This is the final part of a 3-part Christmas story. Click here for Part II
“Adwoa, see what you have done? We are late again.” Lisabeth, accused her best friend in a friendly tone.
If anything ever went well between the two of them, she claimed responsibility; if anything went sour, even if it did rain where the two were expecting sunshine and had made it to town, it was atypical of Lisabeth to say something like, “Adwoa, you see that because of you the rain is falling?”. Adwoa Sarfowaa pretty faced, tall, lithe-bodied third-year student of Pharmacy at the University of Ghana, usually had a light mood and hardly ever got offended. But if she did get offended, it was like waking up a beast. Lisabeth was right though. She had told Liss she would call at her house at six o’clock that evening. But she had felt a little sleepy an hour before, and since she was all set, she set a thirty-minute alarm, intending to wake, finish up and meet Liss at her house as planned. How her iPhone had managed to turn itself off was something to ponder about another time as she was woken by her mum at six thirty-three pm. “Liss is dressed up waiting for you. Didn’t you say you were going to church with her? Why are you still sleeping?” That was her mum. Adwoa had quickly dressed up, apologized soon as she met with Liss and they had set off. She smiled in Liss’ direction as they both got down from the trotro at Mante Farms, the junction to the Lighthouse Chapel Cathedral, and threatened when her friend accused her of the lateness, “Sister, don’t bring yourself this Christmas evening. Or the way I will face you eh,” mimicking almost perfectly, their resident church Bishop’s words as well as tone. The duo burst out into laughter. Walking briskly, they did not intend to miss more of the carols service than they already had. About a mile out, thunderstruck, signalling a Christmas rain.
The church was built with only one general entrance, after the gate was the car park, and then the entrance into the cathedral; anyone who came into the church, therefore, had to come in after passing through the frontier pavement which also served as a carpark. Liss and Adwoa bypassed a young man on his knees in the car pack, muttering to himself. At the entrance to the cathedral, Adwoa stopped to look back at the huddled man. She was struck by his pose as if he were in pain and her heart leapt out to him. Liss, noticing Adwoa’s pause, stopped walking and decided to tease Adwoa by daring her to ask him to join them for the carols.
“See, there is no way you can make him sit between us. The way you have been single for long, if you’re actually able to get him to come sit with us, I’ll woo him for you.” Liss challenged jokingly.
She had a boyfriend but Adwoa was single. Adwoa playfully asked back,
“How much will you pay, sha?”
Liss, knowing Adwoa, was not capable of the feat wagered Twenty Cedis.
“It’s Christmas oh, you the way I’m feeling happy and you’ve brought yourself. Just watch.”
Adwoa called a boy she taught in the children’s class just as he was running by and gave him an instruction referring to the man partly hidden from view in the carpark. Before Liss could complain, Adwoa pointed out there had been no terms of agreement demanding she went there herself. She grinned wickedly as little Robert went to deliver the message, her hand in mid-air waiting to wave at the man as soon as he looked in their direction.
‘Please. Please. My madam says I should tell you that it is about to rain, please come inside.” A soft small hand ripped Denzel out of his reverie.
He was stuck up in his prayer still and had for some minutes lost sense of his surroundings. Shaking from the unexpected touch, he opened his eyes to see a boy of about eight, resting one hand on his shoulder and pointing the other up the stairs to the entrance of the church. Two girls stood there, one waving him to come over, with a smile on her face.
She beckoned him to come and made a motion to show it was about to rain which amazingly made Denzel’s heart flutter. He tried to conceal his look of surprise which was pointless because his facial qualities were majorly obscured in the darkness. Girls didn’t make his heart flutter and he had also planned not to enter the church after the spectacle he had created. He had even imagined he was going to add literal screams of “Jesus-it-is-Christmas-wassup-plus-you?” to his heart’s fill after which he would drive back home to sleep and hope things would work out. Anybody could think he was deranged, and he wouldn’t care, after all, none knew him. But if this girl had made his heart flutter – the third such occurrence in his life – then maybe fate had called him to the park that evening. God may have a plan after all. The prelude gust of the Christmas rain’s wind which had blown for about five minutes had dried his sweat while he prayed, the barely present harmattan aided it too. Nonetheless, he wasn’t certain about approaching the girls, but the girl wouldn’t stop waving. Mustering courage, he got up from his knees, cleaned his face and walked towards the couple. This evening was getting exciting in ways he had not dreamed.
Adwoa was the one to be slightly taken aback when he got a better view and realized the young man was handsome – no he was actually hot. She got shy and would have reacted awkwardly but alas, Liss, the usually confident one, displayed a higher level of awkwardness and wished Denzel a very unnatural “Merry Christmas”, anxiety clearly dripping in her voice. He replied, “Many happy returns”, his voice still hoarse from his prayer.
Adwoa, who had recovered, then started.
“Um! I’m sorry. I realized you were praying but I saw it was about to rain, and we’ll really want to get a new friend today, after all its Christmas and so…”
Adwoa breathed out, she had no idea what she was saying but she kept on.
“So, will you please sit with us? I saw you in the park and thought you needed a mummy.”
She was nervous and furious at the same time. What did I just say? Why have I humiliated myself? Denzel burst out laughing. This girl had an excellent sense of humour, he thought.
“Yes, ma. I was looking for you and couldn’t find you. Where did you go?”
It was the girls’ turn to laugh now. When the laughter died, he went on in a relaxed state.
“I’m Denzel and I would love to join you for the carols. And thanks for saving me from the rain.”
Denzel was still dazed. This girl was rapidly becoming the strangest and yet most attractive person he had ever met.
“Sure. My friend is Liss and I’m Adwoa. Let’s go have ourselves a Merry Christmas.”
Adwoa, with a childish grin playing on her face, pulled Denzel and placed him in between herself and Liss, as they chatted on into the cathedral. Denzel’s hope erupted from a gentle flame to a wildfire. This rainy harmattan did indeed have spiritual connotations. A beautiful soloist sang silent night in the background.