I was on admission at the hospital recovering from a hip surgery when they came for a visit. The pains after the surgery were agonizing but I saw her haunting figure in the flowery dress she wore. It was then he introduced her to me. I could tell Bob had a crush on this particular one. They were completely inseparable. They fondled each other at the least chance all the time they were with me. Fiona had succeeded in giving Bob’s rootless heart some grounding. Bob was unlucky with ladies. He had forayed in and out of failed relationships with strings of girls through no fault of his. Unlike the others, I could tell Fiona was for keep. She was very infectious.
Bob was a gifted artist and a poet as well. He immortalised Fiona’s dazzling beauty on series of lurid paintings he made of her. The iconic paintings nonetheless did not survive their break-up. Capturing the charms of Fiona on a canvass was an obsession rather than a hobby. Her portraits hanged all over his room. She was in a kinky pose in one of the portraits. It was his favourite creation among the lot. Until he set the art works ablaze he routinely cuddled the kinky one every evening before he went to bed. As a gifted poet he wrote floral tributes celebrating her remarkable looks. The paintings became a vehicle for expressing his profound love for her. ‘Chanting Fiona’s splendour in my art works was therapeutic’ he said to me.
Bob worked in the public service. The wage was meagre; he did odd jobs to supplement his earnings. Albeit he lavished Fiona with exotic gifts and took her to glamour spots in town. He was at her beck and call and he dotted on her. Fiona found Bob’s profound attachment to her as a bother. She wanted space and Bob had occupied too much of that. She yearned to discover the world of romance but Bob was a hold-up. As a high school graduate, her dream was to be at the uni but her results were poor. Her dad wanted her to be a beauty therapist but she abhorred the idea so much. ‘It was too demeaning’. She said. She became frustrated and it was affecting their relationship.
Bob waved his magic wand and got her admission at the uni. He bought her some trendy dresses so she could cope with the fashion craze on campus. In the middle of her studies Fiona’s taste for glamour soared. The wannabe glam model set tongues wagging in her direction with her variety of fashion labels. Her compelling feminine feature turned the head of many admirers hazy. In fact, it turned the head of a mystery lover she met on campus foggy and he fell for her. The mystery lover had muscles to flex and money to spend. He swept Fiona off her feet and ruined the life of Bob forever. The lover turned out to be one of these failed lawyers in Accra who find succour in politics. He and many of his revolting ilks, bask in deceitful lives so long as it guarantees them their ‘boobs, booze and bonuses’. He delivered his deadly dozes of sham on Fiona and her soul was embalmed in scintillating ecstasy which Bob’s love ballads could not replicate.
Fiona had a startling discovery after her encounter with the failed lawyer turned politician. Life for a lady transcends exhibit of charms on canvasses and empty poetic lines. A public servant cum artist was certainly too poor to provide the fame and fortune she craved. The politician gave her a ride in his Lexus in the first instance. The chilly air missed with the air refreshment that glowed in the car made her broody. She swung into fantasy realms and dreamt of weekends in luxury resorts with the kids rolling down the slide in glee. Dumping Bob her long time flame was just too easy. When the agile footed hare is in flight the tortoise must give way. She started avoiding Bob.
Bob was oblivious of the bumper handouts splurged on Fiona. He got his usual paltry stuff and went to campus to meet her. ‘She is gone out’. Her room mate told him. When he insisted on knowing where Fiona was she revealed the grime secrets. ‘Fiona became a wild party girl after meeting the Party Chairman’. She said. ‘She attended lavish bashes with A-list bellicose political sickos. She even romped with the legal flop in a pool in his house.’ Bob wore a disappearing expression upon hearing the bombshell. His heart was in turmoil. His face went blue. The leak flatly contradicted what he knew of the loved one. She had changed from an angel he knew into a fiend. He waited for a show down with her. It was never to be. Fiona was on a chartered yacht far away on a pleasure Island somewhere on the Volta Lake. Bob never heard of her again. His heart tore into two and the pains were agonizing. He became suicidal.
He sat on his bed distraught when I entered the room. I went to see him when I heard the news of his failed suicide bid. He took over doze of painkillers when his heartache became unbearable. The numbing experience had isolated him from friends. He had a forlong look and Bob the buxom guy I knew was a nervous wreck. Some of our pals accused him of being daft for trying to take his life because of a ruthless lady who had no affections for him. ‘There was no romance between them in the first place’. Fiona just used him to achieve her aim’. One friend argued. He got up from the bed and went into the adjoining room. He was in white Y- front underwear and did not bother to cover up. I remembered the first time he introduced Fiona to me at the hospital. They were pleasant couples and were so happy together. I knew he yearned for the day he would walk the aisle with her in holy matrimony. That desire faded into emptiness. He was drained.
He came back into the room moments later with a lit coal pot. His presence woke me from my trance. I watched him walked the room absent minded without saying a word to me since I arrived. Suddenly he started ripping the paintings of Fiona hanging on his wall. He dumped the pile on the floor. He pulled a manuscript containing her love sonnets from under his pillow and added it to the pile. I realised his intentions and tried to save the treasured items but it was too late.
Though he had a sentimental attachment to the masterworks, he incinerated them in the furnace. I stood hapless as the flames licked Fiona’s painted curves into ashes. The boisterous fire smothered life out of his creations. They heralded a painful era in his distorted life and he annihilated that completely. Hanging on to the sick memorials brought poignant recollections. He yearned for the return of the loved one so he hanged on to the cherished items waiting for her return. It was never to be. The loved one never came back.
Francis Kwaku Egu, UK