I wait as the phone rings. Once, twice. I start to panic. I hope no one would pick up. That the answering machine would come on. There is a shuffling sound and then a voice. Faint. Still, I almost end it, but I wait. After all, I’ve come this far.
“Hi.” My voice sounds normal. Good.
“Lucy here.” I start to try and explain. “This might be a bit weird and you may not remember me, but you called me about your husband.”
“Oh. Lucy. Hi.”
She sounds surprise. No shock there.
“Quick question. What’s up with him and his best friend?”
“What do you mean?”
“Are they cool?”
“I think so. But I haven’t seen Kofi in a while.”
“Ah, I see. Thanks.” I am about to hang up.
“What’s going on?”
“I met Kofi in town.”
Long pause. My airtime cruising away on international call time.
“So he’s in Ghana already?”
“But he was going to meet us first…”
She sounds put out. Maybe something is up.
“I gotta go,” I say.
“Wait!” she says.
Uh oh, I think.
“Lucy, if you see Kofi again, tell him he needs to call me. I’ll sort out the matter. Personally. But he should get in touch. Please.”
“I’ll see.” I’m not going to.
She takes a deep breath. “Let me call you back. Can I?”
Ah, what have I gotten myself into?
Five seconds later, a plus four four number appears on my screen.
She dives in.
“They started this business together, the two of them, about 5 years ago. Partners. It’s struggling now. My husband said Kofi decided to sell out. I didn’t understand why. He didn’t explain. But the two of them hardly talked after that. A year ago, I realise that half my savings are gone. I started asking questions. Jojo said he put in the business, a business that was failing. But he said not to worry, Kofi was going to bail him out. But it was too late. Jojo was …” she paused, her voice is shaky, overwhelmed. “He was diverting the funds. He hasn’t told me where they are. So Kofi decided to cut his losses and leave. I talked to Kofi. Begged him to come back help Jojo. He said he would think about it. That was the last I heard from him.”
Okay. Too much information. But now I’m happy that everyone, apart from me, knows just how much a loser Jojo is. His best friend knows it, too. Interesting. But the last thing I’d want anyone to tell me is to go back to my ex. To reconsider, to forgive. So I don’t see how I was going to ask someone else to do the same thing. Obviously, this is bad business.
“Lucy, please, all my life savings. And a child to take care of.”
Oh no, she just played the child card. But why should Kofi bear the brunt of his friend’s foolishness?
But this had been a very insightful call. The two men were hardly friends.
“I’m sorry about your losses. I’ll see what happens.” Spoken like a Ghanaian politician. I mentally congratulate myself.
“Thanks. And Lucy?”
“Can we keep this conversation between us?”
That is fine with me. It makes it less tangled.
And then I smile. This is what you call dodging a bullet.
I snap out of my musings.
I stick my phone into my pocket and go back inside. Choir rehearsals. Yes, I sing. And I am pretty good at it, too.
I am a church boy. Shy. Awkward. I want to be left alone.
But maybe that’s what I think. But I like to sing. It helps me relax.
Except when she shows up for choir practice. Oh drats! She’s coming in now! But I do what I usually do to get myself to focus. I think of how crazy her mum would be if she took home a guy with a head full of dreadlocks and said he was anything but just friends. Her mum is scary. Very.
Yes, that always snaps me out of it.
She smiles at me. I smile back.
I’m a church boy. Heartthrob. Bad recipe for a church girl. But maybe I have a chance. Don’t they say that church girls have a thing for bad boys? Okay, I’m not a bad boy.
So I had a wild phase. The locks are remnants of that past. I keep them there to remind me of how far I’ve come. Weird, but it is the same thing that makes people judge and call me names. There is this thing about the grace of God that is especially hard for religious folks to stomach. But so what?
For her, I have thought about going to the barber to take care of it. She might be worth it.
I walk up to where she stands on the stage. I am handed a mic. I look about, heart fluttering.
The music director thought a duet would be a nice way to refresh the song. I sing and she does her thing. Her thing. The girl can sing. But I’m nervous about this duet. I’ve never done it with her.
Get a grip, I tell myself. Was every guy like me? So predictable. So nervous. So unbelievably juvenile. Fronting.
You are a big boy, I tell myself. The guy who has a dragon tattoo riding down his left arm that he can’t take off, and that will follow him for the rest of his days. I square my shoulders and take my cue from the piano.
When I’m not singing, I listen to her voice.
My dad walks in. I watch how he tries to make himself inconspicuous but it’s hard for him to hide. After all, he’s the head pastor.
Because you asked for a continuation of Lucy’s gist. Read the first part here! And if you like more stories, follow the blog and for future surprises, join my email list (and get a free ebook!)