Happy Wednesday, fam! Voting Day is finally here. I hope you voted. Christmas is here- as you can tell from the snow on the page and the new header image. Been doing a little tweaking to the website- I hope you like it. Because I love Christmas, we are celebrating in style with a Kenikodjo Christmas special- 7 days of Christmas! Those of you who follow us on social media have already seen this- but for those of you who haven’t, #7daysofXmas is a collection of Ghanaian Christmas stories- what Christmas used to be and what it is now. Should be fun- just keep your eyes on the website from today until 31/12. Special birthday shoutouts to Enam, Desmond and Araba Pratt!!
Now to the business of the day…
Richard Dela Sky’s voice was booming over the dramatic Eyewitness News soundtrack.
‘This is Citi 97.3. We are bringing you a comprehensive coverage of the 2016 elections. We have Kossi Nyarko on the line from the Asutuare Area Council B Shai Osudoku Constituency.
‘Yes, Sky for the Presidential elections, we have NPP – 164, NDC – 129, PPP – 2, JOY – 1, NDP – 1, CPP – 1, Rejected 1, Total voters 298 .’
‘Thank you for the update, Kossi. Those are the provisional results from the Asutuare Area Council B Shai Osudoku Constituency. Bernard, what are your thoughts?’
‘Okay, so Sky. In 2012, the figures were different. There was a decline in the-
Edem turned off the ignition, silencing the voices of the Citi FM election team. The analysis of numbers, voter turnout, history of elections past among others made the reporting feel CNN-like. He grabbed the bag he had packed for Grams and made his way to her ward. Climbing the stairs to the third floor, he nodded at the security man who sat on that floor and knocked on Gram’s door.
He had been doing this for one week and yet the sickening feeling in his stomach didn’t go away or get any better. Grams was lying in her bed, lost in a sea of white Korle-Bu branded bed sheets, with her eyes shut. He made a mental note to bring her bed sheets from home the next time he came by. She had been here for a week. They said it was a stroke. An ischemic stroke, or something like that. If Mawuli had not found her when he did, it would have been another story.
He had prayed more in the last week than he had prayed ever since he became a Christian.
God please bring Grams back to me. Please heal her. She is all I have.
He had made promises to God- from doubling the tithe he paid to being more active in church. Anything to get Grams back to normal. Even now, the feeling of helplessness was so overwhelming that he did the only thing that seemed to give him a semblance of peace. He clasped his hands together and bowed his head.
God- please. Restore her. Heal her. Please.
Her speech had been affected and she could not move her right hand. At least, she could still see and she smiled anytime she saw him.
He smelt Maame Esi’s perfume before she touched him.
‘Just came in for my night shift. I just wanted to check in with you and Grams before I started my rounds.’
They both turned to look at Grams because she whimpered.
‘Is she in pain?’
‘I don’t think so. It might just be a dream.’
He nodded and looked down at his hands. These days, the tears seemed to come to him more naturally than they used to.He blinked and faked a yawn so that he could use his hand to brush his eyelids.
‘It’s okay to cry, Edem.’
‘I can’t allow myself to wallow in pity. It is not good for her to see me like this.’
‘Bottling it up doesn’t help. Edem, trust me. She is going to be fine. She has more than enough love and support from you and the boys. That is all you need as a patient- well, apart from your drugs.’
Edem kept his eyes fixed on Grams’ feet. He could not see her toes because they were covered with the Korle Bu bedsheet but he knew they were painted red because ‘a lady’s step must be dainty and her toes painted red’. Grams always had her own quotes for everything.
‘Okay, let’s try to cheer you up. Tell me about your favourite things about Grams. I have always wanted to meet her. It is unfortunate that we are meeting under these circumstances but please, tell me about her.’
‘So when I was a kid, I was afraid of falling asleep. I was afraid that I would wake up and Grams would also be gone like my parents. I used to fight sleep. I could get hurt just so the pain would keep me awake. Grams would make me a warm cup of Milo and either sing or read to me. Sleep always found its way to me when she did that.’
‘Awww, what songs did she like to sing?’
‘Hymns, mostly. My favourite was Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me.’
‘I know that one. Want to sing it to her for a change?’
Edem smiled and shook his head.
‘I have a horrible voice.’
‘I am sure Grams wouldn’t mind. In fact the croakier, the better. It would make her happy. Come on.’
Reluctantly, he started singing with her.
Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me,
and the changes that are sure to come, I do not fear to see.
But I ask thee for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee.
Of course, her voice was perfect.
This was Dr Maame Esi Osam we are talking about.
Earlier that afternoon..
Rev Quaye’s eyes darted between Maku and Robert.
‘Okay, now listen. We cannot have this session successfully if you keep going on like this.’
Robert spoke up.
‘Every day is another day that this child grows inside of her. Osofo, my point is simple- we are not ready for another child. Our marriage will not survive it.’
‘When you say that, what do you mean?’
‘First of all, I don’t even know why we are here. I was hoping that agreeing to do this would help her to see reason. Maku, I don’t know why you insist on making me look like the villain here when all I want to do is protect our marriage. Is because I mentioned the word abortion?’
‘Robert, it is not just a word. You want us to kill our child.’
‘I know how callous this sounds, but it is just an embryo. Think about it- what is going to happen if this marriage starts to go down the drain after the child is born? Will you then begin to resent the child? I know you think I am being selfish but I am thinking about both of us. I don’t want to put your health and self-image at risk again. I don’t want to put our marriage at risk again. I am not saying that we should never have children again. I am just saying that we are not ready for another child yet. When was the last time we did anything together? When was the last time you were the old Maku, the one who was confident and sexy and full of life? When was the last time you had time to just relax?’
‘It is not just an embryo. It is our child. It has a heart now. A heart that beats. Robert, children are supposed to be a gift from God. Even if we didn’t plan for a kid, we should embrace it and work towards this together. As for not having time, it is not my fault that I work in a bank and your working on your own leaves you with more time on your hands. Even with that, I would expect you to help me a lot more with our son and the house, but no, you would rather sit there and demand that I feed you, clean our house, put our son to bed and come and pleasure you in bed.’
‘Oh, we are going to go there, aren’t we? You think I don’t know that you deliberately waste time so that I won’t touch you at night? You wait until I am asleep before you slip under the sheets. Do you know what sex starvation can do to a man? I am just a normal guy who has an appropriate expectation that his desire and need for sexual intimacy be met with the woman he married and loves.It has taken every fibre of self restraint in me to keep me from sleeping with another woman. Not even one blow job, Maku, not one. I am also sacrificing. Don’t make this your pity party.’
Rev Quaye was speechless. He was not used to such graphic language in his counselling sessions. His congregants were usually economic with the truth but Maku and Robert were flying words like blow jobs, masturbation and other ‘unholy’ words across the room. He was against abortion simply because ‘Thou shall not kill’ but he could also see where Robert was coming from.
He cleared his throat.
‘Maku, wives are to submit to their husbands. That is no way to talk to your husband, especially in front of a third party-‘
‘Rev Quaye, husbands are supposed to love their wives like Christ loved the church. Not to suggest that they kill the children God has given them in their womb.’
‘I was coming to that.’
Robert held his hands up.
‘Maku, if after everything I have said, all you have heard is that I am thinking about my libido, then I have nothing else to say. Do as you please. Keep the baby if you want to. I won’t divorce you but I am no longer obligated to keep these vows, because you are clearly not interested in keeping them either. Osofo, thank you for your time.’
‘There he goes again, walking away when things don’t go his way.’
‘Maku, I won’t argue with you any longer. Do what you want to do. Just don’t expect me to come along for the ride.’
Robert walked out of the church office, the clicking of his Italian shoes echoing in the hallway. Maku looked at the ceiling as though she was expecting something to descend from heaven with a solution. Rev Quaye just looked at the picture of his wife sitting on his desk.
Thank goodness that Faustie and I didn’t have this problem. 6 boys and counting.
Yes, Faustie had become flabby and the last time they had had sex was on his birthday, three years ago, but who was counting?
Akwasi punched in the number and Joseph picked up almost immediately.
‘Oh nice. I knew you would be awake with me. Everything cool? Team No Abaaaba se!’
‘Ah, is that why you called me? Mtchew! I go hang up ridee. It’s been a rough week.’
‘Oh what that? I dey order some things from Amazon wey I no want bed. That be why.’
‘Oh okay? Why, where is Dr Wifey?’
‘She is on night duty.’
‘She dey there plus Edem eh?’
That was the real reason why he was calling Joseph instead of Edem.
For the first time in his life, he was worried about losing a girl- to his best friend.
It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Edem or Maame Esi.
It was the fact that he had always felt like Edem was somehow more superior to him in many ways. He had a great job, he was kind, sweet and responsible. It was easy to feel safe around him. He was every girl’s ideal guy.
Well, not every girl.
Every good girl.
Girls like Maame Esi.
He knew that their running into each other could make anything possible and yet he was trying so hard not to be paranoid. Instead, he was going to troll on Twitter and worry people like Joseph.
Joseph was not in the mood for jokes.
They had told him that election night would be nerve-wrecking but they had not told him it would be this nerve-wrecking.
They weren’t winning. They weren’t losing either.
Chale the Twitter trolls, see what they are already doing to Nduom. If we lose, I have to deactivate my account.
For the first time ever since he joined the NDC campaign, he was afraid. He didn’t have a backup plan. He had put all his eggs and the hen laying them into one basket. The rumours were flying- stuffed ballot box here, suspicions of rigging there, pink sheet troubles in between.
Today was the day.
Do or die.
There was no way of telling what the final verdict was going to be.
Ordinarily by now he would have been fast asleep, his left leg up against the wall, snoring snores worthy of 65 year old men.
Tonight, sleep was for the weak.
See you next week!