Writers Space Africa-Rwanda

Unfinished Business – Sandra Nadege

It’s 8:00am. I am driving my old Avensis Verso to work. Our offices are located in the middle of the city, my hometown, Kigali. It’s a clean, busy, but a safe place, which is improving almost exponentially, judging from where Rwanda was twenty-six years ago – in tatters, blood shedding; you wouldn’t know it could become this sparkling beautiful place people visit every day.

I work for a travel agency. We take people to different tours around the country, help them to learn history while having fun – hiking, boat riding, taking pictures and all. I am in charge of ticket sales and advertisement. People have become fascinated. The travel agencies are increasing. Even though the competition has turned crazy over the course of this year, we’re doing great. Daisy Tours is thriving. I might have to say that I can take the credit because I came up with the most creative and effective ways of advertisement. 

I park my car, take out my purse and load it with a sanitizer and a hand moisturizer. I get inside. The day goes fairly normal. We are receiving customers (both singles and couples) and they’re buying tickets for the upcoming tour to Karongi, a beautiful district in the Western Province. I have arranged everything perfectly.

In the evening when I am about to go to an Art Cafe, I see him. Patrick Ngonga, my ex-boyfriend. The guy who promised to love me forever when we were still in high school. The guy we made life plans together. We had both gone to Germany to pursue bachelor’s degree and somewhere along the journey, he said he was falling out of love. We were about to celebrate our five-year anniversary. He was getting more private. He was expanding his horizons and I was not fitting into his plans. He broke my heart and when I returned to Kigali, I avoided dating and focused on myself. 

Seeing him again after a year shakes me a little. My eyes dilate at his sight until they fall on a cute girl, standing next to him. These days when everyone wears a mask, some people still look cute. She has a nice figure tucked in some tight jeans and a skimpy top. I am buttoned up in some suit and my hair is pulled up in a tight granny style bun. I don’t measure up to the hottie that is dangling on Patrick’s arm. I should have heeded my aunt’s advice – stop seeing him after high school!

“Hello, how can I help you?” I say to them in my best business-like tone. Everyone has gone out and I am the only person left to receive them. Even Carine, our receptionist has an emergency. So here I am, facing the last man I would want to see.

“Hey, Cas,” he says.

Cas is a nickname he gave me when we were together. I no longer go with any nickname. I am Cassandra Rwema. 

I hold out my elbow to greet them. 

“I am Cassandra,” I say, facing the girl.

Patrick winces.

“Again, how can I help you? We’re almost closing.”

“I am Sonia. I want to buy a ticket for the upcoming tour, please!” She says, her dainty hand clutching Patrick’s large biceps.

“Okay, sure,” I say, handing her my card and the flyer for the tour. “Please read the info on the flyer and call me on that number written on my card if you need more information about how you can book a slot. Do I assume you’re going as a couple or it’s just you?”

I almost cringe at the thought of seeing them together. 

“No, no, I am going with two of my best friends,” Sonia says.

Relief washes over me. I don’t know why.

Sonia looks like a sweet girl. Maybe that’s her luck. Patrick is a sweet guy; funny and crazy, sometimes cute and sometimes so gallant. I know I shouldn’t be recalling all the good times we had together, but I can’t help it. 

“Okay Sonia, please call me tonight. We can discuss how I can give you the ticket tomorrow morning if you would like.” 

We round up our brief conversation without Patrick’s involvement. I leave the place and go home. I no longer feel like going to the Art Cafe. 

I stay with my brother and my aunt at Gikondo, a vibrant neighbourhood that is not far from the city centre. My aunt doesn’t seem to notice that something is amiss with me despite her sharp eye about everything and everyone. I tackle insomnia for hours as I wait for Sonia’s call. I don’t want her to change her mind. Daisy Tours need more clients. At around 11:00 p.m, I receive a call. Since I don’t have Sonia’s number, I sigh happily, thinking it is her finally calling.

“Hey Cas,” a voice I would recognise from anywhere flows slurs in my ears. It’s Patrick’s. I roll my eyes and almost hang up.

“What do you want?” I ask.

“You still wear the same perfume.” 

What kind of a response is this? 

“That doesn’t answer my question,” I retort. 

“You’ve gotten smaller. Are you okay?” He asks.

I am furious at him ignoring my feelings as if he can waltz back into my life. How dare he calls me in the middle of the night as if nothing is going on? He has marked the end of our relationship himself; who do he think he is? 

“You know you’re an asshole, right?” I say angrily.

There is a deep sigh on the other end and I feel tears pricking my eyes. I still have feelings for him.

“I am so sorry, Cas. But you know what, let’s go on that tour together. As a couple.”

“But we’re not. I don’t need you to meddle in my life just because we were in love all those years. You said you fell out of love, remember? Don’t stress me out!” I cry.

“Buy the ticket, Cas. We’re going.”

Click! He hung up perhaps assuming that I will do it.  I refuse to be his puppet; he doesn’t own me. I cry myself to sleep.

Days later, I find myself clutching a ticket and a bag, waiting for Patrick. He appears in a tight black t-shirt with sunglasses tucked on the front along with tight jeans that showcases his tight ass and some white Reebok trainers. He is carrying a small backpack. When he reaches me, he nods at Sonia who trails off with some of her friends towards the van. 

“Sorry to spring this on you, but let’s go somewhere else. You and I need to talk.” He says.

I am flabbergasted at the nerve he has, changing plans as if I would come and go at his beck and call. He touches my elbow and steers me in a different direction. He nods off to Carine. It seems like they know each other and she has lent a hand all this.

“Patrick, I don’t know what this whole nonsense is about,” I say.

“Trust me darling, you will understand this. Just follow me!” He says in a playful tone.

I am being pushed on the edge. It’s as if Patrick has become someone I don’t recognise anymore. He is not the considerate guy I fell in love with. 

“Please stop playing this game with me. I can’t take it.” I almost plead.

His eyes turn soft at my pleading as he stares at me intently. 

“The sooner we get this done, the sooner we’re all be set free.” He says.

Flutters grow in my tummy as if I won’t like whatever this is. Patrick drives his Nissan sedan to Galaxy Hotel. We enter and check in. He takes the same room we had sex in for the first time as a couple. I remember how romantic it was. It was painful when my hymen broke, but that was subdued with the touches and kisses he trailed all over my body. My cheeks flush whenever I remember how we made love almost like animals later in the night. I was an eager student as he taught me more ways to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh.

As soon as we enter the bedroom, I sit on the bed. He stays standing. I am imagining better things to do with his ever so handsome body and I hate myself for it. We share a heated stare for a minute. I don’t know who moves first, but in the next instant, our lips lock. He tastes like coffee and fruits – his routine breakfast. He still kisses me like no other guy. My eyes shut as his fingers roam. We fumble with clothing. The kiss goes from soft to hard, and our moves turn frantic and rushed. Our lovemaking is incomparable to anything; it’s just as we used to. We both are relieved when the heat explodes. 

“You know this was not what I had brought you here for. I just can’t resist you.”  Patrick says.

At least I am not the only crazy person between us. I stay silent for a while.

“What then?” I finally query.

“Will you marry me, Cas?” He says, pulling out a simple silver band with a diamond and a small emerald in the center. It’s so freaking beautiful. 

“Are you fucking out of your mind? You just can’t do this. It’s not even fair. You’re taking advantage of me, Patrick. I refuse to be used and discarded like I am a piece of nothing.”

As I say this, he moves and clasps my hands in his. I fight him, but he holds me tighter until I start to cry.

“I don’t think I can discard or forget you even if I wanted to,” he lets out. “I have been following you and asking about you from Carine and your aunt for a freaking year. I couldn’t have the guts to ask you to forgive me. I watched you from afar wishing to hold you again. It’s been a tough time without you to look forward to. Cas, you are my life. I said things I didn’t mean because I was overwhelmed with the loss of my parents’ company and all. I think you still love me and that I am not wasting my time to put this ring on your finger, marking you as mine for all men to see.” 

Tears pour out of his eyes. Something moves in me. It’s such a short time, he can hurt me again. I know it, but again, I want to be his. I want to be the one he makes love to; the one he dreams and holds tight. I take the ring and slips it on my finger as we both stare at it and share a smile. I am taking this risk, but it might be my ticket towards my own happy-ever-after. We kiss, make up and screw recklessness. Love is hardly sane, but that makes it much more beautiful.

Featured photograph: Unsplash

About the Contributor

Nadege Sandra Uwayezu (Sandra Nadege) is a writer/poet based in Kigali. She is currently pursuing Business Communication at Southern New Hampshire University through Kepler College. Sandra is the author of Light in the Dark, a memoir and two poetry collections titled First Creation and Sense and Sensation. She is also an editor of five Rwandan published books that include two novels, two poetry collections, and an inspirational book. She has interned at the former Kigali Arena (now BK Arena) as a copywriter. Apart from that, her artistic ventures include poetry performances, theater performances, and singing. Her hobbies range from creating handcrafts to hiking, traveling, environment and wildlife conservation. You can visit her website www.sandra-nadege.com to read her short stories, poems, articles, and travelogs.

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