FICTION: Chapter 5 – Babs

Babs took the day off.  She had called in sick. She knew Kwame would hear of this but would not object. They both knew the space was direly needed. It was getting hard keeping up the pretense at work. Just last week at a routine monthly meeting, Kwame was pushing for cuts in the work budget for the extras that were being used for the new project. It was logical. New Horizon films could do without it. Babs objected.  Her reasons were that the extras had to be enough to fill out the shots on location. It  made for the right feel the documentary was supposed to portray.
 
Maybe it was all the talk of cutting out extras ,maybe Babs had begun to feel like the extra in Kwame’s life. The analogy brought so much anger, it was inexplicable. Usually, Babs was skillful at keeping her cool but in that instant, she was desperate to assert her presence in his life. I must matter to this man, she thought at the time when they barraged heated remarks across the conference hall table.
The tension in the room was thick. The other colleagues felt it. The room had been  dead quiet as Babs and Kwame stared down intently at each other, daring either one to back down. Eventually, Kwame had broken the silence, when he uttered a cold “Excuse me” and  walked out of the room silently.
 
Others present looked at each other helpless, not knowing what the right thing to do was. No one could talk at Kwame the way Babs just had. Later on that day, Babs had wondered if Kwame had walked out of the meeting because he understood what she had been really trying to say or he was just being the bigger man. It was hard to tell with the man. Either way things had just gone downhill from then.
 
As if to physically shake the blues off, Babs jumped out of bed and made her way to the bathroom. I’m gonna cook today. Sweat out all this stress.
 
“Banku, yep, nothing like a good stirring of dough to keep a  girl focused,” she muttered to herself, smiling. Staring at the small square mirror, she saw that the eyes were puffed, bloodshot. She washed her face and quickly walked  out of the bathroom.
Maybe staying home was a bad idea.  She wondered
 
Suddenly staying at home seemed like a bad idea. Living alone meant whenever Kwame came around, they shared love everywhere. The kitchen, the bathroom, the living room… Everywhere, he was here
She stood in the hallway that connected her dining room to the sitting area… She stared despairingly at the emptiness. It could suffocate, this quiet. How did I get here.
 
The sound of the telephone cut through the silence. Babs for a moment, forgot she was in her own home. As she got to the phone, she hesitated because she hoped it would not be Kwame. She just could not stomach another angry moment with him.
 
“Hello”, Babs said in a small voice, still unsure who would be calling her home phone.
“Hey BB”, an equally tired voice responded, “You home?”
Only one person called her that. The guilt that washed over Babs felt like ice cold water. It was immediate. It was always so these days whenever she heard this voice. She had avoided it as much as possible recently.
“I’ve been calling you for days now, everything ok, Are you home?,” The voice inquired.
“Yes, I’m-“,Babs started.
“Well good, I’m coming over, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do, I hope you’re cooking something. I will see you soon”,  the call clipped.
 
Great, Babs thought unhappily. She definitely should not have stayed home.
Kay was coming over.
 

SHE is a collection of short fictional narratives that represent different (love) experiences of Ghanaian women

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