Happy Wednesday! How is everyone doing? This week’s episode is dedicated to Naa Awula and Sarah Christian for getting married, and Nuerki A-B, just because you are awesome. May God bless your marriages! Birthday shoutouts to Dionne, Kwor First Lady, Harry and Anna Lisa! December is finally here! I love Christmas and I can’t wait for the election to be over so that we can fully enjoy the birth of Christ. Allow me to give you heads up- next week’s episode will delay quite a bit because we need to capture the election in the story. It will be epic- I can just sense it.
Happy reading, guys! Don’t forget to let me know what you think on social media with the hashtag #8to5.
‘Add a little curry to the eggs before you fry it. It will give the omelette an interesting flavour.’
For all her mother’s flaws, she was a fantastic cook. Cooking together was the only thing they seemed to be able to do without fighting- about Dad or these days, Akwasi. In the kitchen, all arguments were put on hold. They worked in perfect harmony, with synchronized movements like surgeons performing a complicated surgery.
Maame Esi smiled and did what she had been told to do. She lifted the cover of the pan her angwamo* was sitting in. The smells of the salted beef, onions and green peas hit her.
‘Your patients should see you now- eating ‘oil rice’ with beef and eggs and corned beef. Cause of death: Cholesterol. ‘
‘I think they would be more surprised to discover that my no nonsense mother, the Almighty Dr Osam, is giving me tips on how to make the meal more delicious.’
‘Well, I can’t have substandard food coming out of my kitchen, can I?’
Maame Esi laughed.
Her mother treated her kitchen like a shrine. She cleaned it religiously. Nothing stayed in her sink for more than 10 minutes. She called it ‘clean as you cook.’ The chopping board was washed and rinsed seconds after chopping the cloves of garlic, the counter wiped after every 20 minutes. Every evening, she cleaned her stove with warm water and soap. If someone told you that her stove was about 7 years old, you would not have believed it. It looked like it was only a month old; the chrome still sparkled like it had just been brought home from the store.
‘This way, you don’t have the burden of cleaning the kitchen when you are done cooking.’
Today, cooking was helping Maame Esi keep her mind off that conversation- the one she had had with Edem.
There was something about the way he had said ‘someone like you’ the other day. He was passionate about it, a little too passionate, to be honest. She also saw him searching her face for a reaction but she had had many years of practice concealing her facial reactions from people. It was one of the things that made her a good doctor- her ability to smile when a patient was panicking, even when she was also panicking with him.
She put a little of the shitɔ in a small frying pan to warm it a bit. Everything else was ready.
Maku could smell the scented candles even before she turned the key in the lock. Her favourite playlist of lovey dovey songs were softly playing in the background. Bob Marley was crooning out of the speakers.
I want to give you some love
I want to give you some good, good loving
Oh I, oh I, oh I
Yeah, I want to give you some good, good loving
The house was ‘dead silent’- for a home with a child in it. Robert had either put their son to sleep already or he had sent him off to her mother’s place. He had really put in the effort. She could smell the kenkey and the chicken wings. She laughed softly. When she had texted back to say she wanted soft Ga kenkey, she knew that he would probably be frustrated because he didn’t really like kenkey.
‘Hi baby. How was work?’, he said, leaning in to kiss her cheek.
‘Work was okay. I am just glad we are here together though.’
‘Me too, Maku. Me too.’
Robert waited for her to eat her heart out before talking. She picked up the last chicken wing and asked him if he wanted it. He shook his head.
‘So I was hoping we could have an honest conversation about everything.’
‘Mmhm, I am all ears.’
A part of her was low key hoping that the conversation would end up in the bedroom.
It had been a really long time.
It was just 3 weeks, but for the two of them, 3 weeks was a long time.
‘I am sorry that I have been a jerk lately. You are a great woman and you don’t deserve that. Any man will be lucky to have a wife like you- boss chick slaying in the streets, sheets and everywhere she finds herself. Remember our wedding day?’
Of course she remembered. She remembered everything.
She remembered her overpriced wedding gown, the 8 tier red velvet and white chocolate cake from Dream Desserts, the embroidered towels from China, the pink dresses for the little brides, everything.
She remembered the way Robert looked at her as she walked down the aisle, as though he wanted to rip the Vera Wang wedding gown off her right before the altar. She remembered the sermon the pastor with the thick Ewe accent- ‘If you love each other, you will put each other first.’ She remembered the way her shoes were pinching her toes, how her page boy refused to sit in one place and kept running up and down the aisle. She remembered everything.
‘Yes, I remember.’
‘We promised to help each other work through everything and that is the basis of my appeal to you. You remember how our lives changed when Manuel was in your tummy. Our marriage is still suffering from that period of our lives. We are now learning to how to rebuild this marriage. Can you imagine why the news of another child is not particularly exciting?’
Maku could see where he was heading with this line of argument but she kept quiet, waiting for him to finish.
‘We need to help each other. Maku, our marriage won’t survive another child this soon, take it from me. A man has needs, so does a woman. Our needs were hijacked by the arrival of Manuel. He is a true gift but his parents have suffered. You don’t undress in front of me anymore because you have become self-conscious about how you look. You spend all your time taking care of Manuel. Maku, there is a reason why I married a Krobo woman. I needed a woman who will be open to sexual adventures. We haven’t been there for a long time. I see you also suffering. That is why I am asking you to help me. Help me keep our wedding vows’
His voice broke.
‘I think we should abort the baby. I am not saying this from a selfish point of view. I am saying it from our marriage’s point of view.
‘Have you lost your mind? How can you ask me to abort our child? How can you be so callous? This is not the man I married.’
‘Maku, you are not the woman I married either. And I am not saying that maliciously. We have changed. Another baby will change us even more drastically. Can’t you see that?’
‘All I hear you saying is ‘kill our child’. How can you be so selfish? How can you push me to choose between you and our child? Did I make this child alone? All you are thinking about is your sexual pleasure. You, you, you. What happened to us? What happened to for better, for worse?’
‘We went past worse a long time ago. We are way past worse. I need you to look at this objectively. Don’t think about this emotionally.I can’t emphasize this enough- there are three things a man needs- respect, food and sex. Not necessarily in that order. Sex is central to a man’s existence.’
‘Well, you chose the wrong time to play Mr Objective. My hormones are messing me up. I need you to be supportive, not selfish. It looks like all you want is for better, for best. Robert, it doesn’t work like that. I am not aborting this baby. If you choose to leave because of your own child, that is on your head. I will not put an innocent child’s blood on my hands for your sexual gratification.’
He looked at her for a long time. Then he picked up his car keys and walked out.
‘I am going out for a drive. Don’t stay up.’
Last days are dangerous.
His auntie had always told him that, but this election had proven it even more.
Joseph sighed inwardly.
He could already hear the boys laughing at him.
‘Ei Footsoldier of life. You have been tweeting and retweeting your heart out for the last 6 or so months. You have been defending the NDC like your life depends on it. You have never seen JDM before. He has never acknowledged you or thanked you for your service. And yet, Bugri Naabu has received a car and GH500,000! Chai! JM is doing wonders!’
He wasn’t particularly bothered about the money or the car. He didn’t really believe the rumours the NPP was peddling around. Everyone would say anything to win.
Ben Ephson’s polls had given him and the other boys some hope.
Some of the boys were already planning what to do with their ‘winning bonuses’.
He was really hoping to get a scholarship to go abroad to study in two years’ time. An NPP government wasn’t going to help him much. Rumour had it that his account and those of several NDC boys had been flagged by the NPP leadership.
The debate was happening later that evening. Even he knew two things:
- The debate will not translate into votes. People have already made up their minds as to who to vote for.
- Nduom will win the debate. JDM was in power so it was easy to point out his shortcomings, something Nduom will not hesitate to do. The other candidates were just there to fulfill democratic righteousness.
He watched one of the graphic designers putting finishing touches to the ‘Thank you Ghana’ billboard artwork. John Mahama was a confident man. He was already working on the victory publicity.
Joseph sighed again.
He was tired, so were most of the boys on the team. He was silently praying that the elections won’t end up in a run off. He didn’t have the emotional strength for another round of campaigning.
But victory was coming. Victory had better come, it had been a long road.
Edem tried to drown out the man who was presenting the report. Today wasn’t a good day for him. Everything seemed to be going wrong.
His phone kept buzzing incessantly. At first, he thought it was the boys talking about something nonfa* on the group chat. He was wrong. It was Mawuli calling him.
‘It’s Grams. She collapsed in her bedroom this morning.’
‘Which hospital? I am on my way.’
Grabbing his car keys, he picked up his briefcase and his phone charger and stormed out of the office.
Assessment or not, everything else could wait.
Grams needed him.
See you next week!
P.S: Guys, does Robert’s argument make sense? Girls, what would you do in Maku’s position?
*angwamo- rice cooked with oil