Dear Daddy, your girlfriend is pregnant. 

Dear Daddy,

Your girlfriend is pregnant.

But you already know this. I have seen how easily you snap at everyone who questions you about your sudden pensiveness. This information is more for myself than for you. I couldn’t bring myself to telling you- no, asking you if she really is your girlfriend, so I thought I would write instead.

I always thought you were the best father anyone could have but now I do not know what to think of you. I do not know what to think of your principles and show of love. Maybe that is what it really is, a show. Remember when I told you that Konama’s dad had another wife and child in Takoradi, unknown to his family? Remember what you said to me? You said that the test of a real man is in his fidelity to his wife. Please was that before or after you started sleeping with the usher? You know the one I am talking about, Asorepayin’s niece, Quansema.

I do hope that you have some decency left in you not to deny this because it is not mere accusation if I have the evidence to support it. You know this, because you taught me. I saw the text messages. I saw the pictures she sent to you, and I read the unspeakable things you promised to do to her. I also saw her last message to you. It was confirmation that your secret activities had resulted in a living being, which would soon have a name – or not, if she goes ahead with the abortion as you advised. Yes, I know that too.

It is not my place to, but I feel so betrayed by this. You said no man was bad enough to warrant our judgement so I won’t judge you. I already have issues of my own to deal with. I finally got a job. I am the new Payroll Administrator at Mabel Copes. We, among other things, actually assist young girls with contraceptives and the abortion of unplanned pregnancies. I am sure the Catholic in you is petrified, initially I was too afraid to tell you. But think of it this way, your girlfriend can now have a safe abortion, if she wants to, instead of taking the concoctions you suggested to her. Now let’s thank God, for He indeed works in mysterious ways.

I don’t know if you’re worried about breaking Mama’s heart but please don’t be. She’s been planning to leave you since I was in Secondary school. She always said you were cheating on her. She didn’t have real proof then but thanks to you, well, she’ll soon have some. She’s also almost done with the 5-Bedroom house she’s secretly building in Takoradi. It’s the real reason she visits Grandma so often; it has nothing to do with the old lady’s health. It’s also how I know about Konama’s father’s secret wife. It was she who found out, and told me.

You know Daddy, the irony of all this is that, it is Konama who told me about your girlfriend. She is friends with her, and they are both in the ushering department. When Quansema started showing up to church in different Brazilian and Peruvian weaves, flashing iPhones and fancy bags every week, Konama’s radar went red.

When she found out who Konama’s sugar daddy really was, I am sure she was besides herself with joy. I was almost sold at the sympathetic performance with which she broke the news to me. Then I saw how her eyes lit up when she showed me the screenshots of your conversations with Quansema, and how she laid out her anticipated reactions of Father Gregory and the Parish Pastoral Council, as well as how Asorepayin would take the news. She was having the time of her life narrating the drama that would unfold.

You know she’s not particularly fond of me. She was only telling me this to score another invisible point in her imaginary competition of who is the better of the two of us. At least she’s told me of skeletons in our family’s closet but she’s so blinded by her own perceived perfection of her family that she’s not bothered to shed her FBI torch on them.

Though everyone in the church thinks she will be going to the convent, I know she is no saint. I have also heard that her brother has a boyfriend, and the real reason Asorepayin is often unable to reconcile the church’s budgets is not because of his old age but his sweet tooth and itchy fingers but all of this is none of  my business.

I shouldn’t bore you further daddy, I am sure you have weightier things to occupy your mind at this time. Knowing Konama’s prowess as a gossip, the whole church will know by Sunday what’s going on between you and Quansema. That leaves you 3 days and 12 hours to either get ahead of the story and brace your shame, or flee. I don’t think the church will miss their promiscuous-usher impregnating-catechist an awful lot.

Your Ex- Daughter

Adoma

The People Called Family

They came in their numbers at dawn. When Aya heard the distant wailing, she thought she was dreaming but it got louder so she woke up, and it became louder still. Then she heard the knocks at the main gate. She also heard Yoofi walk out of his room to go and open the gates. The wailing was now at its loudest.

Owuo ayε ma di ooo owuo wa yε ma di. Ah we di mi ewu” screamed a woman, she was addressing death as though it was human. She said he had taken something precious from her. Her voice was hoarse, perhaps, from shouting too much.

Aya got out of her bed and crept towards the window. She could see them, they were clad in the traditional black and red mourning attires. Many of them were women who wore black scarfs on their heads, black wrappers around their waists, and red bands on their wrists. The screaming woman was lying on the ground, and the others stood in a somber semi-circle around her; their quieter sobs, the chorus to her mournful song.

The woman stopped crying to blow her nose into the cloth she had around her waist. The sound tore through the compound, loud and long, it felt like she was forcing decades of goo out of her insides. She looked up towards someone, Aya could not see the person from where she hid behind her bedroom curtains so she tried stretching her neck and standing on her tiptoes. A hand reached down to help the screaming woman stand up and sit on the bench in the compound. This time Aya got a good look the wailing woman. She was fair and lean, she had a protruding forehead, a big flat nose, and thick dark lips. Just like Paapa.

“Yoofi, my son, tell me what happened.” the woman was saying to Yoofi. Her eyes were bloodshot and swollen, and still had tears in them.

Yoofi was about to speak but was interrupted by a lanky old man. “Young man, it is too early to talk about what happened. Tell your sisters to bring your aunt and the rest of us some water, then call your mother for us. This is a matter for older people to address” the man cleared his throat.

Aya slipped into the black and white dress that hung on the door of her room while she waited to be called to serve the mourners; It was the same one she had worn to the hospital yesterday. The same one Paapa rested his head on when in the car while she watched as his breath stopped and pupils became still. She shook her head fiercely in an attempt to clear the memory.

Yoofi didn’t come to call her. Aya went back to the window.

The old man was addressing Mama now. “Nana Esi, thank you for receiving us, and for telling us what happened. It is the wish of the elderly in every house that they are buried by the younger ones but death has his own timetable and has decided to call my nephew Joojoe.” He cleared his throat again and continued. “As custom demands, we shall meet here again on Tuesday to have the one-week rites and announce the funeral arrangements. Send word to your family, and take heart.”

Aya sat on her bed and blocked her ears, tears flowed freely from her eyes and there was a sudden tightening in her chest that made it hard to breathe.

Yoofi finally came into her room. He was dragging in two suitcases and a large handbag.

“Who are those for?” Aya wanted to ask, but she said nothing.

“The people called family,” he said, answering the question in her eyes.

Death by Fright

“Annie… Annie. Wake up, I want to pee, please walk me to the bathroom” Ayele whispered

“hmm” mumbled Annie in her sleep as she tossed to the other side of her student bed.

Ayele lay awake on her bunk bed in Dorm 7, trying hard to suppress the urge to visit the bathroom. She looked at her little alarm clock, the tiny glow in the dark hands of the clock read 12:15 am. There was no way she was going down the stairs to the bathroom alone at this ungodly time.

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Ayele tried to distract herself. She clenched her fists and her toes and started adding doubles in her head. “1+1=2, 2+2=4, 4+4=8…” She tried to hold the pee in by holding her breath. Bad idea. Soon she was so close to wetting herself that it brought tears to her eyes.

She got out of her bed and went to the bedside of her friend.

“Annie,” Ayele whispered and nudged her friend again in a final desperate attempt to wake her.

Annie pulled away in discomfort, muttered something incomprehensible and tossed again. Ayele was certain she could not hold it any longer, and hell would freeze over before a proud *Ganyobi like her would be sneered at for being one of those secondary school girls with loose bladders who wet their beds.

She reached for her rosary which she had hung on the side of her bed for protection, traced the sign of the cross over herself with it, and wore it around her neck.

She slowly crept her way through the winding maze of multicolored buckets, yellow gallons, and the shiny and rusty metal trunks that had been arranged in the middle of the dormitory to make way for scrubbing in the morning, and opened the door.

She stared down the long corridor that led to the staircase. “Lord it’s going to take a miracle to make it to that staircase, not to talk of getting downstairs before I pee on myself,” she thought. She wrapped her arms around herself in a bid to stop herself from shivering but the cold harmattan air only made things worse.

That damn harmattan is the cause of this situation anyway. It’s almost like the weather can’t make up its mind. It’s so cold in the morning that some girls skip their morning shower then it gets hellishly hot during the day, almost like the sun is pressing its lips to the face of the earth in some sort of heated love affair, and the rest of the world is trapped in the heat of their passion.

I had to drink a dam of water today otherwise they would have parceled my shriveled remains home! This is what I get for refusing to die with thirst – death by fright!

Slowly she started down the corridor, each step she took brought ten thousand pictures of what could go wrong to her mind. I should think more positively, she thought, let me sing a song. The only song that quickly came to mind was a jama song she and the rest of the form one girls had been taught by the Sports Prefect. They had been made to sing it every siesta all week, ahead of next week’s inter-house sports competitions.

If you want to killi me….Kill me make I die…I forever loyal to shamisha-

Really? Ayele thought, Of all the songs in the world? She was almost at the staircase now. I could pray instead. So she started muttering Psalm 23

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

Oh no!

The fluorescent light at the staircase which led downstairs was off! Poor Ayele was panic-stricken, a few drops of pee hit her panties. She felt herself beginning to get wet. Ye though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death. She repeated louder in her head, as though that would chase the fear away, and more importantly hold herself together while she descended the dark creepy staircase. Step by Step, we will make it. She willed herself, held on to the handrail and took one step down the stairs.

The first step, the second step, good good.

The third step, fourth step… What was that sound!

Fifth step… Cockroach?! mouse?! snake?!

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Sixth step… Oh no no ….no…not now… please…

Warm fluid run down her legs and pooled at her feet. Ayele stood in chilling defeat for a moment, and then, as though being chased by the devil himself she ran back to her dorm.


The next morning was full of chaos. Asabea, the form two girl in charge of scrubbing the stairs was livid about having to scrub urine off her workspace. She held all the form one girls hostage on the balcony, refusing to let them go downstairs to take their baths or do their chores until the culprit confessed.

“But who would commit such a cowardly act?” Annie questioned no one in particular. She was standing with Aso, Tina, Owusua and a girl from Big Dorm whose name Ayele didn’t know. They were all holding their buckets in one hand and soap dishes and towels in the other and had tied their sponges loosely around their necks.

“Mtchew…As if the person who did it would own up” Aso replied. I just want Sister Asabea’s tantrum to end so I can go and bath.

“Could happen to any one of us you know” Tina said, “That staircase is really dark at night now that there are no bulbs. I wonder what they use our house dues for.”

“I wake my school mother up every time I want to go to the bathroom at night. She walks me there” the girl from big dorm said.

“Nonsense,” retorted Annie “I would never do that if I was your school mum… mtchew…as though our bladders are attached. If the place is dark. carry a torch eh? Why disturb someone else’s sleep? So selfish! She tossed her towel over her left shoulder and leaned on the balustrade.

“You must have a great school mum,” Ayele said hoping that contributing to the conversation would make her look less guilty of the crime being discussed.

“I don’t blame you though, your school mother lives off your provisions so she has to be at your beck and call. Annie said again, clearly not satisfied with her previous statement. “The silly girl who did this will surely be punished. This is *Deebee foolishness” She was about to speak again when Martinette’s angry voice tore through the corridor.

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“Form one fuɔ! Gymi nii bεn na ayε saa gyimi diε wei?” Asabea bellowed.

“Asabea, you will speak English and remember your manners in this house, understood?” Gianni, the House Compound prefect scolded calmly.

“Sorry Sister.” Asabea replied and shouted again “Sisters in the Upstairs Dormitories, whose stupid daughter, brought to this school by the stupid computer system of the GES, thought it wise to turn the staircase into a urinal?”

“What did I say about manners?” Gianni chided again.

“I am sorry sister, but how can I scrub this smelly place with my usual portion of water when inspection is only 30 minutes away eh?” Asabea whined cunningly slipping in a request for more water.

With the frequent shortage of water in the school, students had to make long trips to the taps at the school field, popularly referred to as Batman, for bathing water. The House Polytanks were supplied with water weekly but that was usually reserved for scrubbing and only distributed to students in extreme shortage cases.

Water was an unofficial currency in the school, and as with every economy, there were power brokers: prefects, sports girls, students with kitchen mothers or fathers etc. There were also house workers, like Asabea, who took every opportunity to demand and hoard water for their own use, while using as little as possible for their designated workplaces.

“I will ask a form one girl to help you. Now go to the prefects’ dorm and tell Radiatu to give you 2 Gallons of water, an extra portion of Parazone and gloves” Gianni ordered, but Asabea was already halfway down the stairs at the sound of water. More water is always welcome news, even if it takes such unpleasant tasks to be rewarded the precious resource.

Turning to the form one girls, Gianni ordered. “You all have 10 minutes to take your bath and 15 minutes to do your chores”

“Yes Sister” the girls cried in unison and hurriedly walked past her down the stairs!

“Girl with the red bucket” Gianni called out.

Please don’t let it be me. Ayele prayed. As she rushed down.

“Victoria, call me that girl in the blue morning coat, with the red bucket.

Definitely me. Ayele cried inwards. “Sister Gianni, is it me please?” she surrendered knowingly.

“Yes. Gianni said firmly. “Where do you work?”

“Prefects’ Dorm please”

“The Prefects’ Dorm is not dirty this morning. You will help Asabea scrub the stairs today”

“Yes Sister,” Ayele muttered. It’s either this ‘Karma is a bitch’ thing is really true, she thought or Annie is a witch!

_____________________

*Ganyobi: of Ga descent

*Deebee: Spoilt rich kid

‘C’ for Complications 


Hi There,

In an attempt to write more, I am going to use all the letters of the alphabets as writing prompts for flash fiction pieces. I will write at least 250 words based on the first word I think of per alphabet. I hope you enjoy them. Cheers.

*****

“Congratulations Perfect, you’re the ideal candidate for the position. We’d be honored to have you join our team “Thank you, Ms. Bruno. I look forward to working with your team as well” Perfect recited the well-rehearsed lines.

It had taken three years of job hunting to finally utter them. She had anticipated the thrill with which she’d say them. She had even rehearsed a surprised look and a mini dance routine she would do when she got a job.

But she wasn’t as excited about this position. She got up to place her shaky hand in the hand of Mrs. Bruno’s outstretched hand. Her new supervisor was smiling, and that sent nervous jitters down her spine.

It was everything she had prayed for. An associate role in the Public Relations Department  of a multinational NGO with a focus on maternal health which came with quiet hefty sum at the end of the month. They even gave her sign on bonus. She should be thrilled.But the thought of having to break the news to her family, especially her dad this evening, made her so uncomfortable she thought she was going to get  sick.

How do you tell the catechist of Mary Mother of Good Counsel Catholic Church that you are now the PR for an organization that assists women and girls to perform abortions?  You might as well have killed the Pope!

******