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Wardrobe series: Beauty for ashes – Byes and Tears

When I woke up in the morning, my whole body was aching and I was feeling feverish. I looked around, the surroundings seemed quite unfamiliar.
I wondered where I was.
In a flash, I remembered; I had run to my sister’s house the night before for solace.
The events of the night before rushed into my mind with an urgency. Then I started wailing again.
The door flunged opened, and my sister walked in accompanied by my mother.
When I saw them, I cried the more.
I wish they could leave me alone, but they won’t budge.
The days that followed were unbearable….
I lost my appetite…
I won’t talk to anybody..
I lamented…
Brooded over my plight..
The pain in my heart didn’t just want to go away…it was like an stubborn stain that wouldn’t just go away no matter the amount of parazone used.
It was like a scare crow which stared at you in the face every direction you turned.
Loving someone can be so heart breaking isn’t it?
So many unwanted and uninvited thoughts floated about the corners of my mind…
They just wouldn’t go away.
Unspoken, yet one look in my eyes, the window to the soul, gave away all the pain I was bottling inside.
My mum was dead worried and so was my sister.
After a week of not seeing Kwame’s face, he together with his mum, uncle and our Pastor came to see my family.
I didn’t want to be part of the meeting but my mum was not in agreement. She said “You wouldn’t want Kwame to think that you are a weakling, would you? My dear, wipe away your tears, put on your best dress and let’s go face him. Kwame shouldn’t see you cry”
With that briefing, I walked into the meeting with my head held high, though my heart was grieving.
His mum was all teary, probably disappointed in her son and sorry for the pain he had caused me.
Anytime she tried speaking, her words were choked in between with tears.
Our Pastor was their spokesperson.
He pleaded on Kwame’s behalf and asked that I give him another chance to prove himself. And that Kwame has vowed to turn on a new leaf. According to him, Kwame said his secretary forced herself on him and that he had no intention of cheating on me.
I wonder how they could believe a folktale like that. It sounded so absurd to me.
As far as I could remember Doris had a lot of reverence and fear for Kwame and wouldn’t even dare to look at him in a flirtatious way. I sat in her interview, she was well mannered and she fit perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle in our criteria for selection.
I was of the conviction that it was Kwame who took advantage of Doris’s innocence or forced himself on her. He capitalized on her vulnerability.
I just sat there and listened without showing any emotions.
As for Kwame, he was as silent as a sheep being sent to the shearers.
His eyes were looking pleadingly in my direction but I avoided looking him in the eye.
My Kayla was with her granny and crying, confused I guess because she had no idea what was happening; all she knew was her mummy had been away for one whole week.
There was a lot of talking and pleading but my mind was made up, I wanted separation to allow me time to heal and to make a decision not based on sentiments.
How long? I couldn’t be specific.
What choice did they have, they had to accept it, though they wished otherwise.
Three days later, I went to pack my things from Kwame’s house, together with that of Kayla.
He stood in the doorway, and if he had his way he wouldn’t have allowed me to leave.
I was moved, but I gave him no indication that I was affected.
Kwame had wanted to keep Kayla, but I refused and demanded that since she was too young she should be with me.
The poor child….
As they say, time is the best healer.
As the days moved into months, I missed Kwame.
Surprisingly, I did.
I slowly was forgetting the pain he caused me.
Being a person who doesn’t bear grudges for long, I knew it wasn’t going to be long before my pain eased.
Perhaps that was one of the reasons that made Kwame take me for granted.
I didn’t want to continue suffering for the wrong he did.
Why, because while growing up I saw a number of people whose lives became degenerated due to life issues or a heartbreak. I didn’t want that kind of life.
I didn’t want to walk about with a baggage of pain, bitterness and unforgiveness. It was too heavy a load I couldn’t carry.
In Kwame’s case, I initially feared that it would have been an exception but it wasn’t.
The heart that loves truly loves beyond faults.
My love for Kwame went beyond the pain he caused me.
Some people say those of us who love like that are fools. Well, that’s their opinion.
I didn’t understand why my heart wanted to be with Kwame.
All I knew was that every night when I went to lie down, my thoughts were full of him. I would clutch my pillow, shift from one end of the bed to the other. At other times, I cried, and asked myself a lot of questions about why Kwame did what he did. I prayed that one day he could tell me what moved him to do what he did to me.
Every time I looked at Kayla, I could see him. I could see him in the way she laughed, in the way she talked, in the way she looked at me….In everything she did.
She was her father’s carbon copy.
As if that was not enough..
Some nights Kayla would insist that she wants her daddy to tuck her in bed before she sleeps, other times she won’t eat till her daddy comes around.
She always used to ask “Mummy why is daddy not living here with us?”
“Mummy when will daddy come for me?”
Mummy this, mummy that…
Oh kids!!
How could I tell her that her dad and I had separated because we were having marital issues?
I however didn’t want to make any hasty decision. They say, once bitten twice shy.
I needed to give it some time.
Kwame needed to learn his lesson the hard way.
I didn’t hear from Kwame or his mother for some time until one evening when his mum called and pleaded that I let Kayla visit Kwame on weekends.
I couldn’t say no, he was after all her father. And since the separation he was paying money into my account for her upkeep.
Anytime he came to pick Kayla, I wished I could ask him not to leave, or to stay a bit longer. I fought myself not to do so.
It was obvious that he was also hurting emotionally and he looked starved.
In the seventh month of our separation, Kayla went to her father’s house when school vacated. In the second week of her departure, I was home one evening when Kwame called me to inform me that Kayla was vomiting and her temperature was a bit up. He sounded very alarmed and didn’t know what to do.
I rushed there as soon as I could.
The moment I entered the house, a surge of sorrow filled my heart.
Nothing much had changed, except that the house looked abandoned and not well maintained.
I stood still for a moment, then I went straight to Kayla’s room.
After bathing her with some cold water and giving her the medication I got from the pharmacy Kayla was looking better but she couldn’t sleep so Kwame and I had to stay by her side.
I had wanted to leave after some time, but I couldn’t bear it leaving my child. What if she had need of me? If anything happened to her, I wouldn’t have forgiven myself. So I stayed.
Kwame sat at one end of the bed, with me on the other end.
After months of relating to each other as acquaintances, it felt a bit odd sitting facing each other.
I resorted to fidgeting with my phone, and Kwame followed suit.
Then he broke the silence…
“So how have you been?”
“Ok” I replied
“And work?”
Then there was dead silence..
Then he started another conversation..
“Your dress is nice”
“Thanks for taking care of Kayla”
Kayla was by then fast asleep and it was getting very late so I wanted to leave.
Kwame proposed that I spend the night there by Kayla side but I said I was not comfortable with the idea. He offered to drive me home but I said there was no need to and that I would pick a taxi.
I needed to run away because I was melting inside. I was scared it will show and Kwame will think I was a weak woman. I needed to be strong and the only way to stay strong at that moment was to leave.
When I got to the door, Kwame said “Kayla needs you and I together”.
That statement, it pierced my heart to the very core. I stood still and couldn’t walk out.
“I miss you Asantewaa. Please don’t go yet. For Kayla’s sake, please spend the night here, even if you won’t say a word to me…
Wherever you may want to sleep , but please don’t go. It’s late and it’s dangerous.”
I heeded to his advice. I slept in the sofa in the hall.
When Kayla woke up and saw that I was there she was so happy. Why not? She missed seeing her mummy and daddy together.
I prepared breakfast for Kayla and Kwame also had his fill.
Then I left, though deep down, I wished I could stay.
If you were in my stead, what will you have done?
Love is an ocean and sometimes its waves cannot be understood.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”
Psalm 73:26 (NIV)
Kuukua Akonor

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