KAAKYIRE WAS SO deep in his thoughts that he didn’t realize when the car stopped.

“Boss, we catch oh,” from the driver was what alerted him. He shook himself mentally and handed over the required fare. He alighted and nearly blacked out. He felt dizzy all of a sudden. He wanted to think it was because of his babe leaving him but knew he lacked blood sugar. An hour later and after taking some hot cocoa and egg sandwich, he felt a bit ok.

He checked the messaging app but still no response from Bernadine. She was still offline. He wanted to call Dentaa and ask her if she’d heard a word from her friend but felt silly. It would take some time for Bernadine to be reachable and with the way he was feeling, he didn’t want to pour his frustrations on her friend. He’d always hid his feelings for her friend from her and didn’t want any sign of pity in case Bernadine had told her she didn’t have any for him.

 

MEANWHILE, DENTAA HAD been sitting on the ledge in front of her house. The revelation that Kaakyire was in love with Bernadine had hit her like a rock rolling down a hill to smash into a house. The words had smashed into her chest. She wanted to cry and there was a huge lump in her throat indicating how much she really needed to cry but she couldn’t. Roko was still chatting with Pinanko. He’d always warned her against falling for any of his friends because he didn’t want to have to turn counselor for her should she face problems and didn’t want to be caught defending his sister or his friends.

She’d thought that with Kaakyire she was safe because he was a sweetheart. Someone she knew Roko secretly hero-worshipped and therefore wouldn’t mind her dating him but on the side, he’d have felt betrayed that she’d gone against the one thing he’d told her not to do.

Kaakyire was in love with Bernadine? Was Bernadine in love with him too? She had spent hours musing over this, pretending to be interested in what the boys were saying.

Roko had mistaken the look of anguish on her face and leaned to whisper to her, “don’t worry. You know your friend is just a call or facetime away. You guys have been in contact that way over the years so no need pining.”

She’d had had to draw up a semblance of a smile from the regions of her lips to let him think she understood him. A moment later she bounded off the ledge and walked away. She didn’t have a destination in mind but just needed to gather her thoughts. She felt betrayed. She was hurt and broken-hearted. She didn’t know what to do.

 

THAT ONE HOUR was spent by two harried women who were more than frustrated. They had been shown the shop of Dentaa’s mother or had been shown the general area but couldn’t identify the shop. There were too many.

“What are we going to do? I’m even tired,” Ceci let out in frustration. They had roamed from one business street to another and she could hear herself wheezing whenever she inhaled.

“I’m getting frustrated myself, Ceci,” Lydia said with no little disappointment in her voice. She was equally frustrated. She looked down at her feet. Her usually neat looking feet in their sandals had been coated brown with dust from the ground. She always loved to look neat and tidy. That’s what she’d been taught by her mother and her mother’s mother but now, cleaning the dust was the last thing on her mind. Her marriage depended on it.

She looked up and saw a familiar-looking young lady. Ceci had also seen her.

“Hello?” Ceci called out.

 

DENTAA HAD DECIDED to pop in at her mum’s shop just to get herself occupied with selling. Anything to get over the anguish she felt. She heard Aunt Ceci’s voice, turned, and saw her and Bernadine’s mother.

Lydia saw the girl’s face harden and knew she was in trouble. She had to tread cautiously here. She and Ceci drew closer to the girl.

“Hello, my dear. Where is your friend?” Ceci asked a smile. “Her mother here has truly regretted her reception of the two of you at her house and wants to make amends.”

Dentaa drew her gaze away from the woman and concentrated on Ceci. “Bernadine has gone back to Nigeria. She must have reached Nigeria by now.”

For the second time that day, Lydia fainted. Ceci rolled her eyes in frustration.

 

BERNADINE WAS ON her way home when she felt a sudden pain in her chest. She signaled the driver of the car she was in to stop for her to get down.

“Madam, are you ok?” he asked with a thick Warri accent but she was finding it tough breathing. Within moments, she fainted.

 

CECI AND DENTAA helped a dizzy Lydia to her feet. The women looked disheveled. Her hair was straggly, her clothes in disarray and her beautifully made-up face streaky. Dentaa sighed. She really didn’t need this.  Lydia shook her head, trying to clear the fuzziness but couldn’t. The girl had said Bernadine had gone back to Nigeria?

“Eiiiii. I’m dead. What will I tell Inkoom?” she wailed. “He won’t take me back without Bernadine ohhhh. I’m dead!”

Dentaa was aghast. “You mean you only came looking for her because your husband asked you too? Have you no modicum of motherly love? No inkling how much this hurt your daughter? Did you for once think of how Bernadine would feel if you’d told her that the reason why you came back to get her was that your husband wanted you to? Your husband and not you, her mother? What sort of woman are you?”

Lydia felt so abused. Nobody understood her or wanted to understand her.

“You just don’t understand,” she replied wearily.

“Then make me understand,” Dentaa demanded.

“The one I need to explain myself to isn’t in Ghana anymore, is she? Ceci I’m going back home. Inkoom can throw me out for all I care. I am tired.”

With that and gathering the last vestiges of courage she could muster, Lydia hailed a cab to take her home. At this moment, she really didn’t care whatever Inkoom did to her. She was tired of feeling guilty over something she’d had to keep quiet over. Something which her husband would find it tough forgiving.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

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