Short Story: Loving Pain (II) – By Celestine Nudanu

“Get hold of yourself Ayele, the guy is only a driver with a Senior High School Certificate.” Esi murmured with exasperation. We were sitting at a table for two at Rhapsody’s in the Accra Mall. “Besides, you’ve known him for only a couple of months.”

“He is a driver with a future, Esi; and three months is more than enough time for me to get to know him and fall in love.” I replied stubbornly.

“Can you hear yourself? You have a Master’s degree, for heaven’s sake. Besides, it’s too soon after Kofi. You could get disappointed again”

I laughed, shaking my head. “No I won’t because this time, I chose with some care.

“What do you mean? Are you saying that Chris’ background will ensure that he will be beholden to you? But that is too calculating.”

“Esi, don’t get me wrong. Kofi had all his credentials and yet he made a fool out of me. I admit that it did cross my mind, Chris’ background and all. But he worships me and for once it is refreshing to be the recipient of such deep devotion from a man.

“It’s because you have the upper hand, Ayele and I think your Chris is an opportunist.”

I shook my head sadly at Esi. “You are wrong, my dear. Chris is sensitive to my needs. Listen, when two people are in love, issues like education shouldn’t matter. “

“Really?” Esi sounded sceptical.

“Yes. He will soon write the access programme to enable him to enter the university. And despite the gap, we share so many things in common.”

“Hmm, you have it all worked out, don’t you?”

“The point of getting a degree in the first place was for me to use my thinking skills. Esi, as my best friend, can’t you be the first to be happy for me? I love him dearly.”

“So why does your mother hate this whole relationship?”

I sighed. “Mother is another matter altogether.” Grasping her by the hand and I forced Esi to look into my eyes as I spoke earnestly. “I’ve never felt this strongly about a man before. Chris is good to me, he treats me with so much respect and and cares deeply for me.” I paused and then smiled mischievously, “and he is good in bed….”

“I know, my friend. But I’m worried for you. Just be careful and take the relationship one day at a time.”

That reckless streak in me made me disregard Esi’s words.

                                         CHAPTER FOUR – CHRISTOPHER

“You’ve been going out with this girl for how long?” My mother asked me with some difficulty. As usual, I had to bend to be able to make out her words, through the slur. I guess I should be used to that by now, but anytime she spoke, the sheer effort of trying to make herself understood made me want to weep. This is what stroke can do to a loved one.

“For about six months now, mama.” Irrationally, I knew I would never forgive Ayele for allowing her insensitive mother to come storming into our modest home to heap insults on mama for me loving her daughter. We did not need any reminder of our poverty.

“You’ve introduced her to me and I’ve observed her as she comes to visit you, though I’ve kept silent. My son, do you love her? “Is she the one for you?” She whispered, doubtful.

“I love her so much, mama. She is the love of my life. But I will not see her anymore if that will make you happy.” Mama deserved this, at least.

“I see.” Sighing wearily, she closed her eyes for such a long time that I feared she might have fallen asleep. She certainly looked exhausted after exerting herself in such a manner and I felt some shame.

When she spoke, I was dumbfounded. “Chris, your father never stepped foot in the classroom, even though I had some basic education. My parents were against our marriage and I didn’t listen because I loved him. They were proved right; he left us when you were only two years old. I love you too much to stand in your way. Maybe you will be luckier than I was. I give you my blessings.”

I was weeping silently by now and could only mutter, “Thank you, mama.”

“Don’t weep, my child. Your girl’s mother is a fool. She does not know love; she has never loved before; she does not know God, for God is love.”

I had to smile, but mama was right. But wasn’t Ayele’s mother also right? What has a driver got in common with a sales and advertising executive who might soon do a PhD? Nothing, absolutely, nothing! I drive my boss around, pick his kids from school and stuff like that. It puts money in my pocket and enables me to take care of my sick mother.

Deep in my heart, I knew that despite my mother’s blessings and the deep love I had for her, I had to make some serious decisions. Could I go on seeing Ayele after what her mother had done?

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