Klever Magg The week went by quickly and it was Youth Meeting again. The Church premises was filled to capacity as members listened attentively to divine instructions from the speakers of the night. Soon the service was over and the members were seen exchanging handshakes with each other. Esenam looked worn out. She did not think work would be so demanding. She walked out of the building into the calm airy night. Boat followed her. He asked her if she would be heading home or going somewhere. Esenam told him she was going straight home because she was exhausted. Boat offered to walk her to the nearest place she could get a taxi home. “That is if you are not too tired to do so.” Esenam replied to Boat’s offer. “Tired for you? Never.” he stated and looked around for Naana. “I don’t seem to see Naana around, do you?” “No. She mentioned that she wouldn’t be able to make it today. Something to do with work.” Esenam explained. “Oh okay! How was your day?” Boat asked as they strode along the roadside. “It was okay but a little exhaustive. My schedule is very involving and I’m constantly learning a lot at the same time.” “Yeah, I know how that feels. When you are in school you wish you’d complete and then everything would be smooth but you soon learn that it’s a new school all together at the work place. Just give it time. You’ll do just fine. I remember my first three months on the job. It was so tiring I almost gave it all up but here I am happy that I didn’t. I love what I do.” “I hope you don’t love your job more than you love me.” Esenam teased. “No. That isn’t the least possible.” “What does your sister do?” Esenam probed into Boat’s family. She wanted to know what his sister and Mom did for a living. Boat explained that his sister was in the University pursuing a degree in Tourism and Hospitality. He added that his Mom was a Banker. Esenam found it interesting that their mothers have something in common. Boat asked about what Esenam’s Dad did for a living and she explained that he was an Accountant. “That sounds interesting. That means you’ll be working for him soon.” Boat remarked. “No, I don’t think so. I never liked the idea of working for him though that was his dream. And now that I’m an outcast as far as that family is concerned, I don’t have to even think of that. I’ll think of setting up my own firm after I complete my professional examinations and secure a license.” “What about your Dad? Are you ready to talk about him?” Esenam asked, intrigued. Boat’s countenance changed. The smile on his face vanished and he went suddenly quiet. “Why is it that any time your father comes up you tense up? It’s good to talk about whatever bothers you. You can at least tell me what he did,” She pushed. I don’t want to bore you Esenam. Besides it’s a long story.” Boat explained. They had reached Esenam’s doorstep. Esenam felt Boat did not trust her enough to let her in on whatever his Dad did to him and that made her a little sad. She knew he was just finding excuses not to tell her and decided to let him be. She bade him good night with a sad face and headed for the door. Boat stood staring at her. Esenam unlocked her door and turned the handle. “Esenam, please wait!” Boat managed to say with all the emotions he felt in his voice. “It”s not like I don’t want you to know what happened with my Dad. It’s just too painful to talk about him.” “That’s okay, Boat. Enjoy a good night, ” “No, please don’t go. Just hear me out, okay?” Boat pleaded as he ran his hands through his hair. “My Dad was a doctor and a first class womanizer. I was about four years when he finally left us. He put my Mom through a lot of pain and hardships. I remember my Mom waiting up for him every night. Sometimes he came, other times, he didn’t. He never cared about my Mom, my sister or me. There is this night that I’ll never forget. My Mom was waiting up for him when she asked me to go to bed. My Mom had just delivered my sister. My sister was about a week old. Sometime in the night I heard raised voices and I woke up. My Mom was crying so I went out to see what was happening. They were in the living-room. From the look of things, he had just arrived and was a little drunk. Obviously, my Mom had enquired about his whereabouts and he was very furious. He said so many things I don’t want to get into and before I knew what was happening he slapped my Mom so hard she fell flat to the floor. I rushed to her side to help her. He kicked me in the rib. I lay there writhing in pain but all that he did was walk past us into the bedroom. When he came out, he had a small suitcase in hand. I was shaking my Mom because she wasn’t moving. He took a long look at us and went out of the house. I ran after him because I didn’t know what to do. He got into his car and asked me to step aside or he’ll run me over. He said I was better dead than alive. I stepped out of his way and that was the last I saw of him for a very long time. I run to the next house and told them what had happened. My Mom was rushed to the hospital and she was detained for the night. I had to sleep with our neighbours that night.” He recounted. “I’m sorry, Boat. It must have been very hard for you.” She said and reached out to touch his hands gently. “When I got to Secondary Form Three I had an unexpected visitor one weekend. I didn’t even recognize him until he spoke. There he was, my father, telling me a whole lot of nonsense about my Mom being impatient and the fact that he’d never forgotten us. That he loved us. I could have killed him with my bare hands, listening to him talk like that. And when I asked him why he’s come back, do you know what he told me?” Esenan shook her head. She felt very sorry for him. You could sense the pain and anger he felt in his voice. “He said something about having other kids but they were all girls. So he looked for me because I was his only son and he wanted to make peace with me because of that. I asked him to leave because I was boiling up in anger. He didn’t even ask about my sister or my Mom. He came purposely to see me because I was his only son. When he refused to go I asked the master on duty that day to drive him out because he wanted to kidnap me. And then I heard a year later that he died in a car accident. That’s my Dad for you. I never really knew him.” Boat wiped the sweat that had formed on his forehead and stood uncomfortably looking for Esenam’s reaction to all that. Esenam could see Boat was trying very hard not to show his anger. He told her how much his Mom suffered emotionally because of that disappointment and the fact that his sister never got to know their Dad. She only saw pictures of him. Esenam gave him a huge hug and apologized for the pain he might have suffered from all that. She understood why he seemed to be very protective of his Mom. “I really have to go now. It’s late. I hope you remember we are joining Naana and her new boyfriend to the beach on Saturday. See you then.” Boat said dejectedly. Esenam reassured him of her unconditional love. She gave him a brief kiss on the lips and they parted for the night. Esenam watched him walk away with a heavy heart. She knew only time would heal his pain and frustration. She watched him till he rounded a corner and went inside. She wondered what would have driven a husband and a father to behave the way Boat’s Dad did.