Jacob was walking towards the station in Tamale to join a car to Soma. He had come to Tamale as he usually did every other week to buy items for his upkeep. Susan was on his mind as he walked. In the last few weeks, he always had her in mind. There was just something about her. Susan was so hardworking and so dedicated to her work. She had a way with kids that marveled him. Often times, he stood at a distance and simply admired her as she taught with so much uniqueness. He remembered the week they had spent in another village, Maklayiri. Soma was a remote village but indeed Maklayiri was a remote Soma. The children there were far more disadvantaged. They had been invited by the headmaster to spend a week there to assist the pupils in Primary 6 who were preparing to take their final examinations that would enable them to continue their education to the Junior High School level. Maklayiri had only one school and it was only a primary school. For many in the village therefore, primary 6 was the end of their education and they never put any efforts into their final examinations. The headmaster was determined that year to have at least five pupils make it to the Junior High School. When they got to the school, Jacob was immediately discouraged. The children did not look like they had any sense of hope. Susan on the other hand was so zealous about motivating them. By the end of the week, he had really seen a change in a good number of the students. Susan did not believe she had done anything special.
“I’ve only done what God sent me to do,” she had said.
That was another beautiful thing about Susan. She attributed all her abilities to God. Yet, in spite of all these, there were a lot of mysterious things surrounding her life. First of all, Jacob had called several friends of his who were to start their national service that year but they all told him the postings were not yet out. He found that a bit confusing. When he asked Susan about it, she had said she was part of the few people that had an early posting. Early posting? He had never heard about that before. Then he asked her about her registration and she said she had been informed that she could only register when all her other colleagues were posted. He found that strange too. The most mysterious part was about her life apart from school. All he knew about her was that she was Susan Van-Lare and she was from Accra. Where in Accra? She wouldn’t say. What school did she attend? She told him he was prying too much. He had tried hard not to make reference again to the fact that she never called home. He however could not hold back any longer and had asked her about it.
“Is it any of your business?” she had snapped.
And that was it. Susan was very great to talk with until a personal question was asked. She always stiffened at that point, snapped at him and walked off. He had tried to use different ways of getting to know her better but to no avail. Jacob personally believed she might be hiding something. Often times though, he felt he just had not won her trust yet. His desire to know her better coupled with her wonderful qualities had moved his admiration to strong attraction for her. He always wondered what to do about how he felt. Two days ago, he had decided to let her know how he felt. He hoped if she also felt the same and they became committed to each other, it would encourage her to open up to him.
When he arrived at the station, he stopped by the newsstand to purchase the dailies. He never missed the chance at getting the newspapers since he hardly heard any news in Soma. He paused for a few seconds to ensure that he had bought everything he had planned to after which he sat in the Soma-bound vehicle. He knew it was going to be quite a long wait since the bus was virtually empty. He decided to go through the papers as he waited. He loved these moments because it made him feel part of what was happening in the country anytime he read the papers. After going reading the Daily Guide from cover to cover, he looked up and realised only four extra people had entered the car.
I must as well read the Daily Graphic.
He read through the various news articles and then the pages with advertisements followed. He turned to the page which contained notices and was immediately stunned. There was Susan with her beautiful smile staring back at him! The heading “Missing” was boldly above her picture. He was confused.
What is Susan doing in here?
He went on to read the notice. The paper referred to her as Petrina Bannerman and she had been missing for a little over a month. She had left her house on…wait! The date quoted was the day after he met Susan. The general public was being asked to report any knowledge about her whereabouts.
Jacob put his head in his hands. This was all so confusing. Could Susan really be Petrina? But how possible? On the other hand, it could not be a mere coincidence that this lady who looked just like Susan was last seen the day after he met Susan. His heart began to beat faster. Had Susan been lying to him all this while? It just couldn’t be. She was such a sweet person he just couldn’t think she could be capable of running away from home or lying to him for such a long time. He thought about how mysterious she was. He thought about the fact that she was the only person that he personally knew had gotten an ‘early’ National Service posting. It all made sense. It made so much sense to him now that she was so secretive and she had no reason to call home. He shook his head.
It can’t be true. It just can’t.
For the first time in a very long time, he felt so broken within him. He felt like crying. How could Susan have lied to him? He had fallen in love with someone who was not really who she said she was. What was he going to do?
What is Jacob going to do?