Drama in the Hall again
The stench from the choked gutter was too much to bear. The cacophony of hoots from car horns, shouts from hawkers calling out customers to patronize their goods, with truck pushers forcing their way through the crowd, bellowing out “agoo” “agoo” was a piercing to the eardrum. Some street children were wandering around, looking for where next they could rest their tired souls. Workers were in a rush to catch the last bus at the main station with their noses held tight to avoid the repugnant smell from the gutter.
A woman situated herself before one of the closed shops adjacent to the gutter, with a heap of rubbish one foot away from her. She looked dejected; a few lines of wrinkles had began to form on her forehead and cheeks. A small round mole found itself above her upper lip close to her left nostril and she loved to play with it whenever she felt bored. Because she was very dark, it wasn’t easily noticed unless the person was close to her. She was about five feet tall but plump; making her look noticeably short. She kept yawning behind her goods. The mosquitoes had also begun their wild attacks, so she lit a coil and placed it next to her left foot. She sat on a dirty, yellow gallon behind her goods of tomatoes and pepper, arranged on a large aluminium tray. She too, was calling out customers just like the hawkers. She didn’t have enough money to rent a space to sell her commodities and she couldn’t stand the agitative rants of the “aaba eei” people. She devised a plan to come to the market at sundown after the shop owners had left, in order to sell in front of their shops. She had been doing this for the past five years, when she lost her job as a waitress at a reputable hotel. Not a single night passed that she sold nothing. Today was no exception. Two regular customers had already walked to her and bought her groceries worth 20 cedis each. Gradually, she sold all her stuffs and left for her residence. She got home late in the twilight and joined Nyamekye who had dozed off to sleep after a moment of grim.
The morning arrived faster than usual. The first cock crowed and the golden eye of the sky appeared just in time to emit its vibrant radiance. Auntie Efua woke up first, she stretched her arm, yawned and lay back on the bed again. She was in a state of trance. She woke up momentarily, uttered a few words of prayer and went to the bathhouse to take a shower. She came back and met Nyamekye still sleeping.
I just don’t understand Nyamekye. Why would she allow herself to breakdown because of that good-for-nothing fellow. It hurts to see her in pain; I felt so terrible yesterday. I have cared for her since childhood, showered her with much love just to express my sincere affection. Yet, how does she perceive me? Her big bro! “Big bro,” that’s how she addresses me. I have always put up a smile when she addressed me as a big bro and playfully tapped my shoulders, but behind those smiles was a heart smashed with sorrow. Perhaps, I should have just voiced out my feelings to her. Couldn’t she just notice my efforts? Rather, she chooses to cry over th… that small boy.
All the while, Nii was soliloquizing and hitting his chest hard. He and Nyamekye stayed in the same neighbourhood. They had grown up as great friends, although Nii was ten years older than Nyamekye. Their relationship had changed abruptly to that of an unrequited love with Nii alone in the abyss. Whether Nyamekye noticed or not was what Nii couldn’t tell. The night before, he had gone to Nyamekye’s home to break to her the news of his promotion, only to find her in a deplorable condition. He consoled her for several hours. Later, when he learnt the reason for her condition, he headed to the washroom and cried his heart out. He had not expected her to cry over spilt milk while he was willing to be the ground on which she walked on. He came back from the washroom and found her fast asleep on the bare floor. He had carried her to the bed and left after a while.
Auntie Efua could no longer stand Nyamekye’s endless sleep. She woke her up from her sleep. She realized Nyamekye’s eyes were swollen. She enquired from her why it was so; initially, she hesitated to speak up, but due to Auntie Efua’s persistence, she recounted the whole event to her. Auntie Efua did not forget to begin her speech with the “Didn’t I tell you” clause and continued with why she was still unmarried at her age. She began with her romantic moments.
“At that time, I was in secondary school. I had passed my common entrance so I got the school of my dreams; Achimota. I met Johnny during my first month in the school but he was a year ahead of me. He was John, but I called him Johnny and he called me his sunshine.”
“Wow! So romantic,” Nyamekye exclaimed admiringly wrapping her hands around her shoulders, with her tilted head resting on her left shoulder. “But how did you two meet?” She asked inquisitively.
“I would tell you that later. Our ‘love’ kept blossoming. Those times were so different, the use of mobile phones was rare and we communicated often through letter writing. I received a love letter from him every Friday in the evening like other girls. It was a common thing then. In the dormitory, we were ten in each room but on Fridays, the number doubled. Each one of us wanted to flaunt the contents of our letters to get bragging rights. The girl with the most romantic letter was crowned Ms Aphrodite of the week and that came with countless privileges. Johnny was a sweet-talker. He was also intelligent and smart. He spoke English impeccably too, his letters always got me fans from the girls and I was crowned Ms Aphrodite countless times while in secondary school. I remember all the words of his first letter. He made me love Shakespeare’s sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”. In his first letter, he began with Shakespeare’s sonnet and fused it with a poem of his own, in which he compared me to the sun’s vibrant radiance.”
“So what happened between you two?”
“After five years of dating him, I received a shock of my life and I have not been able to recover from it ever since.” She paused, swallowed hard and continued. “One Thursday evening, I received an invitation card of my best friend getting married and guess who the groom to be was?”
“Exactly!” She confirmed in a low tone. “I couldn’t recover from the shock; I have been single since then. He was my first and last love. I wasn’t matured then and I blame my plight partly on it. That is why I always tell you to avoid romantic relationships at this tender age. Relationships are for matured people who can bear the consequences of their actions.”
“Alright Auntie Efua.” She nodded her head like the good girl she had always made Auntie Efua believed she was.
Their conversation came to an end and Auntie Efua left for a funeral.
Drama in the Hall again
It was another evening. As usual, Auntie Efua had gone to sell her stuffs. Nyamekye felt bored alone. Then, she would have been on a phone call with her “beloved” laughing and conversing joyfully for several hours. Those times have passed, she thought, it was time to move on. She was adjusting quickly to her situation. It was barely a week since she experienced that traumatizing situation, but she had recovered really faster. To kill the boredom, she turned on the television. Her favourite celebrity was being interviewed. The interview was coming to an end and the host asked her one last important question to bring the interview to an end.
Host: So let me ask you this last question before you leave. Since you’re not married, I think it will help your suitors know what you really want before they make further advances.
Guest: Eeii, what question?
Host: There’s this thing about choosing between a “dabi dabi ebeyeyie” man and “abin dada” man. Would you settle down with a “dabi dabi ebeyeyie” man because you love him or you’d insist and wait for “abin dada” man?
Guest: Wow! This is the second time I am being asked this question. Serwaa, honestly speaking, anytime I am asked to choose between the two, I am left confused. I prefer a responsible man, and per my analysis, no responsible man is “dabi dabi ebeyeyie.” This does not mean I would opt for “abin dada.” If he is really “abin dada” but not responsible, soon, he would lose his possessions. However, if he is “dabi dabi ebeyie” and responsible, he would strive to get just enough to cater for his family. Let me tell you how a responsible man thinks: If he earns 500 cedis, he would ask himself; is this salary enough for me to fend for myself and be able to send part to my parents regularly? If I am to start a family, will it be enough to also spend part on my better half? And what if we begin to have kids, will I be able to cater for them with this same monthly income of 500 cedis? What about rents and bills? Obviously not! That amount is too meagre for such immense responsibilities. So that responsible man would man up, find a better job which may perhaps earn him a lil higher to help him perform most of his responsibilities. If he is able to get a better paid job, he reviews himself with these same questions and when he is satisfied with the feedback, he may go ahead to propose and marry any woman of his choice. If per his calculation, his income, with support from his wife is enough to cater for just two kids, you stick to just two. Otherwise, you may go ahead to reproduce countless if you have the capacity to cater for them all. And this is the type of man I want, a man who reasons and plans– simply, a responsible man.
These last words evoked cheers and applauses from the audience. Nyamekye could not hide her enthusiasm, she kept smiling behind her television set. She pondered over her words and realized she was right in every sense. One good quality every woman should look for in a man is his sense of responsibility; she nodded her head as she spat out those words.
Host: This long lecture finally comes to an end. So if we got you right, whether he is “dabi dabi” or “abin” does not really matter provided that he is responsible. Right?
Host: Okay. But you did not tell us what role the woman plays in all these.
Guest: I actually did. I talked about she being supportive to her husband. I am a Christian and I believe that the man is the family head. As such, he is responsible for most of the needs of the members of his family; it is the fulfillment of these needs that will help him earn respect from his wife and even his kids. The woman is just a helper, so she carries less of the burden, that’s why I didn’t stress much on the role of the woman. But as a wife, I won’t hesitate to strike a 30:70 or 40:60 role division with my partner.
Host: Great! Today, you’ve educated us a lot. It’s been wonderful interacting with you on this show.
Guest: Thank you.
Host: It’s 9 o’clock on the dot and we bring our program to an end. Enjoy your evening. See you same time, next week. Good bye.
Nyamekye switched to a different channel to watch a twilight movie while she waited for her auntie to return from her venture. Meanwhile, she grabbed a half finished loaf of her bread from her hand bag and consumed it with a solution of water and sugar; dipping every portion into the solution until the bread was finished. she gulped the remaining of the solution down her throat and belched afterwards Then she stretched her arms and legs and reoccupied herself with the television program.