Kraa!! The violence erupted all around him. Kwadwo let out a groan. “Why did he go to Fatima’s place today of all days?”, he asked himself. Kwadwo knew why his legs carried him there. He liked to watch the sway of her hips and the way her buttocks performed a dance of their own when she walked. She was daintily built; high forehead, slender neck and breasts that swelled from her bosom. Her ebony hued skin was always well oiled and her hair was usually hidden under a scarf. He had once asked her about that because he wanted to get her a present. She replied that she liked her hair covered.
Today, she wore a navy midi dress that did little to hide her voluptuous figure. Her feet were adorned with black ahenema slippers and her hair was wrapped with a pink scarf. She smiled at him when he approached her kiosk. Her gap toothed smile excited him. She laughed when he greeted her with one of his cheesy lines. He told her he wanted his usual with plenty shito. He paid and thanked her and walked back home with a bounce in his step.
His favourite vendor was Fatima. He looked forward to the day he’d make her his. Oh, how he longed to have her writhe in his lap while he kneaded her soft buttocks with his hands. He imagined her moaning in pleasure, digging her nails into his back as she shuddered violently in climax. He’d empty his seed all into her and hope they’d have a mini him soon. But for now, Kwadwo would buy her waakye thrice a week and endure the regular, painful visits to the latrine because of her spicy shito. His stomach never agreed with pepper but his lust would always guide his feet to Fatima’s kiosk.
Two weeks later…
Kwadwo did a jig and whistled merrily as he sauntered to Fatima’s kiosk. He clutched a black polythene bag tightly in his right hand. Inside the bag was a gift for his precious Fatima. “Today was the day,” he thought to himself. Fatima would hear his declaration of love today. He imagined her beaming at him as he proposed. He had picked this time specifically. He knew this was when Fatima’s clients were few so he could have a long conversation with her. He skipped over a gutter and said a silent prayer that she’d give him a chance to woo her. His heart skipped several beats as he drew nearer. He was looking his best today; swapping his greasy work overalls for his church clothes. He wore a white linen shirt, khaki trousers and a pair of Oxford shoes a distant cousin bought for him years ago. He made sure he took a generous splash of his perfume. Today was a special day indeed. He had been peppering her with cheesy lines for 3 months now. She was always playing coy; smiling and calling him customer every time he toasted her. He really hoped this would go well. The signs were encouraging.
He got to her kiosk just as the last of the lunch crowd was leaving. He sighed in relief. Fatima looked beautiful as always. She wore a maroon dress and a grey silk headscarf with black sandals today. “That’s different,” thought Kwadwo, “she’s never changed her footwear.”.
Her face lit up with a broad smile when she saw Kwadwo. “Customer!” She waved cheerily at him.This was one of his favourite things about Fatima; she made him feel special. All the money in the world couldn’t buy him this feeling. He picked up the pace, whistling jauntily. Kwadwo rarely shouted; he preferred to be quiet. He bought his usual- waakye Gh¢2, one egg, macaroni and gari with plenty shito. After she served him, he mentioned that he wanted to talk to her at the back of the kiosk. Fatima obliged him and he moved to the back. She looked up at him expectedly when he got there. “I have something for you.” He told her while handing over the black polythene bag. He watched with pleasure as her beautiful face lit up with joy. “Thank you” she gushed. She pulled out a green scarf embroidered with yellow flowers. A wide grin spread across Kwadwo’s face at her enthusiasm.
“Ahem, Fatima,” Kwadwo began nervously, “You know, I’ve been buying your waakye almost every day. In fact, when I think of your waakye I can see you inside. That is why I’ve been coming every day. Can I be your close friend? I want to take you out on Sunday.”
Fatima let out a long sigh. She was no longer smiling. “Kwadwo, I’m married.”
Those words knocked the wind out of Kwadwo. He didn’t understand, she had never mentioned a husband. “How? When, Fatima?” He sputtered.
“Two weeks ago. I have not met him yet, my family arranged it.”
Kwadwo was knocked into silence. There was nothing he could say.
“Sorry, Kwadwo, I cannot accept this gift either.” She turned and walked away, leaving his gift on the bench beside him.
Kwadwo left the kiosk in a daze. He had not heard her last words. He barely noticed the taxi driver who honked angrily at him as he crossed the road. He felt as though his heart had been shattered and stomped upon. This was more painful than when his upset stomach sent him to the latrine. He was in a state of confusion. Why did he not tell her he was interested sooner? She wouldn’t be married then. It dawned on him then she said she had not met her husband. “If she hasn’t met her husband then she hasn’t consummated the marriage,” he said aloud to himself. He would convince her to break it off. He thought hopefully. “But, what if she refused?” He mused. “Then he would have tried,” he answered himself. Kwadwo didn’t notice when he got home. He was heartbroken and hoped his pleas and reasoning would convince Fatima. He really wanted to be one with her. The last woman he was with left him in the middle of the night. He mistakenly called her Fatima in the middle of making love. He vowed then to have no one but Fatima.
He couldn’t believe she was married. Such rotten luck! But he wasn’t going to give up. He would go talk to her again, maybe she would annul the marriage. Then, she would be all his. How ecstatic that would be! He thought to himself as he laid on the bed and waited for sleep to come. He had no appetite for food that night, he had a plan and he hoped it would bear fruit.
One month later…
Kwadwo’s face rarely held a smile these days. He had not yet got over the shock.
Fatima had blatantly refused to defy her family. In fact, she threatened to have him arrested and called him mad along with other expletives. He no longer ate waakye. Indeed, he hardly ate at all.
His work gear looked like they belonged to another. He had no desire to engage with others. He spent his days working and exhausted himself so that he fell asleep as soon as his frail body hit the hay. Weekends were the toughest; he usually walked around aimlessly on the nearby beach or sat on a bench under the trees and gazed at nothing.
It was one of such days when he heard a singsong voice say hello. He had begrudgingly looked up only to see the prettiest eyes he had ever seen looking back at him. She wanted directions to the yellow house. She had thanked him with her dimpled smile and walked in the direction he had gestured.
This encounter reminded him of his misfortune but it also gave him hope.
Kwadwo leaned back on the bench with a smile. Perhaps, pain wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
1. Waakye is a popular local dish in Ghana made with beans, rice and sorghum leaves.
2. Ahenema refers to traditional slippers usually worn by royals from the Akan, Ga and Ewe ethnic groups in Ghana. It’s common to see anyone wearing these in Southern Ghana nowadays.
© Takyiwa, 2021.