“Let’s go all the way up,” Ralph turned to Serwaa with his eyes gleaming and stood up straighter. She grinned back excitedly.
He was leaning on the wall of the elevator and she was facing him. She hit the button for the penthouse and relaxed again. She could feel the swish underneath her feet, and then inside of her as well, she felt fluttery. What was up at the top of the building, in the penthouse? She was asking herself inwardly.
“There’s a pool and a nice lounge,” he immediately said.
“Ei,” Serwaa exclaimed softly and then laughed. There was no way he had heard her. But that was what she loved about Ralph. They were constantly in sync, with their thoughts, their sense of humor and their feelings.
The elevator reached their destined floor and he grabbed her hand.
The top floor was an open space with a pool area. It was much too late for anyone to be out there that night. So they could be alone and enjoy privacy, for a change.
The top floor offered a beautiful sweeping view of the city with bright lights everywhere.
“I’m scared of heights.” Serwaa let the cat out of the bag. She was clearly embarrassed by this. But why wouldn’t she be? It was only her first month in Seattle and very far away from her home in Ghana. Ralph just laughed. He wouldn’t understand. She was the first Ghanaian girl he had been with, and he knew very little about Ghana. They were from such different worlds. But she had met his parents, and they had told her they loved her accent and her beautiful skin. She liked their American accents too, she just couldn’t understand all they said.
“Nothing to be scared about,” He put both his hands on her arms. Standing so close in front of her, every breath she inhaled carried with it a whiff of his cologne. She wanted to lean into him, closer. Instead she just looked at him carefully. What did she like about him? His long nose and the way his face seemed so perfect, like God had worked overtime? Or the way his eyes lit up with mischief and made her wonder what was coming next? Or the way he gazed at her intently as though she were some type of prize? She truly felt love coming from him, and reaching her as though it was heat from a fireplace and she were seated very close. He was warm. The warmest person she ever knew. But –
“Wait, you don’t like this?” He was sensing there was something wrong. He could read her so easily.
Serwaa heaved a sigh. She couldn’t shake off the feeling in her gut. She smiled slowly so her face wouldn’t give away her true feelings.
“I’m scared of heights. And I’m also scared of you. All this. You. Everything. It’s too much for me. I have to leave.”
And with that she scampered away. Ralph was frozen and could not say a word. She ran, hit the button for the elevator but took the stairs instead. The faint sound of her feet echoed softly, like the patter of rain on a glass, like the last song whispered from a lover, the goodbye song. She was gone.