“A sequel to RAGGED GOLD”
(Here is a link to Ragged Gold, if you haven’t read it already: http://smmwords.blog/2022/01/16/ragged-gold/)
I swing my office chair, my eyes closed. A small smile grazes my lips as I remember her cheeky smile. Marylin… We never talked, but she dropped her cards next to my feet enough times for me to have her name engraved in my mind, but that isn’t the only reason I remember her. I don’t know if she knew, but I realized that she came to buy fruits from my mother, even when she did not need to. I mean, no one buys mangoes worth two hundred shillings everyday unless they are doing it for business. Anyway, I also know she dropped her things intentionally. It wasn’t hard to notice because every time that I did not wave or smile, she dropped something next to me. A sigh escapes me as these memories flash through my mind. I don’t know if she knows this, but her little actions and the bright smiles she gave me everyday kept me holding on a little longer. I even stayed there longer than I anticipated, but I am glad I did because who knows what would have happened on that particular night. I didn’t intend to take the knife for her, but I couldn’t stand the thought of her being hurt. Funny? I know, after all, we were just but strangers. Strangers who saw each other every day for the past three years. Ah, ah…I wonder if she still remembers me. After all, it’s been eight months since I left.
“Ze, the guests have arrived.” My partner Lyn interrupts my thoughts. I still my swinging chair and sit upright before looking at her leaning on the door frame.
“Adjust your hair Ze. If you are going to tie those dreads up to a tail, do it properly.”
Ah yes, Lyn. She has always been a perfectionist, but I can’t complain because ever since we were children, she has always looked out for me, for the both of us, even when our mother couldn’t. Sometimes she behaves more as my mother than as my sister.
“Fine, I’ll be right there.” She nods and walks away.
As the sound of her heels disappears towards the conference room, I can’t help but remember the sound of Marylin’s boots. She had very many different colors and they made a noise every time she walked. Maybe I should have said goodbye; I shouldn’t have disappeared like I did, but ever since I left prison four years ago, every time that my heart skips a beat for a woman, the memories of my torturous days in prison surface. I shake my head, untie, and tie my hair, then grab my tablet. It is best not to keep my team waiting on the first day of this game project.
As I near the conference room, I hear whispers and soft laughter that quickly die the moment I walk in. A small smile breaks from my lips as I look at the faces of the excited programmers, animators, and designers in the room, but my heart stills for a moment when my eyes land on the overly familiar face that haunts my mind day and night. Marylin. I look at her confused face for a few seconds and move on quickly to the next face. She must have questions, but now is not the time. Just when I am close to regaining my composure, I get to the last face and my heart turns cold. What is she doing here? The woman looking at me in undisguised shock is the one that ruined my life. When I was picking an animation company, I do not recall picking hers. I turn to look at my sister only to find her smiling broadly. Lyn!! I grit my teeth and plaster a smile on my face.
“Hi guys, excuse me for a moment.”
I softly say and quickly head back to my office. I stand by the window looking at the tall buildings of the city, but my thoughts have gone back to 9 years ago.
“Relax, I just wanted her to see that despite what she did, you made it back to your own two feet.”
Rage. That is the only emotion I can feel emanating from me.
“I was framed for assault by the woman I dated for three years and spent five years in prison. Mum ended on the streets as a vendor because both of your businesses collapsed when you took all the funds just to get me a good advocate. After leaving prison, I only worked at night because I had to wait for you to come from work so I could use your laptop for freelance jobs. For three years, Lyn, I saved all the money I earned while we’ve had close to nothing at home just so we could build this entertainment company for the family. After nine years, I was finally starting to know peace. What makes you think that I want to see her face again in my life?”
The is silence for a few minutes before the door to my office slowly opens. My hands clench into fists at the thought of Claire having the audacity to approach me. I am about to turn to her and tell her off when a soft and husky voice stops me in my tracks.
“That’s the most I have ever heard you speak.”
Lyn and I turn to Marylin.
“It is bad manners to eavesdrop on people’s conversations.”
“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist listening to why the man who has tormented my dreams for the past three years, eight months, is agitated.”
My sister’s mouth opens wide in shock and then her face turns to one of realization as she turns to me.
“is this the girl you told me about?”
I nod slowly. A small smile plays on my sister’s lips as she looks from Marylin to me and then to her again.
“I am sorry about Claire, I haven’t seen you this angry in two years and it wasn’t my intention to bring back the anger. I will let you find the guts to finally talk to this one. Five minutes and I will start the meeting.”
Two minutes after Lyn left, Marylin and I still stand staring at each other.
“Zeke, I’m glad you are ok.”
She finally breaks the silence and like before, I find myself smiling. I want to ask her out, but I don’t know how to or perhaps it’s because I am afraid that she wouldn’t want anything to do with a man who spent his early twenties in prison.
“We have a lot to catch up on. Like how you play the guitar…” She says again while looking at an acoustic guitar sitting next to my bookshelf.
“…or how you are a game designer and developer.”
I still can’t find words to say and mentally scold myself for not responding to her. We go back to being silent and I decide that I have had enough of it. Before I can hold back my words, I hear myself say,
“Perhaps we can have lunch together and we can talk some more?”
I watch a huge smile form on her lips as she nods vigorously like a child.
“Today will be a good day for lunch, but for now, let’s get back to the meeting.”
She says and walks away before I can even respond. As I watch her walk out of my office, I can’t help but smile broadly. Perhaps I can get over the past and walk with the present into the future.
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