Boat, neatly-dressed, was sitting in his living-room tapping his left foot. He looked at his wristwatch. Esenam was uncharacteristically late. The doorbell chimed a while later and he rushed to answer it. Esenam, modestly-dressed, stood at the door with a lovely smile on her face. She greeted him warmly and asked if they could leave then.
Boat told her he was not ready yet. He told her there was one more thing he needed to do before they left. He stepped aside for Esenam to go inside and closed the door behind him. He pulled her towards him and kissed her on the lips. He then informed her he was ready to go with a big grin on his face. Halfway from the Fiagbe’s house Boat stopped, suddenly nervous.
“Do you think your family would like me?” he asked.
“Of course, they would, who wouldn’t?” He checked to see if his shirt was properly tucked in and asked if he looked presentable enough. Esenam assured him there was nothing wrong with him. Boat was still not convinced. He asked if he smelled good and whether his clothes fit him well.
You’re worrying about nothing. You look more than presentable. I love you, and that’s all that matters.” Esenam grabbed him by the hand and led him through the narrow path to their house.
Mrs. Fiagbe checked the dining- table to ensure all was set for dinner. She was nicely dressed. Yayra answered the door when the bell sounded and was glad to see her sister. . She turned to Boat shyly and asked if he was Esenam’s boyfriend. Boat and Esenam exchanged quick looks and wondered if she knew what she was talking about. Boat rubbed her soft cheeks gently and asked her how she was doing.
She answered she was blessed and repeated her earlier question. Boat knew that she was not going to stop until she got an answer. He told her he went to the same church with Esenam and she could say they were very good friends. She smiled shyly and stepped aside for them to enter.
“Who is it, Yayra?” Mrs. Fiagbe asked worried. “It’s sister Esenam and Mr. Boateng Boat.”
“Let them in.” Elorm walked in just in time to meet them. He shook hands with Boat and gave him a good look. He admitted he was extremely handsome and thought Esenam had good taste. Yayra was standing behind them.
“You’re welcome to our home Mr….” “Boateng Boat.” Yayra supplied. They all laughed. Elorm was surprised Yayra knew his name since it was the first time he was seeing him. .
You see o, we are always the last people to know our sister’s friends; that is, when they are more than just friends.”
“I’m Boateng, my friends call me Boat.”
“Oh, okay. Welcome to our home, Boat.” Mrs. Fiagbe joined them. She stretched out a hand to Boat and welcomed him to their humble abode.
“Thank you, Mrs. Fiagbe.”
“Drop the formality son, you can call me Mom, I’m kind of used to that.”
“Well noted, Mom.”
“I didn’t know you crave for another son.” Elorm remarked with mock jealously.
Mrs. Fiagbe announced that dinner was ready. They followed her to the dining-room and took their places. Mrs. Fiagbe sat at the head of the table. Elorm and Esenam were on one side and Boat and Yayra were at the other side. Esenam was facing Boat. Elorm offered a short prayer before dinner was served. Mrs. Fiagbe looked in Boat’s direction and started her chain of enquiries.
“So Boat, what do you do for a living?”
“I am into Accountancy.”
“That’s impressive.” They continued to enjoy their dinner. Elorm occasionally whispered into Esenam’s ears which made her smile or give him a punch in the ribs.
“How many are you? I mean your family.” Mrs Fiagbe continued.
“We are three. My Mom, a sister and myself.”
“And your Dad?” Esenam was alarmed. She knew how Boat got any time his Dad came up. She looked into his eyes as if to warn him to keep his cool.
“He died some years back.” Boat answered calmly.
“I’m sorry about that. It must be very difficult growing up without your Dad. You must miss him a lot”
“Yes,” he answered.
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They enjoyed the rest of the meal in silence and moved to the living-room afterwards. Elorm drew Boat to a corner and asked him if he was in love with Esenam.
“Yes, I love her very much and I intend to make her my wife if she agrees with me.”
“Well, that’s fine by me. I needed to know because looking at her I see she is very much in love with you and I don’t want her getting hurt.”
“You don’t have to explain, you know. I’ll do the same or even worse if I were in your shoes right now. I know you mean well. You must love your sister very much.”
“Yes, I do, although I’ve never taken the time to tell her just how much. You and I should get together some time.”
“Yeah, I’d love that very much. Let me know when you’re free.”
Esenam, who was talking to her Mom looked at her watch and saw that it was getting late. She looked over at the men in the corner of the room and asked what they were up to. They joined the ladies.
“Thanks, Mom for everything. We need to go now.” Esenam said.
“Thank you Mom for dinner. I’ve not had such a good meal in a long time.”
“You are always welcome, son.” Esenam hugged her Mom, brother and sister and thanked them for the honour to dine with them.
Elorm teased that she should not be so grateful since the dinner invitation was actually an interview for them to decide whether Boat was good for her or not. They said their good nights and parted for the night.
Esenam and Boat walked into the night and waited for a taxi. Boat had insisted on taking her home.
“You have a wonderful family. I now know where you got your beauty and charm from. I also understand how difficult it is to be forced to live apart from them. Everything will be well soon, my dearest.” An unexpected silence ensued for a while. Esenam was sad. She always got like that when she saw her family and had to leave.
“Did I tell you I’d be working at our branch office in Takoradi next week?” Boat asked, trying to break the silence.
“Yes, you mentioned that some time ago. I’ll miss you when you are gone and it will be so lonely without you.”
“I will miss you more. I’ll call you every day to check on you. I’ll be back before you know I was gone.”
A taxi showed up and Boat flagged it down. He made sure Esenam was safe in her new home and left for his. He was glad he got the chance to see her family. He prayed that Esenam’s Mom would approve of him marrying her daughter when the time came.
To be continue on Monday
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