Episode 16 – New Faces
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.
Today on Bitter Honey:
Kojo didn’t know how to feel about being Caroline’s night driver. The daytime jobs were ok; a few times, she had hired him to drive her to a hotel. He was then instructed to wait for her and would end up waiting for about an hour or two. Upon her return, she would hand him a thick wad of twenty Ghana Cedi notes. He didn’t mind these day-runs. It was the night runs that assured him something fishy was going on. He didn’t know how to feel because despite his suspicions, she paid very well. Almost too well – as though she was paying for the fare and for his silence on what he sees and hears.
He started the car and watched as she walked towards him. By the time she sat in the taxi the air-conditioning was cooling nicely. He sized her up in his rear-view mirror, checking to see any signs of bruises or flustering. Nothing seemed out of place.
“Please where to?” Kojo asked politely. Caroline’s moods were hard to read, and he didn’t want to get on her bad side this afternoon.
Once, he got lost following a google map location she had set up for him to follow. She exploded in fury and was in a foul mood for the next three trips.
“I’m hungry.” She said.
Kojo didn’t want to ask a stupid question so he assumed she was thinking to herself.
“Do you know any places around here? I want plantain and beans”. Caroline spoke softly today. It was a different kind of softness – almost like she was tired.
“Yes, Madam” Kojo turned on the radio to her preferred channel and drove off quickly.
Aba was at work but her eyes were fixed on her phone screen. She watched as videos, pictures, and motivational messages scrolled through her screen. She caught a glimpse of a poster that caught her attention. It had the picture of a man on it and a quote next to it:
‘Faith is not about risk taking. It is a divine currency. It is a divine lifestyle,”–Apostle Ajei-Godson.
She looked at it and thought about faith. It had been a long time since she actually did something driven by faith. If it really was a lifestyle, then she was definitely not living it. She made a mental note to speak to her husband about this in the evening.
She noticed someone coming towards her; it was Mr. Amoah. She continued scrolling through her contacts’ WhatsApp statuses as if she hadn’t seen him.
“Hey, etis3in?” He greeted.
“B)k)), oo” Aba responded, “How has work been today?”
Mr. Amoah took the seat opposite Aba and shrugged, “Meetings upon meetings – if I didn’t make wild, I wouldn’t have come down for lunch,”
Aba shifted uncomfortably. David went on, “The HR Department is giving us a treat for meeting our target for the year. So there is a lot of drinks and small chops upstairs.”
Aba said, “I know, we sent them up there,” They laughed. She went on, “Besides, I have been looking at WhatsApp updates. Nice speech.”
Mr. Amoah nodded. He knew what she was referring to, and concentrated on his food, hoping she will not get into the topic. Aba noticed his discomfort and asked anyway, “Were you referring to your wife when you said ‘Most of us have a lot of issues at home, but you appreciate us leaving our issues outside…’?”
Mr. Amoah feigned disgust, “How can you say that?!” He yelled, “Ah! I just want to eat in peace!” Aba was shocked, “Sorry, I will leave you to eat,” she whispered, and got up.
Kuku left the office early and was walking home. He preferred the exercise and knew he was saving money as well. Also, the walk helped him think through what he learnt at training. It was getting better at work – but he needed more practice.
All the interns had laptops. It didn’t look good on him, being a full-time worker with no laptop of his own. He kicked a stone nearby and watched it roll into the open gutter. He started thinking of people he knew who had laptops he could borrow. His steady footsteps made him think and the sun’s setting rays on his skin was a pleasant feeling.
A dust cloud rose in the air as a black Range Rover pulled up next to him. The tinted window at the driver’s seat rolled down, “Boss, please I dey search Blue House.” Kuku was shocked at the smallish man who spoke to him. The car didn’t match his frame and demeanour.
Kuku knew Blue House very well – it was on a popular street where he and his office colleagues often bought kelewele. He gave the man directions and watched the car drive off. In less than a minute, the car stopped and reversed.
This time, it was the tinted window at the back that rolled down. “Would you like a ride?” It was a woman this time. She was probably the owner of the car. “That explains it!” Kuku thought to himself, “The gentleman driving must be her driver.”
“Err, I’m not going in that direction, but thank you,” Kuku said politely. “Oh I insist, just hop in. We’ll take you in your direction.”
Kuku felt a cold breeze from the car as he opened the door. When he sat down next to the woman she said, “I am Dora, most people call me Maa D. What’s your name?”
“I’m Kuku. Nice to meet you.” Maa D reached out to touch his face, “There’s something on your face,” She said. She brushed whatever was there away, and her fingers wandered to his chin.
She smiled at him. He smiled back, shyly.
*To be Continued*