‘What are the bags for?’ Mensah inquired of his wife while gulping a cup of palm wine his friend, Agada, had brought. He had become acquainted with her packing to her mother’s house any time they had a misunderstanding. But he wasn’t prepared for what was coming this time.
‘For my personal belongings’
‘I know they are for your personal belongings. To where…?’
‘ To the house of the man *who* will take care of my son and I’
‘Laughable.’ He dropped the cup on the stool in front of him and faced her. ‘And who is this unlucky man? Don’t tell me is that mechanic you’ve been playing hide and seek with. You think I don’t know eh?’
‘So what if he is the one eh? Tell me, so what?’
She clapped her hands in his face and then took a ready to fight akinbo pose. Mensah was unfazed, he knew there was no winning for him with Agnes.
‘Tueh! You want to leave me, a University graduate for that tout? He doesn’t even have a primary school certificate.’ He sipped the wine again and cleared his throat.
Agnes opened her mouth, and closed it. Opened it, and closed it again.
Truly, love is blind but not only that, it suspends your senses. When it was sweet, he used to visit her on a power bike. They will go round town together, visiting sights and eating shawarma.
It was after the marriage she discovered he was actually borrowing from a friend. How can a man pretend for so long? He’d told her he was from Accra and even promised to take her to Ghana, he said they had constant electricity. But she later discovered he was from a slum, far in Tekoradeh and his father was a miner and not a traditional ruler as he had told her.
She believed all he said to her because everyone called him Brother Mensah in church. Bro Mensah this, Bro Mensah that*. He was goodly and sweet. Never missed any church service or meeting. But looking at the Mensah of those days and the one she was married too, she couldn’t help but wonder if she was blind or stupid or both. And there she was struggling to move in with another man, the one who was truly the father of her son.
She raised her voice more loudly this time. ‘Every time, university graduate. Are you the only one? Tell me! Degree that cannot give you one tuber of yam or pay your son’s school fees, Is that one degree? Tell me. Grown man like you, still occupying his father’s property. Don’t you have any shame? Poverty just runs in your blood. I must have been blinded when I married you.’
‘Agnes, you insult me!’ His index finger was pointing to his chest.
She ignored him, left the room for the kitchen, she began packing the few food items that lay scantily on the table into a bag. Mensah dropped his cup and hastened to the kitchen, determined to stop her from packing the only foodstuff in the house.
‘Isn’t it enough that you want to leave me Agnes? Will you now take the little food in the house away?’
‘Tell me which one you bought with your money so I can leave it.’
He kept silent, unsure what to say. He bought none of them with his money really. He watched as she stuffed everything into a bag but as she is about to put a black nylon containing rice, he rushed to stop her. It occurred to him that he actually collected that rice on credit from Musa’s shop.
‘The rice, I bought this rice, I bought….” Before he could finish laying his claims, Agnes had broken into a fit of laughter. She dumped the nylon bag on his chest, picked the one containing the other food items and left him standing, struggling to stop the rice from spiraling to the ground.
“It doesn’t even measure up to 3cups, poverty will kill you but I will not be by your side to watch you die. You hear me?” She shouted from the living room. Mensah was still in the kitchen, listening to Agnes rant. ‘Stupid woman.’ He muttered.
She continued. ‘Stupid fool, don’t you people have rice in Ghana? Why didn’t you follow your people during the time of #Ghanamustgo? You stayed here to deceive me that your father is an Ashanti king. Chai! I’ve suffered.’
He walked out of the kitchen. ‘If you insult my country or my father again, I will bend that your mouth. By God! ‘
‘Just dare lay a finger on me and you will understand the real meaning of Ghana-must-go’ She eyed him and continued packing.
‘And where do you think you are going?’ he faced his son Victor, already packing his bag too, following his mum closely.
‘I am following mama.’ He mumbled, facing the floor.
‘Wonderful! You want to go and become the child of a mechanic?’
‘ Yes, at least he has TV in his house and there will be enough food.’
‘Abuah!!! Tah!! And you will be following him to his workshop to carry greasy metals like a tout.
‘I prefer it like that.’ He lips protrudes in a pout.
‘You are going nowhere!’
‘Papa I am going o’
Agnes was staggering in with her luggage, ignoring Mensah’s warnings to Victor.
‘Oya my son, come let’s be going.’
‘He is going nowhere!’ he stood in their way, spreading his hands.
‘I dare you to stop him and I have been wanting to tell you this, he is not your son.’ She said passively and shoved passed him. Victor followed too, as if oblivious of his mother’s fresh announcement.
Mensah froze in his position and watched as she and Victor trudged out of the house. He slouched into his seat and began to call God.
It wasn’t long after the sun went down, that his stomach rumbled in hunger. He wore a shirt and headed for Musa’s shop but on getting there he sees a bold inscription which wasn’t there before.
“NO CREDIT TODAY, COME TOMORROW.”
by Farida Adamu
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