Episode 2: If wishes were horses…
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.
She inhaled and exhaled slowly. Five minutes ago, she had listed over 10 reasons why she shouldn’t keep the money. ‘It is a dirty GHc 50 note’; as if that even mattered to her.
‘It won’t make any difference in our lives,” she knew it was a lie.
“I’ll be able to see the inside of the building,” but now that the doorman had asked her to wait while he called the gentleman, she knew that was a lie too.
She watched the doorman go in and wondered if he wasn’t just doing more work than he was paid for. It irked her that she was left to stand there, looking at her reflection.
She wasn’t sure which irked her more, the doorman’s ingenuine devotion or her reflection in the glass door. She looked tired and she wouldn’t have given herself a second look if she was someone else.
The discoloured and oversized T-shirt she wore was a terrible match to the shapeless skirt that swept the sandy floor she stood on. She was just about to look away when the doorman returned and asked her to come inside in the local dialect.
She felt a pinch of annoyance again thinking, “Why does he assume I don’t know English?” before she could silently insult the doorman and all his predecessors, she realized she had been the one to initiate the conversation in twi.
She bumped into the doorman, not realizing he had stopped walking,
“Come in!”That bass voice again!
She was upstairs now; she didn’t take notice of how many flights of stairs they had climbed to get there, but she longed to look out of the big clear window at the other side of the room.
“How may I help you? Did I not give enough money?” The man asked.
Aunty Aba was somewhere between shock and wonder; shock that he spoke perfectly good English to her and wonder because this man must seriously be on something, he didn’t notice the GHc50 was gone.
‘Well, if I worked here, I wouldn’t notice Ghc50 was gone either,’ She thought to herself, looking round the beige coloured office,
“Madam?” the gentleman seemed to be getting frustrated,
“Sorry, oo! You gave me GHc50 instead of of GHc5.”
He looked uncertain and checked his breast pocket. “Oh, wow.”
He took out the GHc5 note and exchanged it with the one she gave him. Before she left, he apologized profusely for “putting her through the trouble”.
As the doorman led her out, Aunty Aba bitterly insulted the man under her breath.
Such a wicked man! He already has so much; could he not have just given her the money to reward her act of good faith?
Then she looked around the office, and nearly made another wish.
She looked at the various cubicles, computers and polished desks. She looked at the employees moving up and down, picking telephone calls and staring at computer screens and felt a wave of sadness wash over her and seep into her very core.
She exited the building harvesting a strong desire and desperate want to see at least one of her children, or maybe all three: Kuuku, Maama, and Abena exit the building too.
But not as a pitiful wanna-be pauper but a distinguished and hardworking banker.