Forgiveness is a two way street; it heals the forgiver and the forgiven.
Kosi stretched out his hand towards Eva’s face and placed it gently on her cheeks. She raised her head and stared at him. They remained that way for a few seconds, not saying anything just looking at each other. It was as though they could both recall the months of pain they had experienced at each other’s hands as well as the happy memories. Each memory, painful or happy, was reflected in their eyes.
‘Eva… please say something.’
Eva remained quiet as the tears kept streaming down her face but this time, she wasn’t looking away from Kosi, her eyes were fixed on him.
When she still didn’t respond, he took his hand away from her cheeks and moved away from her. He sat on the floor and buried his hands in his face and began laughing hysterically.
‘I should have known. I’m such a fool!’
Kosi immediately stood up from the floor, walked to the window on the other side of the wall, stood there for a few seconds and walked back to where Eva sat. He opened his mouth to speak but quickly closed it and shook his head. He walked back to the window and remained there. After what seemed like hours but was a few minutes, Kosi left his position by the window and walked to where Eva was on the floor. He bent down until he was the same level with her and placed his hands in hers.
‘Come on, if you remain that way you’ll have cramps.’
Eva allowed Kosi to guide her to the couch. When they were both seated, he said, ‘I’ve said a lot this evening and I know you’ll have to process everything I’ve said.’ Kosi let out a deep breath before continuing. ‘I don’t want to pressure you or overwhelm you Eva. Since you aren’t ready to talk to me, I’ll just go.’
Then he let go of her hand and stood up from the couch.
‘Thank you so much for allowing me into your safe space and for listening to me. I truly appreciate it. And if it’s okay with you, I would like to come visit you more often but only if you are okay with it.’
Eva’s head was bent as he spoke. She said nothing in response. Kosi breathed out deeply, looked up at the ceiling and closed his eyes before heading for the door.
Doctor Audu watched from his bedroom window as Kosi entered the driver’s seat of his car and rested his head on his steering wheel. He closed the curtain of his bedroom window and turned his attention to the Investigation Discovery channel on the Television but his ears were listening for the gate to know when he would leave. Several minutes later, he goes back to the window and notices Kosi has not moved. His head was still resting on his steering wheel. He sighed and turned to wear his slippers when he caught sight of a figure heading towards Kosi’s car. Doctor Audu smiled to himself, left his bedroom window and went back to watching Investigation Discovery.
‘Hey, do you mind if I join you?’
Kosi looked up from his steering wheel to see Benjamin watching him through the passenger’s window. Without waiting for a response, Benjamin opened the door and joined him inside. Neither of them said anything for a while before Benjamin spoke.
‘I saw you sitting alone in your car and was wondering if you needed company.’
Benjamin raised his hand to show a bottle of Kagor wine and two glasses. There was a mischievous smile on his face. Kosi glanced between Benjamin and the bottle of wine and laughed. A laughter that reached his eyes as he let go of the steering wheel and rested his head on the driver’s seat.
‘I’ll take you up on that offer.’ Kosi said as he collected the glass Benjamin offered him. ‘How do we open this wine? Do you have a corkscrew somewhere… ah!’ Kosi exclaimed as Benjamin produced a corkscrew from one of his pockets. ‘Really funny you have one on you, it’s something people usually forget.’
‘Lucky us I didn’t’ Benjamin responded as he placed the bottle between his thighs and worked the corkscrew into the cork of the wine bottle. The cork came off with a pop sound and Benjamin shouted, ‘Young millionaire!’
Kosi shook his head and laughed.
‘What does that even mean?’
‘I’m not exactly sure. My dad always says it whenever he pops a bottle.’
They both laughed as Benjamin poured a glass of wine for each of them. Nursing their glass of wine, they were both silent and lost in thought.
‘I came here, not knowing what to expect…’ Kosi began breaking the silence. ‘Whether or not Eva would forgive me for the shit I’ve done, whether she would agree to come back into my life so that we could work on our marriage together, nothing. I just came, you know. Just… I hoped apologising would be enough, that it would help…’ He rested his head on the driver’s seat and closed his eyes. ‘I’m sure she hates me and never wants to see me again.’
‘I don’t think so.’
‘Why don’t you think so? If you knew half of what I’ve done to her… of what I’ve put her through, you would understand. There wouldn’t be a single doubt in your mind that she hates me.’
Benjamin thought for a while before speaking.
‘If she truly hates you as you say, then why did she invite you over?’
Kosi’s laugh was mirthless. ‘I don’t know. To see me beg?’
‘Do you really think that?’
Kosi sighed. ‘No.’
They were quiet again for a few moments as they both took a sip from their glasses of wine.
‘She didn’t say one word to me the entire time I was there. If not for her greeting me at the door I would have assumed she lost her voice or something.’ There wasn’t a single atom of anger in Kosi’s words, just pain and regret. ‘I’ve never seen Eva so quiet. She has always been so open and full of life. Even when she’s angry she voices out her feelings but for her to be unable to say a word to me… fuck.’
Kosi’s hand scrubbed his face as he replayed his one sided conversation with Eva that night.
‘If she had said something I would know what to do, where to start from but I’m so clueless right now. I don’t even know if she wants to see me again, I don’t even know if I should call her… I don’t know what to do.’
Benjamin listened with pity. Kosi sounded so lost and confused as he spoke.
‘I may not be a mindreader…’
‘May?’ Kosi asked. His eyebrow was raised skeptically.
‘Go with me here… ’ Benjamin replied jokingly. ‘… but I believe for Eva to invite you here, then it means she doesn’t hate you. She may not have said anything to you but that’s because she has gone through a lot.’
Kosi looked at Benjamin seriously.
‘How do you know what she has gone through?’
Benjamin noticed Kosi’s tone and laughed. ‘Relax, I have no intention of making moves on Eva.’
Kosi still seemed skeptical but he visibly relaxed and took a sip of the glass of wine in his hands.
‘Eva and I bonded these past few weeks. And believe me when I say, she doesn’t hate you, she’s just hurting. Seriously hurting and needs time to herself.’
Kosi nodded in understanding.
‘You need to be patient with her. With people that are hurting, they need patience and time.’
Kosi sighed. ‘I’m learning. I’m learning to be patient and to listen more and it’s so hard. It’s so hard not doing anything and just hoping.’
‘Well, there are things you could do but then, that’s not my place to tell you. There are certains things you need to figure out on your own.’ Benjamin said as he downed the rest of the wine in his glass.
Benjamin picked up the bottle that he had kept on the floor by his leg and pulled out the cork and pushed it back into the bottle of wine.
‘That’s it for me. It was nice sharing a bottle of wine with you, Kosi. I hope we can share more in better condition in the future.’
Kosi smiled. ‘Same here.’
‘Enjoy the rest of the night Kosi, you can keep the rest of the wine.’ He winked.
Benjamin waved at Kosi as he drove out of the compound.
‘I hope everything works out well for you both.’ Benjamin said as he walked back into his house.