For Daasebre Dwamenah, who inspired the sadness inside me even before I knew what heartbreak was. Sing with the Angels, please.
If the clouds darken and it thunders and you cant sleep
When it rains and rains and the rain does not stop
I will ignore my racing heart and walk through the rain
So you know when you finally go to sleep my love,
Know that your lover will always come to you.
And on our 20th anniversary, I put out all the lights in the house. I led her to the hall where two candles burned on the centre table. Even before I could speak, I felt her whimper in my arms. “Sedi…” She turned to me,tears falling down her cheeks.
The first time I leaned in to kiss you, do you remember what you did to your face? It was at Kwame’s party, he was leaving us, travelling outside. The whole evening we had been sad, Rafia, Nana, you and I. The music sounded funny, no one touched the drinks and then the lights went out. It wasn’t the way we wanted to leave him, but in hindsight I guess it was one of those moments where you know you’re doing something wrong but the right option just doesn’t feel right. It just doesn’t allow itself to be done I guess.
Kwame went inside for candles and in the darkness I sighed. I wanted to be next to you on the sofa, I wanted to be sad with you. Everyone was so quiet, I almost got up from my seat to your end of the room, I was half way on my feet when Kwame came back, a candle in each hand, the glow radiating off his small nose, his Chinese eyes as you called them.
“guys…” He sat down on the floor and Rafia got up from next to Nana, the arm rest squeaking from her weight and came for the candles from him. He squirmed and rubbed his palms together.
“let’s not do this, it was bound to happen eventually”
Not one person spoke. Rafia had set the candles on the centre table so the room glowed a bright orange, our shadows stretched out on the walls. I looked at you and your eyes had watered up.
“I think it’s going to rain”.
Kwame looked up at me and smiled, “Yeahhh, maybe that’s why they took the light” He looked around the room, moping faces surrounded him. “Since this is basically my last night, we might as well tell some secrets before I leave” He had this smile on his face, I looked at you again and you were smiling too, you turned your head away but I could see your left dimple. You were wearing shorts and a black tee-shirt. Your glasses lay on the table next to the candles.
It was then that the roof started making those sounds, tha tha tha, slowly it increased in pace. It was one of those ones that come all of a sudden, soon it was thundering and there was no gap between the taps on the roof anymore, just a continuous rushing sound. You got up to close the windows and I told you to leave the top ones up, I liked how cold the room was, you nodded.
“SPIN THE BOTTLE GUYSSS!!! Jesus, this place is like a funeral home, I’m not leaving forever, Ill be back”
I doubt anyone had noticed the empty club beer bottle in front of him but we all laughed. The weather changed things that night, suddenly it was all okay, it was like before. You put off the stereo and we moved the centre table aside. We sat on the floor, you were right beside me, so close I could put my arms around you. While we laughed at the stupidity of what we were about to do, I leaned in and asked if you were cold, you shook your head and punched me lightly on the arm “so that’s why you wanted the windows open” I laughed awkwardly and you turned back to the game.
Fate has a strange way of reminding us it has nothing to do with what we want. I would think all three of them, Nana, Kwame, Rafia, knew. Rafia had spoken to me about it. The night we shared our first beers and pretended we were drunk, I had told the boys. They all knew but for some reason they steered off that question. In the space between my brains walls, frustration built. I looked around the room and I wondered why no one wanted to say truth or dare Ama, truth could be “do you know why Sedinam stares at you the way he does?”, dare could be “I dare you to kiss Sedinam”. Resentment crawled up to my gut.
The bottle spun and spun and finally it pointed at me. I looked up and they were all looking at me strange, Kwame, Rafia, Nana. I can swear I saw Rafia shake her head at me, a sense of foreboding in her eyes. I was so bothered, so overcome by emotion it just burst out of my lips.
“Ama do you like me?”
I had skipped the “truth or dare?” bit even. An uncomfortable silence came over the room. You turned and stared directly into my eyes. You were so beautiful, maybe it was the candle light, no, it was probably the cold, I leaned in to kiss you…
And then you made that face.
Nana held me by the shoulder and gently pulled me back. I kept staring at you, even as you turned away and clasped your face into your palms.
“Noooo, Sedinam No, why today? Why?”
I turned away and just stared into space. The rest of the evening went by like a whirlwind. I remember us leaving, I hugged Kwame and he told me it was okay. I nodded and looked away, they all said their good byes and we went into Nanas car, you did not come with us, you stood with your hand inside your back pocket and waved. As the cars engine came on, I watched through the window pane. It was wet from the rain and I could hardly see. Your silhouette turned towards Kwame and he held you, the car moved and I knew why he said it was okay.
“I’m so sorry Sedinam” Rafia held my hand, I turned from the window and stared at her.
“We didn’t know how to tell you”