Thanks for getting to the end of ‘Six Years Late’, guys! I know for many people this might not seem like the happy ending. But hey… Please leave a comment, tell me what you think, and do share it with anyone who might be interested.
I was sitting in Ebo’s couch, drinking a glass of sparkling red wine. It was one of the finest bottles of Lambrusco there ever was– one of my favouring bottles – La Battagliola… Though sweet, it had that spicy, bitter bite right after.
He was one of the few people I knew that enjoyed it as well. The girls usually preferred white wine… and even when they had red wine, Lambrusco was not an option. It was the kind of wine you could get through, without even realising! It could also get you drunk without any ‘tipsy prelude’.
He had that E.L.’s song playing over and over “Mi sweety jole, my one and only my shorty…”
Kweinuaa, Sakyi and Annie had fallen asleep a short while before I showed up. Apparently they’d been running round the house, playing tag, and putting him out of his mind with all the noise.
“Remember when we were kids and we’d play ‘pilolo’, and ‘zanzama’?”
I could already feel a buzz from the wine.
“I was the girl that would always knock the guys the hardest whenever we played zanzama. The other girls would take it easy, cos they wanted to be spared when it was their turn… I could not be bothered!”
Where did that happy carefree girl go to?
“Mi naa bo po po po, Mi naa bo po po po, nk33, hef3 he ni maya, moko moko moko b3… mi naa bo po po po…”
He was looking at me… in that lazy, yet serious way that only he seemed to be able to. I’d only noticed recently that he had a small dent in his cheeks – it wasn’t a dimple, more like an indented scar. We’d spent more time together in the past 4 months than we ever had before. I’d noticed things about him I’d always overlooked. Like how his jaw did a twitching thing, when he was contemplating things, how he gritted his teeth very subtly whenever an argument came up. And how his smile, though rare, brightened up his face entirely!
Nii had quite suddenly become a common face at any function we attended. After the last time he’d showed up at the house, he’d showed up at some church programmes, and at my office on six different occasions (with flowers and/or lunch). He’d packed out of Ebo’s house, after an argument about whose side he was on, and apparently gotten himself a place at the Trasacco Valley. I still hadn’t sorted out the way I felt about the whole situation. I was civil about him, but I was not swayed. I had a beautiful life built, and I was not going to bring back toxic memories into them.
And I was sure that I was going to have a happy ending. Maybe just not yet, and surely, not with him.
I handed him the letter…
“So I suppose you’ve come to a verdict?” He said when he saw the addressee… His jaw twitched, as he took it from my hands, sliding a tad closer to me in the couch.
I never thought I’d write a letter like this. After about 6 months of your absence, I stopped believing I’d ever see you again. But this is life. And I suppose the unexpected should always be expected.
I was very shaken when you suddenly re-appeared. I didn’t expect to be this affected by your return. I didn’t expect to be put so off-balance. And yet already, it’s been over four months!
A few weeks ago, the last time you showed up at church, I had quite a number of people asking me if I’d forgiven you, if there was going to be some sort of reunion. I didn’t know what kind of answer to give. I had not forgiven you. You see, I had buried all of the hurt inside some dead part of my heart, and slowly, without realising it, you were still chipping at my heart… year after year, taking chunks away, from inside out…
Last week, I decided that that had to end. I decided that I would forgive you. I would set myself free. I decided that my heart was too fragile to let this keep festering. I would not let it destroy me.
Now I want to be clear about something. Forgiving you has nothing to do with getting back together with you, making it work, or whatever words you’d prefer to use. Unless the Holy Spirit Himself comes down to speak to me concerning that, I honestly do not see it happening. So I want you to continue to remain as far away from me as possible. It’s been quite liberating hearing your story, honestly. I’m more liberated to go about my own life. I’m only thirty – three. And my life will count. It will count without you in it. I’m glad that I never had that delusion that these young girls keep growing up with these days, thinking that they cannot function without a man. Thinking that they need a husband to validate their lives. Much as it’s helpful, it can be done without. And for six long years, Nii, I’ve made it work.
So I’m going to return to the dating scene, my dear. And I’m going to be a very happy woman – even happier than the woman you married – if that’s possible. I will spend drinking nights out with the girls, I will laze about my house and read books. I will drive to the beach whenever I feel up to it. I will go to church and enjoy services, and pretend I cannot see or hear all those who seem to think they can decide what I do in life. I will not spare a thought over you – as I have not done in years. I will do what’s best for my daughter and I.
Oh, and just so you know, we know exactly what heaven on earth is like. It definitely doesn’t have you in it.
Now, about my daughter. Yes, Nii, you read right – my daughter – Kweinuaa. I’d like for you to stop harbouring any intentions of ever getting close to her. Because if you ever try it, Nii… I will get a restraining order. And if you send me to court, I will fight you. I will fight till I make you go bankrupt. You know better than to let this go unheeded – I’ve done my research, and I know how to make it work. She was not your daughter when I had her. She certainly isn’t now.
Ebo and Ofoe have been amazing fathers to her. She will be just fine.
He paused and looked at me with a funny simper… I downed a little more of the wine. My heart was racing, and my chest beginning was burn a little. I could tell I was somewhere on the verge of drunkenness. I’d have to consider an Uber… or Ebo could drive me home?
And one day, I hope that you find some other woman, who can handle you. Someone who’ll be fine with a decision to bail anytime things don’t work. I hope she makes you happier than I ever made you. I hope you have babies with her. Because my baby girl is not to be shared. She’ll always be my daughter. Not ours.
All we have left, Nii, is the memory of a beautiful marriage, a horrid separation, and now, a surprising and civil re-acquaintance. Nothing more is ever going to come out of that.
Now that you’ve made your apology and intentions known, I’d like for you to know that you’re forgiven. Only forgiven so I can be free.
I will have a happy ending, Nii. But it won’t have you in it.
Ebo looked at me, and smiled – fully this time. It was an intent gaze. He took a sip of his Lambrusco, and kissed my forehead.
Maybe… just maybe, this was my happy ending.