Hello lovelies. It’s been a while. How have you been doing? If you are a newbie, welcome to the family and thanks for joining. Glad to have you here with us. Kindly start reading the story from the beginning. If you’re an old fan, welcome back, and let’s finish hard! If you probably missed out on the previous episode, well here you go. Enjoy today’s read!
Six months later
I’m rummaging through the contents of my brown leather handbag in search of a green-cover notebook which happens to be my Introduction to Nursing and Midwifery notebook. My efforts end in futility as after almost ten minutes of rigorous, endless searching, I still cannot find it. Frustrated, I empty all of the bag’s contents unto the bed, adding to its already messy state. I hadn’t even laid the bed properly yet, and I was running late for class. Georgina would call anytime soon and the last thing I wanted was for her to leave me behind again. I hate having to walk to class alone. I rush out of the room into the living room where mom is sitting, quietly engrossed in her morning devotional; a morning ritual she makes sure to accomplish before heading to the white-and-grey-painted container in front of our house to begin her sewing. The landlady was generous enough to let Mom put the container-shop there. She hardly sits in there for long anyway—she does most of the actual sewing inside the house where I help out sometimes if I’m not occupied with schoolwork. The shop is just to draw customer attention. Mom says she will move it if she finds a much better location in the center of town.
‘Mom, have you seen any green cover notebook around here?,’ I inquire, my voice impatient.
‘It’s right there honey. You left it on the couch last night when you fell asleep studying,’ she replies.
‘Ah Awurade. And to think I’ve been running around looking for it all morning, I’m almost late.’
‘Sorry, I didn’t know. And you didn’t ask.’
‘Never mind. It’s not your fault,’ I say and grab the book, dashing back to the bedroom.
I’m checking the timetable pasted on the wall beside the bed to be sure I have taken all my books for the different course areas we will be treating today. When I am certain that I have, I bolt out of the room. I’m bidding mom goodbye while skidding towards the main gate.
‘Take care of yourself o,’ I hear mom scream after me, after the gates clanged with a heavy bang, with me on the other side of it.
‘Okay mom, I will. You, too, have a nice day,’ I shout back.
I couldn’t eat breakfast today— my usual tea with bread and egg— which lasts me through the entire morning and helps me avoid spending too much on the food sold at the SMS Bush Canteen— foods whose quality and quantity never seem to match up to their prices. I sigh and walk faster, taking long hurried strides. I’m jumping over this gutter choked with refuse and green, smelly water, when I feel my bag vibrating against my thighs, an indication of a call coming through. My phone is always in vibration mode since I began attending lectures to avoid it accidentally ringing in class in case I don’t remember to turn it off. As expected, it’s Georgina calling.
‘Hello Gina, I’m on my way,’ I say into the phone without even greeting first.
‘Hey Fafa. Alright. I’m almost there myself. See you then,’ she replies and hangs up.
We are running late and getting a car on Mondays at the Kotei station can be really stressful. It used to be easier when Will was around and could drop me off at school every morning. Well, not every single one of them, but on most mornings. Sometimes, he’d pick me up too after the day was over. It felt like I was his little girl and he, my chauffeur, for some odd reason. Heading to the station now, I don’t even want to begin thinking about all the people I’d need to push through just to get a seat in a trotro this morning. And if I’m late, I’d have to walk to the back of the class to get a seat where I wouldn’t grab a single word the lecturer would say. It’s such a humiliating experience and I don’t see myself getting used to it ever—this having to push people to earn a seat in some rusty old vehicle. It’s just strange that on Mondays, every car that passes is so loaded with passengers but as the week drags along, tons of cars whiz by and all you see are empty seats, even in the mornings as early as seven. It makes me wonder if the people who fill the cars on Mondays and Tuesdays suddenly get their own cars or maybe decide to walk for the rest of the week. I check the time on my phone; 7:15am. I’m at the station now. I spot Georgina coming from the opposite side of the road. She’d have to cross to come over to my side. I give her a wave, which she returns, as she stands opposite to me, waiting for a stream of cars to pass before she crosses.
Georgina is my new friend and coursemate in Nursing school. No longer entirely new because our friendship is more than two months old now. During my first two weeks of lectures, I saw her around in class often but we never spoke to each other. Our friendship began one morning when we gave her a lift on my way to class. Will was going to drop me off, as usual, when I noticed her, stranded at the Kotei station, searching frantically for a car. I recognized her from class and asked him to pick her up. We became close from then. I got to know where she lives—which isn’t too far from where I live, as we both live in the same town. Walking to her house from mine would take at least fifteen minutes; twelve, if I increase my pace. Later, I’d learn she also stayed back a year before coming to the university. She was gobsmacked to learn I had stayed three. Apparently, she cannot see herself waiting that long and would have married within that time if she’d been me—she jokes about it all the time. I tell her she’s silly all the time too. Sometimes, she reminds me of Pam.
We sit together in class, share lecture notes, complete assignments together, go to the cafeteria and walk back home together, almost each day after school, like a routine. The best part is me having someone reliable to sign the attendance sheet for me in case of any emergencies. Not that I’m one to be skipping class for any trivial reasons because being in school means a lot to me. I was only able to go this year out of the generosity of Will’s parents, Mrs Sue and Mr Gyamfi. So I intend to make the most of the opportunity. Remember when Will asked me not to worry when I told him about being unable to go to school this year?; when he said to me, “Miracles happen all the time”?; he knew exactly what he was talking about. He had it all planned out, probably with Mrs Sue in on it, too. But he would continually deny it till the day he left, saying it had solely been his parents’ idea to sponsor my university education; that he’d had no hand in it; that his parents thought about it and saw how much of a determined girl I was and wanted to repay me for everything I had done for them, at least. I never believed him, although I stopped asking because I was grateful, regardless.
Today, Georgina is in some bright pink club-top and high waste jeans, sea-blue in colour. She is wearing her twenty-eight-inch-long, human-hair wig, the one she says costs not less than five hundred Ghana cedis, the one her sister bought her for a birthday present. The hair is nice but I struggle to see myself spending that much on just a single wig. Maybe in the future but not now.
‘You are glowing today oo,’ I say, when she reaches my side.
‘A girl’s gotta look fly all the time, you know,’ she replies, jiggling her shoulders. We giggle.
‘Welcome to another week of str-ee-ssss. Hope you’re excited.’
‘Of course I am. I’m always excited,’ she croons.
‘Then you must be ready for tomorrow’s test I guess.’
Georgina frowns and makes a face that says, “She could care less”.
‘Gee—It’s Dr Gando,’ I squeal, ‘You do know that right?’
‘Oh I know. Girl, leave that one,’ she replies, sweeping something off her blouse. ‘We’ll find a way.’
‘Ah okay oo. The sharks are speaking–’
‘Please. I beg. Don’t even get started. I don’t want to be on your case today. See who’s talking. You who finished the syllabus at the beginning of the semester.’
‘You are not serious,’ I say, cackling.
I am still laughing when a small, blue and white Pregio screeches to a halt right in front of us. As though by default, like automated robots programmed to act, not needing to be told what to do twice, we lunge at the door. Hopefully, we mange to squeeze ourselves inside and secure seats before the other passengers crowd around the vehicle’s entrance, blocking the way with their many bodies of various sizes clustered together in one, big heap. This is when the pushing and grabbing begins. Gina and I exchange smirking, victorious looks, as though having won at some race or overcome some great challenge. I am however grateful for being spared this stress that spoils your day before it has even started.
Yay! You made it to the end of yet another exciting episode. Thank you so much for reading and for riding along with me up to this point.
I hope to catch you soon with the next and final episode of our story. Yes, it’s being a long ride but we’re finally here and I can’t believe it myself!.
So stay tuned. Stay hopeful. Stay safe.
Till next time…
Have a wonderful day…