Well, well, well, what a welcome! Thank you for the rousing welcome. Episode 1 had almost as many views as our last episode of Capital High! Today I am excited because my phone is finally working after 7 and a half weeks. You have no idea just how much time your phone robs you of, until you no longer have one. To cut a long story short, I locked my phone. It has been such a long journey. A thousand apologies to those of who have been trying to reach me. I am back, baby! 😉 I can’t tell the story without mentioning the amazing CPR who moved heaven and earth to fix it. Today’s episode is dedicated to him for worrying about the phone more than I did, tirelessly following up and doing everything to make the waiting period bearable. We should invent another word to describe you. Amazing doesn’t even begin to do you justice! ❤
3 hours before Prosper started banging on her door, Ewuraefua’s hands were full. She had to put the kids to sleep and clean up her kitchen. Kuuku insisted on her tucking him into bed and singing for him. He had his moments and like every 2 year old, he did not take no for an answer. She sighed and promised to sing for him as soon as she was done with the dishes. As expected, he began to throw one of his legendary tantrums. Those tantrums had been nicknamed ‘Kuuku’s Vesuvius’, after Mount Vesuvius. His elder sister had given the tantrums that name after her science teacher taught them about volcanos.
Ewuraefua knew why Kuuku was being clingy. Anytime she was extremely busy, she knew that he could sense that she would not have enough time for him and this was his way of ensuring that he had more than enough of his share. She knew that her husband disapproved of the ‘pampering’ but she could not say no to her son. Women were not allowed to have favourite children but in her heart, she knew Kuuku was her favourite. It wasn’t anything in particular that made him stand out, other than his uncanny ability of knowing when she needed a hug.
She pushed her hands back into the warm soapy water and grasped the sponge. After washing the plates and the pan she cooked the spaghetti in, she poured water into the pan in which she had heated the minced meat stew. The pan was losing its non-stick quality and some of the stew had stuck to the bottom of the pan. She sprayed the Mr Muscle multi purpose solution on the burner, scrubbing off all the splashes and stains from that evening’s meal. She loved cleaning- it allowed her to think and pray. It also gave her a sense of pride when any of her friends came to her house and exclaimed, ‘Wow, your kitchen is spotless!’.
Once she was done,she climbed the stairs to Kuuku’s room, where he had fallen asleep from exhaustion. She smiled to herself and covered him with his Ninja Turtles duvet.He whimpered and let out an involuntary breath spasm- the kind you make after crying too hard when you are 2 years old. Ewuraefua sat on the bed and began to rub his back, while singing Edelweiss very softly. It was one of his favourite songs, right next to Father Abraham had many sons and Jesus loves me, this I know.
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss, Edelweiss, Bless my homeland forever.
When it was clear that he was in 2 year old dreamland, she got up and went to check on Esowba and Kwamena. After six years of putting him to bed, she knew that he was not asleep and was just faking the limp body and concealing his game under the covers. Reaching under the covers to tickle him, she exclaimed, ‘I know you are not asleep!’ She made him say his prayers and then she turned off the light.
‘Promise me, you will go to bed. You have school tomorrow. If you wake up on time, I will make you an omelette to go with your oats for breakfast, okay?’
‘I love you Kay.’
‘I love you Mummy’
She moved on to Esowba’s room and paused at the door. Of all her children, Esowba was her Achilles heel. Try as she would, Esowba refused to ‘open up’ to her. She was intelligent, sensitive, protective of her brothers and the spitting image of her father. She would make conversation and tease her brothers but as soon as she and Ewuraefua were left alone, a wall was immediately erected. Things had’t always been like this. Esowba had come home one day from school when she was 5 and refused to embrace her mother or eat her dinner. Things had spiralled out of control since then.
She knocked hesitantly.
‘Please come in.’
Esowba was curled up in her bed, reading what looked like an encyclopedia.
‘Isn’t the light too dim? I’ll have the bulb changed tomorrow.’
There was silence.
Ewuraefua gave it another try.
‘How was school today?’
‘Did anything interesting happen?’
We have moved to two worded answers. Progress.
‘Let’s pray. It is getting late. You have school tomorrow.’
She listened as Esowba thanked God for a good day and asked for sound sleep and a good day tomorrow. Then she headed downstairs. Peter was due to return the next day so it meant that she did not have company for their favourite TV show, The Good Wife. She was beginning to doze off when the doorbell rang. Wondering who could be, she lowered the volume and peeped through the window. It was Kafui and she was running.
Ewuraefua opened the door even before she got there. She was shaking and crumbled at her feet, burying her face in the carpet.
‘I can’t take it anymore. I am not going back.’ she managed to say, amidst sobs.
‘What is wrong?’
‘We don’t have time. He is going to come looking for me. Whatever you do, don’t let him take me away.’
She nodded, all the while breathing heavily. Ewuraefua led her to the kitchen and poured her a glass of the watermelon juice she had made this afternoon. Ordinarily, Kafui would have lit up at the sight of the juice but she just kept crying. Kafui and her husband had moved in two houses down the lane, five months ago. Kafui was then heavily pregnant with their first child. When the pregnancy was seven months old, the doctors prescribed bed rest for her because the pregnancy was taking a toll on her. Her time at home had made her strike an acquaintance with Ewuraefua. She knew that Ewuraefua would protect her, listen, give good advice and not judge her. She winced when she heard the banging at the gate.
‘I’ll be right back.’
As Ewuraefua walked towards the door, her heart was racing. She wondered what she was going to tell him and if he would believe it.
I wish you were here, Peter. You would know what to do.
Just before she opened the door, she whispered a silent prayer.
‘I am not going back there.’
‘You still haven’t told me what is wrong.’
‘Marriage is supposed to be a dream come true. You are supposed to be happy- not belittled, appreciated- not despised. I don’t remember the last time I smiled.’
‘But you just had a baby.’
‘Coincidentally, that is one of our problems.’
Kafui’s eyes were bloodshot and the crying had given her a headache. Her hands were still shaking and she sat on them, hoping that it would make the shaking stop.
‘He humiliates me. It was small things at first. Calling me Miss Piggy when my nose became big during the pregnancy. Offering me double portions of food in front of his friends and mimicking a dog anytime he saw me chewing. After a while, it began to sting but I told myself that it would get better when I finally gave birth. This child is 5 months old and it has just gotten worse. Now he makes ‘moo’ sounds when I breastfeed the baby, implying that I am a cow.He complains that I am married to the baby. He doesn’t eat at home. He comes home with alcohol on his breath. He doesn’t touch me- when he does, it is void of passion. The last time we had sex-which is probably before Nkrumah became President, he called me Anita. Who the hell is Anita?’
The words trailed off, replaced by loud sobs. Ewuraefua could only rub her back until the crying had subsided.
‘What about the baby? He needs you.’
‘He said he would not let me take him. I told him I needed space. He said it is his son and he will live in his house until he is 18. I thought I was going to lose my mind if I stayed one more night like that, so I ran off when he went to the washroom. Junior has the nanny with him, at least. He should be fine until morning. I have expressed breast milk enough to last three days and he also takes formula. I hate being away from my child but I can’t lose my mind.’
‘You won’t lose your mind. You will be fine, trust me. Right now, I want you to take a shower and get some rest. I will leave a nightshirt for you in the guest room. We’ll talk tomorrow.’
See you next week! Do share your thoughts with the #KnowThyMan hashtag! -Keni