Episode 15 – The Midnight Call
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.
Kojo was asleep for two hours before the call came through. It was almost midnight, and he hated to leave home at that time. He whispered a goodbye to Aba and quietly left the house. He hated late night jobs but he knew it was a good opportunity to charge more for his service.
He hummed along to the ‘cools’ that were playing on the late night radio. He could count the number of cars that sped past him. At that time of the night, the road was practically empty, and he enjoyed the smooth drive. When he got to the house he had been directed to, he turned off the ignition and sat quietly for about 5 minutes.
Kojo called the lady, but she did not pick. Caroline; that was her name. She was very beautiful with very smooth, light skin and looked about 28 years old. Kojo tried to recall the features of her face, but couldn’t clearly remember. ‘Why wasn’t she answering her phone when she called him to come,’ he thought to himself. He anticipated that he would have to wait a little while, his mind drifting to the various options of who Caroline was, or what she could be doing here at this time of the night.
‘It could be her home,’ he suggested, bending his head to see the full building through the window and concluded; ‘She must have a very big family, then’.
Thinking out loud, he said “Or maybe there was a dinner party and she’s too drunk to drive,” Kojo laughed at himself. He enjoyed imagining the stories behind each customers’ taxi ride. His phone rang and brought him back to reality,
“Driver, wu w) hin?” (meaning, ‘driver where are you?’) This lady sounded upset, he took a look at the number to confirm that it wasn’t Caroline’s and replied; “whai ni?” (‘who’s this?’)
There was a blend of voices, music and shouting in the background, which made it harder for Kojo to hear what the lady was saying. The angry lady yelled while another lady screamed. Kojo could tell there was a struggle going on between the angry lady and other people. The line went dead. Kojo was uncomfortable, he called Caroline again but she wasn’t answering. He tried three more times and called the angry lady. Her phone was off.
Kojo got down from the taxi and checked to see if the house had a doorbell. He was convinced that the angry lady must be related to Caroline or something. Standing closer to the building, Kojo could hear muffled music being played inside the huge house. He rang the doorbell and waited. A minute later, he heard a door open… more shouting, insults being hurled back and forth… then the door shut.
As the footsteps drew closer to the gate, Kojo heard whimpering and a second voice aggressively consoling. ‘That must be the angry lady,’ Kojo thought as the gate opened. With the opening of the gate, came a flood of whining complaints from the angry lady about lateness and other unnecessary things. Kojo ignored her, his attention was wrapped around Caroline.
Her face was reddened, she had scratches on her arm and chest and little red slashes on her thighs. She was barefooted; angry lady was holding her heels. Kojo assessed the dress Caroline was wearing, he couldn’t tell if it had been torn and reduced to that ridiculous length or that was the original design. Either way, the dress had been stretched and laid limply on her shivering body.
Eventually, when angry lady was done ranting about how Kojo wasn’t there early enough, she ushered Caroline into the backseat. Kojo closed the door after them.
As Kojo drove off, the angry lady tried cleaning sweat and little drops of blood from Caroline’s face, “Adjo, I’m fine.” Caroline said between sniffs. Adjo started another rant about how Caroline needs to leave that ‘good-for-nothing idiot’ for good.
“Driver, we’ll drop Adjo first,” Caroline cut into Adjo’s unending rattle. “Please where?” Kojo asked, trying to say as little as possible. Adjo directed Kojo and sat down quietly. “He only does that when he’s drunk. He didn’t mean to, he’s not like that,” Both Adjo’s and Kojo’s mouths dropped open in unbelief.
Kojo stole a glance at Caroline’s face in the rear-view mirror, ‘Is she alright?’ he asked himself. She was adjusting her weave and buttoning a shirt over her outfit. “You’re not serious. Have you seen what he has done to you? Look at your thighs, Caro!” Adjo sounded very shocked. “I’m very serious, Adjo. He didn’t know what he was doing, and tomorrow he’ll come and apologize,” Caroline sounded sure of herself.
By this time Kojo had reached Adjo’s house. Before she got down, she said, “You’ve convinced yourself he’s more than he actually is. I hope all this is not because of his money,” She walked away, looking angrier than she was when Kojo first saw her.
Caroline got into the front seat, now fully clothed in blue jeans and a black long-sleeve shirt. She gave clear instructions on how to get to her home and waited. Ten seconds later, Kojo hadn’t moved the car. He was staring at Caroline in astonishment.
“Lets go!” Caroline exclaimed. He drove away.
***To be Continued***