Karla’s Story IV

And finally, we’ve come to the end!! Thank you everyone, for all the feedback, and the low-key threats here and there, Haha! I hope you enjoy the final part! Again, if you missed any of the previous parts, you can find the first part here, the second part here, and the third here!

 

“H3rh, Akwei, you fool too much!”

It had been close to two weeks since he’d spoken to Karla (Actually, it was 11 days, 4 hours, and a couple of minutes – but no, he really wasn’t counting, he just knew, somehow).

He’d told her that he needed some time, to get over the situation, and to ‘work out his schedule’. She didn’t fight it. She’d just quietly told him to take all the time he needed. He didn’t have the courage to ask what was on his mind – would she wait for him? Would she be upset if it took him months to figure everything out? He had felt like a coward. But then he didn’t want an answer he couldn’t deal with. So he left it.

“I really hope that this time, she leaves you. Because if she doesn’t, you’ll be there thinking no matter what happens she’ll be there. She naa, her tail is hot… she can replace you in a minute. You know that girl is the jackpot!!”

They hadn’t spoken at all. No calls, no messages. No random swinging by the others house – she was often the one to do that. And he hadn’t even seen her in church on Sunday – she didn’t show up!

He didn’t know what exactly he needed the break for… maybe to figure out if he would be fine if they ended it? Or to give her some space to decide if she still wanted him? Or maybe he was just too proud to accept the fact that he had a part to play in all that had happened? He really did not know.

They boys were all singing so loudly to Ackah Blay and Cabum’s song– mostly half drunk, ‘Ladies and Gents, are you ready now, we are taking the girls away…… we are taking the girls away… whatever you do, I will take you home… I will take you home tonight…’ It was quite a sight.

Prince looked him in the eye for a couple of seconds “Akwei, Somebody go take your girl away ooh!”

The past week had been different for him. He found himself checking his phone more often than usual, just in case she sent a message. He looked out for her at church on Sunday – she wasn’t there. There was nobody to remind him that he needed to call his sisters kids. He loved them dearly, but somehow, he never remembered to call them. It was always K that reminded him to. In the past week, he’d eaten so many weird meals from the cafeteria at the office. Usually, he and K would cook on the weekends, and he would pack a meal for lunch at work every day. He got back from work extra tired; yet he missed hearing her whine about colleagues or people from work. She would talk for about an hour sometimes, and to be frank, half the time he was not listening.

Just like he presently wasn’t listening to Prince. He’d passed by his place for drinks with some of the other guys – they all did that on most Friday nights, but he hardly ever joined them. He went today because he needed a distraction. But Prince wasn’t helping. Nothing was helping.

He didn’t want to talk about his foolhardiness or about Karla. He just wanted to be distracted.

Why do you want to be distracted? What are you waiting for? You expect that she’s waiting?

He still had a lot on his mind. He knew he loved her, and though he knew he was part to blame, it didn’t change the feeling of betrayal he still harboured. Or maybe it was just too much male ego, he couldn’t even tell. All he knew was that he missed her, and he didn’t know if after all the sacrifices she’d made for him, this was reason enough to let it all go.

Karla is an amazing woman! She’s stuck by you this long, when all you’ve done is pretty much work! You need to stop being petty! 

His mind was playing games with him. How on earth does sticking by him amount to finding her way into another man’s arms?

She did not willingly sleep with him. She made silly choices, Yes. But she did not deliberately cheat on you!

He left the place even more agitated than when he’d gotten there. He’d significantly worked on his schedule over the past two weeks. He delegated the things he knew could be done, and he planned his work hours out properly. Even if he didn’t end up with Karla in the end, he knew that nobody wanted a workaholic – even his mother had recently started to complain about it!

He got to his apartment late, and decided that he would pray. It was high time he did something about this situation. This ‘break time’ needed to either be over or end in a break-up.

*                            *                            *                            *                            *                            *

Karla had decided she would be okay. Not everything lasted. Not everyone worked out. There would be other guys. Besides, being alone didn’t look bad at all. After Akwei left her house that Monday night, she’d made some decisions. She wasn’t going to be the victim of any situation. She made her bed, and she was damn prepared to lie in it!

She’d had a busy week, and that weekend, she’d decided she’d do a road trip. She needed to get it all together. She decided to visit a village in Kwahu, a city in one of the mountainous regions. Her plan was to just drive, with loud music, the wind in her hair, see some places, and maybe climb a trail. All alone of course.

And she did! She had an awesome time! She left on Friday, and returned Sunday afternoon. She met a group from one of the banks, having a retreat at the hotel she lodged in. They seemed like nice people, and one guy in particular paid her a lot more attention than normal. She knew his kind, and she definitely wasn’t ready for any more drama. So she left quietly that Sunday afternoon, avoiding them at all cost, so she wouldn’t even be asked for a phone number.

She made sure she filled up her week well. She didn’t want to have time to mope about Akwei. If he wanted a break, she was okay with it. But she knew that this was likely the end – she might as well get used to the single life.  She was enjoying one of those quiet Friday nights, playing late night scrabble with Rama, when she suddenly felt an urge to call him. She missed him. She knew that well. And that was why she’d made sure she was too busy to pine. She didn’t think that he would last two weeks. If he’d lasted that long, he had probably done a good job of starting to move on. She would have called. But he was the one who asked for the break. If he wanted, he would have called.

Knowing him, he’s probably still at work! Or maybe he actually moved on?

Her sadness was gradually turning to ire. She didn’t want to think about him. Long after Rama had gone to bed, she lay in bed, thinking about the many beautiful times they’d had together, and trying hard to not cry.

 


 

It was 3am, and he still hadn’t slept a wink. There were so many things he wanted to go back and tell Karla. But he knew he probably wouldn’t be able to. He knew that one look at her, and he might not be able to say them all. She’d always been the outspoken one, speaking her mind all the time. He wasn’t that way. Maybe he’d write a note. Or type it, and maybe email it to her? Sitting alone in his own bedroom, he felt nervous. This was not his territory. What would be appropriate to say? What would she want him to say? What did he actually want to say? Maybe it was best to end it? Or maybe he would say he’d forgiven her? And ask for forgiveness too? He really was clueless.

Eight different crumpled letters later, he settled on what he thought would be safe to send. What would communicate his feelings and explanations the best. It was 6.30 am when he finished showering and got ready to drive to hers. He knew she wouldn’t be up till about 9am, but Rama did a weekend jog, usually around 7am… she would let him into the house. If he didn’t leave before all the courage left him. He would never be able to.

 

He got to their house, and just as he’d expected, Rama was getting ready for her jog. He didn’t know how much she knew, but she looked very surprised to see him. She let him in and left. He wondered what Mr. Arthur was going to think if he woke up and found him in his sleeping daughter’s room – that maybe he snuck in at night? He didn’t want to think about that. And besides, Rama was the one who let him in.

As usual, Karla was curled up in a ball in one corner of the bed. She was not decent, and for about two minutes, he stood at the door, staring at her. He quickly covered her up, his mind was wandering to unsafe territories – he didn’t need that. Once again, he lay on the bed across from her, and waited for her to wake up. This time, he couldn’t sleep. He kept stealing glances at her, her face was calm, and her mouth slightly open. Most of her hair had come out of the ponytail she’d tied. She shifted slightly, and uncovered her thighs. He knew that he should cover her up again, but this time he just wanted to enjoy the view. The beautiful love of his life that he’d almost lost. And once again, he hoped that she hadn’t given up on them.

When she woke up, she saw Akwei looking at her. It was definitely a dream. How did he get in, and when? And why was he smiling?

She reached out to touch his face, causing the cloth to fall from her chest. She wasn’t exactly bothered – it was a dream anyway. Maybe she missed him so much, that her mind had resorted to dreams.

But then she touched the face, and actually felt it. He was still there. He was staring at her chest.

Akwei swallowed hard, and then with all the mental strength he could muster, returned his gaze to her face… she looked as if she was living a dream. She was smiling and reaching out to touch his face. He couldn’t say anything. He was willing his mind to not dwell on her half nakedness. But he was lying in a bed with her, and she was awake… and half naked!

Karla realised she was probably not dreaming.

“Akwei… what are you doing here… and how did you get here?” she knew she had morning breath – she could smell it herself. But she really couldn’t be bothered.

He still wasn’t saying anything. When he managed to form words, he asked her to put on some clothes. She was still obviously surprised. She went inside the bathroom to brush her teeth, and came back in a T-shirt and apparently, nothing else.

“I’m going to make a coffee, would you want one?” He nodded. He needed some time to get his mind back to the matter at hand. She was gone for about fifteen minutes, and returned with his coffee. As usual, she had her coffee black, strong and very sweet. He had his without sugar, but with a lot of cream.

She knew how to make him a good coffee. Always had.

She sat on the bed, holding her mug to her lips, and looking at him. He still couldn’t form the words he wanted to say.

“How have you been?” she shrugged. “Quite good. I drove to Kwahu over the past weekend. It was very lovely. I would have done that paragliding thing if it was the season…” He wanted to ask if she went alone. And if not, who had she gone with? He couldn’t bring himself to ask.

“That’s nice. He took a large gulp of his coffee.” Her lack of proper clothing was not helping his ‘tongue-twistedness’.

K, I… wrote you… a letter.” He stuttered.

She almost choked on her coffee. She knew Akwei never wrote letters. Even when he’d been in high school, he’d according to his friends, been one of those guys that would never reply a letter.

Okay… what’s it about?” she was quite wary; she placed her coffee mug on the floor, and she drew closer to him.

She seemed oblivious of the fact that all he could think about at that moment was the fact that underneath the T-shirt, she didn’t have anything on. She was eager to see the letter!

He finished his coffee, and put away the mug, determined to get his mind out of the gutter. He took out the letter. “I want to read it to you.” She was even more surprised.

Who was this, and where was her Akwei?

They were sitting facing each other now. He brought out the letter, and started to read.

 

My dear K,

This is the first note I’ve ever written. You’ve always known it’s not my thing. But it’s probably very long overdue. I may sound stupid. But I don’t know if I’ll have the courage to say all I need to say. So I decided to learn from you, and write this.

Remember the night I asked you out? You had a dazed look on your face – you hadn’t seen it coming, and you were flustered – pretty close to hysteric. You were not prepared.

I think that’s what I’ve been feeling lately. I didn’t see this coming. I have never ever imagined you in the arms of another man – I never wanted to. But for the past few weeks, I’ve battled with my mind on so many things. The worst of them is the feeling that you were with someone else.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I had a large role to play in all of it. I spoke to Mama – not about this situation of course, but generally about you and I. She told me that no woman wants to marry a man and then come second to his job – or to anything or anyone else. She’s been calling me a workaholic for some time now.

K, I want to explain to you, that I never meant for it to get this far. I didn’t think that I would be so engrossed with my work that I would neglect you. My motive right from the start, was to be enough for you. To be able to provide for you. Your aunt Kuukua talked to me about the kind of wedding I need to give you. And I know the kind of life your dad has provided for you. I need to be able to fit in his shoes. I want to be able to provide for the many sons you want to have one day. I’m not justifying any of this, I just want you to understand that I didn’t mean for it to get this bad. I love my job, no doubt about that. And I’ve managed to work my way up the ranks. But I should never have made it happen at our expense. I should never choose anything over you.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve had the chance to think. I don’t think that my reaction towards all that happened was appropriate. I should have been there for you when it all happened. And I’m sorry that I wasn’t. I should have thought about you first – I can’t imagine the kind of things you felt. I know you – you probably kept it all under wraps, and suffered it all alone. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t there to hold you when you needed me to.

He noticed a tear drop onto her shirt. He didn’t want to stop till he was done. But he didn’t want this to make her cry. For a minute he was torn. He looked at her, and she was looking down at her legs. He carried on.

I’ve thought about showing up at Kobby’s office, and giving him a sound beating (believe me, this has crossed my mind so often!), I’ve considered sending him a stern warning about you. I’ve considered so many things. But I figured that if I hadn’t created the opening, he wouldn’t have ever gotten into the picture.

No matter how much I of my fault this was, I still want you to know that I don’t want to ever have thoughts of you in the arms of another man. I know that there are a lot of them out there that deserve a woman like you. I know that you’re a big gift from God to me, and I don’t deserve all the sacrifices that you’ve made for me in the past. So if at any point in time, you begin to want more, just let me know. You deserve so much more! This time, I’m prepared to go wherever you need me to. I think it’s high time I started working just as hard at this relationship as I was at my job.

So today, I want to make some promises to you… they’re not going to be easy to keep, and I’m going to constantly need you to keep me in check. But I promise to work hard on this.

He reached out and held her right hand, and moved her next to him, so that they were sitting side by side now.

I promise to make time for you. Not just now when I’m relatively at the top of my job. Even when there are the struggles and big decisions to be made. Even when I have projects to work on, or deadlines to meet, you will come first.

I will listen to you. I won’t just hear you talk, I will hear you out, and listen to all you say. I realised yesterday that too often when we talk after work, I really only just hear you talk. I can barely remember any of the details of what you say. So I promise to listen to you.

I promise to start doing all of the mushy stuff that I never do. It will be weird, but I’ll get the hang of it. I’ll put my phone away and hold your hand. And I’ll cook for you for a change – I think I’ve gotten enough pointers from you to make a decent meal! I’ll take you somewhere you’ve always wanted to go to.

And finally, I promise to return to praying with and for you… It took all this for me to realise how long it’s been since I prayed sincerely. I took it for granted that everything was going so well. Thank you for jolting me back to reality.

I love you K, and I’m sorry for all of this. You also need to promise me though, that this will not happen again… nothing remotely close to this! 

Remember that song you made us listen to for about ten thousand times on our trip to Aburi?

“…If in the dark we lose sight of love, hold my hand and have no fear, cos’ I will be here.

I will be here when you feel like being quiet, when you need to speak your mind, I will listen.

And I will be here when the laughter turns to crying, through the winning losing and trying, we’ll be together – cos I will be here.

I will be here so you can cry on my shoulder, when the mirror tells us we’re older, I will hold you.

And I will be here to watch you grow in beauty, and tell you all the things you mean to me.

I will be here.

I will be true to the promise I have made….”

 

She didn’t let him finish. She wrapped her hands around his neck, and buried her face in the crook of his neck. The movement was so sudden, that it startled him. He let go of the paper, and hugged her back. He wondered if it would be appropriate to ask her then about marriage.

Akwei remembered Prince’s words. He’d indeed hit the jackpot with Karla!

 

 

THE END.