Well there you have it- the effects of Kenikodjo reader pressure. I feel as though I haven’t been the best version of me in recent times when it comes to storytelling, so I guess it doesn’t hurt to give you what you want. Part 1 and Part 2 got so many of you texting me for Part 3. Been so long that you have probably forgotten the story (sorry!) so please feel free to refresh your memory.
Did a review of Manasseh Awuni’s latest book Letters to my future wife a few weeks ago. It was a big deal for me and I hope you enjoy reading it. Away from that, I had a chat with the ladies from the Gold Coast Report’s Other Room some weeks ago (also available on Soundcloud). Do take a listen here:
Now to the business of the day…
‘Well, I like him.’
Denise settled back into her seat, her jaw set as if her declaration somehow settled the matter.
This was a jury, after all.
A jury of five humans.
Two of whom weren’t physically present.
Adam, Brian, Clarice, Denise, Evans.
Yes, their father had named them in alphabetical order. The kids believed that he had names from F to Z, just in case he had any more children.
Which was why they were having this meeting. Adam and Brian were in boarding school but they had phoned in for this all-important meeting. It is not everyday that you discover that you have an older brother from your father’s former life.
Adam spoke. ‘Denise, you haven’t even met him yet. Besides, nobody asked your opinion.’
‘Is it because her opinion isn’t what you expect it to be?’
Trust Brian to defend Denise. Or anybody at all who was attacked by Adam. The boys had this subtle enmity between them. Adam was the bossy, older brother who wielded his authority like a wand (or rod rather, depending on which side you stood on). Brian was the sweet but stubborn second born, everybody’s darling and the official ‘pamperer’ of the girls. Naturally Adam and Brian clashed one too many times. Then there was Clarice, Miss Matter of Fact, who either had a lot to say or nothing to say at all. Her submissions were always based on facts, no assumptions, no emotions- just facts! Denise was the ten year old queen of everybody’s heart- adorable, innocent, stubborn. Evans wasn’t interested in the conversation but he knew better than to ‘disrespect’ Adam. He was very young but he knew who was boss at home when Mummy and Daddy weren’t there.
Mummy and Daddy had been fighting. Well, Mummy had been doing the fighting. Daddy just did the listening. He rarely said anything in response, other than ‘Try to understand me. He is my son- my flesh and blood.
That never ended well.
She had never expected to feel this way.
Like she was missing out on something.
All Cecilia had ever wanted was for her son to be reunited with his father. She had been so sure that it would make up for her separating them. And every time she saw them together, she knew that she had made the right choice.
But it wasn’t enough. She had never loved any other man after Barima. She had not had time to. In between working and taking care of Michael, there wasn’t any room for crushes or dates. She made excuses anytime anyone made advances at her. She used Micheal as a shield.
I have a PTA meeting.
I don’t like leaving my son in other people’s care.
I have to sign his homework before he sleeps.
Sometimes I have a son was enough to send the suitors running.
And it was fine.
Or so she thought, until Barima started coming over to hang out with Michael. His playing a fatherly role so well made him 10 times more appealing than he already was.
‘Are you avoiding me?’
She dropped the plastic spatula, startled by Barima’s voice.
‘I could have sworn you were. You stay in the kitchen doing God knows what every time I am around. If I make you uncomfortable, please say so. If you don’t want him to go out with me, say so. If seeing me is a problem, I can meet Barima elsewhere. I don’t want to make anything difficult for you.’
She sighed and set her hands on the counter.
‘It’s a little difficult having you here.’
‘I understand. Should I leave?’
‘I don’t know.’
She turned her face away so that the tears could fall without detection. She knew that Barima already knew that she was crying.
‘May I embrace you?’
It was achingly familiar- the feel of his arms around her. She exhaled and sniffled.
‘I know it is all my fault so I can’t blame you for the way I feel. I am the one who was too stubborn and now you are married with 5 children.’
‘6 children, Cee. My first child is Michael. Our child.’
‘That’s the problem. He is our child. He has a father now, but you already have a wife. I am not blaming you. I brought this on myself.’
‘That you did. Hehehe. But you are also a strong woman. You raised an amazing son all by yourself. He has a greater sense of responsibility than all 5 of my kids. You also deserve to be celebrated.’
Cecilia smiled and sighed.
‘I will be fine. I always am. Thank you for coming back for him.’
‘Thanks for raising him for us.’
Michael’s footsteps moved Cecilia out of the hug.
‘Are you sure you are okay with this?’
‘Yes. Go. Go and have fun.’
Michael was nervous.
Today was the day of reckoning. He was finally going to meet his siblings at dinner.
He had not slept much that night. His mind was considering everything that could go wrong.
His door cracked open.
‘You can’t sleep, huh? Neither can I. I am nervous on your behalf. Everything will be fine. They will love you. If they don’t, it’s their loss.’
‘He is coming.’
‘He looks taller than I imagined.’
‘Shhh! Mummy is coming.’
They scrambled back to the table. Adam didn’t go and peek when they heard the car. He wasn’t looking forward to being ‘replaced’ as first born. He didn’t see the need for a welcome dinner, neither did his mother. That, they agreed on: they didn’t agree on much else.
‘Good evening’, the kids chorused. Their mother didn’t respond.
Denise insisted that Michael should sit beside her. He gladly obliged. He was between her and Clarice, who just smiled quietly at him.
The food was delicious. There was jollof, turkey, a shrimp salad and the regular Ghanaian salad. He reached for the regular kind when Brian passed them to him.
‘I am allergic to shrimps.’
‘Oh you are? Cool! So am I. Denise as well. That’s why we always have two salads.’, Brian exclaimed.
Michael figured that opening up might be the way to go.
‘Adam, your dad told me you play B-ball. So do I. We could play a game or two sometime. I won games for my school all the time.’
‘Good for you.’
Barima sighed and reached for a jar of water. It was probably going to be a lot more difficult than he had anticipated.
Denise kicked Adam from under the table for being cold. He jerked back and bumped into Evans. His plate of jollof just poured in his lap. He blinked repeatedly for about 30 seconds like he wasn’t sure what had happened.
Michael wasn’t sure who started laughing first. But before long, the whole table erupted with laughter. It felt good to do something as a family and a good laugh felt like a great start.