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Long Journey 13

It all comes down to this. Time to discover how it finally ends…

It was a bright and sunny Sunday morning, the rays of the sun at their ultimate hottest. The major reason the air-conditioner in the Land Cruiser was on. As the vehicle, that had been on the road for about four hours, turned into the campus of St. Mary’s Boys, Evelyn leaned on Henry’s shoulder, now feeling tense.

“Henry?” she said softly.

“Yes, Eve?”

“I’m sorry again for the way I reacted the first time. Now that I think about it, I feel pretty nasty for…”

He shushed her gently. “Babe, it’s alright. It’s OK. And besides, you’re not a nasty person. You’ve been hurt. You’re not the bad person here, alright? You just need to deal with this so you can be free. So don’t stress yourself. Let’s do our best to get this over with. You deserve to be free for real. In any case, you’re doing it for Nana, considering how he talked you into this.”

She nodded. “I’m feeling very tense, though.”

He squeezed her hand. “Don’t worry. I’m here for you. You’ll be fine.”

***

The two entered the house.

Everyone was seated. The Yeboah couple, Nana Opoku… and Chris. Who was mainly called Paa Yaw in this household. All faces were solemn.

They took their seats.

Alfred stood up, and after taking a deep breath, began. “Well, first of all, I’d like to thank you all for making it here. I know it wasn’t an easy decision to come to. I know years of intense pain and grief are behind this, and I didn’t expect this to be a quick-fix thing. But if we can at least start from here, it will go a long way to help… sooo, I guess I’ll just leave the rest of the talking to Paa Yaw, since he has a lot to say.”

He took his seat.

Paa Yaw nodded silently, then arose and moved to the middle of the living room. Head slightly bowed, he also took a deep breath, then looked up at the rest of the seated folks, and started his speech.

“Good afternoon, everyone. I’m glad you’re all here, and I’m thankful that we could get this done. These past few days, I’ve looked back on my life and I realize what a fool I’ve been. From a young age, I chose the wrong crowd to move with and had my morals corrupted. I became the type of guy that thought life is only about having fun, and of course, sex was part of it. Somehow, that mindset refused to let go, and even in my 40s, getting into the next girl’s pants was my major aim.

“Evelyn, I look back, and there’s no doubt about it. I only saw a toy that I could have fun with and move away from once I was done. Someway somehow, you were the only one I forgot to use protection with, and lo and behold, you got pregnant, and because I was all about my own interests, I disregarded you, and did whatever I could to escape having to deal with the consequences of my actions. That day I left Accra, I really wasn’t the least bit bothered about how much of an effect it would have on you that I suddenly ghosted on you. All I wanted was to be free to do whatever I wanted.

“The truth is, life took a downward turn after I left the capital. Even though I had the freedom I wanted and I still managed to sleep with all the girls I wanted, there was no stability. And instead of doing something about it, I just shrugged my shoulders and decided not to care. As long as I’d find a way of getting my body satisfied, I was cool.

A brief period of silence from him followed. Watching Henry squeeze her hand as she wiped her eyes, he swallowed hard and continued.

“I never listened to advice from anyone. It was just about me and my enjoyment. It even took me to extremes that I don’t want to mention here. Even when I arrived here, all I was seriously interested in was just continuing the same lifestyle that had gotten me nowhere. Sleeping around, getting drunk… hmm. It’s amazing how I seemed to never have any near-death experience until I got here. Nearly killed myself on excess alcohol. On an empty stomach. If it wasn’t for Nana… my son… I’d have been dead by now.”

At this rate, his voice started to shake. He took a break again to calm himself down. But when he continued, it was pretty obvious the emotions were taking hold.

“As I sat in the hospital that morning, all I could think about is how close I was to being an example of a useless life. How I cared about the useless things in life and would rather walk away from what mattered. What cut the most is that… Nana probably would’ve been justified in letting me die, because the first time we met, I was so unnecessarily nasty to him. Yet he still helped me.

Nana nodded in agreement as he said that. He sniffed.

“From that point, I started to recollect all the rubbish I had done. All the girls I had used for my personal satisfaction without regard to their feelings. I really wrecked a lot of hearts, to be honest. I just had sex with them and had no regard for them afterwards. But… the major one that kept hitting hard is Evelyn.

His eyes now fixed on her, two tears came out as he went down on both knees.

“Evelyn, I’ve been an absolute monster to you. I approached you, slid my way into you and took away your innocence, and I ripped your dignity and humanity to shreds with my attitude. If there’s anything that’s been chasing me these last sixteen years, it’s definitely what I did to you. Please, I beg you to forgive me. I’ve been a fool, a jerk, a scumbag. I should have been a man and accepted responsibility for my actions. I never should have tried to force you to abort Nana, and I never should have run away. Please, forgive me. You don’t need to have anything to do with me, but please, just forgive me for what I did…”

Words failed him as he fell to the floor, crying.

Evelyn, also quite teary-eyed, stood up and walked to him. Squatting, she patted him on the back, then indicated to Nana to come over.

Paa Yaw, still weeping, looked up to see her squatting, Nana joining her. He lifted himself up.

“Christopher Yaw Ennin Abbey,” she began. “It has not been easy. Ever since you left, I nearly went mad. I was crushed. Devastated. Confused. I just couldn’t understand how you’d do that to me. I was in love with you, and I found out the hard way that I was just your plaything. There’s been so much hate and contempt in me. At a point, I just wanted to consider you dead. Non-existent. The day I saw you on that verandah, memories just came rushing like crazy, and I’ve wanted nothing but the worst upon you. I won’t lie, I was ready to hurt you the next time I set my eyes on you, and all this forgiveness talk was actually infuriating, but… Nana said he wants to patch things up with his dad. And… I couldn’t fight that. As much as I wanted to. So, I guess I can start to let go of this flaming coal and begin the process of healing.”

Paa Yaw nodded, hands clasped together. “Anything to get this journey started, Evelyn.” Turning to Nana, he said wistfully, “Nana, I’m so sorry for not being the father I should have been. I’ve been such a failure, and when I think about the years I wasted, being a fool and just majoring in useless frivolities, I realized I would’ve been better off being close to the boy who bears my DNA. I want to make it up to you as much as I possibly can; become the father you needed in your younger years. Can I?”

Obviously taken in by the emotional mood, Nana nodded. “Yes. Let’s start this journey.”

Paa Yaw hugged him tightly, sobbing all over again. He hugged him back. Evelyn joined in the hug.

The other three stood up, expressions of relief very evident on their faces.

As father, mother and son rose up, Paa Yaw wiped his tears and said, “Thank you. Thank you all. I know it’s not a straightforward thing, but I’m glad we can begin this journey. I don’t care how long it is, I just want to be assured that my son and his mother can heal from my past mistakes.”

The Yeboahs were so relieved. As Araba went down on her knees and gave glory to God for what was clearly a successful meeting, Alfred stepped forward to meet the family and say something.

“All glory to God, Paa Yaw. Lord knows I’ve waited for the day you would finally get your act together. And with this meeting, I couldn’t be more convinced that it is so. My prayer for you all is that God helps you all as you embark on this long journey. That His grace will help you guys to replace every form of resentment and anger with love and forgiveness, and that every opposing voice that will try and convince Evelyn or Nana to go back to the dungeon of unforgiveness will be silenced, and every voice that try and convince Paa Yaw to go back to his old ways will be muted in the name of Jesus! May you all eventually develop a loving, mutual bond, and Nana, may your father and Henry become loving father figures to you. Paa Yaw, above all things, may you soon be empowered to go out there and become a testimony of how frivolous living benefits nothing, and that to live life with a God-given purpose will ultimately always be more fulfilling than living just for the moment. In Jesus’ name, amen!”

“AMEN!!”

Touching! Good to see forgiveness was granted. No doubts, it would be quite a long process, but hopefully they’ll settle everything. And if there’s anything to take home from that prayer by Mr. Alfred Yeboah, it’s that a purpose-driven life will always be more beneficial and fulfilling than living just to satisfy the next urge your body has.

THE END.

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