I just had to write this one after all the different conversations I overheard today, regarding Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day if you celebrate it, and never mind if you don’t. This is a story about love and life on Val’s Day in Accra! If you love Val’s day and you gnashed today, this story is pretty good consolation. Love always, Keni!
‘All I am saying is if he is not posting you today, you have no business posting him. One sided PDA is always a bad idea.’
‘Exactly. For all you know, you are Boo Number 7 and yet here you are, putting together your most creative Flipgram video, because you are the only one who is in love.’
‘Lois, you have less to worry about. Yours is legal. You guys put a ring on it, so go ahead and post him.’
‘Not happening. He didn’t wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day today but I bet you he is reacting with 😍🤤 to some girl’s flirtatious selfie as we speak. He can post his own picture if he wants, but it won’t come from me.’
Jemila smiled. These girls made it too easy to play the pessimist. They were sitting at the entrance of the office, waiting for presents from God knows whom.
‘Why do you guys bother with Val’s Day anyway? You are with guys who air your text messages, don’t speak your love languages and want to keep the relationship ‘private’. Not very lovey dovey if you ask me.’
‘Hate all you want. Don’t come with your expectant hands when my cupcakes and my red wine arrive.’, Augusta retorted. She sounded more confident than the others. She was also the most promiscuous of the bunch.
‘Quick one. What are you getting your man for Val’s Day? Don’t tell me he is getting singlets and boxers, or even worse a sext.’
‘Why not? My body is a present. It is ten times more appealing when it is garnished with lingerie.’
Jemila rolled her eyes.
‘This is how you people wind up with November babies. It is all about sex for you, isn’t it?’
The dispatch rider walked up to them and asked, ‘Which of you is Jemila?’
The other girls exchanged surprised looks.
‘What?’, Jemila said after dipping her nose into the bouquet of roses the dispatch rider had handed over to her.
‘I didn’t say I wasn’t seeing anyone. It might even be one of your boyfriends.’
She smiled a mischievous smile as she watched them squirm uncomfortably.
Yo chic! Chale SOS! Where I go get cupcakes for?
Ah! Who is this and what have you done with Paa Kwesi?
Chale it’s an emergency. I need cupcakes ASAP.
But I thought you said you hated Val’s Day?
This is why I never tell you stuff. You’ll use it against me.
Amoafoa, I need help ah!
Check Mango and Wheat or Bakeshop.
Thanks! I owe you.
Wait, wait, you are not getting off that easily. Who are they for?
That girl I like. I told you about her.
Patricia. What kind of name is that, anyway?
Trish. For the last time, Trish. For my female homie, you act too much like a girl. What kind of hating is this?
😂😂😂 are you even listening to yourself? Spill the details la!
Okay, okay. Some guy in her office sent her roses and balloons and I am determined not to lose. It is not longer about her. It is about my pride now. I can’t lose to an office boyfriend. Kai! I used to be the office boyfriend in my corporate days. I am thinking cupcakes, teddy bear and chocolates. I need that comfortable lead. You feel me?’
‘I swear, whoever came up with this Valentine’s day idea is a devil’, Festus said as he plumped himself into one of the more comfy chairs in the waiting area.
Kwakyewaa looked at him, raised one eyebrow and turned her attention back to her laptop. She was now catching up on Skinny Girl in Transit and really wanted to see what would happen with Tiwa and Mide at the end. She definitely did not need the distraction, and yet here Festus was, heaving and sighing, with no intention to go anywhere if she didn’t listen to him.
‘Okay fine. Let’s hear it.’
‘I am depressed.’
‘Yes, because of Valentine’s Day. It is not good for my mental health.’
‘Festus, what is this?’
‘No, stay with me. I am single all year round. I make it through wedding season, baby naming season, Christmas, family reunions, school reunions, church programmes, the whole works! Trust me, I am fine all year round until Valentine’s Day.’
Kwakyewaa rolled her eyes.
‘Most dramatic!’, she muttered under her breath.
‘It is not about drama. Why can’t any girl love me? Why do they have to rub their ugly boyfriends in my face? If they were handsome, well-spoken and not cheating anka, I would be fine. All these sub standard boys have the prettiest girls and I am gnashing. Chale I no dey barb. Bae here, Boo there, Hubby in between, when we all know you are not the only one. You and I know!! Everyone on Twitter knows he is a Smash and Tell guy and yet you are disturbing my ears with Snapchat updates with Ed Sheeran playing in the background. On top of that, he will probably break her virginity tonight when she clearly told me she was waiting till marriage.’
‘What is her name?’
‘Well it depends, Festus. It is either the name of the girl whom you went all out for and who ended breaking your heart or the name of the girl who is disturbing you with her inferior quality love on Snapchat.’
His tone was so hushed that she almost didn’t hear him.
‘Efe. Her name is Efe. She dumped me right after Val’s Day last year. Literally the next day’
‘That must have hurt.’
‘It still does chale! I can’t bring myself to block her. I keep hoping that she will come to her senses and realize that I am the love of her life.’
‘Give me your phone.’
‘I am going to save you from this misery.’
She took his phone and blocked Efe on Instagram and Snapchat.
‘Happy Valentine’s Day, Festus. Better is coming. Now can I go back to my series?’
‘Nobody is getting anything from me! Girls have made every single thing about them and they have such unrealistic expectations. A decent bouquet of roses is 300 Ghana cedis. 300 oo! Chocolate, balloons, cake, food. None of them comes cheap! On top of that, you will pay a dispatch rider 15-20 cedis to deliver it to her office, just so her friends can awww and woww about it. Kyerɛ sɛ ɔpɛ accolades! Nonsense! She is not getting anything, not even a Happy Valentine’s Day text.’
‘What dey bore me be sey you will kill your self and do all this, and she will not even say thank you directly. She will post it on Snapchat and IG. Public vote of thanks. Kai!’
‘Ah, is that your problem? My problem is the fact that she will buy you a pack of handkerchiefs and boxers, with the excuse that you haven’t bought any in a while. What kills me is when they add singlets. Total budget is 70 Ghana. She won’t send a dispatch rider oo. She will wait until you pick her up for dinner and hand it to you like you should be grateful.’
‘Y’all sound bitter. My wife and I take turns in celebrating Val’s Day. If it is my turn, I do the spreading, and then the next year, she will do hers. Plain and simple.’
‘Your wife no get sister?’
Krrr Krrr Krrr
‘The woman no dey pick up oo. Today be cocoa season. Time no dey. She for come quickly make I go deliver the other presents.’
Dennis was having a rough day. First his boss had taken more jobs than usual. Two of his colleagues had resigned the day before, which meant more work and less time to do it in. Then he had a minor accident around Opeibea. His right leg was slightly swollen but he had deadlines to meet. The last person he delivered cake to complained bitterly that it has started melting as if he was the one who asked the sun to shine today.
He was standing at the Tullow Oil car park, with a host of other dispatch riders who were delivering everything from king size teddy bears to lingerie in boxes to cupcakes and roses. He started pacing impatiently.
Time no dey oo!
He tried calling again.
‘She still no dey pick?’
‘No oo, the funny thing be sey that same guy give me the same gift for 4 women. One dey Stanbic Heights, then this Tullow woman, then another dey Osu. The last one dey Tema.’
‘Ei! Make sure sey the names be the correct names. We no want wahala.’
Dennis froze. The Tullow woman had picked up the call and there was no telling how much she had already heard.
Wahala don start.
‘Fine girl! Come make we go eh?’
Tina smiled at the trotro mate and quickened her steps. The last thing she wanted was to be stuck in this Valentine’s Day traffic.
Why can’t they just abolish it?
She slid her hands into her purse and pulled out a 5 cedi note. Her fingers brushed the Kingsbite bar that her boss had given to her this morning. She didn’t actually hate the day. She just wanted it to end. Her other National Service colleague on the other hand detested it. She called it the commercialization of love and the manipulation of emotions. Tina was more than happy to take her share of the chocolate.
Thank God for Director Grace. I would have gnashed with hard labor.
Working in a building like the one she worked in could not be easy on a day like Valentine’s Day. There were men playing the saxophone to serenade people’s girlfriends as they got to work. Breakfast baskets appeared from nowhere. Lunch hampers were floating through the office. Today she had learnt that tiger lilies and orchids were as beautiful as red roses. When it was almost 4pm, makeup sets magically appeared, people were ready to glow up for the night.
From her seat in the trotro, she could see couples sitting in their air conditioned cars, heading out. Some of them looked like they had just had an argument. The heat in the trotro was becoming unbearable. She leaned her head against the glass window, hoping that it would provide some relief.
By 12 midnight, it will all be over.