II.

The students of Legon University did not know a curfew. Nighttime only meant more activity would take place indoors. It did not mean activities would subside. Dag however, studied at night and liked to make good use of his afternoons. It was well past noonday when he was sitting on a couch and turning the pages of an old bible.

“What’s the verse you’re looking for again?” Dag asked the young woman. She stared back at him blankly as though she could not remember what she had just said. She probably did not. She seemed confused.

Dag repeated the question. “You say, the verse, you wanted? What was it?”

Celine Ayitey coughed and brushed off invisible crumbs from her lap.

“Brother Dag,” she purred. “You’re so powerful.” She giggled and covered her mouth shyly. She shrugged for no apparent reason. “I’m feeling really cold.” She said this huffily like it was his fault in some way. She kept talking but he tuned out and took a sweep of the room with his eyes. Celine stayed in a studio by herself. There was a counter top stove, a sink, her bed, a desk and the couch they were sitting on. He was in the women’s hall, alone, visiting her. It was all right with his conscience when he planned it out yesterday. But now in thick of the moment, it was beginning to feel so wrong. What had he been thinking? His eyes finally landed on her. They shared an uncomfortable gaze till Dag broke eye contact. Her lips moved into a slow sad smile. She inched closer to him on the couch and he immediately felt a chill down his spine. His mind flashed back to this morning in his room.

He had jolted from his bed as though struck by lightning. Checking the time and seeing it was only 4am, he leaned back on the wall. Then sitting upright in his bed, he began to pray. At first, he kept looking at the clock and checking to see how long it had been. An hour later, he felt like sinking back into bed. But his spirit felt a need to persist. He could not stop himself. Three hours later, he finally felt ready to step outside and face the world.

Now sitting next to Celine, he blinked. She was running her arm on the side of the couch and looking at him. She just kept looking at him in a blank, helpless sort of way.

He had to get going. He made a motion as though to rise from the couch they were both sitting on. This visit was over. He closed his bible.

“I just need someone to hold me? Please,” she confessed. Dag sized her up. She was the smallish type; her neck seemed so frail it could snap in two. She was his sheep. But he couldn’t lie to himself. In that moment, he felt himself admiring her beauty, especially her flawless skin tone. He was simply noticing everything.

“No.” he spoke firmly. “You’re nice. And I want to. But I won’t.” He had no idea where the resolve came from. Dag found himself walking to the door. Celine’s eyes were pleading. She looked sheepish and ashamed. He thought he heard her mention his name once more but he couldn’t be too sure, he was out and sprinting away. To safety.

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