Perspectives II

Hi guys! I’m finally back with the second part of ‘Perspectives’. I’m sorry it took forever (I know, I’m constantly apologising for disappearing lol!) I promise to do better with the next part. As always, please tell me what you think, share with someone who might enjoy it, or might be going through something similar, share your thoughts with us all. Most of all, I hope you enjoy it! If you haven’t read the first part yet, you’ll find it here.

Cheers to a lovely weekend! ❤

Elise


Brumah had a sermon he’d been working on for weeks now. Somehow he couldn’t seem to get the message coined into the way he felt the Spirit was leading him. And lately, his thoughts kept going back to Nadia. Especially as his appointment to preach in New York approached. He’d prayed those thoughts away on so many occasions, lately it wasn’t working. He knew she had a little boy, but as much as possible he tried to not look her up or wonder about her. Sometimes he missed her so much… missed the way she made him feel about himself. Missed her funny quips. She was a very happy girl…. it took so much to rile her up….

But she was considered a bad girl. That was obviously no problem when he was also considered bad. When he got saved, his mother had over and over and over, drummed it into his head, that this was not the kind of girl a Christian boy brought home.
He remembered how nervous he was the day he broke up with her. She thought he was kidding. “I know I’m not good enough for your family, and that’s okay…. but I thought I was enough for you?” She said it with a smile on her face. But he knew her too well to know that deep inside, her heart was breaking into a thousand shards. Just like his was.

He still hadn’t forgiven himself. He’d prayed, and cried out to God… In his mother’s words, “no child of mine will be yoked with an evil woman!”
He’d cut communication with her for so long, and she hadn’t fought it. There were times he was tempted to think maybe she was fine with it all. But he knew her too well. Knew she didn’t want to disrupt his well-structured life. She loved him, and he knew it… loved him enough to remove herself just so he wouldn’t have to suffer. She loved him in a way no woman ever would.  And he loved her in a way he knew he couldn’t love any other woman. He thought back to the last time they’d made love…. he was reaching dangerous territory now. He missed her so much more when he thought about the sex.

He knew he shouldn’t be comparing, and he tried so hard not to. But Sarah constantly shamed him when it came to that department. He felt like he had to earn the right to sex. And even when he did earn it, it was on her terms. No funny positions. No strange sounds. Shower before. Aim: Make babies.
He’d tried over the years to dissuade her. There were days when he’d decide to just hold her in bed, make out with her, no sex, and just enjoy his wife. She wouldn’t have it…. “Ei Osofo, why? Today no action? You know I don’t like your games. Are you thinking about something else?”

He’d gone a couple of months at a time without sex/foreplay at all sometimes, just to see if she’d even want him at all. He often gave up before he was led into temptation elsewhere. Funny enough, no woman, no matter who tried, had ever gotten him to even consider losing guard – and so many women had tried, both in and out of the congregation.
Yet one thought of Nadia and he had to command himself to be strong, and sensible…

God why can’t I forget about her?! It’s been 8 long years! 


Akyiaa looked at the screen in disbelief… She was walking on her Paediatric ward when she saw the alert. She got matched! She speed dialled Papa!
“Papa I got matched!”
She was too excited to hear the catch in his voice.
“Let’s celebrate! Dinner tonight, on me?” He agreed quickly and cut the call.
She’d been working on starting a residency in the US for about two years. She wanted to be a Paediatrician. Papa had tried also…. he didn’t like the learning process, he’d stopped after the STEP 2 of the USMLE when his scores were not quite amazing…. he figured he’d best remain home, and work on getting into a residency programme right here. Akyiaa had tried to talk him into carrying on but he wouldn’t budge. So she went ahead and finished up. He kept telling her to forget about it, usually in a joking manner. But she knew what she wanted, and there was no budging.

She was over the moon about it, it felt like she was walking on cloud 9! That dream was finally about to come true!
She didn’t notice that Papa was weird at dinner. Her heart was too full. When the bill came and she paid, she finally noticed Papa had been too quiet. She looked at him, and asked if he was okay….
“So have we decided that you’re actually going?”
For a second she was a bit confused.
“Actually going where?”
“To New York?”
“Sorry I’m confused… you mean am I planning to go do the residency? Why the hell not?”

“But what happens to us then? I mean it won’t be less than 4 years in all, and I’m guessing you’ll want to practice there for a couple years after? So what happens with having kids, what will Mama say? And are we going to be apart for that long? You know I don’t like long distance things and…..”

Akyiaa was seeing stars…
“Papa, if the tables were turned, would you think I’d have a problem? Of course I’d miss you and we wouldn’t get to be together as often as we’d like but it’s not forever? Besides you could come over every leave? And vice versa? We haven’t even discussed the possibilities and you don’t want me to go?”

“It’s not that I don’t want you to go… but have you thought it through? We won’t have kids for the next 4 years? And you’ll be at least thirty-three by the time it’s over. And knowing you, you won’t want to have kids during the residency… You of all people know the risks of having a first child after 30… It’s not that I don’t want you to achieve your dreams, but is now really a good time? Can’t we wait a few more years? Who knows, by then I could also figure out the steps properly and we’d go together?”
She knew if she carried on she’d probably start crying. She grabbed her purse and car keys and walked out to the parking lot without a word. She only allowed her tears pour silently just as she sped off. Good thing they came in separate cars!


Andrea knew she couldn’t talk to any of her friends about her husband…. at least not her ‘Christian’ friends…. especially those whose husbands knew Gyedu. She’d tried Selassie one time, but she got told “Sister, aren’t you happy it’s not out in the open? These are the kind of things you keep quiet and pray about. God always hears.” And this was a person she’d considered would maybe listen to her, of course pray with her and then give practical solutions…
There was Nana Aba, who was usually considered their naughty friend… she’d considered on and off speaking to her about this. She’d considered Pastor Brumah too, but she knew Gyedu would kill her.
His indifference lately had gotten worse, and try as she could to not care, she really couldn’t handle it. She was dying slowly inside. Save for her boys, she felt so alone! This wasn’t what she signed up for.

Nana Aba was surprised that Andrea wanted to meet with her alone. They were good friends, but it had been ages, and there was hardly a meeting with just the two of them. Usually all the girls were there as well.
It all made sense when she finally got all the info… She knew it was important to her friend. But the irony of the whole matter made her want to laugh! Wasn’t it men that were out there cheating on their wives because they (the wives) were not willing to be adventurous? Why was he withholding sex from her? Was he cheating on her? She was obviously struggling here and he was out there doing what?

“Do you want me to talk to him? I could do that for you, find out what exactly his problem is?”
Andrea choked on her Coca Cola, coughing and sending droplets everywhere.
Talk to him about what? Already, he thought counselling would make the whole world think he was a bad husband…. if Nana Aba went and spoke with him, he’d come back upset that she was going round telling her friends.
“You can’t talk to him, Aba…. I don’t even know what to do. He refuses to talk to anyone about it, and he obviously doesn’t want any help….”

“Isn’t there some sort of law that allows annulment of a marriage if it is sexless beyond a year?”
“Aba I can’t have the marriage annulled…What happens to the boys?”
She didn’t even know if she wanted the boys to grow up in this loveless marriage…
She’d envisioned a completely different marriage life… and here she was, 8 years down the line, wondering if it was worth it.
“Okay. Maybe you should talk to him… maybe he’ll understand how important it is to me to have a husband and not just a roommate…”


Yaa knew she knew that girl from church. The one from the choir. How had she transformed so much in such a short time? She parked and called out to her.
She looked so surprised, Yaa even thought she had the wrong person.
“I haven’t seen you in church in ages!” She laughed a half-hearted laugh, “Ooh I had a few things to take care of…”
“Anyway, I’m getting lunch, come let’s get it together..”

She didn’t know why she felt so drawn to her. But she wanted to know her story, and where the father of the baby was. And what her plans were. She’d noticed even before she stopped showing up at church, that she also didn’t really hang out with the friends in the choir anymore. Funny enough it wasn’t unusual. People got ex-communicated, and all of a sudden they had no friends!

She noticed how guarded she was over lunch. How slowly she ate and how lost she got in thought. She tried to put herself in her shoes…. young, unmarried, pregnant. Life was definitely an interesting game.
“Okay, lets strike a deal, my dear….. everyday we’ll meet here for lunch and a chat?”

Wendy was a bit struck by the whole afternoons events. She liked this lady, admired her from afar. She just never knew they’d ever sit together for anything. She looked down at her small bulge, and the food they were eating, and how difficult it was for her to come by such… she had to agree. What’s the worst that could happen?
“Yes please. We have a deal.”


Nadia had seen the flyers all over social media. She’d seen it countless times. Each time she saw it, her breath caught. She was so confused. Why was her heart racing over a man she hadn’t seen in over eight years?
He’d been invited to do a week-long series at a  nearby church. Maybe she’d take that week off and fly out to see her parents with Mackenzie. He’d never been home to Ghana before, and he hadn’t seen the grandparents since his last birthday. He was constantly asking about his “Naahnas.”

In all of New York, why did this have to be the church he was invited to?

God I know you have a good sense of humour sometimes….but to be very honest, this one is not funny!

Her mother said she wouldn’t be available that month, that the notice was too short to cut off from her work. She preferred that they’d come after a month… when she’d already planned to take a month off. She settled on that, inwardly groaning and praying for self control to not try to reach out to Brumah while he was around. She thought about the times years ago, when they could just sit at the base of that tall coconut tree, not far from her house, and overlooking the beach…. it was their place. She wondered if that place was still there. If he ever went back there. They’d had the most intense conversations there, shared a lot of good memories there…. they’d read books together there, made out countless times there, and there were times too when they’d sat in the quietness and said nothing… it was their place.
She missed him so much sometimes…. missed the trips they’d done together, crazy silly fun they’d had. He was a very skilled lover…. in and out of bed, and he knew her body so well! She sat there reminiscing, trying not to get hot and bothered… There was one day on a trip they’d done up north to Mole, when he’d kept her in bed all day, constantly putting her to sleep with satisfying exhaustion, and waking her up to either food, or some more pleasurable activities. There were other days when he’d just hold her, whisper sweet nothings into her ears, nibble on her neck and ears, and fall asleep with her that way. Those were things she’d never had since him. Things she’d missed. Things she wondered if she’d ever get over.

Oh Lord… Eight years down and thoughts of him still get me wet! Why?!


Osofo – Pastor

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Perspectives

This is a story about 6 individuals, and how their intertwined stories may not seem like they really seem. Many of the happenings in this story are from real life tales. Many are fictional.

Let me know your thoughts! Have you ever been in any of these situations? Have you met someone in such situations? How did it go? What did they do? Share them with us!

Elise


 

Bruma hadn’t always been a Christian. But he was a good one – a good pastor too. He lived to please the Lord. He knew in his heart of hearts, that he was trying. He knew that he wasn’t perfect. But he knew also the grace of God that had carried him out of destruction.

He knew he would probably have been cursed somewhere, likely dead if that grace hadn’t carried him out. He knew it. And he was grateful. How he became a Christian was nothing short of a miracle. But that was a story for another day.

When his mother asked him his thoughts about Sarah, he didn’t quite have an opinion. She wasn’t the kind of girl he’d have gone for, though very beautiful, she was a bit plain, a bit too submissive and a bit too ‘deaconess-y’. She hardly questioned things. They had to be done a certain way… the right way. But that wasn’t a good enough reason for him to say no. So he agreed to marry her. He didn’t want any more stressful issues with his family. He’d caused them enough pain.

Before he married her, he went to Nadia to apologize. He knew he owed that girl so much! He’d cost her two abortions, and too much heartache. She was the one that genuinely had his heart. And she’d stuck with him through all the stupidity of his youth. She was the only one of all the girls he’d had in the past that he could never forget. She left the country when he decided to move on. She told him she didn’t want to stand in the way of his transformation, but she couldn’t trust herself to not keep coming back. Nadia was a good woman! Her kind of crazy was what his heart needed. And on many nights, when he was alone with his thoughts, he wondered what could have been.

Sarah was good too. Only that she had been socialised in such a way that made her believe that almost everything modern was a sin. She owned nothing above her knees, she didn’t consider joking as a couple a normal thing – hers was to respect him, and cook for him. When he bought her lingerie for their honeymoon, she told him she was fully submitted to him, but she couldn’t do any ashawo things. He thought she was only joking. If only he knew!

 


 

“The church is arguably the most judgemental place on earth. Day in and day out, the church turns hundreds of people away – with a glare, with one word, one sentence, and one rumour. Aren’t we supposed to be the source of love? Aren’t we the ones who should comfort others? Are we not the ones to bring others over to this bright side?”

Akyiaa was always excited when it was pastor Bruma preaching. Apart from being good looking, he was also practical, straight to the point, and not repetitive like some of the other pastors. She’d skip on her post duty rounds to be there if she knew it was him preaching! Today, he had started a new series about the hypocrisy that needed to go away from the church.

She remembered all the time church people had made interesting comments about her.

“But why would a Christian woman even decide that she can wear an anklet?!” “Is black lipstick too a thing? Did you see it on her Instagram? As3 b3yifo!”

And though she considered herself quite liberal, she looked back to all the times she herself had thought judgementally about others. Even if she didn’t voice them out, she’d thought them. And that, was just as bad!

“I need you to understand, church, that our righteousness did not save us! We’re all saved only by grace! Now a man with long or braided hair, has been given grace just as much as a man with a haircut – his hair, his choice! A tattoo doesn’t change the grace that God has given to us! Red hair will not stop you from going to Heaven! The jewellery you wear, will certainly not change anything about your walk with God!”

 


 

Andrea was finally tired. Tired of the façade she’d been living, tired of the pretence and the effort required to live it.

She remembered clearly the last time her husband had so much as looked at her…..

About two years ago, she’d stopped trying to convince herself that he was not having an affair… there was almost no one she could talk to about this. In church, Gyedu was a saint – he was an elder. He loved the kids. And as much as possible, he was civil to her. Many women wanted men like him. She’d be called ungrateful if she complained.

They’d been married 8 years, and the last 2 of those years, had been without sex. She didn’t consider herself a very sexual person, and it wasn’t as if Gyedu thought much about her when it came to sex… He was her first, and when they first got married, she thought sex was gruesome. But she decided she’d not waited this long for sex that would make her wish she was still celibate. She’d been brought up to think that God would reward her for remaining a virgin prior to her marriage. This really wasn’t the reward she had been expecting.

So she researched. She read articles. Both Christian ones and all those ones that she knew her church people would disapprove of. She bought books and magazines on the matter.

When she brought it up to Gyedu that she didn’t really enjoy the sex, and hence had done some research, on how they could maybe make it better, he wouldn’t have it! It was about six months into their marriage, and it was the biggest fight they’d had – well not quite a fight, just he became a very angry man.

 

“Where are you getting all these ideas from? We’re not people of the world! I’m not going to do anything funny just because you claim you’re not enjoying it! What do you even have to compare us to? Was I not your first? Or are you seeing someone?! Who has been putting these ideas into your head?”

She’d tried a few more times after that. To initiate sex, to try some position that would maybe get her close to some satisfaction, but Gyedu really wouldn’t have it. He didn’t want to be “carnal.”

From then on, sex had been his thing. She didn’t bother anymore to pretend that she was enjoying herself. She was so excited when she got pregnant. Although it was a difficult pregnancy, she didn’t have to deal with two times a week being painfully pounded and harrowed ‘like a good wife’.

When the twins were born, she put her all into her beautiful sons. She moved in with her mother for over a year, well beyond the customary three to six months that was acceptable. Gyedu visited fortnightly, and even then, their conversation was strained.

When she moved back home, they merely lived like roommates. She tried hard to make it work. She prayed and fasted. She apologised to his sore ego for making those suggestions earlier in their marriage. She did the things that made him happy. Cooked all his meals just the way he liked them. Got him gifts that she knew he’d like.

It didn’t change much. He stopped having sex with her altogether. When she tried to initiate it, he’d rub it in her face that she claimed she didn’t enjoy it…so why keep pretending? She tried talking to Gyedu about getting counselling. He was even more upset about that than he was about their sex issues.

“You want me to be ridiculed in the church, is that it? You want people to think I’m an incompetent husband?”

What made it easier for her was her five year old boys. They were her joy. She knew that it was up to her to bring them up to respect women, and not live like the world revolved around them.

Her marriage was just a façade, and she knew it. She didn’t want herself getting tempted by men elsewhere. She’d had advances made at her at work, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to say no. She couldn’t bring herself to cheat on Gyedu, but a woman has needs too! So after two years, and four months of being celibate though married, and over three years of thinking through, praying, wondering and convincing herself, Andrea ordered herself a vibrator.

 


 

Wendy was excommunicated from church when she got pregnant. It was one of the most difficult times of her life. But somehow, her meetings with Pastor Brumah and Elder Aining made it a bit easier. She understood that this was so that others wouldn’t fall into the same mistakes that she had. She wasn’t sacked, just she couldn’t hold any leadership positions, and she couldn’t be a part of the choir anymore. It was for a short while.

What surprised her was how the members of the choir suddenly treated her. She knew for sure that there were a number of them that were sexually active. But you see, that was the flaw in this whole excommunication thing. We’re all holy, until we’re caught!

All of a sudden, she was no longer friends with Rachel – how could she hang out with the latest sinner? She assumed that one of them would at least call to ask how the pregnancy was going, and how she was coping. On the contrary, she was very blatantly ignored at church. She thought it was a figment of her imagination, that maybe she was overthinking it cos of her own shame. But she was very obviously snubbed by two or three members. She wasn’t one to hold grudges. She decided she’d leave the church for a while. She was unfortunate to have committed a sin that couldn’t be hidden from the church. She’d thought of the abortion she knew Rachel had done, just so the church and her family wouldn’t find out. But hey, she had been the unlucky one. Life was that way. She would be okay at some point. She knew it.

 


 

Nadia had been living in the United States for the past eight years. There were still very few days when she didn’t think about Brumah. About what could have been. She’d never been bitter about any of it. She loved him. And she knew that he loved her as well. But life happens. And people hardly end up with the ones they love. Even when they do, life happens. She’d tried to meet others when she moved. She’d even been married once, to an abusive older man. She’d had a lovely baby boy, and then left that marriage. She was currently very comfortable, living in a place that many would consider a mansion, with her son. He was four, and the sweetest soul alive. She’d given up on her wild ways, and gotten right with God. She fellowshipped at the local church not far from where they lived. It was a church of love. That’s probably what drew her to it. She remembered visiting Brumah’s church in Ghana one time, where one elderly woman came and covered her with a cloth in the middle of the service, because the tattoo on her right shoulder was showing, and “we don’t do that here.”

So many time she’d considered going back home. But she knew it probably wasn’t for the best. It would worsen how much she wanted Brumah, and she didn’t want to be a homewrecker. She could tell he was happy. At least from what she saw on social media. He had a vibrant ministry in one of the big churches back home, and he was loved by many. His wife was beautiful. A bit more quiet than Nadia thought he would end up with, but she seemed good for him. 8 years, and they were still going strong.

She’d tried praying the love she had for him away. If only it worked that way!

 


 

Yaa was the Country Director at the UNDP Ghana office. She was strikingly beautiful. And her charisma made her loved by all. But she’d had to put up with so much pressure – first from men, and then her family, and then from her church, even from friends! How could you be thirty – eight and not want to be married? She’d heard one usher once talking to a lady, saying that it was because she earned so much money. Men didn’t want a woman who earned more money than them. She was livid that day. But as always, she kept her composure. She’d also heard once that she’d given up marriage for success. As if people didn’t have the two. Another rumour was that she was too authoritative for men. She laughed when she heard that one. Of course there were also rumours that at this age if she wasn’t married then she had some person she was hitting it with from time to time. Because humans somehow could not understand that a woman could be fine without a man, and without sex.

Yaa just did not want marriage. She’d been harassed by her family members, sent on awkward dates, some of which had to end abruptly, because the idiots assumed that at her age, she was desperate and would marry anyone regardless.

She’d had just one love of her life. And she felt content to have had that experience. He died early, even before they’d ever thought about marriage or any of those things. She simply didn’t want marriage, and people didn’t understand that! For the past eight years, she’d had people praying for her, that God would give her a husband, to people sending random men over to try to win her. She didn’t appreciate it, but she wasn’t rude about it. She hoped that at some point they’d get the memo. But it didn’t look like that was happening. Even her close friends, after they got married, started to slowly shun her company, or tried to send her on blind dates. So she threw herself into her work, and into her fun. She worked hard! And she travelled the world when she wasn’t working. She took herself on dates she liked, and did all the fun things she wanted. Marriage was really not the thing for her.

 

To be continued……….

 

 

Ashawo – offensive word for prostitute

As3 b3yifo – like a witch

 

Photo Credit - Google images

Risking a ‘Miracle’

 

Hi guys!! It’s been quite a while! This is a post to raise awareness on Sickle Cell Disease, and the need for people to know their sickling status long before they fall in love! It’s inspired by many true stories – Stories of the many parents who have spent countless hours and money in hospitals, and endured guilt that only they can understand; stories of many kids who have suffered right till their adulthood, and stories of the many other kids, who did not make it. 

Also, it’s quite a long one, I hope you like it, and learn from it! If you have any experiences, any knowledge that would help someone, anything, share it in the comment section, and share this with a friend! Who knows who we may be reaching out to?

Elise

 

********************************

It wasn’t a big room. But it was filled with more people than it was made to hold – as usual.

And it wasn’t my first time here, but it had been a while. I’d had many encounters with different doctors, and different waiting rooms – but this was my favourite one. Growing up, I literally lived here! But it had been so long, I’d almost forgotten all about it… the musty smell of harsh antiseptics, the screech of cleaning equipment, the shuffle of haughty nurses (all with asses so large, it looked as if it was one of the requirements to be a nurse!) the eager, fake-humility of medical students, and the loud barks of arrogant doctors/nurses. It was all so familiar! Oh and of course, how could I forget the ever so common squabble between impatient patients!

By the time I was 12, I had been to Dr. Asafo’s office so many times that all the nurses, cleaners, pharmacists, security men, doctors and orderlies knew me too well. I knew all the nooks and crannies of that hospital. I knew when to sneak in, so I could skip the long queues. I knew that people would hardly pity me, so sneaking in to see the man himself was always my best solution. I knew that if I went in on Friday mornings, I’d get mango juice and hot bread from him.

I was an ultra-skinny child. Ultra-skinny is what I like to call it, because it sounds nice. I got tired of all the teasing in school, and all the random people trying to feed me, (“Akatesia, endzidzi aah? Dzidzi ai?”) that I coined my own word for it. Ultra- Skinny.

I didn’t like the fact that I was that small. But it was not something I could do anything about. It would never change. You see, I was born with the Sickle Cell Disease. And in Kumasi, Ghana, where Bone Marrow Transplants weren’t yet available, sticking to my drugs and instructions was the only way to survive. Even then, I still had crises.

I’d learnt to deal with it, and it’d been working just fine – to a large extent.

Today, I wasn’t here to see Dr. Asafo for the usually check-up, or the once-in-a-while ‘hello’ visits. I was here to show him someone. I needed his sickling status checked. I didn’t want a situation where I would bring children like myself into the world. I needed to know well ahead of time. I could have had him check it anywhere. But I also valued Dr. Asafo’s opinion.

 

When I was seventeen there was a young boy that I was attracted to – Barimah. He was quite amazing. His sickling status was our main barrier – AC. I made it clear that we could not be together. But he would not relent. It’s the thing I miss most about him. His unrelenting nature. If he wanted something, he went for it. “Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero” that was his anthem – day and night. But I couldn’t live that way. At least not regarding the person I decided to have kids with. I could not willingly bring a child to this earth who would suffer. I had to think about the future. I couldn’t always carpe diem!

We lasted two years… and over those two years, he actively researched, and found information on Sickle Cell SC disease… and how it wasn’t as bad as the SS one. Once, he sent me a whole PowerPoint presentation, on things we could do for our kids, if in the future, they ended up with Sickle Cell SC Disease. One afternoon, after one horrible crisis, my mind was made up. Nobody I loved was going to have to go through this if I could help it. Barimah had to go, and hard as it was, it took a year for both of us to finally come to terms with our separation.

I remember asking mum when I was about 13, why she married dad when she knew they could have a child with SCD. (Because I knew they both knew before they got hitched.) She looked into my eyes and said “We wanted a miracle from God.” I can’t explain the kind of rage I felt. “You wanted a miracle, so you decided, why don’t we test God’s miracle-doing business by having a child who will be hospitalised once or twice every month? And one that would die at age 4? Is that how it works?” I was in a frenzy, and she was almost in tears!

I didn’t talk to either of them for about two weeks. But then I realised that there was really nothing that could be done – the milk had already been spilt – I lost my little brother when he was 4. I was 8 then. They never had another child, and it’s been just me since. I had to make it count.

So I was here to ensure that I didn’t go down that path with Mick. I couldn’t spend this much time in a hospital over my child – assuming I lived long enough to have any. And most of all, I would not subject any child – any living creature, to all I’d been through.

I had the power to make a difference with my knowledge. And I believed that love meant that I would use that knowledge for good, no matter how hard.

The first time I met Mick, we were opponents on a high school debate. Of course, thanks to my size, I get underestimated a lot. He’s a large burly fellow, and he was the lead of his team, as I was mine. They didn’t expect much from us, so for the most part, they were very complacent. After one round, where they lost completely, they got the memo, and started to get serious. Mick was a good debater. And he didn’t shame me, or comment about my size. He generally didn’t say much – unless it was his turn to debate of course. I was am a chatterbox!

“Miss Koomson. Dr. Asafo will see you now.”

“But didn’t she just come here? Madam I’ve been here since morning, why is this one going before me?” The usual chatter of impatient patients. I was too used to all of it.

Mick just followed me. He had been extra quiet since morning. We both knew that this could be it. The end of all we were hoping to build. He had a dramatic way of putting it. “Your love for me is not unconditional. Because I know that if I were to have any S or C in there, you’d disappear from my life. So why don’t we just check later?” I’d agreed to later for the past three years and a half.

But it was dangerous. I had fallen in love. And I had to think for my kids. My future. His future. I believe in miracles. But I believe that if God has given me the ability to do something about it, he’s not expecting that I ignore that ability and ask for a miracle!

“Akosua… it’s been ages! I see you’re well” He always had that smiley teasing way about him. I was so nervous. Mick was calm, smiling when he had to, most likely not even following the conversation. After our usual banter, Dr. Asafo had one nurse draw blood from him, and then asked us to hold on for a bit outside, while he saw some other patients.

I don’t know if the whole situation was now finally dawning on me, or if I somehow suddenly felt that we would definitely have to break up… but I got so nervous, I could tell I might throw up. He looked at me and he could tell. He gently grabbed my bag, held my hand, and walked us out. I was too nauseous to utter a word. He knew! He knew, and that made this all so much worse. What if I couldn’t have him? What if I ended up with someone who had no clue when I needed to leave? Someone who would be quickly bothered by my crises?  What if? I got lightheaded really quickly, and so he stopped me.

“We don’t really need the results, Akosua. Ok let’s not have kids! We can adopt… We’ll stage a pregnancy if people want to assume it’s actually ours…Or what about a sperm donor?

I want you. I don’t want to lose you because we could bring sick kids into the world. And I don’t want sick kids either. I don’t want them to suffer. But I really truly want you.

But if you decide that you can’t be with me, I’ll be okay with that. I can be your friend. I can pick you up when you need me to, I can just… I don’t know… just… let’s not do this today, okay?”

In that minute, it dawned on me that maybe, this is what my parents had. Maybe this is why they risked love for a miracle….

I couldn’t afford to take that risk.

 

 

Akatesia, endzidzi aah? Dzidzi ai? – Young lady, don’t you eat? Please eat okay?  (Fanti, a Ghanaian language)

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – ‘seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow [the future]’

 

For Not Pitying Me…

They tell you they’ll treat you like everyone else.

They tell you that your disability doesn’t really matter.

They’ll make it look as if it’s really not a problem.

But you see, it always becomes a problem. Always.

There have been all kinds of stories. From “I wish we could eat at a place without drawing so much attention to us,” to “I’m not so sure the guys will feel comfortable around you,” to “I really don’t know how I’ll introduce a one-legged woman to my father.” Even with the girls, there’s been “you know our ‘hanging out’ is usually swim-time – it would be awkward to invite you when it’s so obvious you can’t swim.” (Never mind that I actually had learnt to swim with my leg and stump!)

Of course it hurt. And it hurt more because I’d lost the leg because of something too stupid to say. It didn’t help either that I was not a quiet or subdued person. But frankly, what made it worse was the pity. They tell you they’re fine with you, but their eyes tell a different story.

With time, I’d learnt to have what I called ‘superficial fun’. I could meet up with colleagues and acquaintances and have a good time. Shallow talk, drinks, and then goodbyes. It worked well. No inner circle, just mum. No actual friends, mainly co-workers.

 

When I started the firm, I knew that a lot of the favours I got were because people pitied me and didn’t expect that it would amount to anything (Although I know you strongly disagree) – but look at us now!

I remember one of the university interns asking me how I could be so strong when people had almost no regard for the handicapped. She was one of the few that didn’t have that pity look. She was straightforward and genuine. One day, I hope she gets out of law school and comes here to work. Or that she builds a firm to rival mine.

She had no idea that before you, it really wasn’t much strength. It was more of a daily motion. Put one leg in front of the other each day – actual leg, then prosthetic leg, or crutch, or whatever. That, and the occasional ‘superficial fun’.

She had no idea the countless nights when I felt that my left leg was burning – even though it actually wasn’t even there. She didn’t know how much I’d cried over the stupid pitying glares that people gave me. She had no idea how much love had been lost… how many heartbreaks I’d suffered. And how I’d decided that love was not for the ‘crippled‘.

She, like many others, did not know that you were the one wake-up call that I needed.

 

When I met you, I was in my old wheelchair. It didn’t seem to bother you… because you stayed and talked, and drank with me, and teased me, and sort of flirted with me. I thought it was the drinks. I was pretty sure that we’d sober up the next day, and you’d remember that the girl was in a wheel chair with a stump, and decide to forget about it all – it was all too familiar!

But you called me the next day, and asked to go on a date. I told you I had a fitting for my new prosthetic leg, so I didn’t think it would be possible – thinking that that would remind you that I really was in a wheel chair.

But you asked to tag along “I’m on leave, so I’m pretty free! I could tag along and then take you out to dinner after?” – At that point, I must say that I was starting to get smitten! I had to sit in front of my mirror, and remind myself that this was all ‘superficial fun’. I could not afford to ever be heartbroken again.

Yet after that physio appointment, I knew that I wanted you. It didn’t matter in what context – brother, friend, doctor buddy, boyfriend (even though this possibility was so far-fetched to me). Whatever you were offering, I was willing to take it… I needed as many people that treated me as if I was like everyone else, as possible.

 

I remember the stupid smirk on your face when I asked the dude if I could go back to wearing miniskirts with the prosthesis. How you got into doctor mode, bantering with him, and not being arrogant about all the answers he gave – which you already knew.

That day, I decided that if I had just 2 people that didn’t care about my cut leg, 2 people that would treat me normally, after a day of dealing with pitying glares or hurtful comments, then I’d be okay.  I had mum already. And now there was you.

After 10 months, I got back to practicing, and there were times when I could swear that I won the cases just because the judge saw that I wore a prosthetic leg. You wrestled me out of that thinking of course – “You’re a smart young woman – helluv vibrant, irresistible, nothing about your absent leg has anything to do with your winning any case! You’re efffing brilliant – and you should even start your own firm! ”

I fell in love with you that day. Proper love, you know. It was just unexpected. You motivated me. Before you, a lot of my colleagues knew how to bring me down easily. Especially with regards to the incident, and the leg. And of course, the pity.

I remember when you got to mine, from the clinic one afternoon, and I was so upset about Le-Ann’s child abuse case. I was poring over my books and barely noticed that you were there. My leg was somewhere on the couch, and I was sprawled on the floor, in a tee and shorts.

You claim you stood there for about thirty minutes, just looking. I noticed you only when I turned to get my bottle of water, and I was startled, wondering why the hell you were standing there staring at me that way!

“I’ve been lusting after you for some time now…”

I thought I was imagining it. I mean I knew you cared about me, and respected me as a person, I liked that you hugged me often, and made me feel mushy on the insides. I knew that our relationship was special, and we would always be in each other’s lives, caring for and motivating each other. But I had no idea that you found me attractive in any way. It took me by surprise.

It took me by surprise too when you got down on the floor – lab coat, stethoscope and that weird bag in hand, and kissed me. All the raging hormones that had been banked securely for years were breaking their boundaries and pushing me over the edge🙈 . It’s why I started tearing up. I know you probably knew that. My lies about how emotional the case made me didn’t seem to appease you.

Later on, when we’d just eaten, and I was going over the case with you, and planning out my arguments, you did it again. Out of nowhere. “I want to marry you, Diane, and make many little Dianes with you.”

I remember also when I came by the clinic one evening to bring you food, just because. How one of nurses asked me if I was sure I was in the right place. I remember how mad you were when you finally came out. I remember them loud-gossiping about ‘the boss’s girlfriend’, how I must have used some sort of ‘juju’ to get you, because how would such a good doctor – tall dark and handsome, settle for a ‘cripple’. That word! It was the first time I saw you irate!

 

I’m getting too emotional over this letter…😫 The point, is just to say, thank you… For not pitying me. For loving me. For showing me that being ‘handicapped’ in anyway, is not the end of life. That life can be amazing regardless. Thank you for dancing with the one-legged girl… For 3 years of seeing me as whole, when I had doubts. For dealing with my issues – phantom limb and the low-key low self esteem being the worst of them. Thank you for all the fights we’ve had – it’s refreshing to know that you don’t let me win them just because… (Oh and thank you for all the make- up sex we’ve had to have🙈🙈. The most recent of which may have led to a thing…😂🤣😂🤣😬😉)

We’re expecting.

I have a feeling that you already know, and you’re just waiting till I say it. I hope it’s a boy. And I hope he becomes just like his father… (just without the leaving of soapsuds in the bathroom part😋).

Thank you for everything. But especially, for not pitying me!

Diane.

 

 

juju – evil spirit, fetish or black magic.

Six Years Late III

Thanks for getting to the end of ‘Six Years Late’, guys! I know for many people this might not seem like the happy ending. But hey… 😀 Please leave a comment, tell me what you think, and do share it with anyone who might be interested.

In case you missed the other parts, you can find the first part here: Six Years Late, and the second, here: Six Years Late II .

Hugs!

Elise

 

 

I was sitting in his couch, drinking a glass of sparkling red wine. It was one of the finest bottles of Lambrusco there ever was– one of my favouring bottles – La Battagliola… Though sweet, it had that spicy, bitter bite right after.

He was one of the few people I knew that enjoyed it as well. The girls usually preferred white wine… and even when they had red wine, Lambrusco was not an option. It was the kind of wine you could get through, without even realising! It could also get you drunk without any ‘tipsy prelude’.

 He had that E.L.’s song playing over and over “Mi sweety jole, my one and only my shorty…”

Kweinuaa, Sakyi and Annie had fallen asleep a short while before I showed up. Apparently they’d been running round the house, playing tag, and putting him out of his mind with all the noise.

“Remember when we were kids and we’d play ‘pilolo’, and ‘zanzama’?”

I could already feel a buzz from the wine.

“I was the girl that would always knock the guys the hardest whenever we played zanzama. The other girls would take it easy, cos they wanted to be spared when it was their turn… I could not be bothered!”

Where did that happy carefree girl go to?

 “Mi naa bo po po po, Mi naa bo po po po, nk33, hef3 he ni maya, moko moko moko b3… mi naa bo po po po…”

He was looking at me… in that lazy, yet serious way that only he seemed to be able to. I’d only noticed recently that he had a small dent in his cheeks – it wasn’t a dimple, more like an indented scar. We’d spent more time together in the past 4 months than we ever had before. I’d noticed things about him I’d always overlooked. Like how his jaw did a twitching thing, when he was contemplating things, how he gritted his teeth very subtly whenever an argument came up. And how his smile, though rare, brightened up his face entirely!

Nii had quite suddenly become a common face at any function we attended. After the last time he’d showed up at the house, he’d showed up at some church programmes, and at my office on six different occasions (with flowers and/or lunch). He’d packed out of Ebo’s house, after an argument about whose side he was on, and apparently gotten himself a place at the  Trasacco Valley. I still hadn’t sorted out the way I felt about the whole situation. I was civil about him, but I was not swayed. I had a beautiful life built, and I was not going to bring back toxic memories into them.

And I was sure that I was going to have a happy ending. Maybe just not yet, and surely, not with him.

I handed him the letter…

“So I suppose you’ve come to a verdict?” He said when he saw the addressee… His jaw twitched, as he took it from my hands, sliding a tad closer to me in the couch.

Dear Nii,

I never thought I’d write a letter like this. After about 6 months of your absence, I stopped believing I’d ever see you again. But this is life. And I suppose the unexpected should always expected.

I was very shaken when you suddenly re-appeared. I didn’t expect to be this affected by your return. I didn’t expect to be put so off-balance. And yet already, it’s been over four months!

A few weeks ago, the last time you showed up at church, I had quite a number of people asking me if I’d forgiven you, if there was going to be some sort of reunion. I didn’t know what kind of answer to give. I had not forgiven you. You see, I had buried all of the hurt inside some dead part of my heart, and slowly, without realising it, you were still chipping at my heart… year after year, taking chunks away, from inside out…

Last week, I decided that that had to end. I decided that I would forgive you. I would set myself free. I decided that my heart was too fragile to let this keep festering. I would not let it destroy me.

Now I want to be clear about something. Forgiving you has nothing to do with getting back together with you, making it work, or whatever words you’d prefer to use. Unless the Holy Spirit Himself comes down to speak to me concerning that, I honestly do not see it happening. So I want you to continue to remain as far away from me as possible. It’s been quite liberating hearing your story, honestly. I’m more liberated to go about my own life. I’m only thirty – three. And my life will count. It will count without you in it. I’m glad that I never had that delusion that these young girls keep growing up with these days, thinking that they cannot function without a man. Thinking that they need a husband to validate their lives. Much as it’s helpful, it can be done without. And for six long years, Nii, I’ve made it work.

So I’m going to return to the dating scene, my dear. And I’m going to be a very happy woman – even happier than the woman you married – if that’s possible.  I will spend drinking nights out with the girls, I will laze about my house and read books. I will drive to the beach whenever I feel up to it. I will go to church and enjoy services, and pretend I cannot see or hear all those who seem to think they can decide what I do in life. I will not spare a thought over you – as I have not done in years. I will do what’s best for my daughter and I.

Oh, and just so you know, we know exactly what heaven on earth is like. It definitely doesn’t have you in it.

Now, about my daughter. Yes, Nii, you read right – my daughter – Kweinuaa. I’d like for you to stop harbouring any intentions of ever getting close to her. Because if you ever try it, Nii… I will get a restraining order. And if you send me to court, I will fight you. I will fight till I make you go bankrupt. You know better than to let this go unheeded – I’ve done my research, and I know how to make it work. She was not your daughter when I had her. She certainly isn’t now. 

Ebo and Ofoe have been amazing fathers to her. She will be just fine.

 

He paused and looked at me with a funny simper… I downed a little more of the wine. My heart was racing, and my chest beginning was burn a little. I could tell I was somewhere on the verge of drunkenness. I’d have to consider an Uber… or Ebo could drive me home?

 

And one day, I hope that you find some other woman, who can handle you. Someone who’ll be fine with a decision to bail anytime things don’t work. I hope she makes you happier than I ever made you. I hope you have babies with her. Because my baby girl is not to be shared. She’ll always be my daughter. Not ours.

All we have left, Nii, is the memory of a beautiful marriage, a horrid separation, and now, a surprising and civil re-acquaintance. Nothing more is ever going to come out of that.

Now that you’ve made your apology and intentions known, I’d like for you to know that you’re forgiven. Only forgiven so I can be free.

I will have a happy ending, Nii. But it won’t have you in it.

Regards,

Parker.

Ebo looked at me, and smiled – fully this time. It was an intent gaze. He took a sip of his Lambrusco, and kissed my forehead.

Maybe… just maybe, this was my happy ending.

 

 

The End.

 

 

This is the link to the E.L’s song that was mentioned. I don’t know the full meaning of it, lol… I’ve just recently fallen in love with it, and I hope you like it too.

E.L – Mi Naa Bo Po (Official Music Video) – YouTube

PS. Thanks Ike for the illustration 😀

Six Years Late II

I woke up from a very restless sleep, thinking I’d been dreaming.

But I saw the armchair he’d sat in. It was definitely not a dream. I thought there was a vague smell of his cologne. How didn’t I smell it last night? And after six years he still used the same one?

“Nii is back.” I half-whispered into the phone to Wendy. I didn’t know what to make of it. My heart was heavy. I didn’t think it would ever happen. That he’d show up with an apology – never in a million years. “Oh God! Well, what’s his story?”

What did she mean what’s his story? Did that matter in any way? I didn’t know the story and I didn’t want to know. And I was too scared that he would somehow try to meet Kweinuaa. I did not want that kind of drama.

Well would you stop him? It’s indeed his daughter is it not?

I was shaken. The events of the previous night kept playing in my mind. I was not sad, I was upset. Livid. Seething.

Six years was too long to decide you could waltz back in and make it work. I didn’t want a story – if even he had one. And I didn’t want to be so affected by his return.

He’d walked out of the room when I ‘threatened’ to hurt him. At least he hadn’t forgotten one thing. My calm threats were never empty. He said he’d be back. “And I promise, I’ll explain it all. I’ll make up for the years and the pain. I’ll make this work”.

You see, I think that the fact that he assumed I would want to hear the explanation upset me more than the fact that he was back. I didn’t want an apology, I didn’t want a story. I wanted to go back to 2 days ago, when it was me, my baby girl, and the beautiful life we had.

My phone rang just as I was driving over to Wendy’s. It was Ebo. We hadn’t spoken in close to two months. The last time we did, he was picking Kweinuaa up for a play date with his kids. I knew why he was calling. But I didn’t want to hear anything about Nii. Yet I owed it to Ebo to pick up the phone. He’d been a good friend. Perhaps the closest thing Kweinuaa could call a father, save for Ofoe, Wendy’s husband.

Saying a silent prayer in my heart, I picked up the call. And suddenly that phone call from the hospital about seven years ago flashed before my eyes. It made me suddenly nauseous.

“Ebo, ofee fine? Long time.”

“Parker Are you okay? Nii is in my house. He says he spoke to you last night. He’s acting weird – he’s been quiet half the time. Where’s Kweinuaa? What happened last night?”

He seemed even more distraught than I was.

“Ebo I’m driving to Wendy’s I’ll call you when I park.” It was a bit of a struggle gripping the steering wheel, I hadn’t even realised I was trembling. Why did he have the power to even elicit a reaction from me?

Maybe you never really forgot him. Maybe you still love him?

I laughed at that thought. I didn’t know how to feel about this. How did people react in these situations? I did not want to ask myself what Jesus would do, because I knew I probably could would not do it!

But how did people disappear for no reason, and then reappear? How did their loved ones cope?

Wendy knew I needed a distraction. She packed us all up to the beach. Her family and mine. It was not exactly the kind of day I had in mind, but it was a good one – the girls making sand castles that barely stood for five minutes, Ofoe, giving them piggy back rides in the sand, and Wendy and I eating and lounging the whole time. It was hard not to think about him.

Just when we were leaving, Ebo showed up. Of course, Kweinuaa was super excited, asking to go with him, and begging for a sleep over. It was a definite no – the kind that she knew she shouldn’t beg about.

He came with an envelope for me. He looked apologetic when he handed it to me. It was quite a thick envelope. Like some folded documents. “Nii asked me to give you this.” I knew I was not going to open it. But Kweinuaa was looking, and wondering. It was a wonder she didn’t ask who Nii was. I took it and shoved it down my bag. I saw the look on Ebo’s face. He seemed to know what was going on in my head. He offered to follow me home, so we could go talk. Kweinuaa was going to remain at Wendy’s. I took the offer, not because I wanted to do any talking, but because I didn’t want to have to think about all of this alone.

We drove home, and while I freshened up, I thought back to the last time I had given a proper thought to Nii. I’d constantly wondered what to tell Kweinuaa as she grew up. But I’d stopped wondering what actually happened years ago. It was not worth the heartache.

“Dear Parker, 

I know that this comes as a shock to you. I know you want to have nothing to do with me – all that happened last night confirmed that for me. I just feel like there are some things that you really need to know. The most important of them is how sorry I am.

Even though I don’t think that you ever wondered if you were a good wife, I want you to know that all the things that have happened had nothing to do with the kind of wife you were to me. You were a good wife. I won’t lie and say that you did anything at all to merit any of what happened. You were a good woman. The kind that any man would be excited to return home to. You were loving and happy, and very helpful, you were amazing in bed, and you were smart and sensible. You were special.

A couple of months after we started trying for kids, I felt very pressured. And I felt that maybe it was cos of me? So I did some tests. Initially, they said that I had no issues. Thinking that the problem was from you, I decided to get a mistress. Just for the purpose of having a baby. (Not that I consider this justified). But when after 8 months, she couldn’t have a baby either, I sought a second opinion. There, it was concluded that there was no way I could father a baby. I really didn’t know how to tell you. And for about four months, I sat on the information, trying to figure out the best way to tell you, and when. And then you came at me, with a pregnancy out of nowhere! I honestly assumed that you’d had another man father the baby. And although it was not in line with your character in any way, I felt betrayed. Around that same time, I got the offer to move to Mauritius. I stalled it long enough to find out if you’d come clean. I didn’t want another man’s child. And I felt like damaged goods, because what man doesn’t want a son of his own? It was very stupid of me, and I acted like a child. I don’t know what made my mind so made up about the whole situation. I don’t know why I didn’t stop to listen. 

I sincerely apologise Parker. Truly.

When I left, I assumed that you’d move on with the father of the child. I assumed you’d sign those divorce papers and get on with the other man. I wanted to see who he was. When after two years I was told there was no sign of such a man, I started to wonder.Then I heard you’d named her Kweinuaa; I thought to myself – if she was really my daughter like you claimed, maybe you’d have given her some Ga name of some sort….  I’m an idiot, I know. 

I’d met a lady from Sao Tome who was also in Mauritius for work. She did not want any babies in life, so you can imagine her joy when I let her know I couldn’t even have any. Though it haunted me on many nights, the fact that I at least owed you a reason for leaving, I maintained in my heart that if you cheated on me for a child, then you deserved this. It hardly occurred to me that for 8 months, I’d been having an affair for this sole purpose, so I had no right to judge.

Parker, I’m really really sorry!

A year ago, the lady I moved in with found out she was pregnant. My first reaction was anger! How could this happen to me twice? But she was so mad at me – saying I’d lied to her. She was not even planning to keep the baby, so I realised she really didn’t want it, so she’d likely not been having an affair. So I went through a series of tests again. I found out that indeed I could have a baby, I just had a rather low sperm count, meaning it was just more difficult for me to.

Parker, it’s haunted me for a year! It’s kept me up so many nights. I felt like a villain. I wanted to come back home to you. I’ve begged God to forgive me, begged him to let you forgive me. I’ve gotten to my wits end, Parker.

I am so sorry. If there’s anything I can do, let me know. I will do it. If it means that I have to go round the world, I will do it. I know I owe you six years of a beautiful life snatched from you… for something you didn’t do. I owe you so much. But if you’ll let me, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll make sure you and our little girl know what heaven on earth feels like…”

It was when I felt Ebo’s arms around me that I realised that I was crying.  I handed him the letter refusing to read what was left of it. There were other things in the envelope that I hadn’t even paid attention to. They looked like hospital reports. I didn’t need any of this. I attempted to push my way out of Ebo’s arms. But suddenly, it felt good to be there. To have someone’s arms to cry in. It really felt like a breath of fresh air. I just held on to him, and cried. Cried for the lonely nights when I wondered if I’d always remain alone. Cried for the times I thought maybe I’d done something to push him away, that maybe for some reason, I was inadequate. I cried for all the children’s parties I attended with Kweinuaa that made me ‘crave’ a husband. And I cried for all the things Kweinuaa may have missed, and would likely continue to miss from not knowing her father. I cried for all the stupid dates I went on, that ended up with me wondering – If Nii left after close to 4 years, what would make this one stay?

I didn’t have any words, just tears. I hadn’t cried about him in years. And I’d vowed I wouldn’t ever. But here I was.

“Ebo… he cheated on me. He cheated…. for 8 months… and I’m… I’m the one who… I’m the one who… who had to… to suffer for it! Ebo please… please tell me you…. you knew nothing about it?”

I was hardly coherent between sobs.

“Parker, I had absolutely no idea!” He said it so calmly, holding me as if his life depended on it.

When the sobs had subsided. I sat there, wondering what next. Wondering if I could ever look into the face of this man I’d once loved, without wanting to rip his throat apart. I wondered if this thing called forgiveness that they’d been preaching to me forever was even possible.

I remembered some random lady from church who’d once told me that if I truly forgave Nii, ‘God would give me a good husband – he would restore the years the locusts had eaten’. It was the first time I’d felt the urge to cuss in church. Maybe if Kweinuaa hadn’t been sleeping on my arm, I actually would have.

Sitting there quietly, trying to piece myself together mentally, and slightly embarrassed that Ebo had seen me at my worst, I heard a key in the lock.

I knew Nii was back again.

I was too spent to say a word. He walked in, saw Ebo and I in the half embrace that we sat in, and made a face. Neither of us made to move.

I made a mental note to change the locks.

‘Ebo, ofee fine?’ – Ebo are you okay?

Six Years Late

I closed from work late and tired. Good thing Kweinuaa was sleeping over at Wendy’s. I was a little too exhausted for her bedtime stories and long goodnights… and I was having one of those emotional evenings when weird flashbacks from the past were unsettling me. I smiled, remembering her incessant requests last night – mummy, maybe a piggy back ride will make me fall asleep faster than Beauty and the Beast.

It was our turn to have the power out, so I wasn’t surprised at the darkness in the neighbourhood, with a few lit houses, and the loud hums of different generators as I turned onto our lane. I hope Sule remembered to buy the fuel, I muttered to myself.

When I got onto the compound, I thought of taking a shower and just going to bed. Then I thought, it’s a Friday night, and you haven’t had one like this in ages, maybe call the girls and meet up for some drinks? Or maybe just go to bed? Or maybe get yourself a glass of wine and that book you planned to read last month?

I’ll think of something once I get inside. I sat in the car for five minutes. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and breathe out all the stress for just five minutes.

I woke up with a jolt. I had ‘dozed off’ for the past hour and 48 minutes. 12:26AM. Screw that shower. Straight to bed it is.

I walked in the darkness first to the outhouse to put on the generator – no fuel.

I groped my way inside, stripped of my clothes, and lay on the bed. I didn’t even have the mental capacity to think.

Then I heard a sigh.

Why was there a sigh that wasn’t mine? It must all be in your head… you’re tired.

“I thought you’d never get out of the car.

Goosebumps. I clutched the blanket to my chest instinctively.

I knew that voice. Knew it too well.

My pulse was thundering in my head. I hadn’t heard that voice in a very long while.

It was a voice that had calmed my nerves many times. It’d sung to me on several occasions. It had whispered sweet nothings into my ears in the past. It used to be my favourite voice.

My eyes had somewhat adjusted to the darkness. And I could see his outline. Couldn’t make his face out… it was too dark for that, and his eyes were either only half open or closed. His voice was raspy. Like he had just woken up? I was still silent.

“I’m so sorry.” His voice cracked.

It was also the same voice that had accused me of infidelity, and walked out without even listening for an explanation. It was that same voice that had angrily asked me to carry my pregnancy to ‘whoever was responsible.’

It was the voice Kweinuaa should have heard daily, growing up.  It was the voice that had been away for the past six years, without much of a trace.

The first time Kweinuaa asked me where her daddy was, I thought I’d faint. She was barely four, and I was not prepared for it. I took her to my mother’s that night, and got drunk. I hadn’t had to think about him in so long, and suddenly, I not only had to think, I had to explain to her. What would I say? Your daddy thinks you’re not his daughter… and he didn’t even stay around long enough to check and be sure!

It was quite ironic. We’d wanted kids for two long years. One year after marriage – for we dedicated one year to being ‘crazy in love’… we started trying. After that year, we tried… two years of trying. One year with no interventions, and the last year with all possible tests and medication, etc. We almost tried IVF.

But then it finally happened. I got pregnant. I decided I’d surprise him. You know, these extra things that people do. Bake a cake and put a note in it? Or balloons? I needed it to be special.

But I couldn’t. I was too excited to keep it in while baking a cake. I ended up blurting it out over dinner. I was expecting the excitement I felt to be mirrored in his eyes. I was expecting a kiss, maybe some dancing, and a very steamy night.

But when I told him, he looked me in the eye, and called me a cheat. Me. Ekua.

I’d never seen him that way. Three years of marriage – and it was not a marriage that hadn’t had issues – yet I had never ever seen him like that. He stormed out into the night, and left me too shocked for words or tears. He returned the next morning, and asked me to send the baby to the father, whoever he may be. Did he think he was infertile? Or was he having some sort of mid-life crisis? Because the baby couldn’t possibly have put itself there. I had been a faithful wife. He was an amazing husband, and nothing would have made me cheat.

He spent less and less time at home after that, till he was practically only returning on the weekends to pick clothes and leave. His parents tried to talk to him. My mother tried to talk to him. Our pastors. A couple of colleagues. I tried. If he wanted a DNA test, I was completely for it. He wouldn’t even listen. I’d never been that depressed. It was a classic case of the broken heart.

Three months later, he took a job promotion that sent him to Mauritius. He didn’t tell me directly. He left a note on our bed, together with signed divorce papers – The very bed he sat across from right now. I was six months along then; I’d survived the horrible months of morning sickness without him, I’d survived the back pain, and odd feeling feet. I’d driven myself about 45 minutes at 3am one day, to get a pork sandwich from the only place I knew to run 24hours. I’d considered an abortion on so many occasions. I’d wondered what the point was. I was 27, pregnant and alone – for no reason whatsoever.

The night he left, I planned to go to the airport. I’d spoken to his best friend who was going to take him to the airport. He would stall and ensure we met.

That afternoon, I started bleeding!

I drove myself to the hospital, in a frenzy. I called his phone – of course he didn’t pick up. I called his best friend, and explained it to him. I listened as he told him. I listened as he scolded him, to try and make him reason. I heard the silence.

And then after the long silence, he said “Ebo… Mi’ya!” It was the last time I heard that voice.

I made up my mind that night. I’d be fine. I would get over him and be okay. Of course, easier said than done!

I had Kweinuaa a month later. A premature little girl, with little chance of survival – at least that was what I was told. I thought of leaving her at the hospital. Or giving her up for adoption. But then I held her the first time, and knew I couldn’t do it.

Nature wasn’t cruel to me. She looked nothing like her father. She was a spitting image of myself.

So after close to six months of hospital shenanigans, I brought my daughter home for good, with a resolve to be okay. And we were okay. For the first year, Mama came to live with me. And I threw myself into work, and into my Kweinuaa. She was lovely! She started swimming lessons at 2, Ballet at 3, and mini piano at 4. She started reading at 4 – well ahead of her peers. She was a smart child.

My friends, and family had tried to set me up with so many different men, on so many occasions. One – third of them were idiots who didn’t want a woman who already had a child. Another one-third were men who wanted to be babied and pampered and chosen over Kweinuaa. The final one-third just didn’t work out. They were good men. But so was my husband…. or ex-husband.

So six years down the line, I did not expect him back, and I certainly did not expect that he still had the keys to the house.

“I don’t know what to do to make things right.”

I laughed when he said that. Hearty laughter. I was devoid of any emotions. Was this a dream? Was I hallucinating? Because this was absurd. It was all too funny. “God if this is a dream please make it stop.”

“It’s not a dream. Ekua I’m here… and I’m sorry. And I’m ready to make it work.”

I rummaged through the drawers, in search of my pepper spray. This was the work of the devil… and I did not have the time for it!

Mi’ya – I’m leaving (Ga, A popular Ghanaian language)