Monday, 7 May 2018

CHILDLESS Episode 3-4

Akua looks longingly at the pistol, and then at the door.
She had bought and licensed it not long ago with the help of a friend, explaining that it was meant for robbers and self-defence.
She had purchased it at a time she had been feeling very suicidal.
And she is still feeling suicidal!
She can end it all now!
She can put a stop to her pain right now.
All it will take is the gun. She can sit in the bath, put the cocked gun into her mouth or press it against her temple and gently squeeze the trigger.
Akua reaches for the gun, but as soon as her hand touches it she gasps and withdraws her hand. She pushes the drawer shut and locks it.
She sits there weeping bitterly for a while.
AKUA
(forlornly, weeping)
Oh, my God, Lord! You’re all I have! Why won’t you just help me out here, my Lord? But unto you I give all my troubles, Lord! Your will, and not mine be done! In all things, even in my great affliction, I give you the praise and the thanks and the honour!
Akua finally stands up and enters the bathroom.
She takes a long shower, and goes to bed.
But sleep will not come.
She takes the phone and calls Kwabena’s number again, but he has switched off the phone.
She walks to the window and looks out across their beautiful lawn, and sees him through the window of one of the bedrooms of the Boys’ Quarters.
He is stretching, and after that he sits down on the bed and lies down.
A moment later the light goes off, and Akua knows immediately that her husband is going to spend the night at the Boys Quarters as he awaits the arrival of the woman he had cheated on Akua with, and the son that has resulted from that act of adultery.
Akua turns away sharply.
She opens the drawer again, and this time she picks up the heavy pistol lying in there.
She lies down on the bed and puts the tip of the barrel into her mouth, and a few minutes later she takes it out and presses it against her left temple, and her finger curls around the trigger.
A moment later she takes it off, and puts it under a pillow.
She coils herself into a foetal position and weeps bitterly.
Thankfully, Akua Dompreh falls asleep not long after that.
And she dreams again of that bearded stranger in a black suit and white shirt taking her hand and leading her through the blinding storm.
The next day KWABENA DOMPREH, looking resplendent and handsome in his nicely-designed all-white attire, enters the bedroom and sees Akua sitting morosely at the dressing-table.
He scowls as he locks a chain around his neck.
KWABENA
(exasperated)
C’mon, Akua! What are you waiting for? The programme is at ten! We’re running late! Let’s go!
Akua turns a tortured face to him, and she tries to smile.
AKUA
Darling, why don’t you go? Tell them I’m not feeling well.
KWABENA
(getting angry)
We’ve already talked about this, Akua. What’s this? I told you my father wants to discuss something with us. We need to be there!
AKUA
(desperately)
What can your father have to discuss, darling, except me being barren and he looking for his grand-children? You know how he gets whenever there’s a function like this, especially a naming ceremony!
Kwabena sighs and grits his teeth, and then he smiles tightly.
KWABENA
I don’t think he’ll do that this time, dear. I spoke to him. Everything is okay. Come, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m waiting for you in the car.
He turns and leaves the room.
Akua stares at her reflection for a long time in the mirror, and ten she sighs miserably.
She stands up and heads for the door, and then she pauses.
She takes a deep shuddering breath, and then she turns, walks to the dressing-table, opens the drawer, takes the loaded pistol, and drops it into her handbag.
When they arrive at the breath-taking house of TUTU DOMPREH, her father-in-law, she sees that there are a lot of cars around.
Many people have come to grace the occasion, as usual.
Those ceremonies are usually carried out in the incredible backyard of the edifice that is Tutu’s home; the backyard is also a lovely garden artistically crafted.
The flowers are lush and well-tended, the lawn so green that it hurts the eye.
There are replica figurines of exotic animals around the garden, done with stunning accuracy so that at first sight it appears to visitors that they are actually looking at a live lion, or tiger or a rhino!
There are white tents erected, and under them are comfortable cushion chairs.
On a raised white podium is the head table.
Mouth-watering food, tables and a delectable bar with assorted drinks complete the magnificent set-up.
It reminds Akua painfully of how it would have been if she had been able to give birth.
There are a lot of people around, and soon Akua is drawn into a conversation with some of the family members she has not seen in a long while.
Kwabena’s mother died just after Akua’s marriage.
She had been Akua’s ally, and she misses her so much!
Presently the handsome, middle-aged Tutu Dompreh appears.
He is in a beautiful kente cloth, thrown majestically across one shoulder.
Chains, gold bracelets, a stunning Rolex and expensive ahenemma sandals complete his apparel.
He is the Chairman for the occasion, and so he sits on the middle chair at the high table, picks up the microphone, and begins calling guests to sit with him.
First he calls Kuukua, who has given birth and being honoured, and her husband. He then calls Kuukua’s parents and her husband’s parents.
He calls the Clan Head of the family, an aged man, and then he finally calls Kwabena.
Each person that is called is received with applause and laughter.
Kwabena stands up and looks at Akua.
KWABENA
Come on, Akua, let’s go.
Akua looks up at her husband and shakes her head once.
AKUA
He hasn’t called me, Kwabena.
KWABENA
(impatiently)
Stop being childish, Akua! Of course there are two seats left, for you and me. Come, let’s go.
Akua stares at her husband for a moment, and then she gets to her feet.
That is when her father-in-law’s voice arrests her.
TUTU DOMPREH
(scornfully)
And where does that barren woman thinks she is going? I don’t remember mentioning your name, so you better sit down!
Akua feels dazed.
For one horrible moment she almost keels over with the force of the humiliation, shock and pain, but with a herculean effort she slowly lowers herself back into her seat.

Episode 4
There is a very pregnant silence in the garden as all eyes swing to Akua, and she fights back the tears desperately.
Kwabena looks at his father with embarrassment and there is anger in his eyes for a moment.
KWABENA
(whispering)
Sorry, Akua. I wasn’t expecting that.
AKUA
It’s okay, love. Go on, don’t keep them waiting.
Kwabena hesitates for a moment, and then he turns and walks up to the podium and takes his seat.
TUTU DOMPREH
(chuckling)
And now, for our final special guest. I call the mother of my grandson, the sweetest woman with a fertile womb, the woman who is going to fill my house with joy and happiness, Baaba Brooks!
Akua does not utter a sound as Baaba stands up from the front row and begins to walk towards the podium, dressed in white and smiling with joy as she holds her son.
There is applause, and there are happy catcalls.
The tears are like hot coals that fall down Akua’s cheeks.
In a haze she sees Baaba sitting beside Kwabena, smiling.
Kwabena leans forward and takes the little boy, who has been named Tutu Dompreh in honour of his grandfather.
The little boy is giggling happily as he grabs Kwabena’s ears.
Kwabena laughs and puts an arm around Baaba’s shoulder.
Akua, sitting all alone, cannot take it anymore.
She is aware of some of the guests casting sympathetic glances at her.
Her hand tightens on the gun lying inside her handbag.
She cannot take it!
Death is preferable! She is going to end it all, and they will be free to have their family!
She stands up quickly, and then she sees that a tall man has come to stand behind the chair Kwabena had been sitting on before he was called.
At the sight of him Akua gasps with absolute shock, her whole body going numb!
The man is in a black suit, a white shirt and matching black tie.
He is wearing a black fedora, and he has a shock of thick side-burns, huge moustache, and a great beard.
He is wearing huge brownish glasses, and his penetrating eyes are fixed unblinkingly on Akua.
AKUA
(gasping)
You…
It is the man she has been seeing in her recent dreams, the man who takes her hand and leads her through the blizzard to the sweet garden!
The same man!
Akua closes her eyes tightly and opens them again, thinking the man is a mirage, an extension of her tortured mind.
But he is there, physically, unmoving.
She reaches out with a trembling right hand and touches his arm, and feels the hard flesh underneath, and then she withdraws her hand with a gasp!
The man is real!
He is really here!
THE STRANGER
(gently)
Sit down, Akua.
Trembling, wondering, amazed and shocked, Akua Dompreh sinks back down slowly into her seat.
The tall, bearded stranger sits down in the other chair, extends his long legs, and then looks up there at the podium.
AKUA
(voice trembling hard)
W-who a-are… y-y-you pl-pl-please? I s-s-saw you in m-m-my… dreams!
The man removes his glasses and looks at Akua with fierce eyes.
THE STRANGER
(fierce whisper)
You disappoint me sorely, woman! You will betray God by killing yourself? Have you ever read the story of Sarah, of Hannah, of Job? Shame on you, Akua! Big shame on you! Now give me the gun!
He extends his hand under the table.
Akua begins to cry, but this time it is not with pain.
She remembers what Pastor Addo has said:
Keep calm, Akua… God is going to send a stranger to you, a stranger who will show you a beautiful beginning filled with happiness…
Akua takes the gun from her handbag and gives it to the stranger who quickly removes the bullet clip and puts it and the gun inside the side pockets of his coat.
Akua smiles then, because somehow her pain is gone, and she sits through the rest of the programme, and even though her father-in-law casts insinuations and veiled insults at her throughout the programme, she does not really care.
She knows that God is still in control of her life!
Soon the naming ceremony is over.
The baby’s name is NHYIRABA YAW TUTU ACHEAMPONG.
Tutu’s name has found its way there again, and this pleases him very much.
He takes the microphone when the Clan Head sits down after naming the boy, amidst shouts and applause from the crowd.
TUTU DOMPREH
(smiling broadly)
Are we not happy? Is this not simply beautiful and lovely? Is it not honourable? The young ladies here must take a cue from this! Stop abusing your beauty! You think you’re beautiful and have great bodies, and so you slut away your bodies for money, committing abortion after abortion, and when a young innocent man finally marries you, you become useless barren women who fill your homes with sadness!
Once again absolute silence reigns as all eyes turn to Akua.
Kwabena leans across the table and speaks to his father.
KWABENA
(softly)
Daddy, please!
TUTU DOMPREH
(angrily)
Don’t ‘Daddy please’ me, Kobby! I have money, I want to have grand-children, but the woman you married is useless! She’s barren! Baaba here has given you a son to carry my name! You’re going to marry Baaba, do you hear, son? She’s going to be your wife too! She can give me my grand-children, and Akua can continue spending money and being her best useless self! She’s probably committed so many abortions that she doesn’t even have a womb anymore! This should serve as a lesson to any unmarried woman here!
His voice, amplified by the microphone, fills the whole garden.
Akua feels the agony and pain again, and tries to stand up, but the stranger reaches out and holds her shoulder, keeping her seated.
THE STRANGER
That’s my cue, I think.

To be continued….

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