Happy Wednesday! #KnowThyMan is back! Welcome to all our new readers- there is plenty room in this family for you. If you are new to the series, here is where we left off last week. Today we discover a little bit of how all 4 women are connected. I am excited- the story is beginning to come together. Happy reading- and sharing! The sharing is off the charts these days, thanks to you guys!!
The sunlight rays interrupted her sleep without her permission. Not that she was complaining- she had had a bad dream. In it, she was falling down a steep abyss and screaming out for someone to save her. When she opened her eyes, she was terrified. This was unfamiliar territory. Then she remembered.
Prosper. Junior. Running to Ewuraefua’s place. Begging her not to let him take her away.
I feel sick.
Looking around, she noticed that Ewuraefua had left a toothbrush, a fresh towel and a dress on the chair in the room. She looked at the time.
Good heavens, it is 10:30!
Fifteen minutes later, she found her way downstairs where Ewuraefua was sewing a button onto a shirt that looked like it belonged to her husband.
‘Good morning!’, Ewuraefua cheerily called out, as if it was second nature for Kafui to be there. As if yesterday didn’t happen.
‘Hi, good morning. Listen-I just wanted to say thank you for yesterday. I didn’t have to drag you into my mess. You have been nothing but supportive. I don’t want to be a burd-‘
‘Nonsense! What are friends for, if we can’t hold each other up from time to time? I see you found the clothes. They are my sister’s. Would you like some breakfast?’
‘Yes please. Actually – no, Prosper disapproves of my eating. He says all I do is gain weight.’
‘Hey, listen to me. Even if you are watching your weight, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You should eat something- especially after the kind of night you have been through. We’ll get through this, I promise. One thing at a time.’, Ewuraefua said, touching her shoulder.
Kafui looked down at her hands and started crying softly. It felt so good to have someone speak lovingly to her, after so long. It almost felt like she didn’t know how to react to such kindness- whether to be touched or to be scared that it would not last forever. Ewuraefua began to stroke her back, hoping that it would make her feel better.
Tonia had always wondered how she and Ewuraefua became friends. They were not similar in any way. Ewuraefua was the perfect woman- clean kitchen, doting wife, loving mother, great cook, polite children, kind, selfless, devoted to her Bible and its teachings. She was a land economist who did her work from home, simply because it allowed her to be home when her children got back. Tonia was the direct opposite. She could not keep a room clean to save her life. She definitely did not want a husband and kids. The only thing she could cook was boiled rice- with a rice cooker. Tim was the chef- he made her sandwiches and jollof rice all the time, back then. She was blunt and her choice of fashion made the ladies in Ewuraefua’s Bible Study group cringe.
And yet- Ewuraefua never judged her. She tolerated her brash and arrogant views and got Tonia to attend church service with her every once in a while. Ewuraefua was a good person- she made being a mother and wife almost attractive. Almost.
Pulling up at Ewuraefua’s house, she nodded at Hassan, the security man and turned to wake Adjeley up.
‘We are here. Wake up.’
Walking round the house to the entrance that led to the kitchen, she saw Ewuraefua hugging someone.
Another Good Samaritan project.
Ever since she met Ewuraefua, there was always one person or another that she was helping out- from a troubled teenager to a homeless cat. Ewuraefua’s first instinct was always to help someone out. Knocking gently at the door, she let herself in, with Adjeley tagging not too far behind.
‘Hey. Bad time?’
‘No, come on in. This is one of my neighbours, Kafui. Kafui, this is my friend, Tonia..’
‘and my cousin, Adjeley. Everything okay here?’
Ewuraefua looked at Kafui, wondering if she wanted the details of her marriage spilled out in front of strangers. Before she could open her mouth, Kafui was already talking.
‘I couldn’t take it anymore-the bullying, the name calling, the cheating. I couldn’t take it. So I ran here- and now I feel like a wreck. Like the irresponsible mother my mum said I would be, I left my son with him.’
Tonia could feel the rage building up in her. She could not stand abuse of any kind and this woman looked like she had been through hell and back.She swallowed hard and asked her first question.
‘How long have you been married?’
‘3 years. My father didn’t like him so he never gave his blessing. We got married when he passed away. I thought he was different- he made me laugh, he didn’t mind my folds- he called them love handles. He wasn’t your regular Ewe man plus he didn’t mind moving to the Catholic church. I lost our first baby after 3 months and then things went south. He said all I ever did was mope around the house. He became cold. It was so depressing that all I did was eat and binge watch movies.’
‘Where was your mother in all of this?’
‘My mother has never been my friend. I spent so much time complaining about her to Prosper that she lost all respect in his eyes. Besides, I could not let her know that I had failed at marriage- all my life, she used to call me ‘good for nothing’. I could not prove her right. It was just-‘
The sobs took over. Adjeley was fidgeting, clearly uncomfortable with all the crying and difficult marriage narrative. She asked if she could be excused and went outside for a walk.
‘You know, sometime ago, I would have killed to look like her. She is so slim with full curves in all the right places. She can eat anything at all without worrying about calories. I have tried everything- water therapy, pills, exercise, diets- everything but surgery. It never works. I just keep getting fatter and he just keeps treating me like a piece of garbage.’
Tonia had had it and was obviously ready for some action.
‘You don’t have to allow that kind of behaviour. He doesn’t have the right to treat you like a piece of garbage. We are going to get you out of there.’
‘I want my marriage to work. He wasn’t always like this. I don’t want my son to grow up in a broken home. I want to fix this. God help me.’
‘Wait, what? So we are just supposed to sit around and sing Kumbaya until he comes around? I don’t get you Christian peeps. The whole God is in control thing. What’s that about? He is going to keep doing this because you allow him to. God has nothing to do with this.’
‘Tonia, that’s enough.’
There it was, voice of reason, aka Ewuraefua.
There was silence.
‘I am sorry. I was out of line. One of the things you would realize about me is I have strong opinions and I am not afraid to voice them out. Ewuraefua seems to tolerate my no nonsense nature well. Sometimes, I forget that and take her for granted, like I have just done today. Let’s start over. I will really like to help. Friends?’
Kafui looked at Tonia for a while, almost as though she was assessing whether or not to let her in once again. She finally spoke.
‘I didn’t have many friends growing up. I’d like to make some, especially now. So yes, friends.’
‘Thanks. Hi, I am Tonia.’
Kafui giggled and extended her hand.
‘Kafui. Pleasure to meet you.’
‘You mentioned a son. Can I see him?’
‘Sure. My husband will be at work by now. Let’s go and see Junior.’
Grabbing her purse, Ewuraefua looked at the glass of water sitting where Adjeley was seated earlier.
‘Where is Adjeley?’
‘Probably talking to her boyfriend outside. Crying makes her uncomfortable.’
‘She has a boyfriend? I thought it was the Lebanese pensioner that she liked. And you can’t call a man his age a boyfriend.’
‘Haha, Ewuraefua, very funny. She has a boyfriend. They are in a long distance relationship. It’s been 3 years or so since they last saw each other.’
Ten minutes later, all was forgotten as they passed Junior around.
‘He is really adorable. You are blessed to have him and this is coming from someone who doesn’t want kids.’, Tonia said quietly as she cradled him in her hands.
‘Yes, he is amazing. I am determined to do right by him, even if it takes every bit of my strength.’
‘Okay, I am not for this Kumbaya approach but I respect your decision. We’ll all take turns in helping you. My job is to help you lose some weight and help you sort out your wardrobe. We can get you a new pixie cut- it will look flattering on you. Even if that monster doesn’t see that yet, we will make him see it. First step is, repeat after me, ‘I am beautiful.’
‘I am beautiful.’
‘Yes, you are, Kafui. And you have got us- we can do this- one step at a time.’
Junior burped and with it came out some breast milk, all over Tonia’s T.M. Lewin shirt.
‘Well, it seems Junior agrees with me.’
They all burst into laughter, a sound that wasn’t often heard in the Atisu household. Kafui looked at all of them and smiled.
One day at a time.
See you next week. Next week, we meet the men! 🙂
P.S: I don’t know why you guys keep talking about short episodes. This is almost 1700 words oo! *mischevious grin*