Adwoa had been observing her husband while he worked his car in the garage. She saw him when he picked the call and how suddenly his countenance fell after that. She tried to guess what the message might be but she couldn’t wrap her mind around anything useful. ‘Perhaps it’s work-related,’ she thought.
She emptied the debris of the beverage into the sink and washed the mug. She was aware her attitude towards work lately in the office had changed and this had led to torrents of questions being asked by her colleagues. Yesterday one of her colleagues Serwaa asked if she was fine after she refused to answer the office phone that rang continuously. ‘I’m fine, just minor headache,’ she lied, rubbing her head.
Her boss Godwin Mensah also complained about a partnership letter she shabbily composed two days ago to some Chinese partners. The company’s image would have been tainted if it had been delivered without it being proofed. It was replete with typos as though the work was done absentmindedly and yes she was.
Adwoa had been working with AngloAkyem Mining Company for 10 years since completing the university and had risen through the ranks with her stellar performance. She had been adjudged the ‘Most Hardworking Employee of the Year,’ three years on a roll. At the last award ceremony, she was presented with a black Kia Picanto for her loyalty to the company.
When she broke the news to the husband, he immediately proposed an outing to celebrate it. Their first stop was Frankies at Osu where Kwabena boasted to a waitress, “I am a proud husband.” He ordered a family-size pizza with two bottles of Malta Guinness. He pulled a chair for Adwoa and inched closer to plant five kisses on her lips before she settled in the chair. A man who was quarrelling with his girlfriend three tables away had his attention stolen by the scene. His woman was fidgeting with her phone while he lectured.
The next day Kwabena went for the car because Adwoa had no driving experience to bring it home by herself. That evening the two decided on how they were going to use the car. He would drive her to work and pick her home in the evening, they agreed. But this ritual had ceased for the past month since the disagreement began. Kwabena would take the car to work, leaving Adwoa to either board a taxi or join a trotro to work. She found the whole experience troubling, but she couldn’t bear the trauma of whining to his husband.
AngloAkyem was headquartered at Lapaz in Accra and it had been into mining for more than 20 years. The company had increased its acreage of mining land by 32 in Kyebi a year ago but because of some financial difficulties it was faced with, shareholders directed 10 acres of it to be leased to Chinese company. The company operated in 200 out of 216 districts in Ghana, with a control over at least 200 small scale illegal miners.
Mr Mensah had received several complaints about the destructive activities of the illegal miners, but he hadn’t been bothered because of the financial benefits the company was getting. When the company was last sued some five years ago for polluting the Brim River that served several communities in the Eastern Region, he opted for an out of court settlement. He offered the adjoining communities a package of GHS30,000 for developmental projects and constructed a mechanical borehole each for two communities – Kyebi and Akyem Asene. Adwoa’s work didn’t involve going to the field, so she was shielded from the destructive activities of the company.
Adwoa was being buried by the challenges she was facing in her home that her relationships had been affected. She couldn’t remember when last she phoned her parents or siblings. That was a sharp departure from her once-in-two-days-phone-call ritual. Her phone rang in the bedroom and she rushed in to pick it. It was her mother Alice Darkwaa who had called to check up on her. She lifted the phone, and watched it. It rang and stopped. It rang for the second time and she didn’t pick either. But on the third ring, she picked it.
With a shaky voice that sounded rusty she said, ‘Hello mum.’ It was faint and short as though she had just survived a boxing bout with a ferocious opponent. She cleared her throat. And piped out again, ‘Hello mum.’
‘My dear why have you got us disturbed?’ her mother inquired. ‘I haven’t heard from you for the past week and you don’t pick my calls,’ she said with an impatience of a high school teacher.
‘I’m fine mum. Is everything okay at your end?’ she cut in smartly, masking her true state.
‘We were all worried, but I am happy you are doing great. Everyone is fine as well,’ her mother said. ‘Are you at work yet?’
‘I’m almost ready for work mum. Is there anything you want me to…,’ she didn’t complete her statement before her mum interrupted.
‘I’ve got something I want us to discuss. Please let’s talk when you return from work,’ she said.
Adwoa hang up and made way to the bathroom. She returned within minutes to dress for work. She put on dirty blue jeans and wore the company’s wine-colour T-shirt because it was Friday and that was the prescribed attire for all the workers. She reached for her handbag and went out.
Pope rushed to her when she came out from the room. It circled her and licked her feet. “Stop Pope…stop,” she screamed punching the air below Pope with her leg. It tried to climb her, but she moved backward and Pope landed on the ground.
‘Stop, stop,’ she said for the last time, kicking it in the rib with her left foot and within minutes Pope was down violently gasping for air. It barked at the figure whose hands had fed it yesterday. It appeared it was running short on oxygen. It was breathing hard. Adwoa ignored it, locked the door and went to the roadside to board a vehicle to work.
Pope was a present from Kwabena’s ex-girlfriend Francisca Boateng who worked at the Google office in Missouri in the United States. She went to the States after completing the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and when she heard Kwabena was getting married to Adwoa, whom she hadn’t met before, she decided to gift him the Australian Cattle dog. Pope had proven an extremely intelligent, active and sturdy dog. It had been loyal and protective of the family.
One thing Francisca remembered about her relationship with Kwabena was the way it all ended. It shocked him and she was equally shocked. She jilted him after she met a rich Liberian engineer Ricky Roberts at a friend’s wedding at Odorkor in Accra. Ricky was good looking, sweet talking, tall, broad shoulders and masculine. He had gazelle-like eyes that created the impression that he could see every part of one’s body. She was attracted to Ricky and he proposed marriage to her on the same day.
Kwabena was then out of the university and was struggling to look for a sustainable job. He threw fit when Francisca told him to find another woman to move on with his life.
‘Do you mean you’re leaving me for a guy you don’t know?’ he asked. ‘I know you will regret this decision and you will wish for a comeback in the future by which time it will be late.’
When Francisca presented the puppy to Kwabena during the wedding reception, she suggested for it to be named Pope. It was a name they had planned to give to their first son. They both made grand plans. They wanted to buy their own mansion, go on vacation in Miami, raise their children in the United States and not Ghana, braid the hair of their sons and raise some of them to be footballers. But these dreams fizzled out at the demise of the relationship.
It was difficult for Kwabena to cope with the absence of Francisca because of the nature of their relationship. They were friends, siblings and lovers at the same time such that it was difficult to differentiate one from the other. But he found solace in Adwoa after meeting her in front of the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana, two months to his graduation from the school. She was in her first year when they met and the encounter took place minutes after she quarreled with her boyfriend over sex at the school’s main entrance. Michael Opoku had made tireless demands for sex from his six-month lover but there hadn’t been much success. He believed sex would stoke their love, but Adwoa didn’t acquiesce to that. She held the belief that sex would be more enjoyable when it was done after the wedding.
‘What’s love without sex?’ Opoku would fume after his request had been rejected by Adwoa. ‘I can’t take this outlandish defense any longer.’
With both standing in the open at the school’s entrance, Opoku told his lover, he wouldn’t want to continue with the relationship. ‘I want out of this dead relationship.’
‘Is this the best way of resolving an issue in a relationship?’ she said but didn’t mean it. She was excited about the turn of events but she didn’t want to betray her emotions. ‘I’d want you to rethink your position.’
When she met Kwabena after the altercation with Opoku, she wore no disappointment. Her countenance was alive and smiles sat majestically on the skin of her face. She was unruffled by the incident.
‘Hi fine girl,’ Kwabena approached her when she stopped. He quickly introduced himself. ‘Can I know your name?’ She scanned his face and the environment. She was satisfied with the friendly atmosphere so she responded. ‘I am Adwoa Bruce.’
They asked questions about each other’s background and exchanged contact details when they were done. It was five days later that Kwabena proposed to her and it took two days before same was accepted. The acceptance of the proposal could have taken more days but Adwoa was convinced she was ready for another relationship.
‘I can’t continue to grief over someone who truly didn’t love me. I’m better without him and the world will be a better place without people like Opoku,’ she soothed the wounds of her heart.
Adwoa had been by the roadside for close to 10 minutes but no empty vehicle had shown up. She was anxious to get to the office because there were two assignments she had to finish them up before her boss showed up. Her apprehension grew when it started drizzling and the time became her enemy. As she bent to recheck the time, a black Nissan Pathfinder pulled over and the driver in his 30s rolled down the glass. With his large head, framed by long prominent ears and an aviator-style glasses, he waved to her to come over. She dismissed him and looked the other way. She suddenly saw a taxi heading towards her direction. It appeared empty but it whisked past her despite gesticulating for the driver to stop.
The man in the Pathfinder was still calling after her. The intensity of the rain had increased and she was presented with two choices. She could either go back home and wait for the rain to stop or hop into the waiting vehicle to get to the office.
She chose the latter and hurriedly walked to the waiting vehicle and greeted the driver. ‘How may I help you sir?’
‘Where are you going fine girl?’ the driver wasn’t in the mood to be questioned. ‘I am going to Lapaz, but I will drop you off wherever you’re going,’ he said.
‘That’ll be fine then because my office is on the same route,’ she said after she had opened the door to the front passenger seat. She took a handkerchief from her bag and mopped a swarm of rain that had gathered on her hair. ‘Thank you sir.’
The driver said nothing and with no warning, he eased the vehicle from the bus stop onto the main road.
Those who didn't read the first episode should click on this link: Short story: Living with an enemy called wife Please send your comments to the email address below.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are the Author's and do not necessarily reflect the position of management of Multimedia or Myjoyonline.com. The writer Austin Brakopowers works as a journalist at Joy99.7FM and could be reached via Brakomen@outlook.com or www.brakopowers.com
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