Drama in the Hall again.
It was a big room– a single room. A coffee-brown velvety partition divided the room into two halves; a chamber and a hall. In one corner of the hall, was an old wooden cupboard containing a few plates and some cooking utensils. A coal pot was found next to the cupboard with ashes of burnt charcoal seated in it. A half-broken tray laid on the cupboard, on it, three mugs, turned upside down. On the other corner was a couch and opposite it, close to the velvety partition was a CRT television which seemed to have been inherited from an ancestor. It was covered with a film layer of dust. The room had no kitchen. They cooked outside, during noon, when the shade of the mango tree was cast at their room’s entrance or in the evenings.
From the hall, a woman’s loud snores could be heard. The sun was burning crazy although it was just a few minutes after 10:00 am. The room’s temperature was high enough to thaw and warm a frozen soup. This, however, did not prevent Auntie Efua from taking a pre-noon nap after a tiring feat from the previous night. Then suddenly, a loud bang on the door woke her up from her slumber. Who could that be? She thought. She sat still on the bed for a while, in anticipation of a second knock to confirm whether or not she really heard a knock or it was a mere delusion of her imagination. The bang sounded again and louder. She quickly wrapped a piece of cloth around her bosom and headed for the door. She had prepared to put whoever it was to shame after interrupting her sleep. Her countenance changed immediately she set her eyes on the visitor. He was someone familiar to her whom she also respected a lot. He was a tall, dark young man. . His stature made him look as though he was in the early thirties, but his young innocent-looking face betrayed him–he was younger than thirty. He kept a low cut hair but a bushy beard which was almost touching his neckline. He was quite hairy–he had hair covering his chest, arms and legs. He wore a white sleeveless shirt over his black knickers, exposing his hairy arms and legs and his muscular figure. A secret dimple appeared on his right cheek as he smiled and watched the bewildered middle-aged woman, who was equally staggered.
“Nhyira! You’re welcome, you’re welcome my son.” She said, hugging the young mman briefly.
“Thank you Auntie.”
“Come in, come and have a seat.”
“Umm, I would leave soon. Don’t worry about a seat.” He said, hesitantly.
” You’ve grown so big Nhyira. You could easily pass as my big brother and not as a son anymore.” Auntie Efua complimented him, scanning him briefly as she paid close attention to his broadened chest and handsome face.
“I’m a big boy now Auntie. Even my beard has grown much longer.” He winked at her, licking his lower lip.
“You haven’t changed one bit; You’ve only grown bigger. Anyway, this is a surprise visit, or is Nyamekye expecting you?”
“I wanted to surprise you both. She doesn’t know I’m back. We vacated just last week.”
“How are you anyway?”
‘I’m faring well Auntie.” He gentled his voice as he asked, “Where is Nyamekye?”
“She has gone to work. She hasn’t returned yet.”
“Please let her know I was here once she returns. I want to take my leave. But let her know I would be back in the evening. “
“I would, my son. Extend my greetings to your parents.”
“Alright. Goodbye.” Nhyira shouted, almost at the entrance of the house.
She went in to sit in the couch, engrossed in a deep thinking. She had never liked her niece’s affair with the young gentleman. He was a novice. Although he seemed jovial, she felt there was something fishy about his demeanour. Nyamekye wasn’t very pretty too; she was light skinned, very slim and her scanty hair refused to grow any longer and her bust was a little too much for a nineteen year old. Their affair started as early as when Nyamekye was sixteen years old, just after she completed High School. She had spoken to her several times to refrain from romantic relationships of any form at her tender age. She was however trapped in the tricky web of “love” to listen to her adjuration. She became desperate and resorted to attacking the young gentleman to discourage him from making further advances. His stubbornness was even worse than her niece’s. She gave up on the inseparable duo. It has been three years now and everything seemed perfect between the two. Wasn’t it high time she eschewed those thoughts? She sighed and went to continue her pre-noon nap.
The traffic light turned green on the main road. The driver stepped on the accelerator but the car didn’t move. He stepped hard on the accelerator again, the car refused to move forward except for the expulsion of dark choky fumes from the exhaust pipe which caused some of the passengers seated at the back to cough and wheeze. The traffic light showed yellow, which meant the vehicles would soon be signalled to stop. The drivers behind the 2010 white Benz model began to honk their car horns out of agitation and frustration. It was sunset; most of the passengers on board were in a hurry to reconcile with their family, some had to pick their wards from school, others had to get home in time to prepare supper for the family. The driver was however impeding their progress. They resorted to ranting and cursing the driver. One lady, seated just behind the driver seemed unperturbed about the ongoing event. She focused her microscopic gaze on the bulky novel she was reading. Although she wore a pair of glasses, she still strained her eyes to read. She had completed Senior High School three years ago, but she couldn’t further her education to the tertiary level unlike her classmates. She was a mere factory hand in one of the manufacturing companies in the industrial area. She was however determined to enrich her grammar and vocabulary. Thus she cultivated the habit of reading a novel every week and this has aided her in speaking english impeccably. She suddenly raised her head to take a break and to her surprise, she was the only one in the vehicle. The passengers had gotten off the vehicle as the driver repaired whatever fault the vehicle had. She couldn’t wait, she collected her change from the “mate” and boarded another “trotro” which conveyed her to her area of residence in no time.
She walked past a group of five women who were arguing with one another. One woman had anklets on her ankle, her nose was pierced and she wore seven earrings on each ear. She insulted another woman as useless, amidst their exchange of words, because of her childlessness. Two other women intervened and called the accuser a prostitute who could not stay put with one man but kept hopping from one man to another. They continued with their exchange while she continued her walk. She was particularly interested in the issue of childlessness and pondered over why society attacked the woman whether she was the cause or not. She muttered a few words on her lips and hurried off to the compound. She greeted the few tenants who were chitchatting under the tree and opened the door with the key she took from her bag. She got into the room and collapsed onto the couch. She yawned. She was about to spread her tired body on the couch when she heard someone call her name. It was her “one and only”– Nhyira Nana Kwesi Frimpong. She gave him a warm hug and welcomed him in.
“Ermmm, I have always wanted to tell you this, but I didn’t know when and how to go about it.” He began, looking away from her.
“What is it that you’ve wanted to tell me?” Nyamekye sounded worried. “Tell me, you’re keeping me in suspense.”
“I don’t know how to go about it but I must confess that I really like you and appreciate all your support since three years ago. I don’t know what I would have done without you; but” he paused for a while, “can we just end our relationship? I …”
“What! Wait, stop kidding. What are you saying?” She exclaimed with widened eyes.
“I’m not kidding.” he turned and faced her now. “I stopped valuing your company. I thought that you would realize. Apparently, you ignored those signs and tried to make up excuses for me. I stopped doing the things we used to do together: those brisk walks, holding hands, eating together and the others. I have always felt ashamed in your presence. You simply look like a bedridden rabies infected patient. I am a big boy now, I’m in the university and I would soon graduate. I cannot afford to lose my dignity by dating someone like you. Do you know what the “Boyz-boyz” would say about me? Not to speak of those short hard red messed up threads on your protruding head you call hair. Don’t you see those young classy girls of your age? Try and undestand. “
He left, banging the door behind him. She, however, was stuck in the couch, her lips apart and her breath ceased. For a moment, she felt completely dead. The hall blurred abruptly, she could barely see a thing. After a while, she finally found her voice amidst her trembling demeanour. “Iii …a bedridden rabies infected loolooking patient?… Messed…. up … threads? She was shuddered. Then those memories came back again, long lost repressed memories; the pool of blood, a broken arm, yells and screams of agony… all in vain. Just like twelve years ago, she coiled herself, with her arms folded. She was enveloped in fear; hopeless and helpless.