Sunday, September 25, 2022

WE WERE NOT LIKE OTHER COUPLES

I don’t know how best to express myself or unload the heaviness swung on my head. But I certainly knew it’s something about me, a thing I won’t face about myself. It’s no longer a matter of stipulation, it’s accepting truth be told. Truth is a bitch, for it knocked you off your feet before it shows you the way. I wished it wasn’t a malady of false acclamation, but sadly so.

Carrying my heart along was something I plighted, exhibited until this smitten-moment. I was, as far as the world could see, a free, stalwart male, capable of functioning rationally in my personal life, outwardly content and perhaps, with an eye for casual companionship, accustomed to accepting what windfalls blew my way.

Now, abruptly, I attended an outdooring at Newtown. It was hers, the lady. It all started at Legon, Elizabeth Frances Sey Hall in 2013. When a charmed lady crossed me at the corridors of the 3rd floor when I was engaged in my usual blarbing on the corridor with some other ladies. Her body curvature, the sleeked motley dress, depicted a lady I saw in my dream sometime back, who catwalked across a crowded room full of cheers. Their only difference laid in the latter’s piercing smile that permeated concrete walls.

She invited me to a program she organized. I wasn’t someone who yielded easily to student programs especially when it’s religion centered. As she busied herself trying to convince me to attend the program, the symptoms of humanity’s oldest malady popped over me like a chicken pox. For a moment I couldn’t concentrate. If anyone had placed a bet on me to repeat her exact words, the person would’ve won a jackpot.

Even though I didn’t honor her invitation, it opened up a new friendship. We became very good friends. Infact, more acquainted than Nana Akufo Addo and the Jubilee House. It occured in the year I burgeoned into active student politics, ranging from TEIN, POSSA, to EFS Hall JCR. Her impeccable organizational skills catapulted me into a political mammoth in student politics.

In 2014, she rolled into my plans after her exploits. But I crawled, more slowly than a snail, into hers. Hush!! I remembered those mixed feelings. In one moment I have the symphonic dreams of the music I could make with her; and in the next moment I rowelled with doubts as to whether or not she felt something for me. She does but there was an obstacle to maneuver.

It never quite went my way at the time. Instead, it came later–a second coming. She presented it when I had replaced her with Jamila who equally played an influential role in my academic life, at a time when I slumped deep into student activism without an escape ladder to my academic explosion. Jamila slotted in well. She perfected the picture. This slated madam latecomer on ‘waiting list’. Yet she agreed to this twist– becoming a casual friend.

She nursed this friendship well. It metamorphosed from a bijoux into a gargantuan relationship, filled with several minutes of romantic post, thrilled videos and sarcastic pictures, though not officially approved. I worked on her assignments, from Political science to Theater Arts. I never sat in a Theater Arts class before, nor walked closer enough to grab a gist of what goes on there, but so far as she was concerned, I was her Superman who does the ‘undoables’ with ease.

2015 ushered in a new dimension all together. Our relationship intensified, crashing all obstacles, and pushed into the Odawna river, but it was never declared to those who mattered. We virtually lived as couple, spent more time on my bed than in hers; read under my blanket, studied mechanics in our balcony; and she even became fifth roommate; cleaned, washed and cooked. The rest is left in the secret pockets of Legon. For sanity to prevail, let’s keep the intricacies low. Truth! Even though we were couples, we were not like other couples.

Whenever the scarred June 3 Kwame Nkrumah Circle incident limelighted, memories pinched my mind with mixed reactions; sadness marrying excitement. I travelled from Haatso that fateful evening, chatted her along the journey back home. I found myself at the spot of the incident 30 minutes earlier, and she was the one who insisted I leave the place. Later, she broke the news of the sad event when I was still trapped in a traffic around Obetsebe Lamptey Roundabout, heading to Dansoman-Russia. Even the sigh of relief she exhibited evinced deep concern.

The following day, I maneuvered my way through the unrepentant mess caused by the floods at Kaneshie First-Light, hopped into the next vehicle bound for Nsawam. I checked in at Doboro where she resided then, to catch a glance of this beautiful patootie who exhibited enormous relief and evinced great concern after we parted for two weeks ago. Even to her father’s behest, she does to me what she loved doing to me.

The dry yam chips which called for diamond teeth to cut them, the decorated kpako shito, pimped with a jelly sausage; and keenly eyeing me was the fish-head laid at a corner of the plate dusted with some brownish flour which taste I can’t immediately remember. It appeared pogrom but careful organized. What I encountered there wasn’t different from what was triggered few days ago at her child’s naming ceremony.

I finished my program and was home bound. She pushed for more. I reneged. She requested I take her to my hometown to meet my family but it was too heavy a task for me. I received a call from her father wanting to convince me on her behalf, but this too never worked. She passed through my mother but it still never work. Intentionally, I distanced myself. Not that I don’t like her, but it was too quick for a young man who still explores a store of life’s options.

The romantic story climbed hills and descended valleys, careened on highways and crawled on feeder roads and was finally punctured on her birthday. She reminded me of her birthday, using a friend’s phone, and I never knew it’s her. Frankly, I often chatted loosely with that friend, hence a loose response. She knew I wasn’t a fan of birthdays or such social cravings. In about an hour, she responded with her own phone, cut all ties, crash-out the relics of the semblance of a relationship into the sterile.

In 2016, I received an invitation from her to attend her graduation. But before the invite, came an appetizer; appreciation message for the uncountable assignments I did for her, and my effort paid off; she climbed from lower division to upper division. I honoured her invitation, for it meant so much to me than to her; excited to have made an impact, irrespective of the ups and downs. Nothing changed as I expected. She declined to take even a memorable picture with me upon my request. I hardly requested such offers though.

The rollercoaster, 2017 creeps in to put the hammer on the final nail. We crushed at a friend’s graduation. I attended the graduation with Jamila. At the grounds, the two ladies had segregated smiles at each other, interactions more disjointed than Ghana’s education policy. It got to a point where I separated the two ladies before it becomes a ‘bantuo’ coup. It serves as the waterhose that finally flushed out the remnants of the relationship.

Fast forward, in 2019, I was scooped from my hideout by a friend to attend the outdooring of her child. Though she invited me again, I wouldn’t have attended. For I feared the tinctured possibility of reigniting innuendoes. When I sat in the trotro to Newtown, my mind strayed into various corners, searched for answers to no avail. I was on my way as if I wasn’t on my way; such a feeling that makes you serious and unserious at the same time.

Then I decided to occupy my dispersed thought, at least to streamline it into more productive ventures. I wrote aggressively, stories from Nyansapo Literary Project to Articles on the rescinded Local government referendum. My mind jumbled up, my senses blocked and my feet numbed. I waxed on the seat like a failed robot. The Hausa women who talked non-stop from Madina to Pigfarm, irritated me the more. But my biggest tormentor loomed.

When I alighted at Newtown, I trekked to the spot where the celebration was stationed. At the scene, I encountered white seats filled with butts, arched on the road, from left to right and music buzzed to dancing feet. I saw bodies wiggled from Bawku to Axim and from Nandom to Asuogyaman in my fixated seat. Their dances weren’t as obnoxious as the illegal roadblocks, using tables and wood with an inscription “Roadblock” and underneath it an arrow redirecting traffic away from them.

When the sun tilted a bit towards the west coast, she emerged from her sunlit—dark skin, glazed with cocoa-butter and laced in Yoruba costume, and exuded in her usual energy to Sarkodie’s song “Lucky” at the background. I perched on a Sonata car, parked by the road, peeping timely at her until a woman appeared from nowhere and pulled me into the center of the arched chairs.

I managed few steps from the 90s, hilariously wiggled like an amateur Spanish dancer in a salsa court. When I raised my head, a rumbled yet familiar posture stood in front of me. She stretched her hand for a dance and a hypocritical throng encircling her, cleared simultaneously to one side as if ordered by an orchestra leader. The dance wasn’t so different from the one we did at leavers dinner though it was immaculately done this time. We were both at the Elizabeth Frances Sey Hall dinner organised for final year residents of the University despite her not being a final year resident.

After the dance, I hanged around, yearned to have a look at her again or say something that will make her day worthwhile, yet in terror that a glance or a word might ruin it all. Then truth dawned on me moments after she had smiled at me. It was measured, weighted and cracked. the bowls of the blood bank in the heart begins to flow. I realized the oozing blood from Cupid’s arrow flows toward her, after several years it was still same.

In between the draughty sentimental sighs, I never beheld myself as the luckiest of men as Sarkodie’s “Lucky” song alluded. My only luck was the dance I had with her which was precipitated by the “presence” of an apparitional husband. But I seemed not to care or realize the throes of this euphoria, which may last a few hours, days, or years. My judgement was reduced to jelly and my liberty to slavery, when she whispered into my ears “this could’ve been your son.”

It was a tactical knockout. I took another look at her, mused, and accosted. For her beauty transcended my mind’s eye, more like an upgraded jollof spiced with dawadawa. Her charm added taste to the tasteless food that was served; her aura sweetened the sugarless Sobolo limping on trays of my tongue’s taste buds; and her dancing steps subdued the acrid from the Newtown gutters.

At a moment, I didn’t know whether to pinch myself or praise the luckiest husband. So I left wafting my hands in the air as if lost, not only in thought, but in time too. It was a joy but of different order.

Written By;
Al Latif Kambo-Naa

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