I sat on the student’s mattress with rapt attention ready to listen to what Aunty Ama had to say to me. Deep within me, l knew nothing good would come out of what she had to say but I was highly prepared to listen to her, regardless of the broken heart it might cause me because I had had enough of the pains and anguish.
Looking all teary-eyed, Aunty Ama took in a deep breath and began to pour out one of the greatest secrets that had kept me in the dark for ages.
“Jérémie Kwame Dzimeyor, Kwame, my dear Kwame, you are a very good boy. Regardless of where you were brought up, you still display a high sense of respect for everyone. You are kind”, said Aunty Ama, as tears began welling up her eyes. I was, however, becoming impatient with how she’d started whatever revelation she was going to give me. “Aunty, please go straight to the point. You are keeping me in suspense,” I said.
She continued,” to tell you the truth, you are not the biological son of your parents, Mr. and Mrs. Amenyo,” with that one single sentence, my head started to spin round and round. I began to experience a severe headache. I tried getting up but Aunty Ama held me down. I burst into uncontrollable tears.
“Then who am I?” I quizzed.
“Wipe your tears and let me continue with the story,” said Aunty Ama.
AMA ARHINMA ANSAH’S STORY.
“I was fifteen years when I got employed as a maid by Mr. And Mrs Amenyo. They were very kind to me. They treated me as though I was their daughter. Initially, they had wanted to enroll me in school in fulfillment of the promise they made to my parents when they picked me up from the village. I had then completed J.S.S.
They were very happy despite the fact that they had no child after almost 11years of marriage. Later, they became frustrated when their families began to mount so much pressure on them to give birth. It was a hard time for Mr. and Mrs. Amenyo.
At times, I would hear Mrs. Amenyo weeping and praying in her room for a child. Things became intense when Mr. Amenyo’s mother, made life unbearable for her. She would sometimes visit them with the intention of causing mayhem in the house. I quite remember one day, Mr. Amenyo’s mother visited us with a lady to replace Mrs. Amenyo in the marriage but his son (Mr. Amenyo) sent her packing that very day. I remember very well that the mother left the house in fury, heaping all forms of curses on both of them.
That day, Mrs. Amenyo wept bitterly. I was equally sad. I also went into my room and wept.
One night, I had woken up at midnight to attend to nature’s call when I heard some unusual voices emanating from their bedroom. The bedroom was closer to mine so I could hear the sounds clearly.
In my life, I hate eavesdropping on people’s conversations. However, by chance, I overheard them talk about adopting a child to end the sorrow that had engulfed the family. Whilst Mrs. Amenyo pushed for adopting a child, her husband was against it and that had generated into a heated argument.
“Fine, I will leave this marriage because the trouble your family is putting me through is unbearable. The name-calling is enough. Today I am a witch who has consumed all unborn children, tomorrow I am barren. I am tired. I will leave this marriage for good”, complained Mrs. Amenyo with her voice filled with pain.
I didn’t hear her husband’s voice after she ended her statement. I left my hideout to visit the lavatory. As I was easing myself, I was seriously thinking about the Amenyo family and how this could be the end of their marriage if care wasn’t taken. I wept.
Coming out of the lavatory, I saw Mrs. Amenyo with her luggage in front of their room ready to move out. She didn’t look so happy. As soon as she saw me, she ordered me to pack her bags into her V8 car. My tears began to flow. My heart became so heavy. I moved clumsily to pick up her bags.
As I was waiting for her to come and open the car, she dashed out of the hall with her handbag.
“Take the key and open the car booth,” instructed Mrs Amenyo impatiently as she handed the key over to me. She then called out the gateman, Oppong to come and open the gate.
Soon, Mr. Amenyo came out of the room and quickly knelt down before her, begging her not to go and that they should go back inside and talk. Though she was reluctant at first, she later succumbed to her husband’s plea. Mr. Amenyo then asked me to send the bags inside.
This spirit within me came alive again because I knew something good was going to come out of Nazareth finally. As they slowly headed towards the hall, my heart became peaceful.
Three days later, I was in my room resting when I heard a weird sound. Mr. and Mrs. Amenyo hadn’t returned from work that day so I was a bit afraid. The sound kept growing stronger and stronger. I left my room and stood at the balcony to see the source of the sound but it stopped.
Just as I was about entering the room again, the noise flared up; this time around, growing stronger and stronger. The sound was too strange. It was a sound I had not heard in a very long time. I used to hear such sounds at night when I was at the village. It was something that used to scare me because my grandmother told me horrible stories about such sound.
I gathered the little courage I had in me and stormed out of the hall. I called out Oppong’s name but there was no sign of his presence. I then moved closer to the source of the sound to catch a glimpse of that thing. When I opened the main gate, I saw a locally woven basket containing a moving object wrapped in white calico cloth. I surged forward majestically to satisfy my curiosity. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that there was a pretty baby inside that basket. I was so alarmed and anxious.
Suddenly, I fell into the abyss of a dilemma as to whether to shout for people to come to the scene or pick up the baby and send it into the house. To avert any embarrassment, I looked sideways to ensure there was no one looking at me. I then quickly picked up the basket and entered the house. I sent the baby to the hall and cuddled it to sleep. Whiles still in total shock, I went and stood in front of the main gate waiting for the Amenyos to arrive.
Within minutes, the gateman arrived and listened in rapt attention as I narrated the incident to him. He requested to see the baby which I showed him. Upon seeing the baby, he said,
“Which wicked mother would do this to such a poor innocent baby?”
“Don’t be too judgmental. Do you know what might have triggered this incident? Please save your judgment,” I rebuked him
“Well, let’s wait for master and madam to arrive,” he said. Then he continued, “don’t you think Master will be annoyed with you for bringing the baby to the house in the place?”
Though I found his question to be valid, his incessant lamentations were getting on my nerves so I ignored him. Sooner than later, Mr and Mrs Amenyo arrived. I moved forward to take the items Mrs Amenyo had brought from the market. She saw the look on my face and was curious. My lips were too heavy to break the news to her. Thinking that I had been offended by the troublesome gateman, Mr Amenyo in his usual impatient voice, called the gateman.
The gateman in a stuttering tone, managed to tell them how a baby was abandoned in front of the gate. Without allowing the gateman to finish talking, Mrs Amenyo asked of the whereabouts of the baby and left after I had pointed to the hall. I became relieved when I realized there was no room for me to receive a reprimand as the gateman had thought
“We need to file a report with the police,” Mr Amenyo suggested.
The idea didn’t go down well with his wife who thought the baby must be kept as they had longed waited for one. Upon persistent persuasion from Mr Amenyo who told her how dangerous it was to keep the baby, she finally agreed and on that very day, they drove to the police station.
After about six months, the social welfare department gave the greenlight for them to adopt the baby after coming over to the house for inspection. Since they had given up on bearing children, they had decided to adopt the baby.
I remember very well the happiness that finally found a place in the hearts of this couple. Mrs Amenyo could not contain her joy as the baby lay on her arms. With a beaming face, she thanked God with all her heart. However, the adoption was to remain within the confines of the house as the gateman and I were warned to be discreet.
At a short naming ceremony comprising Mr and Mrs Amenyo, the gateman and myself at the hall, Mr Amenyo decided to name the baby (you) Dzimeyor meaning “I called for salt.” He went further to explain that you representing salt meant you had brought the joy he and his wife had been praying for. He then concluded by giving you his inexhaustible blessings.
A week after the ceremony, Mamaga, the mother of Mr Amenyo came for a visit. Mamaga had not visited in two years since her last visit ended in a confrontation with her son over the issue of childlessness.
After serving Mamaga with some chilled water, I entered the kitchen to continue with my cooking, leaving her with Mr Amenyo at the hall. While at the kitchen, Mrs Amenyo came and told me to prepare something for Mamaga. She then left me and made her way to the hall with the baby in her arms.
No sooner had she left me than I heard a loud unusual exclamation from the hall and I left quickly to see what was happening.
TO BE CONTINUED