Dreams and Broken Things
Bitter Honey is a Ghana-based series, centered around the Quartey family. Kojo Quartey; a taxi driver, his wife Aba; who runs a bank’s canteen, and their three children; Kuku, Abena and Maama live through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events. The Bitter Honey series tells the story of different bittersweet experiences that build their characters and teach them life lessons. Enjoy.
The wind rushing into the car came with a loud sound and Kojo was finding it hard to hear Caroline. He rolled up the windows and turned on the air-conditioning – she would appreciate this better anyway.
She said, “I have never known my father, and my mother has had a very tough time taking care of us. So as much as I can, I try to help. There aren’t many ways to quickly make good money. Especially for those of us who didn’t finish university.”
She paused shortly and went on, “So I am not a typical young woman. A lot of young women are spoon-fed and have everything available to them. I have had to work and endure so many different things to get here.” Kojo nodded admiringly. “Then you are a hardworking woman, that is not typical for the modern day lady – there are a lot of slay queens these days who don’t do much but sleep around and make money.”
Caroline shot him an unamused look and said nothing. Kojo noticed how she looked at him and decided to be more careful with what he said.
“What about that man – from that night with that your friend. What was her name?…. Adjo!”
Kojo thought he did a good job remembering her name. He hadn’t met Adjo again since that night, but he could recognise her anywhere – the concern she had shown for Caroline moved him deeply.
“We all do stupid things,” Caroline spoke in a soft whisper. “Mine was to fall in love with a married man who shows his love in weird ways.”
Kojo was shocked. He didn’t know what to say, so he said nothing and let the conversation die. Until she was ready to say something more, he wouldn’t dare probe further.
Aba had been home for about twenty minutes. She was craving fruits so she called Kuku to bring some home. She laid on the couch to have a short nap. Her thoughts had exhausted her – she couldn’t understand Mr. Amoah’s reaction. She thought they were friends or that he cared about her – she was only trying to help him with whatever issue he was going through with his wife.
She drifted off to sleep.
Aba felt the urgent need to rush – she was late to work.
She was standing by the road, trying to stop the passing vehicles. She stomped her foot impatiently – everyone sped off as though they were afraid of her.
They were looking at her in very weird ways and she didn’t know why. She looked down and what was supposed to be her matron outfit and saw bare skin! She was naked! How could she get out of the house naked and no one prompted her!? Immediately, Kojo pulled to a stop in front of her and shouted,
“Get in!!!” and she obeyed.
She sat up abruptly. There was a knock on the apartment door – that’s what shook her out of her dream. There were beads of sweat on her forehead and her body felt sticky. She wasn’t very comfortable in her work clothes.
Kuku was at the door. “Today, you’ve come home early. You had a half day?” She greeted him.
“Not exactly,” Kuku said, making himself comfortable behind the TV. Aba looked at her son. He seemed to have a lot going on in his mind. She made a mental note to have a conversation with him a little later as she bit into a banana.
“I’m going to take a shower, don’t make the TV too loud, so you can hear your father when he comes.”
When Kojo parked in front of Caroline’s home, he left the car running, expecting her to jump out immediately. The tension had grown in the car and you could have cut it with a twig.
“I know what you’re thinking; that I’m a prostitute or a home wrecker!” Caroline blurted it, like she had been holding it in for days.
Kojo just turned off the ignition and listened.
“But you won’t understand! When I met him, I had no one! Now, I have so many clients, I cannot even number and he cares about me! No one else does – no one else looks out for my well-being! Even my mother cannot provide me with a GHS1,000 if I ask right now!”
Kojo turned around in his seat, “How happy have you been? Apart from the money you get. How happy are you? How healthy are you? How fulfilled are you?” Kojo surprised himself with these questions.
Caroline frowned deeply, “I think we are done here – I don’t think I need you as a driver anymore – I can buy my own car now, anyway!” She started rummaging through her handbag.
“Caroline, I love my wife. I have never laid a hand on her in all our years of marriage. I may not have been able to provide for her all those years, but my love for her goes beyond that. If your mother could, she would be providing all you need and even all you want.” Kojo was trying to speak quickly. “These men don’t care about your well-being, they are only interested in releasing the tension in their trousers, you can’t keep doing that to yourself.”
“Don’t preach at me! Here you go!” Caroline scurried out of the car and banged the door. Before she stormed into the house, she threw a wad of ten cedi notes into the passenger’s seat.
That was the last time he saw her.
***To Be Continued***
Next Week on Bitter Honey…
Abena wanted to go and play ampe with the other girls in the class. She wanted to run to the ice cream seller and buy yogurt. But no, ever since mommy came with her to school and spoke to her teacher three weeks ago, she has been kept in the class during first break to read the student’s companion. She hated it.