Kwesi didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t sure if he understood her completely. But she seemed intent on communicating something to him. Clearly her visit had an objective. Just what it was though, he wasn’t sure.
“Sorry, how do you mean?” he managed to say, tugging the bright yellow shirt he had on.
Sophia burst out laughing and grinned at him, revealing the broad set of white teeth that haunted his memory from his first experience at the First Love church.
“I’m sorry, Mister -” she realized she did not know his last name.
“Landroff,” he filled in for her.
“Mr. Landroff” she smiled again saying, “Perhaps you would like a more traditional explanation of the gospel?”
“I don’t believe.” Kwesi blurted out.
Sophia showed no sign of being offended if she was.
“That’s why I’m here to explain,” she offered.
“I don’t want an explanation,” he shot back. He was beginning to sound irritated. Not by choice. But it was something he had no control over. He did not know why he had even let the young lady into his home. He knew he would not want to have anything to do with her or their church.
A moment of silence ensued as the pretty evangelist gathered her thoughts.
“You’re in the gray, Kway.” she began softly.
Wait, now she was on nickname basis with him? The nerve! But he remained quiet. He was not one to argue lately. Since reuniting with his grandfather, he had assimilated the art of listening. Now he was a pretty good listener. Only that one would be a fool to presume that his silence implied agreement.
“Gray is the confusing place. Gray is such a confusing word that we can’t even decide which spelling works better for us! Do we use an a or an e?”
Her joke fell flat. Kwesi stared on.
“I’m just saying that I see where you are. I know what you’re feeling. I know that you can’t make up your mind and nothing makes sense to you anymore. You can’t trust in God. Although perhaps you might like to. And you’ve known God before but now things are different. And there’s logic and reasons why His existence is questionable. And then there’s how you’re feeling and your own life experiences that make it even more doubtful. What with your mother’s death -”
“How did you know?” Kwesi interrupted. He was suddenly inflamed.
“Nana Adu mentioned to me.” She couldn’t say anything further than that. It was too sensitive a topic to discuss. It was an exclusive party for Kwesi and he had not chosen to invite her. She had to be about ending her conversation.
“But you gotta keep moving, Kwesi! You have no choice. You either sit here in the gray and keeping knocking your shins like I did. Or you move. You come out and you find out your own answers. You come and see what it is, in a different way than you’ve known it. First Love is different. You felt it yourself. I don’t need to tell you this but I will. I don’t let my experiences paralyze me. I don’t let the lack of answers lead me to throw my hands up and admit defeat!
“I’m always on my runway. I don’t know how long it’ll take me to fly.”
There were tears in her eyes. He wasn’t looking at her. But he could hear them.
“But I’m willing to stay out and try.”
She stood to her feet. He had offered her a glass of water and at that moment, she completely downed it. Then placing the glass on the table, she said coolly, “I’ll be here Sunday at 12 noon. I’ll drop you off after church wherever you want to go.”
Kwesi just looked at her. This young lady was bold.
He responded with a “mhmm.”
And she walked out, quietly closing the screen door behind her. She got into her car. Kwesi came out to open up the wine colored iron gates to his house that usually remained closed.
He lifted his hand up- his way of saying “bye” or “later.” And she backed her car out. Gone from his sight, but she was oh so much more present now in his thoughts.