The Sun Must Shine (Episode 5)

— Unique love stories —

VI

George returned to school the following weeks. He didn’t allow Ruth to pay for his education, but he considered her advice and returned to school. After dismissing work every day, he’d go to evening classes for adults. He’d be sure that he had helped his mother cook first before he left for the adult school. He attended every class and learned everything very fast. He always talked of his progress  at the school with Ruth. Ruth was optimistic about his progress.

A year passed, and their love for each other grew. George the hard man didn’t show it well enough as Ruth did. Ruth was often afraid that he didn’t love her. After that year, George passed his High School Certificate Examination and got admitted to University of Biberia. Ruth was in her final year at the college. It was on the very day he got the admission that Ruth’s parents discovered the love between the two young people.

“You must be mad!” Ruth’s short and dark father said.

“You must be out of your mind,” her tall and fair mother said. They were seated in their large sitting room. Ruth bowed her head slightly, looking at the tiles that she imagined were laughing at her. She had no idea of the person who informed them of their love.

“You want to make this family a laughing object for the other wealthy families, right?” her father asked. Ruth waved her head—she didn’t want to make the family a laughing object. “Then, you must disassociate yourself from that young man and his mother. So pathetic! You’ve been going to their house to cook for his mother for more than a year even.”

“Father, I love him,” she said.

“Shut up, Ruth!” her mother barked. Her beautiful face which was plastered with make up seemed to look ugly that day. She was angrier than her father.

“I’ve sacked him,” her father said.

“Father?” Ruth looked at her father. She was startled by his words.

“I’ve told them to leave Nuka. They’ve gone to another place, which I’ll not make known to you. The young man is a good man, so I settled him.” Her father talked calmly as if what he did was bearable for his daughter. Her mother nodded in support. “I found another job for him,” her father continued. “I got him into the army with my connection.”

Ruth collapsed on the sofa, and then slipped to the tiles. “Oh no!” she screamed. She lay flat on the floor, and the shouts of her parents didn’t make her get up. Their mouths moved, but she didn’t hear what they said. She was in a world were things were moving, speaking and acting, but all were mute.

— Unique love stories —

The day of the eclipse of the sun flashed through her mind, the day she had gone with George to a lonely hill in the college’s compound. They sat on the hill and watched night enshroud the day. She leaned on his wide chest and held his callused hand. He smoothed her hair with his other hand. They laughed and talked about the Sun god and the Earth goddess. He acted as the Sun god, and she acted as the Earth goddess. “We’ll work together to see that the sun must shine,” they said. They counted down from ten to one. When they got to one, the darkness cleared, and the sun shone on the earth. They hugged themselves and laughed. She looked at her parents who had become distant and began to cry.

VII

Five years after her graduation, she didn’t get over him like his parents thought she would. She was almost insane. A year after she was separated from George, she began to wear only white to the University of Biberia, where she taught undergraduate students. Her parents knew the reason, but the people outside the family didn’t know. She had become so distant that she wasn’t close to her best  friends again. That she graduated top of her class and automatically got her dream job of lecturing didn’t pull her off her sorrow.

One day, she came back depressed as she had always been since the separation, her father called her to his room. He looked at her and waved his head. He said, calmly, “We apologize for what we did, we’re deeply sorry. We wish we can undo what we did. We’ve tried all we could to contact him, but we’ve not been able to.”

— Unique love stories —

“What are you saying, father?” she asked, wide-eyed.

“Yes.” Her father nodded, he touched the polished wood of the bed. “He is not dead. I got him into the army, and I instructed him to send a bloodied picture of his body to you through an unknown person, so that you’ll think he is dead.”

“Father,” she called weakly.

“I’m sorry,” he said. Ruth acted as if she didn’t hear him. She left his room and walked to her own. In her room, she packed her bags and she thanked her goodwill that she had gotten accommodation at the college. Her parents watched her sadly as she packed all her bags to the car. She didn’t say anything to them again. She drove off in her car.

Her new apartment on campus was a modest two room apartment, but she liked it. She was free from her treacherous parents and their money. In her small new sitting room, there were only two sofas and a small glass table at the center on the tiles. She sat on one of the sofas. She hid her face in her palms as she cried, softly. She remembered how her father had offered her the presidency of his large company after her graduation. He seemed certain that she would have forgotten what they did to George and take the job. She refused the offer and chose to take the lecturing job in her department. She wanted to prove to them that their money wasn’t everything. There was a knock on her door. She looked up.

— Unique love stories —

“Who is that?” she asked. She was certain that the knocker was her mother.

“It’s me,” a bass voice said. She sat upright. She knew that voice. She got up and walked to the door. Before she opened the door, she breathed air into her lungs to clear her head. She opened the door. She was too surprised that she banged the door immediately.

“Ruth, please open the door,” George said. Ruth closed her eyes and leaned on the blue wall of her small sitting room. She opened her eyes and sniffled. All these years, she thought. “Please open the door,” he said.

She wiped her eyes and turned to open the door. When she opened the door, she jumped on him and hugged him tightly, it felt sweet, feeling his wide chest and his loud breath again. “Where have you been?” she asked. “I tried all I could to reach you.” She released him. She stepped back and looked at him. George looked different in his black fitting suit. He was handsome at that time, more handsome than she remembered. He had a low cut and shaved his beard to make him more handsome. He held out his hand and took Ruth’s hand in his.

— Unique love stories —

“I congratulate you for the lecturing job you got immediately after graduation, and for your PhD degree defense last week,” he said. He looked at her eyes. “I’ve been following your progress since I left Nuka to join the army.”

“You really joined the army? I thought my father was lying,” she said.

“He told you the truth. He helped me joined the army. I’m still thankful to him, because he gave us enough money that made me pursue my degree program and still be in the army.”

“I don’t understand. You mean you’ve been coming to Nuka all this while?”

“No,” he said. “I attended the Port Yanko University. And thanks to you, too, I’ve been promoted rapidly since my graduation.”

“Why did you severe contact with my father? And why didn’t you come to me when you knew I was suffering?” She was angry, punching his chest slowly, she feared that if she punched hard he’d disappear again.

— Unique love stories —

“I didn’t want to meet him again, and I also told the army not to disclose my information to him. Our country’s military is very secretive, I used that antic to severe contacts with him. I waited for you to leave your parent’s house before I come to you. I had eyes on your family.”

“What?” She opened her eyes, wide. “What if I married another man?”

“I know you wouldn’t, because I had my eyes on you. And even if you fell in love with another man, I’d have warned the man seriously.” He winked. She hugged him and held on to him. He smiled and smoothed her hair. She smelt of her favorite perfume, the one that tickled him.

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