Hello everyone 👋. It’s been a while. I hope we’re all doing well. If you are a newbie, welcome to the family and thanks for joining💃. We’re glad to have you. Please start reading. If you’re an old fan, welcome back, and let’s finish hard💪🏽. If you missed out on the previous episode, here you go. Enjoy today’s read🤩
The creaking sound of the almost-rusting, blackly-painted metal gate welcomes my mom and I back to my home, in Kumasi. Sister Vida, a co-tenant is on her way out, when the taxi we chartered, pulls up in front of the gate. She steps aside, greeting us with a cheerful ‘akwaaba oo’. The taxi driver drops our belongings right in front of the gate and makes his way out of the premises, engines roaring noisily, a trail of dust and thick black smoke from the car’s exhaust pipe crowning his exit.
‘These drivers will never take proper care of their cars, yet, drive them around everyday. How old do you think that engine is? Look at all those poisonous fumes polluting the air,’ Sister Vida reels off in anger, the shape of her face moulded into one of irritation, shaking off the dust that had settled on her feet, as the car roared noisily out of sight.
‘Hmm. You know. But what can we do but board them like that,’ I reply suddenly feeling apologetic, as though, it is somehow my fault that the driver has not maintained his car properly, before dashing across the street toward Pamela’s for the key to my room.
The squeals of excitement that rise from Pam’s throat upon beholding me fills my heart with immense glee to be back. I missed her so much while I was away. That uncomfortably, high-pitched voice of hers that gives every word she says a little lilt at the ending, as though she were singing it rather than speaking, echoes through her chambers wrapped into one giant scream of ‘Yaayyy’.
‘Just two weeks and look at you? Look at your cheeks, all plumb and chubby. Did you go and take care of your mother or it was rather the other way round?,’ Pam croons excitedly, touching my cheeks here, lifting my arm there.
‘Will you stop that Pam!,’ I exclaim frowning, eyebrows twitching with faux fury, while trying to stifle my giggles at the same time.
‘It is this your overly dramatic attitude that I missed most while I was away. You, this girl,’ I say, falling into her embrace, laughing hard.
‘Let’s go quickly, my mother is waiting outside.’
‘Oh, she came with you? Finally oo, thank God! We will return from school with a proper meal waiting for us. Let me go and greet her,’ came her hurried reply.
‘Look at this one oo, heeii,’ I spit, giving her the sideways look you’d give to a ridiculously strange act, unfolding before your very eyes.
Pam changes into a fitting, lemon-green, flowered, straight dress and we file outside, one after the other, like school kids marching in line to their classroom after morning assembly. Mom has made herself comfortable on one of the suitcases, staring at a moringa tree in the distance when we reach her end.
As soon as Pamela gets there, mom cries, ‘Ei Akosua, wo nie?’, smiling, offering her hand for greeting.
‘Haha…Maa me ara me nie oo. Akwaaba mommy,’ Pam replies with cheeks highly propped up from exaggerated grinning.
‘Oh fine. It’s good to finally see you dear,’ Mom responds, equally as cheerful.
‘Thank you mommy. You too.’
‘How have you been my daughter?’
‘Very fine, Maa.’
‘Great. We bless the good Lord.’
‘How about your parents?’
‘They are equally fine, Maa. By God’s grace.’
‘That’s nice. We thank God. I’ll come over to properly greet them after we’ve settled in.’
‘Sure mommy. Let me help you send your stuff inside then,’ Pam offers eagerly, while I unlock the front door.
‘Mmm…As if she’s a good girl,’ I say, ‘Come and hold the thing and let’s go.’
‘Mommy see oo. Hmm, today I won’t talk,’ Pam replies, feigning a look of child-like innocence while looking at my mom in the face.
‘Haha…you these girls,’ mom says, giggling.
Pam and I haul two suitcases, a Ghana-must-go full of mom’s utensils, three basins and some baskets of vegetables that mom had insisted on purchasing at Mampong, because she claims they are much cheaper to buy there than here, inside the house. My all-too-spacious room is, all of a sudden, full to capacity, after we sweep, clean and arrange and rearrange stuff to make place for mom’s belongings.
‘Aha! Now the place looks homey. At first, it was all just a bunch of space,’ Pam sneers, purposely to irritate me.
‘Seriously Pam?,’ I say and start to chase her with my broom, around the room.
My cellphone rings just then—the caller is unnamed. I pick it up with squinting eyes, and in no time, discover that it is Will at the other end of the call.
‘Oh, hi Will,’ I croak into the phone immediately recognizing his deep, low, husky voice.
Sounding pleasantly surprised, he asks how I know he is the one.
‘Your voice appears not to change much on phone. It’s not that hard to figure,’ I say with the slightest chortle.
‘I see,’ he replies with a chuckle, sounding slightly amused too, ‘Well… I just called to check up on you…It’s been a while. I’m actually sorry for not calling earlier.’
‘Yes I know right. You’re used to me checking up on you, which is why it took you this long I’m guessing.’
‘Oh God! Whatever made me think you were going to go easy on me? Anyways, I am deeply sorry, okay, and I promise to do better next time.’
‘Hmm… you should. Although I doubt there will be a next time.’ I smiled into the phone. Pam coughs.
‘Yes ma’am.’ I could sense he was stifling a giggle himself.
‘So where have you been hiding?’ he asks.
‘Hiding? Really? Sorry for not telling you but my mom was unwell so I went to see her. We just returned to Kumasi today.’
‘Oh! I am so sorry to hear that. I hope she’s a lot better now,’ rings his voice through the phone, full of concern but also, a kind of guilty surprise.
‘Yes, she is. Thanks for the concern. But I did tell your mother though when she called. Didn’t she tell you?’
‘My mom knew?’ he retorts sharply with this low gentleness in his tone that does little to hide his genuine shock.
‘Yes, she even spoke with my mom on phone. Why do you sound so shocked?’
‘Wow…mom…she…You know what? Never mind. Let me leave you guys to settle down then. I’ll pass by later to say hi okay.’
‘Oo-kay… See you sometime soon. My regards to your mom and dad as well.’
‘Sure, they’ll hear. Bye.’
‘Mm-mm-mm-mm….me I’m not going to ask somebody if that was our husband oo.’
That is Pam with her usual, casual, mischievousness, casting me annoying, accusing glances from the corner of her eyes, a mocking smirk spreading slowly, across her pursed lips. That smile of mischief—I know it all too well and I am not about to entertain it or fuel its drive. I quietly gather some clothes on my little-sized sofa, grab my handbag and the scattered coins the taxi driver had given me as change, and directed my body towards my bedroom—now our bedroom since I’d be sharing it with mom from now on. I’d make provisions for extra pillows tomorrow. Tonight, mom would have to use mine.
‘You will leave. You won’t respond. Because you have nothing to say!,’ Pam squeals at my turned back, cutting crudely through my thoughts.
Mom who has been giggling for some time, albeit confused, queries Pam, ‘Who is this our husband that you’re hell-bent on torturing my daughter about?’
And with not the slightest perturbance or hesitation in the world, Pam begins her fruitless allegations. ‘Hmm mommy, you don’t know eh! Let me gist you.’
‘Gist me my dear. I’m listening,’ I hear my mom muse laughingly, quite faintly, as I am almost out of earshot.
Exasperated, I return back to what would be the living room and accost my mom.
‘So, after this long journey we’ve had, you are going to sit here and listen to this girl rant about who knows what? ,’ I blurt, rolling my eyes at no one in particular.
‘Ah-ah Mommy, you see she can’t go. Why did you come back? Who called you? Go and sleep eh. Heeii!’ Pam forges on, energized from the attention.
‘It is because you’ve gotten somebody who will listen, that’s why your mouth is chabe-chabe like a parrot. Left to me alone, you would have been left alone here, like an orphan.’
‘Abeg auntie, can you just let me gist my gist in peace? Don’t come and destroy my flow at all. This one that I’ve not said anything, you’re already afraid?,’ Pam claps back, making silly laughing sounds to literally irritate me. I can sense she’s really enjoying my frustration—something that irks me to the bone.
‘Go on and gist. Madam ‘gister’. As if there’s anything to tell. Tsww.’ I hiss, rolling my eyes at Pam, on my way to the bedroom.
‘Eheh! So if there’s nothing, why are you working yourself up now? Go and sleep. Mommy and I will have a nice chat,’ I hear Pam’s silly remarks behind me but I pay no attention. Such a troublemaker, she is.
Although I can’t hear them clearly enough anymore, occasionally, I hear explosions of laughter. While some parts of me want to go back in there, a better part of me, also, just wants to have some rest. I shake away the noise and snuggle into bed. I’d lay awake for hours without batting an eyelid, shuffling between my facebook, instagram, and twitter pages, till I get bored of clicking ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons. The weird times sleep chooses to elude me are sometimes unfathomable and merciless. I kick the sheets aside and hop out of the bed, searching for my bathroom slippers, craning my neck underneath the bed, like a disappointed ostrich.
*akwaaba — Welcome
*Abeg — I beg; a Ghanaian slang created from the merging of the two words.
*Wo nie? — Is that you?
*Me ara me nie —This is me
*Ghana-must-go — Ghanaian slang for jute sack
Hi there, welcome to the end of yet another episode. Hope you enjoyed reading this. The story continues. I’ll catch you with the next episode soon. Stay tuned. Stay blessed. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Till next time…