back to kicking himself mentally because the last place he’d wanted to be for months now was with a wedding party. It just reminded him of the fool he’d been, allowing himself to dream of a life with…her. He still had some difficulty mentioning her name, even now.
He didn’t even realise that he was scowling until someone snapped two fingers in his face, startling him. He shook his head and looked up.
“Bra, why the gloom and doom? It’s a wedding – smile small, eh?”
The chirpy voice belonged to a young lady who looked to be in her mid-to-late teens. She was obviously part of the wedding party in her white lace dress lined with royal blue. He would have been upset with her, were it not for the bright smile on her face as she rebalanced the serving tray she presented to him.
“Oh, hmmm. I’m sorry. I just got carried away by my thoughts for a while. My name is Chris, by the way.”
“It’s alright. I’m Kuukuwa – the bride is my eldest sister. At least now I don’t have to tell her that one of the guests was having an unpleasant time at her wedding.” She winked in jest at that and they both laughed.
“By the way, do you know Sammy Addai? I came with me and he promptly ditched me the moment we set foot here.”
“Oh, I think Sammy is inside the main house. I think I saw him speaking with Daddy. I can take you to him if you want.”
“Um, maybe that’s for the best. I’m not in the best of moods right now, to be honest, and I think I’d like to leave now. Lots of stuff on my mind after all.”
She studied him quizzically with an eyebrow raised.
“You seem like the sort who won’t tell me what it’s about so I won’t ask what it’s about. But you’ll be fine, okay?”
Taking a second look at the petite young woman, he mentally adjusted her age to probably the early twenties.
“But you’re leaving so soon? Won’t you even wait for us to serve lunch?”
He smiled a little at that. “I don’t know if I can…you let me just talk to Sammy and see what his plans are and I’m sure I will be able to make up my mind about that.”
“Okay. Just a minute and I’ll be back.”
She returned the now empty tray to one of the serving stands, and threading their way around the center of activities, they ended up in the foyer of the large main house.
Chris nodded to himself mentally, That’s right. This is how real money does it. He knew that if he hadn’t seen it himself he would have doubted that someone in Ghana had such a house. Being pre-warned by the large well-manicured grounds of the estate, he’d been ready to see money at work within the house – but he hadn’t expected it to be quite like this.
The large, tastefully-furnished foyer led to 2 independent spiraling staircases on either side leading off unto the first floor of the mansion which led off to the rest of the living quarters he guessed. Apart from the gold-leaf furniture of the foyer, however, there were gilded wall-sized mirrors to both sides of the room only interrupted by a door each to the left and right.
“You can wait in the sitting room,” she directed him with another smile to the room on the right. “Let me go find that talkative for you.” She went up the left staircase as he entered the room to wait in the welcome air-conditioned room.
Sinking into one of the comfortable sofas just inside and to the right side of the sitting room, it took him a few seconds to realise he wasn’t the only one in the room sue to a persistent clicking noise. A young woman sat on the far side of the tastefully-furnished parlour, typing away furiously at a computer keyboard in an alcove behind a dark wooden desk.
“Hello, good afternoon,” he greeted.
“Hi there. I’ll be with you soon. Please make yourself comfortable at the cold bar.”
Soon? An obvious case of mistaken identity. He opened his mouth to clarify matters, then stopped when he finally took a good look at her.
She was in a similar outfit to the younger Kuukuwa, but they had similar enough features that he was sure that they were definitely related; her older sister probably. Her lace was sewn in a different cut though and from what he could see above the desk, hugged her figure in all the right places. He snuck a few more looks in her direction to check her out.
She was quite the beautiful young woman – beautiful eyes behind a pair of horn-rimmed glasses and hair drawn back in a ponytail, her focus centered on the computer screen only served to accent her particular brand of attractiveness tinged by intelligence.
“Thank you, I’ll be waiting.”
Close to five minutes after and Kuukuwa was not back with word of Sammy. Chris was just thinking of making his apologies and leaving the sitting room for home after all when she stabbed the keyboard with a note of finality before addressing him once more.
“All done now, sorry for the wait. I can see you now.” She directed him to take a seat in front of her at the desk as she shuffled some papers on the desk around.
He found himself obliging, though he didn’t know exactly why. He’d however decided to come clean but before he could speak she pre-empted him.
“I guess you’re here to discuss the position at our Law Firm for a Junior Associate? My father would have met you himself but I’ve been handling the initial semi-formal discussions over the past year as the Deputy Administrator. I’m Eduwa Akorful.”
He took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry Ms Akorful, I think there has been a cruel twist of mistaken identity. You see, I’m Christopher Asumeng – probably not who you’re expecting to meet today. I’m just waiting to see your cousin, Sammy, before I leave the programme – that’s the mistake identity part. The cruel twist, however, is that I’m interested and similarly qualified for that particular position…unfortunately.”
“Oh, is that so?” She frowned slightly, and the way her forehead wrinkled as she pursed her lips made Chris’s heart skip a beat.
Herh, what do you think you’re doing?! The last thing he wanted to do was to jeopardise his chances of employment by checking out his potential boss’s daughter even before he landed the job!
“Well…then can you send me your CV so I go through it later and we can reschedule a proper interview another time soon?”
“Wow! That would be just great! Thank you for the opportunity.”
“It’s no bother at all. I guess I’ll just have to wait here for -,” she looked down at a post-it note on a folder in front of her, “ – a certain young man who’s already pretty late to his appointment with me.”
She handed him a complimentary card with another smile just as Sammy stepped into the room with Kuukuwa following.
“Oh Chris, you say you dey lef rydee? But Uncle Frank is still busy o. You no fit wait small?”
“Sorry bro, I’m not feeling as well as I hoped I was. But thank you for bringing me here today tho. I met your two amazing cousins and I’m sure it’ll be great meeting your uncle too some other time soon.” He got up, buttoning the blazer as he turned toward them.
“And it really was a delight meeting you Ms Kuukuwa Akorful. Maybe next time we can talk some more?”
“Sure, Chris, Anytime.”
Moving to shake hands with Eduwa across the desk, he smiled at her in turn as he nodded once. It might have been a suspicion before, but even after just those few minutes interacting with her, he knew he had to get to know her better.
Something, however, was now nibbling at the back of his mind that he annoyingly couldn’t place a finger on. He shrugged it off a moment later though as Kuukuwa handed him a packed meal she’d had them organize from the lunch pavilion outside. It occurred to him that he hadn’t had a decent meal in days, if not weeks. The blues never seemed to let up enough to motivate him to do get any real food since Adjoa unceremoniously dumped him.
It was in the back of the cab on his way home that it finally struck him, what had been just at the edges of his mind. It wasn’t just an ornate chair she was sitting in: it was an expensive, state-of-the-art, wheelchair.
I wonder what that’s about…
[…to be continued]
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