4. Secrets and Lies

So there at age 26 this is the path I had chosen. Ok no, I have not chosen yet. No decisions made yet. Now I know what you are thinking. Give me a break with your close minds and your hypocrisy. Look this is the world we live in and if you are not smart you will be hunted down and eaten alive. As Asantewaa would say “It is the survival of the fittest”. Everybody needs somebody in this world to make it anyway. So what is wrong with befriending people who happen to be men, keep them company for a while and in return if they want to, you get some favours granted. Nothing to lose much to gain! Girls cling unto one guy for years and end up heart broken and dry. No not me, I refuse to abandon myself to such a miserable fate.

I find myself sitting in the hall the next morning in my office attire with a bowl of waakye (rice and beans) on the coffee table. I cannot eat. I am just sitting there, trying so hard to concentrate on this episode of El Dorado. But my mind is racing with thoughts of what I am about to embark on. My stomach starts to grumble, reminding me to feed it. I take a deep look at the waakye as if to magically teleport it into my stomach. After a few seconds of concentrating, I give up and choose to chew my nails instead. The stress is real.

This morning I woke up and got dressed as usual said good-bye to mum and left the house as though to go catch the Trotro (mini bus used for public transport) for work. Dad was in Takoradi for business that week and if only mum had not cancelled her visit to her sister in Takoradi, I would have had the house to myself. Instead I found myself looking for a quiet place to hang out for the entire day. I got to my station and saw my bus almost full. The bus mate saw me running from afar and shouted “Aye ma” (“It is full”). “Oh this guy, I can see one seat empty right there”. I thought as I slowed my pace in disbelieve. Just then he gestured to me to hurry on. I leapt for that seat like my life depended on it. The mate noticing my unease let out “Aw my sister hit is olight, dognt wolly be happy” The entire bus burst out laughing uncontrollably including myself. The driver after laughing yelled at the mate telling him to stick to the Twi he knows best. Moments like these were the reason why I still took Trotros, though I can afford a private taxi there is just something comforting about the human touch you get from taking these crowded (tight) mini buses. I make a mental note “Write this on the TrotroDiaries page on Facebook today”.

I sit in the bus wondering what to do with myself. We go past the radio station and the mate nudges asking in Twi “Isnt this your stop madam?” “No, I will get off at the next stop. I want to buy something before I go to work” I lie looking him straight in the eyes. Gosh is this the person I have become?! So next stop it is! 8.15 am and I am standing in front of Krispiy Kakes wondering whether to make this my final resting place or keep moving. Just as I grab a seat next to the air condition, my mum calls. Her friend, auntie Baaba’s mum’s funeral is in two days and she needs her help preparing so she is going to sleep over. The housekeeper is at home so I should make sure I keep an eye on her and watch the house till she and dad get home. Do I want to join her she asks. “No mum, I will be tired after work and I already have a friend’s bridal shower in two days so I will not be able to make it to Tema”. With that I quickly grab the smoothie and sausage roll the waiter just served and leave the bakery. “This is perfect timing mum. I love you” I say out loud. And walk out with a big smile.

So that is how I made my way back home at 9 after a quick stop to get waakye for lunch.

As I feast on my finger nails, sister Mansa comes in and sits on her special stool at the corner of the living room. Happy to have the house to herself as well. For her this was a miracle vacation as on a normal basis mum would have taken her along to help out at the funeral but she managed to get out of it by feigning sick. Now my accomplice for the next two days, we both sat there watching El Dorado. In the process of tearing the last bit of nail from my index, I noticed from the corner of my eye that Mansa was watching me. So I turned to my side and looked at her only to realise it was my waakye she was eyeing. “Mansa have you eaten today?” She quickly looked away in the shy manner she always did. “Mansa it is already 11 o won’t you eat?” “Yes please I had bread and tea already”. That was not convincing enough. I had sworn her to secrecy but if I wanted to solidify our alliance I had to do my best to make a “peace offering” and be as nice as possible to her these next two days and for at least one month after that. With that I stood up picked up my plate and placed it in front of her. Then I went to the kitchen picked her special spoon and brought it to her with water in her special glass. The look on her face was priceless. “I have already eaten and I am so full”. I explained “Have it ok. I am going to my room to rest for a while”.

In my room I take out the list of names Asantewaa gave me and pick up my phone. “Who should I call first?”…hmmm let’s see….Doctor Auswald Quansah. Asantewaa claims he has been asking about me. He is only 49. I take a deep breath, dial the number and get ready to press the green button “He is only 49” I repeat in my head.






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