My dear sweetheart,
“I believe you must have completed your first degree by now. Just like you, I’ve also completed mine in accounting with first-class honors. Not only did I become a valedictorian, but was also adjudged the overall best graduating student in the university. I wish you were with me as I received the award with much pride. I would have wished to come down to Ghana but the good news is that I’ve been offered a scholarship to proceed with my second degree. However, sooner than later, I shall come down for us to spend some quality time together as we used to do in our secondary school days. But bear in mind that my strings of affection for you remain unchanged. Remain prayerful, forceful, and determined in whatever you set out to do. I want you to stay safe and take very good care of yourself.”
Your lovely lady,
After reading the letter in silence, Prince pressed the paper on his chest, took a deep breath and closed his eyes gently as he cast his mind back to some past events in his life.
Prince and Sarah had been good friends since their secondary days. Their friendship was much talked about in school. They both completed school five years ago with distinction. While Prince got admission to study medicine at the University of Ghana, Sarah had the chance to study in one of the renowned universities in Europe. Before the final secondary school results were released, Mr. Oppong, Prince’s father, had secretly purchased a university form and applied on behalf of Prince. Prince had no knowledge of what his father did at his blindside.
Therefore, it came as a shock to him when he realized he had been admitted to go and read medicine at the university. Prince boldly told his father that he did not have what it took to read medicine. His father tried in vain to convince him. It was a heartbreaking moment for Mr. Oppong as he had wanted his son to become a medical doctor. To make issues more complicated, Prince told his parents he wanted to be a musician.
“Talk to your son. Talk to him because I have no patience for his stubbornness,” Mr. Oppong lamented bitterly to his wife, Mrs. Herty Oppong. Mr. Oppong left the hall for his bedroom leaving his wife and his son Prince. Prince was standing beside the window looking dissatisfied.
Mrs. Oppong sprang up from the chair and went closer to Prince saying, ” My boy, listen to your father. He wants the best for you in life. Doing music wouldn’t add any value to your life. Doing music is an unwise decision one can ever take,” Mrs. Oppong advised. “But mum, music is what I want to do. It’s my passion. Music inebriates my body and soul. Please mum, kindly speak to daddy on my behalf. I am not interested in becoming a doctor because I can’t stand the sight of blood,” Prince knelt down and held his mother’s legs.
“My boy listen to me, the most useless thing to do is to pursue music as a career. How many musicians in this country are doing so well in life? After coming out with one or two songs, they wither away like cocoa leaves,” Mrs. Oppong shouted on top of her voice. Prince was utterly amazed by her mother’s negative utterances against music.
He got up from the ground, held his mother’s two shoulders with his two arms and said softly, “Mum you call music useless? Sorry mum, if you think music is useless to you, then to me, it’s useful. If only you and dad understand and give me the needed support, I won’t be useless. Mummy, you people are killing my dreams slowly.
“No my son, don’t talk like that”, Mrs. Oppong stated. “Yes mum, you people are killing my dream. Did you ever stop my brother Solomon from pursuing his dream course?” Prince asked his mum but there was no answer. “Answer me mum. Why do you people always want me to dance according to your wishes and not mine?” Prince asked and left the hall when he realized there was no answer coming.
Mrs. Oppong called him to return but he didn’t even look back. Mrs. Oppong looked very disappointed. She sat back on the sofa chair and began to think deeply.
That evening, Mr Oppong called for another family meeting to find out Prince’s final resolution. Disappointedly, his expectation was a huge failure as Prince had already taken an entrenched position on his decision not to do medicine at the university. Mr. Oppong became extremely angry that he ran out of words to express his displeasure verbally.
“You dare challenge me? How dare you! How dare you challenge your father’s decision! Alright go ahead and do your music but count me out because you’re going to take care of your own needs in this house,” Mr Oppong reproached and threatened Prince as he stood with his left hand in his pocket.
Mrs Oppong, as well as Prince, was in total silence. Prince got up from his chair in annoyance and said to his father, “dad, I’m also a human being with feelings and rights. If you won’t support my cause, I don’t have a problem but will never ever become the medical doctor you want me to be. I prefer going after what my heart desires at the expense of my comfort. You guys can’t kill my dream.”
“Herh! Are you listening to your son? He called me a guy?” said Mr Oppong as he turned to look at his wife. Before he could open his mouth to speak again, Prince had already left the scene. Mr Oppong called him but he never turned to look at him.
Do you see the kind of training you give to your son?” he accused his wife. In the next few minutes, Prince came out of the bedroom holding his traveling bag and the guitar. He was leaving the house for good. His mother made an attempt to stop him but was ignored outrightly while Mr. Oppong urged him on to leave the house but never returned even in his death. Prince turned and said, “I’m going to the world to chase my dream, dad.”
Prince had moved in with one of his school mates, Christos, from the luxury of his parents’ home. Christos lived with his two elder brothers in the biggest slum at one side of the city. He also passed his secondary school examination with distinction but could not continue due to financial constraints. Prince used to give immerse support to Christos during their secondary school days.
Therefore, when Prince approached Christos for assistance, he was offered on a silver platter. Christos had spoken to his brothers about Prince’s predicament and had all agreed to have him stay with them. Due to his relocation, Prince lost absolute contact with Sarah and hadn’t heard from her in a very long time since until the day he received the first letter from her. The letter was secretly given to him by his father’s driver, Efo Dotse.
Dotse had bumped into Prince and promised to deliver a letter to him three days earlier. Prince then gave him the direction to where he had moved to. Since Dotse was also in charge of taking letters from the family’s post office box, he delivered Prince’s letter to him without Mr Oppong noticing.
After remembering all that had happened in his life concerning the trouble he had had with his parents, tears began trickling down from the corners of his eyes. Taking the guitar beside him, he got up from under the tree where he had read Sarah’s letter and left for the slum.
Ever since Prince left home, life had been very difficult for him. For his source of livelihood, he did solo performances at programs for a paltry sum of money. Christos and his brothers treated him like their own. When Prince went down with malaria and cholera some months back, they played a huge role in his gradual recovery. Now, life had become very hard for Prince. There was a military takeover of government and a curfew had been imposed on the country.
The new development affected those living in slum areas badly. Most of the slum dwellers, including Christos and his brothers who were scrap dealers and depended heavily on it, were not spared of the hardships. All forms of social programs ceased and as a result, Prince became handicapped in feeding himself.
Six months later, the curfew was lifted. The military government had handed power over to the civilians. Peace and tranquility had come back to reign. Citizens resumed their daily activities without restrictions. Christos and his brothers had gone back to the scrap dealing business while Prince’s weekly performance at functions resurfaced.
Two months later, fortune visited Prince. A music patron had connected him to a very wealthy man. He was to perform at the birthday party of the rich man’s daughter, Hamdiya. Prince was elated when the news got to him. That day, he put on one of his finest outfits and attended the birthday party. He sang so well that he was given a five-minute standing ovation.
After the party, the rich man, Alhaji Belo, invited Prince for a conversation at his big hall. Having spoken at length with Prince, Alhaji Belo concluded, “Young man, you’re very talented and your first impression has proven my intuition right. I’m going to help you. I’ll call you at the appropriate time.” Prince left Alhaji’s house with his face beaming.
Two weeks later, Alhaji fulfilled his promise. Prince was given a car and a two-bedroom apartment. Alhaji became his manager. At twenty-three years, Prince had come face to face with his long time dream of being supported in his budding career. Prince had planned to bring Christos and his brothers to come and live with him. Three days before Prince could bring them in to live with him, there was a twist and turn in his life. The fortune that had visited him decided to end its visit abruptly.
Prince was recording a song with the sound engineer and the director of music when Alhaji barged into the studio. He looked angry and was breathing heavily. “You ingrate. Upon what I’m doing for you, you decided to pay me back with evil?” Alhaji jabbed pointing his finger at Prince. He moved further in an attempt to attack Prince but was restrained by the sound engineer and the music director.
“Now, leave the studio. Don’t go near the house I bought for you with my hard-earned money or else I will have you arrested. Don’t ever venture to go and take anything from that house. You wanted to rape my daughter upon all that I’ve done for you,” Alhaji reprimanded.
Prince was speechless. He wasn’t given the chance to explain his side of the story as Alhaji expected him to get out of the studio in a twinkle of an eye. Prince felt Alhaji had been unfair to him for not giving him any hearing. Prince sadly left for the slum. His fortune had come crashing on a rock.
He explained the whole incident to Christos saying, “I was taking some rest in my new house after a long stressful day at the studio. As I lay on my bed, I heard a knock on the door. I quickly went and opened. It was the daughter of Alhaji Belo. I wasn’t expecting her but all the same, I had to let her in because she was the daughter of the man who wanted a better future for me. In a provocative outfit, her tighs were visibly exposed. As soon as she entered and sat on the sofa chair, she unbuttoned her dress leaving her chemise exposed with the reason being that the room was too hot for her. I requested that I turned the fan but she refused.”
“She then got up from her seat and walked seductively towards me with her large breast size dangling. As if I had been hypnotized, I watched her as she twerked and rubbed her left hand in my hair with the right one exploring other parts of the body. When I realized I was being led into a bottomless pit, I vehemently resisted her. She pleaded with me to take her to bed but I turned down her request. Feeling embarrassed, she gave up and threatened to deal with me but I never knew she could go and tell a lie against me. Now look at me, one she-devil decided to ruin my life.”
After narrating his ordeal, Christos sympathized with him and gave an assurance that everything was going to be alright. With no opportunity coming his way again, Prince resolved to join Christos and his brothers in doing the scrap business. Though Christos refused on the grounds that with Prince’s rich background, the job wasn’t fitting for him to do, Prince insisted. The next day, he joined them for work and they roamed from one house to another, collecting scraps. Their delivery point was at the biggest refuse dump in the city close to the slum. Sometimes, they also combed through the refuse dump for scraps.
It’d been one month since Prince began working with his friends as a scrap dealer. On one scorchy afternoon when the sun was so hot that it made perfect vision almost impossible, the refuse dump got submerged in a cloud of thick smoke. There were women, men, children, young and old taking part in the collection and sale of scraps on the refuse dump. Prince was busily bending some wires he had found beneath the earth with his hands. He wore attire stained with different kinds of fluids.
He had scarfed his head with his rag. His bushy hair was a forest with an overgrown beard almost covering the whole of his face. Christos was resting underneath a shady tree close to him while his two brothers were going around the refuse dump picking any metallic objects they set their eyes on. A taxi pulled up slowly just behind Prince. Efo Dotse got down from the front seat of the taxi to see Prince working. He had gone to the slum and had been told that Prince and his friends were working at the refuse dump.
Efo Dotse wasn’t happy when he saw Prince in that state. When he got down from the car, he mentioned Prince’s name in amazement. When Prince turned and saw Efo Dotse, he stopped whatever he was doing and went to him. Though Prince was embarrassed for being seen working as a scrap dealer, he made no sign to indicate his feelings.
“Someone is here to see you,” Efo Dotse said.
“Who? Did you tell my parents I’m here? I don’t want to see their faces,” Prince stated as he turned to move further away from Efo Dotse.
“Not your parents. It’s someone dear to your heart”, Efo Dotse said. Prince turned and asked, “who?” Efo Dotse pointed at the backseat door of the car. The door was being opened slowly and in the next few seconds, a lady in a pair of high heels, a long beautiful hair, a black skirt with yellow blouse to match, emerged from the car. Prince looked at the person gradually from her toes to her head and saw it was Sarah.
Looking taken aback, Prince turned and took to his heels while Christos and Efo Dotse ran after him calling out his name loudly. Sarah stood there shedding tears. She had arrived two days earlier and decided to visit Prince. When she got there, Mrs. Oppong had told her about the problems Prince had had with them five years ago and his decision to move out of the house. She’d been heartbroken after being given the news.
What hit her so hard was the fact that Mrs. Oppong hadn’t known the whereabouts of her own son. As she’d stepped out of the house looking desperate and despondent, Efo Dotse, who was outside the house washing one of Mr. Oppong’s car, detected the cause of Sarah’s sadness. He told Sarah he would take her to where Prince was living. After telling a lie to Mrs Oppong that he was attending to an emergency at home, he took Sarah to see Prince.
When Prince arrived at his place of abode in the slum, he entered the room and knelt behind the door weeping. Fifteen minutes after entering the room, there was a knock on the door for three consecutive times but no response was heard. It was Sarah. Christos had brought her to the house in order to have a private talk with Prince.
When Sarah entered the room, Prince ordered, “Get out of here. Please get out. You don’t need me. I am a poor secondary school leaver and a garbage boy as well. And I don’t deserve a university graduate. Please leave. Can’t you see we are world’s apart?”
He turned and moved further away from her amidst tears. Prince’s “cold” reception forced tears from her eyes. She moved closer to him and said calmly, “Don’t be silly, Prince. What is the meaning of we are worlds apart? I know everything and I’m not gonna condemn you. I shall always stand by you no matter what you go through. Your joy is my joy; your grief is my grief; your tears are my tears and your tragedy is my tragedy. Have you forgotten so soon that; you made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world? that you did the unimaginable to have me in your life? Your love is what I need for the rest of my life and I promise to do everything to keep you in my life,” Sarah professed.
She removed a tissue from her bag and wiped away his tears. Prince was touched by Sarah’s profession of love and he hugged her warmly. Next, Sarah took Prince to the barber’s shop for him to have his hair cut.” I’m not gonna let you go back to that slum. You’re going to lodge at a guest house I’ve already booked for you until the feud between you and your family is resolved,” Sarah assured him. Though Prince didn’t like the idea, he had to succumb to avoid further issues.
Three days later, Prince checked out of the guest house after Sarah had gone to pave the way for Prince to resolve issues and reunite with his family. While moving out of the guest house, they bumped into Alhaji Belo. Immediately Alhaji saw Prince, he approached and apologized to Prince for the way he treated him some months ago. Hamdiya had later gone to confess to his father about how she made sexual advances at Prince and not the other way round. Alhaji Belo had been looking for Prince to give him back the promising future he took from him. Prince forgave Alhaji but didn’t want to accept the offer. Alhaji’s persistent appeal wasn’t potent enough to change Prince’s mind until Sarah added his voice to the issue. Prince accepted and promised to see Alhaji later on.
In an hour’s time, Sarah and Prince joined Rev Father Fredrick Kwabena Konto to go to the Oppong family for the settlement of the long-standing family feud. As soon as Mrs Oppong saw Prince, she ran and hugged him with so much passion. Mrs. Oppong had personally made several attempts to locate Prince but to no avail. Mr Oppong, on the other hand, looked indifferent. As a result, she was constantly quarreling with Mr Oppong.
Prince went and knelt before his father saying, “Father forgive me. I allowed my stubborn heart to reduce my power of reasoning.” Mr Oppong asked him to get up and recounted that he also realized the big mistake he made by not supporting his son’s dream but instead, tried to impose a decision on him. Both father and son made peace with Rev Father Konto, Sarah and Mrs Oppong giving thanks to God. Mr Oppong then promised to inject a huge sum of money into Prince’s dream of becoming a musician. Prince finally moved in with his family.
A week later, he reestablished contact with Alhaji Belo where Hamdiya offered an unqualified apology to him. The house and the car which Alhaji took from him were restored. When his career became a success by the kind courtesy of Alhaji Belo and his, Prince never forgot his friend and the two brothers. He asked them to move in with him. Consequently, he established a business for the three brothers. When he won the best discovery of the year award, he dedicated it to Sarah, his three friends, and his family.