Rupert’s bedroom door slams open.
He is lying in bed, wearing only his boxers. It had been a hot night, and he had been in pain throughout the night. He has two more weeks left to leave Ghana, and he knows Eyram will not come with him. It has been giving him a lot of pain because he loves her so much. It is only in the mornings that his tired heart allows him to sleep, and so he has rescheduled most of his appointments to late afternoons. He looks up sleepily and sees Eyram in the doorway. She is weeping, and she looks absolutely shattered. His love for her soars, and he gets up in a flash.
Eyram! What’s wrong?
She does not answer. She is choked with pain and bitterness. She reaches behind her and pulls down her zipper. She pulls down her dress, and now she stands there in a lacy white strapless brassiere and white hugging underpants. Slowly she removes the bra and pulls down her panties. She stands looking at him, a crushed rose, an angel with clipped wings. She is as beautiful as paradise. She is more than his wildest dreams, and he feels himself rising at the sight of her breath-taking nudity. She walks slowly up to him and stares at him as tears course down her cheeks.
Effe is pregnant. Three months. For Chris.
Rupert nods gently.
There’s a bond between them. Again. I can’t fight that. Make love to me, Rupert. Let me get over him. Let me go with you to South Africa. I won’t see him. And I’ll be your wife.
She puts her arms around his neck and tries to kiss him. He moves his head back, and slowly but firmly he pulls her arms down. She stares at him with incomprehension. He picks up a cloth from the bed and drapes it around her, covering up her nudity.
Eyram, I love you. You’re the only woman for me. I really want to make love to you. But right now, you don’t need a lover. You need a friend. You have made me a very happy man. I’m going to be your friend. I’ll be with you. We’ll take a break and go to South Africa. I want to help you get over Chris first, because when we make love I want to know you want to, and not because you’re using it as a remedy. Do you understand?
Eyram nods, and her face shatters.
She sits down slowly on the edge of the bed, and then she begins to cry pitifully. Rupert stays with her. He holds her, holds her hands, and runs his hand through her hair. He has a broad smile on his face. He is a patient man. Yes, he can wait. He will help her heal, and then he will spend the rest of his life making her the happiest woman in the world.
JON FII’S RESIDENCE
Eyram opens the door slowly. She steps into the dark room. She can hear the sound of a man crying. The living-room is neat but empty. She moves to the bedroom door which is slightly ajar. She sees Wailer Vroom sitting on the bed holding an ice pack to a contusion on his right cheek. The room is all messed up. Chris Bawa is sitting on the floor in one corner. He is wearing only jeans shorts. He is heavily-bearded, and there is a heavy growth of hair under his armpits.
His arms are around his knees, and he is looking at Wailer with wild eyes. The crying Eyram had heard is from Wailer Vroom. Eyram smiles sadly at Wailer. Tears again fills Eyram’s eyes, but she strongly fights it back.
Good evening, Wailer. What happened to your cheek?
When I came he just jumped and kicked my cheek. I don’t know what’s wrong with him today. He almost broke my neck. We’re losing him, Eyram, and it is breaking may heart. The GojuFist Board are considering taking his title. They gave an ultimatum…if he’s not well in a month’s time they will strip him of the Grand Master Title.
I see. Want me to have a look at it?
Oh, it’s nothing. Just a bump. I was just crying because it breaks my heart to see him like that. Is he ever going to be alright, Doc?
Eyram nods as she sits on the floor next to Chris, and puts a hand on his shoulder.
He has not spoken a word to anyone close to two weeks now, and as he looks at her there is no recognition on his face.
He’s going to be just fine.
Hello Chris, how’re you doing today, my love?
Wailer gets up to leave.
I’ll leave you two alone.
Oh, no. I won’t keep long. I’m on my way to the airport. I’m going to South Africa for a while, you know, to get all this craziness out of my system.
Wailer sighs and nods.
I’ll wait in the hall then.
He goes out and closes the door.
The brave smile disappears from Eyram’s face immediately. She gets up and pulls Chris’ legs down, and then she pries his arms open, and then she sits on his laps and puts her arms around him. He is prickly, dirty and stinky, but she does not care. Tears fall down her cheeks silently.
I don’t know how this happened, Chris. I don’t know why it should happen. Maybe it’s because we are twins, and we share the same emotional packages. Hell, I’ve heard of twins marrying the same man elsewhere, you know. Maybe it is the fact that I’ve always felt my parents loved Effe more. Maybe it is because I was a little jealous of Effe. Maybe it is because I’m an envious little witch. I don’t know, Chris, my love, but I really love you. They say we can’t be together, and now Effe is pregnant for you. For that child’s sake, and for Junior’s sake, I have to step aside. I’m trying to get over this, and over you, but know that I’ll always have a soft spot for you, Chris. Thinking deeply about it, I’ve come to realize that Effe is right after all. If you had been my husband, I wouldn’t have been happy if other women always came between us, and I would’ve been shattered if one of the women turned out to be my own sister. That would’ve been the ultimate betrayal.
She stops and runs a hand across his chest, revelling in the soft feel of the hairs on his chest. He remains still, and he does not speak.
I didn’t put myself in Effe’s shoes, but yesterday I did, and I realized Effe is right. No woman has any right to take her own sister’s husband. There’s absolutely no justification for it. So, no matter how bad Effe treated you, and no matter how good I was to you, there’s morally no justification for using that as an excuse for taking you. So, I’m going to sacrifice my love, and give the two of you another chance to be happy. Goodbye now, my love. I’ll see you soon. I’m sure by the time I return you would be alright again. I want so much to stay with you and help you through this dark period, but I must sort out this twisted heart and learn to accept Rupe, and get over you.
Eyram gets up quickly because her heart is breaking. She picks up her bag and heads for the door. She reaches for the handle, and then she stops and looks back. His eyes are on her, and although his lips are shut she sees a lonely tear slowly coursing down his right cheek. She does not know whether her words had penetrated that darkness that surrounds his brain, or whether her imminent departure has sunk into his heart.
But she tells herself it is because he understands she is leaving, and he is not happy about it. With a little cry she goes to him, gets on her knees, puts her arms around his neck, and kisses him full and long and with a passion she has never felt for any man. His lips open, and he receives her probing urgent tongue. She tastes the salty bitterness in his lips, and then she feels his arms going around her, and then he holds her tight. It is the sweetest embrace she ever has been in, and then her heart breaks as he puts his face against her chest and she feels his tears trickling down her cleavage. It is a savage moment, a powerful blast of passion and emotion that she will carry in her heart forever.
Finally, she stands up and flees from the room without looking back at him. Wailer watches her slamming out of the room in tears, and he shakes his head regretfully. He walks towards the door, and that is when he hears Chris snarling inside like a wild lion, growling out a terrible warning.
Sensibly, Wailer does not go into the room again. He goes out, and leaves the dark, lost and hurting man inside.
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JON FII’S RESIDENCE
The dawn after Eyram leaves for South Africa, Effe enters Chris’ room.
He is sitting on the floor when she enters. She sees an inhumane look of sheer malice on his face. He growls like a beast, his face absolutely abnormal. He comes off the floor like a cat with his hands curled into fists. He is indeed a most frightening sight, but Effe is not afraid of him. She has only unbridled love for him. Tears of agony comes to her eyes that the man she loves so much has been reduced to such a crazy state, that the handsome Chris can become such a terrible animal. But no more. They will both go crazy and die… or she is going to make him well again so that she can love him with the last breath in her.
Chris rushes at her with his fist drawn back to strike her. She faces him calmly.
Go on, Chris-Love. Hit me if it will make you feel better. Hit me with all the power you have.
She can see the conflicting emotions on his face, and then he screams loudly into her face.
HYPOCRITE! LIAR!! BETRAYER!!
Effe nods, and her lips tremble.
(in a little lost voice)
Yes, Chris-Love. Guilty on all counts. But I love you. With all my heart, Chris. And I’m here for you. You can kill me if you want!
He screams again and again, and then he turns away savagely and begins to pace the room restlessly. Effe walks inside, and then she sits on the bed.
I’m not afraid of you, Chris, my love, because I believe in the power of our love. We’ve been taken through fire, you and me, because of this love between us, and we’ve survived it. I will be visiting you every day, Chris-Love. I took some months off because I’m pregnant, and I’m going to give birth to our baby. I wanted to move in here with you, but it seems it’s against the regulations. Jon Fii wants to send you to the asylum for help, but I know you’re not mad, Chris-Love. You just need to know that I love you. I refused, and told him I’ll come in everyday to take care of you.
Chris glares at her and makes whimpering sounds, and then he covers his ears with his hands, sits in one corner of the room, and hides his face in the wall.
What do you think we’re going to have, my love? A boy or a girl? Anyway, I burnt the signed divorce papers. You see, the judge only granted my application for divorce. What it meant was that the divorce process could start and after all the necessary documents are signed and settlements agreed upon there would be a final hearing where the Judge would grant the divorce and a divorce certificate issued to that effect. Since I never returned the documents, that final hearing did not happen. I have withdrawn the application so we are still hitched. We are still married. I am still your wife and I’m going to be till the sun shines no more. See, I’m wearing my rings. I’m going to spend the rest of my life making you happy, Chris-Love. And woe unto any woman who comes between us…I’ll scratch out their eyes. As for me I know no man will dare come near me because you will GojuFist their heads.
Chris turns his face and glares at her.
He is absolutely incensed with fury.
LIAR! HYPOCRITE!! BETRAYER!!
Tears fall down Effe’s cheeks, but she laughs.
Shame on you, Chris. I won’t mind you. You’re also a betrayer! Look at your big fucking head! I’ve never slept with any man but you! You’re the one who always manages to get between the legs of women on every occasion you think you’re hurt, silly justification. Meanwhile you don’t even pick sane women…only crazy women! You’re also a liar, betrayer and hypocrite! If you ever use that excuse to get between the legs of another woman I will castrate you! Look at your big head! Hmm, I think that’s all for now, except that I love you so much and I’m dying to see that Chris coming out and holding me and loving me.
Chris sits on the floor again, staring at her with curiosity. He puts his arms around his knees and puts his head on his arms, looking at her with confusion. She gets up to go to him, but he snarls and growls a warning, and she sits back down on the bed.
After a while, as the sadness assails her and makes her want to cry, she gets up and begins to clean the room.
JON FII’S RESIDENCE
Effe visits him every day. She continues to clean the room and keep it aerated. It is a slow and painful period for her. She then begins to bring him food. By the end of the month he is eating her food, and allowing her to sit beside him, but he still would not speak. She sees traces of tears on his face though, through all that thick beard. Every inch of him seems to be overgrown with hair, but he refuses to come out of the room.
She had taken a barber to him, but Chris had gone totally insane and so the poor man had fled from the room.
She had once entered the room but had not found him anywhere, and she had gone crazy with agony, thinking he had left home again, but she had found him finally in the bathroom. He had been sitting in the bath, slowly soaping his stinking body. They took it as a good sign, until he began taking a bath almost every hour. This was a great worry, but he had eventually stopped after two weeks, but he continued to bath at least twice a day, making the stench disappear.
By the end of the second month he is calm and changed clothes after a bath, but he still would not shave. He does not speak to her, but he has stopped yelling at her. When she tentatively suggests that they should visit Junior, tears come to his eyes, and he nods. And that day and several days afterwards they make visits to their son. She is now very close with his family, and they all come around regularly, especially Stan. And of course Wailer Vroom is still around, helping out.
Wailer had made a passionate appeal at the annual GojuFist Convention, and the governing body had reluctantly given Chris two more months to get on his feet and announce his plans as far as the GojuFist Career. Stan comes to visit his little brother almost every day, and like Effe he stays and speaks to him. Once Stan had spoken about one of Roland’s birthdays and about how Chris had eaten all the birthday cake their mother baked during the night and they had ended up sticking candles in a loaf of bread for the birthday. Chris had chuckled at this, and a little smile had split his bushy face, and then tears had rolled down his eyes.
Rollie. I miss Rollie.
It was the first words he had uttered in months, and this had brought tears to Effe’s and Stan’s eyes.
I know you do, little bro. I know you do.
And then, one night, it happens.
Chris is alone in the room. He gets up and walks to the wardrobe. He stands on a stool and takes down a huge bag from the top of the wardrobe. It contains some of his clothes. Chris unzips the bag and pours out the clothes on the bed. He then reaches into a seam at the bottom of the bag and brings out a gun. He had illegally purchased it for self-defence after the night Darlett had almost killed him. Chris begins to cry again as he checks the bullets in the clip and then snaps it into the gun. He walks to the window and stands gazing outside with the gun in his big hand. Softly he begins to speak.
I can’t take it anymore, Champ. I’m very sorry, but I can’t. Seeing you like that, supported by machines, and me being unable to help you…I just want to die, Champ!
Chris Yaw Bawa, a lost man, a broken man, a shattered man, a man in pain, puts the gun to his temple. Suddenly a cold wind begins to blow in the room, and the window blinds begin to flutter wildly. Chris weeps as he cocks the gun, and his forefinger curls around the trigger.
Forgive me, Lord!
His big heart is filled with grief and dejection, with traumatic distress and total emotional torture. He takes a step forward, and he steps on a polythene bag lying just in front of the window. He slips on the rubber bag and crashes heavily to the ground, losing control of the gun.
The cocked gun hits the floor and goes off, the bullet smashing into the flesh of his right thigh.
Chris lies on the floor, almost deaf from the sound of the gun going off so near his ear. The blood pumps from his thigh, but he does not appear to feel it. His stunned eyes are staring at his left hand with absolute shock! He sees that his left hand is raised because the beaded rope of the window blinds is tied very tightly around his big middle finger. It is the finger Junior always loves to hold so much!
Chris Bawa stares at his finger, held up there tightly by the rope, and he knows that it is not just by coincidence. Somehow, somewhere, Junior is still convincing some super being to look after his Daddy. Suddenly the webs around Chris Bawa’s brain that is giving him absolute madness breaks, and his tortured mind returns to sanity.
Chris Bawa lies on the floor, bleeding, and with his big left middle finger tied to the rope, and he cries his heart out.
Oh, Champ! I miss you, my son! I miss you so much! But thank you. Thank you for everything, my son. Thank you! I love you. Daddy loves you! Everything is going to be alright! I love you so, Champ! And at that same minute, on a hospital bed in a Ward 7, a little boy who has been in a coma for almost six months does something amazing. The nurse who is tucking one corner of the sheet into the side of the bed sees that Junior’s right hand is closed very tightly, as if he is holding unto a finger…and the boy’s face is awash with tears, and there are whimpering sounds from his throat.
I really really really love you too, Daddy!
Several machines begin to emit beeping sounds at once. And the nurse rushes to the intercom and calls a doctor.