Mr. Fiagbe was lonely and very unhappy. He had kept to himself most of the time. Two months passed since Sylvia left and she had refused to let him know where she was. He missed his family. He missed even the silly things they did that sometimes infuriated him so much. He left his bedroom sadly and sauntered morosely into the living-room. The place was empty. He saw Elorm at the balcony polishing his shoes. He knew it was Esenam’s wedding day. He had received a letter from her the previous day. She apologized once again for hurting him but explained she only wanted to do what was right in God’s eyes. She begged him for forgiveness and told him how things got sour with Akwasi because of some adjustments she needed to make in order to become a faithful servant of God. She told him about how her resolve to abstain from premarital sex infuriated Akwasi so much that he tried to rape her. She wrote that she had forgiven Akwasi for trying to force himself on her and asked that if he doubted her he should ask Akwasi, Enyonam or their parents. She begged him to reach out and save his marriage because she knew they still loved each other. Esenam ended by telling him she loved him and wished he would give her away on her big day. She enclosed a copy of the wedding invitation in her letter. He joined Elorm on the balcony.
“Are you going somewhere?” he asked.
“Yes. Today is Esenam’s wedding. I won’t miss it for anything in this world.” Elorm replied.
‘I forbid you to set foot at that wedding. If you really want to go and further your studies abroad,” he commanded as usual.
“Oh, has it come to that? I have to choose between my sister’s wedding and my studies abroad? I won’t miss my sister’s wedding for anything. Who says I can’t make it here in Ghana? I’m not missing my big sister’s wedding. Just look at how unhappy you are and it’s all because of your ego. It’s about time you realised we are no longer kids, Dad. The days when you made all the decisions for us are over. We are matured and can think for ourselves. Look at this house, it used to be a home filled with love and total joy. One would give anything to be home but thanks to you it’s like a cemetery now. Is it that you enjoy being lonely? You were given the privilege to be our father. You were not supposed to lord it over us like you do. Gradually, everybody is getting tired of you. Thanks to you I don’t even know where my mother and sisters are. You should be very proud of yourself. Your loyalty to Akwasi really baffles me. Is there something we should know about? You succeeded in … Mr. Fiagbe’s right hand came down on Elorm’s cheek before he could complete his statement.
“How dare you talk to me like that!”
“The truth hurts, doesn’t it? Thanks for giving me a reason to leave your house too. I won’t be coming back to this house after today. You can live here all by yourself. Esenam was able to live without you and she is doing just fine. I can do the same. You can’t stop me from going to my sister’s wedding. You’ll lose all of us. You can start your life afresh. Maybe you can remarry and have other kids or adopt Akwasi since he is your priority.” Elorm said, touching his smarting cheek gingerly as tears well up in his eyes.
Mr. Fiagbe knew he was losing it. He was everything they said he was but he had never laid hands on any of them until recently when he slapped his wife and now Elorm, his only son. Elorm rushed inside and was out in no time all dressed up. He left with his suitcase without saying another word to his Dad.
Mr. Fiagbe sat in the living-room. He had lost all of them. He couldn’t lose his son too. When Elorm decided to stay, it gave him hope that one day they would all come back and they will be together again. Now he was afraid that may never happen.
“God, I’m losing everything I’ve worked so hard for. First it was Esenam, then Sylvia and Yayra. Now Elorm is also gone. I can’t live without them. Living without Esenam was hard enough. I love you all. I need you all in my life. Is it worth it? The Amegashies would be there. They’ve accepted the fact that Esenam wouldn’t marry their son. Is there something they are not telling me? Did Akwasi really try to rape my daughter? Have I been a fool all these years? I can’t let my family tear apart like this. I have to do something. But what can I do? I have to go to the wedding. Yes, that will do it. I have to play my role as Esenam’s father. She is my blood. She’s my first fruit.” he talked to himself in anguish. He heard the doorbell and got up to see who it was. A distraught Akwasi stood at the door. Mr. Fiagbe ushered him in.
“I’ve lost her Dad! I’ve lost her and it’s all my fault.” Akwasi said almost in tears.
“No, son. It’s not your fault Esenam decided to be ungrateful. Don’t blame yourself for her actions. She made a choice.”
“It’s my fault, Dad. I blew it. If only I had been more supportive and understanding, Esenam may still be mine. If only I had controlled myself and respected her, I would not be in this situation. My heart bleeds, Dad. I do love her.” Mr. Fiagbe took Akwasi in his arms and consoled him. He was angry Esenam could hurt him so much, but suddenly he wondered why Akwasi insisted the breakup was his fault.
“Akwasi, tell me something, did you really try to force yourself on Esenam?”
“Yes, Dad, I’m sorry. I behaved very badly towards Esenam. I was a jerk that day.” Mr. Fiagbe slapped him so hard, his hand felt hot, and the slap deposited Akwasi on the floor.
“How could you, Akwasi? How could you do that to my pride. I trusted you!”
“I’m sorry Dad, I truly am sorry.”
“Now, get the hell out of my house or I won’t be responsible for what happens to you.”
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Meanwhile, Esenam was with her friends in the guest room of the mission house. She was in her wedding dress. The beautician was working on her face. Her phone rang and Naana answered it.
“Hello, how can I help you?”
‘May I speak to Esenam?”
“She can’t get to the phone right now. May I take the message?”
“Look, I’m her brother, it’s urgent I speak to her.”
“Okay, ” Naana handed the phone to Esenam and told her it was her brother who needed to speak with her urgently.
“Hello, Elorm. What’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry Esenam. I needed to talk to you.” Esenam recognized the voice. It was Akwasi, not Elorm.
“Akwasi, what do you want from me?”
“Are you really doing this? Are you marrying that damn guy?”
“What makes you think that I wouldn’t? I’ve told you time and again that I’m in love with Yaw. Please respect that and stop bothering me.” Esenam cut the line and switched off the phone. Her friends exchanged worried looks when they saw how angry she was.
‘You shouldn’t be angry today. It’s your special day. Who was that anyway?” Naana asked.
“Just forget about him. I’m fine.’ She got to her feet when the beautician was done. They all marveled at how beautiful she looked, so beautiful she could have passed for an angel. She thanked them for being there with her and asked for a moment alone before she headed for the church. Her friends exchanged worried looks again but left. Esenam walked to the window that overlooked the garden.
“It is a beautiful day. This is the day I marry the love of my life. God I pray that you’ll help me so that nothing destroys this day. My happiness is with Boat. I love him so much. Let this day pass without any incident and please bring my family back together if it’s your will.” The door creaked open and Naana peeped through.
“I’m sorry Esenam, but this gentleman insists on seeing you. He says he won’t go unless he sees you.”
“It’s okay, Naana. Let him in. I think I have to deal with him once and for all.” Esenam said without turning to see who was at the door. The door closed gently, Esenam still did not turn. She was getting angry because Akwasi was becoming a thorn in her flesh.
“Look Akwasi, I’ve told you time and again that I don’t love you anymore. I’m not doing this to spite you or anything. I love someone else and you should respect that. There is nothing you can do to change my mind. I’m marrying Boat today. Get used to that and move on. I pray that you find someone who would love you the way I love Yaw. He loves me too. As it is, no one can change my mind.”
“I know, dear, that’s why I’m here.” Esenam could not believe her ears. She turned immediately and run into his arms.
“Yes Esenam, it’s me.” Esenam stepped back when it dawned on her that her Dad had come to stop her from marrying Boat.
“If you are here to stop me I’m sorry it won’t work. I love Boat and I want to spend the rest of my life with him.”
“No, Esenam. I’m not here to stop or lecture you. I know you always make the right choices. I’m here to lend my support and give you my blessings. I want to give you away. You are my first daughter, that is my honoured duty, right? I love you.” Tears of joy formed in Esenam’s eyes. She was so touched she could barely move or speak.