The day that had started out to look so promising, was now running out of control.
I needed to get a car to the Tema Station in Accra and I was lost.
I wanted to go and buy some ‘broni w’awu’ as sometimes they were cheaper there than the ones sold at Kantamanto.
I’d reached Lapaz and whoever I asked where the station was, was either too busy to take their time to tell me properly or just didn’t know where it was.
Thankfully I got someone who told me the standard Ghanaian way of giving directions;
-“go forward and turn right, if you get confused, ask someone else.”
Well, I did that and thankfully got directed to the station. When I got there, I realized that my journey was going to be made in the ricketiest bone-shakiest 507 Benz bus I’d ever seen in my life.
And worse, it was left with two seats at the back! And you know how these buses are. The back seats are higher than the front seats because of the booth being underneath it. As a result, any shaking of the bus is felt keenly by those who are unfortunate enough to sit on those seats.
I was in a dilemma, to board or not to board!
So I decided to wait and thankfully a husband and wife approached, but oh horrors, the wife was heavily pregnant.
I had no option than to go and sit down next to her husband at the back so she could sit in the middle seat in front of me. Right next to me was a nursing mother with a little girl who was only interested in her mother’s breast until she started feeling hot so decided to let the whole world know, loudly.
Now I love kids so I made funny faces at the little girl and she started laughing. Her mother had a phone call and started rooting for it in her bag. But with her baby on her lap and crammed in the small space between the car seats it was tough for her, so I took the baby girl. She smiled her thanks at me and taking out the phone answered her call with a loud, ‘hello.’
Well my new found little friend decided that my lap was softer (I think) and soon slept while her mother continued yelling into the phone as if the person was deaf. After she finished and saw her baby asleep, she sighed and started to tell me how fed up she was with her husband.
“My sister,” she began. “Thank you for your assistance with my baby. Hmm. I’m just so frustrated. Can you believe that a man I fought to be with is now treating me like I’m the one who infected the world with Coronavirus?”
“His name is Koku and my dad adopted him when I was quite young. He always spoke about a boy who would run to help him with his purchases at the market. He’d been struck by how humble the boy was and one day struck a conversation with him. That’s when he found out that Koku was a street child.”
“Okay,” I said.
“My mother accepted him when dad brought him alright but to me, Koku was like a brother. Mum just didn’t like him. He did all sorts of crazy chores. Some I wouldn’t even be caught doing like washing my sisters’ panties and all that but this boy did all that without complaining. He told me as he grew older that he always told himself that he didn’t care so long as he had warm food to eat whenever he was hungry and a nice roof to lay his head under.”
“Well, it’s good he saw it way.”
“Yes, my sister. But you see, I fell so madly in lovely with him. He was my Koku, my first love and sweetheart. Nothing separated us except my parents. When I finished University, my parents were stunned when I told them that Koku had proposed to me and I had accepted. They breathed fire and brimstone but I was adamant. My father secured a Master’s program for me abroad but I decided to go against his wishes. Instead of obeying him, I convinced Koku to make me pregnant so that they would have no option than to make him marry me.”
“Oh!” I was shocked. I exclaimed so loudly that I nearly caused her baby to wake up. She stirred a bit on my lap but my calming hand on her back put her right back to sleep.
“My sister, I know what you’re thinking and I understand. I did get pregnant and when I told my parents they hated the thought of me marrying such ‘a pauper‘ but for the sake of their first grandchild organized the biggest wedding ceremony for us with 12 bridesmaids and a 5 tier wedding cake. In order to keep with the standards of the family, my father made Koku the General Manager of one of the branches of his supermarkets, Misain, here in Accra.”
“That was a good decision there so that he would be able to take care of you and your daughter but, why do I think there’s more to this tale?”
“That’s because there is more. I gave birth only to hear rumors of my husband becoming a womanizer.
Do you know the first person to break this to me? My mother but, I was in such disbelief that I regretfully shouted at her to leave me alone and never spread such malicious lies about my husband again. Sister, I don’t know what came over me to do that. A woman who had been my major support over the years and was the one coming there very early in the morning, every single day to bath my baby and I threw her out of the house.”
I raised my eyebrows at that. My mother is someone we’ve disagreed in the past but stooping so low is something I would never in my wildest dreams imagine me doing than to talk about doing it. To hear that this lady literally threw her own mother out of her house for telling her something about her husband shocked me. I stayed quiet though. Eager to hear more of this story.
“My sister, so great was my anger that I momentarily forgot that that was the house my parents had given us as a honeymoon gift. A house my mother gave me a check to cash and furnish. Her own money. Hmm. I told my husband about this when he came home. In his defense, he told me not to listen to my parents as they just wanted to do everything to separate us two. Because I loved him so much, I took his advice and refused to pick my father’s calls anytime he called me.”
“6 months, I had to travel to a funeral and returned on a Saturday instead of the Sunday I’d initially told Koku. I got home and was surprised not to meet our watchman at the post. The main door was locked but I had my keys on me. I opened it, went to the bedroom and stopped in surprishock, there was my husband in bed with his secretary.”
“Oh this is sad,” I chipped in but she was lost in her memories.
“I tried to let it go after he begged and begged me to forgive him. But now that my baby is 1 year old and after catching him countless times cheating on her, I have decided to go back to my parents especially my mother to ask for forgiveness and make them sack my husband from the company so I would take over. To me, the marriage is now over.”
There was silence in the back of the boneshaker bus as all those of us in hearing range assimilated what she’d just said. Then the pregnant woman who introduced herself as Grace asked her if she was talking about Koku Attipoe.
When she answered yes, Grace told her that she used to work under Koku but he sacked her because she refused to accept his advances.
Her husband (seated near me all this time quietly) chipped in that he had also been sacked by this same Koku because according to their boss, office romance was forbidden but he knew it was because Koku had wanted his wife.
The couple after this promised to go along with her to her parents and help her apologize so they would find no other course but to forgive her. For this kind gesture, Mrs. Attipoe promised to reinstate them at their workplace as soon as she got Koku sacked.
While they continued to make plans, I sat quietly smiling to myself as I held her baby and thought of how God works in diverse ways; Mrs. Attipoe in giving her daughter to me because of a phone call had ended up making friends with two people who were going to help her get back the most important thing in the world, her family.