Esenam stood at the gate of her parents’ house undecided whether to go in or not. She still felt she was making a big mistake by honouring her Mom’s invitation. She thought of Boat. If only he was with her, then she would be sure everything would be okay because if she got burned he would cool it in his usual loving way. Boat had not called her the whole day. Esenam was a little alarmed by that. That was so unlike him. She wondered if his silence had something to do with what happened the previous day. Esenam tried his phone but it was off. She decided to call him again as soon as dinner was over. She mustered courage and rang the doorbell. The huge gates opened and the gateman, neatly dressed, ushered her in.
She walked up to the house surveying the compound critically. Nothing much had changed. The doors opened immediately she got to it and Yayra stood in the doorway full of smiles. She threw herself at Esenam. Esenam gave her a big hug.
“Someone is all grown now. You look big. Glad to see you, Little Angel!”
“I’m so happy to see you too but am also angry at you.”
“Angels don’t get angry. What did I do to incur your anger?”
“I’m angry with you because you’ve not come to see us in a long time. The last time you were here I was in stage two now I’m going to stage four when school reopens. Why didn’t you come to see us? Why did you stop coming to the school to see me?”
“Oh, my little darling, do you think it was easy for me? I had to stay away, trust me. I do love you very much. But I never forgot you, I talked to you often on the phone, didn’t I?”
“Yes you did but it wasn’t the same. I wanted to see you.”
“Okay, now I’m here so let’s go inside and say hello to everyone.” Esenam took her by the hand and entered the living- room. Mrs. Fiagbe walked in from the kitchen. Esenam embraced her and told her she had missed her. Mrs. Fiagbe took a step back and took a good look at Esenam.
“Just look at you. You look too good for a girl who is under so much stress. I’m so proud of you. We’ve all missed you, Esenam. What is your secret?”
“Secret? I guess it’s by God’s grace that I look like this but believe me when I tell you it hasn’t been easy living without you all. I had to pretend we lived in different countries to be able to bear the void I felt living apart from you under the circumstances.”
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“Why did you stop coming to see me at the workplace, Esenam?”
“I’m sorry, Mom. I just couldn’t bear that anymore. I saw how your bitterness towards Dad increased every time I came to see you. I didn’t want to be the reason for your marital problems. I’d rather suffer than have that happen.” Elorm walked in from town and gave Esenam a huge hug. He expressed how nice it was for having her back in the house after a long while. He teased about forgetting he had a sister and they all laughed.
Between Esenam and Elorm they knew they saw each other frequently. He was the only one Esenam kept constant contact with.
“You look good though.” Elorm remarked.
“I can see you’ve been very fine. I can also see you are in love. Your eyes, they are telling a story of some sort. Am I going to get some money soon from this guy?”
“Elorm! Leave her alone and stop your jokes.” Mrs. Fiagbe cut in.
“I’m not joking Mom; she is in love. You ask her and she’ll tell you I’m not lying.” Mr. Fiagbe walked into the living room at that moment. Esenam greeted him politely hoping he would at least respond. But that did not happen.
“Can we eat now?” Mr. Fiagbe said, looking straight at his wife. Mrs. Fiagbe called everyone to the table. She offered a short prayer when everyone was seated and served the food. No sound apart from the sound from the cutlery was heard in the dining-room afterwards. Elorm tried to break the silence by insisting Esenam provide answers to his earlier questions on her love life.
“Is that all you can talk about, Elorm. We invited Esenam here because we’ve missed her and we want to congratulate her for her success in her examination and the job and that is that. No prying please! ” Mrs. Fiagbe replied.
“Mom, just let her answer. Maybe we will have another reason to congratulate her. If you’re worried about Akwasi, don’t worry; he’s running around with some chicks. He is not serious and I hope everybody sees that. My sister at least can use some real love, you know.”
“Elorm. please stop that. This is not the place or the time for that.” Esenam pleaded when she saw the frown on her Daddy’s face.