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.