Friday, 29 May 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 4

In a bid to prevent this from running until part 20 :D , I've decided to make my postings longer...

The warm feel of Akwesi’s arms around my neck brought me back to the present.
“Forgive me dear, that was Elma. She’s helping me edit my literature review.
“I’m not complaining am I? Girlfriends always come before best friends.
“You’re so cute when you act jealous.” He punched my arms.
“Well, I’m not acting it. I actually am.” That was a fact but I put on my “I’m kidding look” and he let it pass.
“So you’re coming to the university next semester? This is the best news I’ve heard all day. I’m really glad your father has changed his mind.”
“You lie.”
“You couldn’t be happier than Mama. You should have seen her display of gratitude to our Father in heaven.”
I got up to act out how Mama had stood with her hands lifted and her gaze fixed upwards praising God. When we were done laughing our hearts out, I remembered the second part of his statement.
“No, he’s not had a change of mind.”
He was momentarily lost. “Who’s not had a change of – oh you mean your father? I’m sure he’ll come around.”
I replied with a short laugh, “I’m also sure the pope will be renouncing his Catholic faith and moving to The Lord’s Vineyard Philanthropic Miracles Ministry tomorrow.
“Anima, your thought process –“
I cut him off, “-is amazing. Yes, I know. But seriously, that’s Mama’s newest discovery.”
“You seem down all of a sudden. Why?”
“Because I have a strong conviction she will be taking me there for prayers so he comes around as you said. I just know it. And I’m dreading it. I only accompany her on Sundays, but this is my own case and I’m going to have to be there all week.”
“You presume too much sometimes, Anima. And maybe, just maybe, if you start taking God serious along with her, things will turn around.”
I wasn’t expecting this from Akwesi who only goes to church on Christmas day and Easter Sunday.
“What did you say?”
“You heard me, Anima. I think you’re being too dismissive of God. Maybe he’s allowing all these to happen so you take him more serious.”
The calmness with which he said this irked me more than the words.
“Can we talk about anything but this?”
“I see I struck the wrong chord. Forgive me. I was just being frank with you.”
He did however change the subject, and we spent another hour talking about everything but my situation. I made to head home when the mosquitoes began to bite.
“I’ve to get going. He’s already in a bad mood.”
Akwesi got to his feet and held his hands out to help me up. We walked in silence up to my front gate. He cupped my face in his hands and assured me, “Everything will be alright.”
I smiled and gave him a quick hug before letting myself in.
Mama was waiting for me when I got in.
“Where’s he? Does he know?”
My voice was barely a whisper.
“Asleep. I spoke to him. He seems to be coming around.”
“Really? What did he say?”
“He said I’d made sense and that he’ll sleep over it. My daughter, we need to pray hard about this. Hurry up and take a rest. I’ll wake you up at midnight.”
“Mama –“
“No excuses”,
She cut me off. I remembered what Akwesi had said earlier and kept my mouth shut. I did join her for three hours of prayers from midnight. The next morning, Papa called for a short meeting before heading off to work.
“Anima, I heard you and your mother praying the Holy Spirit over my head last night”, he let out a chortle.
“Do not ascribe my decision on this issue to him”, he continued with a sly smile, “I made up my mind long before your prayer session started.”
It sounded as if he were going to say he had had a change of mind. That I would be going off to the university in a few weeks. But knowing Papa, I couldn’t allow myself to dwell on that possibility. I glanced at Mama who was wringing her fingers in anticipation. He looked at me while speaking, “I still stand by my words. You’re too young to be let out into the world.”
I didn’t know I had any hope left in me after his opening remarks until I felt my chest constrict in disappointment at this. The tears began to well and I was blinking wildly to hold them back. He turned to face Mama,
“She’ll be going to the university.” 

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 3

Here goes part 3....

Papa was the one to break the news of my results. That particular day had been good in every sense of the word.
I’d been lying on the sofa, flicking channels between CNN and BBC – the only two Papa-approved channels I was permitted to watch when he burst in with a wide grin. He called for Mama.  When all three of us were together, he announced,
“The paper I’m holding in my hands is Anima’s SSSCE result slip.”
I gasped and broke out into a cold sweat. I didn’t know the results were in, and I couldn’t tell if he had been all grins because I’d failed and given him occasion to lash out at Mama and me.
“But Papa, the exams council has not announced release of the results,” I managed once I got over the unexpectedness of the news.
“Yes, my daughter, but you’ve forgotten I am the headmaster of the best secondary school in the country. I have access to classified information such as this long before the general public is informed.”
I noticed the look on Mama’s face when Papa referred to me as “my daughter”. That was such a rarity.
“I know you’re itching to know what you got.”
He handed the slip to Mama who briefly glanced at it and announced as she handed it over to me,
“All I see are A’s.” She looked up at him for confirmation.
“You saw well, my wife. All she got were A’s”
I reached for the slip, noticing how he did not comment on her reading abilities. I scanned through and confirmed my grades. I sprang from the sofa and threw my arms around the two of them, bursting into tears of joy.
Papa had an announcement to make later that evening during supper. “University is not for teenagers, my daughter,”
His opening statement caused my heart to sink into the very pit of my stomach. He continued between slurps of soup, “I entered the university at the age of 25 and if the things I saw 25 years ago are anything to go by, taking into account what has become of the world in this modern age, I have decided that you will not apply to go in there until you turn twenty.”
I sat and stared at him, unable to bring myself to continue with my meal. My disappointment was sealed by the fact that he’d been sober while making these pronouncements. I wasn’t given the option of holding on to hope that it was the matured palm wine from under his bed doing the talking and that a different pronouncement would be made when it wore off. That was the only day I wished him drunk.
“What would she be doing for the next three years, Daniel?” I nodded in agreement, waiting for his answer.
“Oh, that will not be a problem at all. She will continue to do what she’s been doing the last six months as she awaited her results – she’ll read wide and update herself on current affairs.”
He paused, taking time to chew through his serving of the chicken Mama had specially prepared in celebration of my results.
“For three years? I think that’s too much Dan.”
“By the time she gets to the university, she would be ready to face the world. She has not complained, has she?”
He looked at me and I quickly filled my mouth with food. My mind had gone into overdrive mode trying to process all he’d said and even though he’d been in a good mood, I knew better than to express my misgivings about his decision without carefully selecting my words.
 “I still think three years is too long for her to sit at home doing nothing.”
“I think so too, Papa.”
“This is not about what you two think. This is about what’s best for you, Anima. Ask your mother why she dropped out of her very first year of secondary school.”
“Daniel, do I embarrass you?”
Papa avoided the question.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 2

So, (why do I almost always begin my sentences with conjunctions?) Anyways, back to what I was going to say...I've had a few of my ghost readers (ghost because they refuse to comment) ask me in person when I'm going to post a here goes. And please, do share with your friends and comment ooooo tom! haha

Mama went back to grinding the spices she’d been at before I came in with my news and back to singing in an attempt to silence the sounds of my room being trashed. I pulled a stool and sat by her in silence. I caught tear drops falling into the wegba and its contents.
“Let me help you.” I reached out to take the tapoli from her, wondering, why she wouldn't use the blender which was still in the carton in which she bought it on the shelf. She gently pushed my hands aside, “Go on out and breathe some fresh air. Dinner will be ready by the time you return.” Her smile didn’t hide the pain in her eyes. I didn’t want to leave her but I figured she wanted privacy to calm him down.
“Alright, Mama. I’ll be back before it gets dark.”
The sun had let down on its earlier fury, and the sticky stillness that came along with it had given way to a cool breeze. I wasn’t sure where I was going. I let my feet lead as I consciously took my mind off my parents and allowed it to be filled with thoughts of Akwesi. He’d become my escape – The other half of my world which made sense.
He called me beautiful. Papa said I was an ugly daughter of a bitch. I instinctively reached for my left cheek where Papa’s palms landed when I was stupid enough to ask him if he was impliedly a dog the first time he called me that. Everything had been perfect in my eyes up until that point.
Akwesi’s voice pierced through my thoughts. I looked up to see him relaxed on one of the wooden park benches in the woods behind his home. The sight of him resulted in a warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach. I never used to feel that way until a few months ago.
“Where to?”
I hadn’t decided where I was heading when I left home, but judging from where I found myself, I knew my feet had been leading me to him.
“I guess I was coming to see you.”
“You guess?”He got up and hugged me.
I laughed and took my seat by him, resting my head on his shoulder.“Guess what?”
“Anima, I’m never able to accurately guess your thoughts. Spare me the torture,” he grinned. “You’re just too smart for me.”
“Akwesi paaa, you can be dramatic papa. What’s the torture in taking a guess?” I raised my head to look him in the face.
“You’d never know until you’re me and I’m you,” he said, making funny faces at me.
“Ok, I’ll spare you the torture.”
“I’m all ears.”
“I got admitted to the university to study Chemistry!” It took a while for the news to sink in. I watched the confusion in his eyes turn to joy.
“You applied?”  
I nodded with a smile.
“I thought your father was against it?”
He did not wait for an answer. “Was that not what he said? That you’re too young to be let out into the world? That there are too many dangerous people out there and you’re not ready to face them?” His phone rang before I could answer. Signalling me to hold on, he answered,
“Hello Elma! Oh no, I’m not busy, we can talk.”
I frowned, feigning disapproval at this interruption. He got up and kept walking back and forth. I could catch bits and pieces of his side of the conversation. It had to do with his thesis. Why would Elma be discussing that with him though? My mind drifted and I smiled at the memory of what once caused me many days and nights of tears and heartache......

To be continued...

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Seedy Presumption - 1

So finally, I've convinced myself to post my short story which I'd entered into the commonwealth short story competition...
Comments welcome :)

Mama was ecstatic. She could hardly contain herself as I told her the news. She snatched the letter from me as I spoke, and squinted to make meaning of the words. The smell of her favourite palmnut soup wafted through the kitchen. After a stream of grammatical blunders, she got the first sentence right. “We are ple- pleased to offer you a place in our a- award win- winning school of sc- sc- sciences to st- study-”
“Chemistry,” I ended for her
She frantically handed the letter back to me, shot out of her seat, raised both hands in the air and with all her might, screamed,
“There is a God ooooo, there is a God!”
She broke into the only dance she knew. Bobo, our dog, ran towards her assuming “our” dinner was ready. I shook my head in laughter at the sight.
She sat back down, loosened the tip of her waist cloth and started to dab at her eyes long before the tears welled and began to roll down her cheeks. I knew they were tears of joy, but I still asked,
“Mama, what is it?”
I knelt beside and wrapped my arms around her. She composed herself and burst into a song.
I have a God who never fails
Who never fails
Who never fails
Forever more”
The words of the song came to me by rote. Unlike mine, Mama’s voice was smooth and velvety. I started to sing along with her, but stopped after my efforts to match her pitch perfect voice resulted in a parched throat, drawing tears from my eyes. I laughed at myself and opted to clap along to the rest of the song.
He stumbled out from the bedroom into the kitchen where Mama and I had been celebrating looking dazed. We had woken him up. He stood watching us for a while, and when none of us offered the explanation he’d been expecting, asked,
“What’s going on here?”
He shifted his gaze from Mama to me. I turned to look at Mama. She batted her eyelids at me, a sign I’ve come to understand to mean things would be better off if he is left out of the know.
“It’s nothing, Papa.”
“It’s nothing eh”, he drawled. “What’s that in your hands?” He walked towards me and reached for the letter.
“Nothing, Papa.”
I hurriedly folded and placed it in the scoop of my arms and backed away from him. He kept approaching till I had my back against the wall. Mama spoke up.
“Anima, give it to him.”
I shook my head to the rhythmic no no no going on inside my head, and ducked beneath his arms when he lunged for it. He didn’t see it coming. I looked back to watch him struggle to maintain his balance. I rushed into my room, threw the letter under my bed and rushed out in time, crouching behind Mama to watch him collect himself. He did not notice me, and headed straight to my room, cursing beneath his breath. His words were jumbled, but I caught what he’d been saying.
“Good for nothing daughter of a whore.”
When he first used that line on me, I cried till my head ached and my eyes swelled and hurt like they’d been rubbed with sandpaper. That was almost 5 years ago. The beginning of what I’ve come to realise is a nightmare Mama and I might never wake up from. I wish I could say it didn’t hurt anymore to hear him reduce us to nothing but a whore and her daughter. That would be a lie. It no longer hurt as much as it used to. But the ache to have the man I love and call Papa affirm me was always there, deep down in my heart. Even when episodes such as this do not happen, I look at him and know I’ve lost him. Mama doesn’t like to talk about it, but I see the pain in her eyes. I hear the fervency with which she prays to a God she never believed in until her husband drove her into his loving arms. At least it seemed to be working for her. I was yet to feel the love of this God. This God who could sit up there and look down as a once loving father and husband metamorphosed into something I was yet to find the right words to describe.
“God’s ways are not our ways,” That was what she told me the first time I tried to reason my thoughts out with her.