Akaa & Alima VIII

Dear you… Thank you! 

Thank you for reading my stuff. Thank you for offering feedback. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for making me smile with your thoughtful words and your constant reminders. Thank you for making me think. Thank you for keeping me up writing. I really am grateful to every one of you who reads my work.

It’s been one of those years that has actually felt like a roller coaster. (The scary roller coasters, not the easy ones we go on because we’re tryna be cool). But thank God we braved it! No matter how bad it’s been, you’re here… and that has to count for something!

So cheers to an awesome new year… one better than the best years we’ve ever seen!

PS. All I want for Christmas (and New Year) is for you to share lettersfromthisheart with someone who hasn’t read/heard about it before. Let’s widen the family 😀 

Season’s Greetings, and a Happy Happy New Year!

Love, 

Elise 


Character Line Up (Because even the writer still gets kind of confused!)

The Agency – An agency for high class escorts.

Akaa – Rich businessman, who frequents the Agency. Has a preference for Alima.

Dionne – Akaa’s wife. A beautiful petite Pharmacist.

Alima/Lina – Young girl, high class escort at the Agency.

Naana/Nina – Scarred young girl with a son, born out of rape. High class escort at the Agency.

Adzo/Anna – Young woman, with past sexual traumas. High class escort at the Agency.

Dr. Daniel Anto – Orthopaedic Surgeon, who frequents the Agency.

Celine – Anto’s wife. A constantly nagging Caterer.

Talaata – Divorced multimillionaire who frequents the Agency. Her preference is younger men.

Teju – Young man, high class escort at the Agency 

Ato – A young church leader, who uses the agency’s services.

Amber – Ato’s wife.


“Young woman, please calm down… Please have a seat. Let’s talk about this. Take a deep breath.” She seemed like a reassuring doctor. 

The smallish nurse came and handed her a small cup of cold water. She gulped it down.

“How do you know you’re pregnant? When did you get the implant? How long have you had it for?”

She tried to calm down. 

It was a small hospital, and it didn’t look like there were any other patients. It looked like they’d have time for her.

“I’ve had the implant for about 3 years. I took a test this morning. I didn’t expect it to be positive. It was.” I peed into a small cup a few minutes after that and poured that onto four other test kits. All four turned out positive. I added water to what little of the pee was left in the cup and put it on the last kit. That one was negative. Which was good because I needed to show it to my uhm… my uncle.”

She stopped blabbering and took a deep breath.

Where did she go from here? Terminating the pregnancy was the first thing on her mind. But it was something she’d always thought wrong. Yet here she was considering it actively.

You’re a prostitute, Alima. Getting rid of a baby wouldn’t be your first immoral act!

If she left the agency, she would only be entitled to about half of the amount of money she was ideally entitled to. That would probably amount to barely twenty thousand cedis. If she managed some kind of lie, she could probably leave with about thirty thousand. She wasn’t even sure what she would do. Look for a job? She’d definitely have to rent a place. Where was she going to make enough money to sustain herself and a child? 

There was also no way she was telling Akaa. He would definitely notify the agency, and then forget about her completely. She didn’t want any of that. She’d been too stupid. 

“Miss… are you okay?” She’d zoned out for a little bit.

“Sorry… I am fine.”

The doctor examined her and repeated the pregnancy test right in the washroom in her office. She did a bedside ultrasound, to confirm that she was pregnant.

She was about eight weeks pregnant. It was definitely from the last time Akaa came to see her at the agency. 

She couldn’t imagine herself a mother. She didn’t even remember the last time she had seen a baby. They were loud creatures, constantly wanting everyone’s attention. 

“If I don’t want to keep it, about how much time do I have to… uhm, you know… to do that… thing?”

The doctor had a sad look on her face. “You don’t want to at least discuss it with the father?”

“I…He won’t…” 

Alima burst out crying. 

What was happening to her? She couldn’t even remember the last time she cried! 

The doctor handed her some tissue.

“There are some women who would love to have your baby if you don’t want it. I can put you in touch with some adoption agencies.”

“I’d like to keep the baby. But there are so many factors. In the event that I cannot go through with the pregnancy, when would I have to get it out?”

“Ideally, within the next four to six weeks, you should have made up your mind.”

She had a big decision to make. One day, her life was fine, and the next, she had to think of all this.

The doctor took out the implant in her arm before she left. 

The drive back was a lot worse than the initial drive. You could cut the tension in the car with a knife. Akaa tried to make small talk. But he could tell she was in a world of her own.

“Did she think it was anything else?”

“Uh, she changed the antimalarials, and gave me some multivitamins in addition.”

The silence returned.

They got to the house and Alima took a shower and went straight to bed. She felt as if the whole world was upon her shoulders.

Akaa took a shower and went downstairs to work a bit. It was a good thing he did, because she didn’t know how to face him. She’d fallen head over heels in love with him, and she didn’t know how he’d react to this. He would probably cut her off. She had to figure out a way to get rid of it, or to cut him off. 

What would be the right thing to do?  

She didn’t even have a life plan. And she didn’t want to be a woman tied down somewhere because of a man, or a child. Before she knew it, she was crying. Was this something that came with pregnancy? She had never really been a softy. Yet here she was unable to stop herself from crying. There was no way Akaa was going to want a baby with an escort. It did not make sense. Plus he would feel as if she did it on purpose, to trap him in some way.  She didn’t want any drama.

Akaa walked into the room just when she was trying to clean up all the snot on her face. 

“Hey… baby girl, why are you crying?” It just brought more uncontrollable tears.


Akaa held her in his arms and tried to rock her. He couldn’t for the life of her tell why she was crying. He knew she was feeling better after visiting the other doctor. And he knew she had been distant, but he didn’t understand where the tears were from. Was there something else wrong? 

When they got into the bed, she held him so tight, it was almost as if she didn’t want him to move.

Maybe there really was something wrong?

“Lina… shhh…. tell me what’s wrong? Please…”

“It’s nothing, really…” she had stopped crying enough to be coherent. “Just thought I was going to die, and I’m just happy I’m not.”

He felt somewhat relieved. Just didn’t understand why she was being so dramatic. Crying women were not his territory. And he hadn’t known her to be a cry baby.

He kissed her face, and her ears, and held her till she’d stopped crying. They fell asleep that way.


Teju and Talata were seeing each other more often now. There had been no talk about the marriage Teju had proposed, but the incident that weekend seemed to have bonded them in some strange way. 

She felt comfortable working while he was around. He didn’t seem to mind her falling asleep in his arms, buried in her work.  He wasn’t offended when she had multiple meetings. Not that he had a right to be upset. 

He learnt about her job, and asked questions about how things worked. 

He offered ideas when she needed them. It was a very comfortable situationship they had going on. 

“So what happens if I go on some work trip for three weeks and get so busy I forget to call you?”

“Well then I’d call you. Because if you’re too busy to call, you’re probably too busy to eat also. Somebody needs to remind you to eat… three square meals daily!”

She found it rather amusing, that a man close to ten years her junior was the person she was considering getting with. And at this rate she didn’t even know if it was for her or for her father. 

Yet didn’t her marriage start out great? What if Teju changed and became some person she didn’t recognise?

Well, if this energy changes, you can always get another divorce. What’s the worst that could happen?


The agency felt kind of drab for Adzo when she returned. She had been given some kind of high, and it was as if almost nothing could compare to it. She was constantly reminiscing the past two weeks. She had recounted every single detail to Nina and was waiting for Alima to get back from her own getaway so she could re-share the details. It was unusual of her to talk much about anything. Even Nina was wondering what had gotten into her.

If that was what it felt like to live life, then that was exactly what she would do. She would finish her time at the agency, and leave, and plan her life properly. She probably had about two to three years or so, after which she would be entitled to enough money to set her up for life. 

She knew Anto was only there for knacks, and she didn’t believe for one minute all he said about his wife. Unlike Alima, she didn’t plan to fall in love with any agency man. 

Men were different beings when sex was on the table. When responsibility is added, they could switch up real fast. She knew that.


Ato had stayed home for Amber. He knew how to play his cards well, and he didn’t want any more accusations from her.  So when he was sent to represent the church at a retreat, He jumped at the opportunity! He was generally not too enthused about it, but it was his job, and he needed some reason to get away. So, he went. 

Although it was a week-long retreat, he had taken an extra week for what he called a ‘personal retreat’.

His personal retreat was at the agency.

He chose Nina. It was his second time choosing her, and it kind of surprised him. He had planned to have different women each time, but Nina had caught his eye. She reminded him of one of his exes. She was really the girl that got away. For some funny reason, every guy around his age had one of those… The girl they were stupid enough to let get away. Her name was Sharon, and she showed him what actual love was. 

She was not the typical Ghanaian girl that was there only to be taken care of and spent on. She took care of him well. She didn’t overdo it though, the way the church girls that liked him would come over and want to wash his clothes and cook for him and do all those things that made them assume he would choose them.  

She would send him thoughtful things. She’d motivate him to apply for some position and read over his documents. Occasionally she’d cook. If she asked him out on a date, she’d pay for it. One time she picked up his car and had it detailed and fuelled. If she wanted him to do something, she would tell him. There was no mindreading or guesswork in that relationship. It made it easy to love her. When he spent on her, it didn’t bother him much, because he knew she wasn’t only offering him sex and food, while expecting the most from him. 

But he’d cheated on her, with some choir girl. She found out, confronted him, and left him without a word. She was the most sensible girl he’d had. 

He didn’t even know where she was in life. But he wished he hadn’t been stupid with her. He realised too late that she should have been the one for him. He apologised for over six months, asking that she come back, and all the while still screwing that choir girl. 



It was the last night before she headed back to the agency. What was supposed to be a weekend had turned into over two weeks. She woke up every morning with a reminder that there was a life inside her. She still hadn’t figured out what to do. Was it going to be a boy? Would he look like her father? Was it a girl? What would she name it? Would she even have it in the first place? 

The awkwardness between her and Akaa had chipped away little by little. And although things weren’t back to what they were, it felt a lot better than before. 

And just when she thought maybe she could discuss it with him, maybe have the baby and give it up for adoption, he told her they needed to talk. 

“So…I’ve decided to take a break from the agency.”

Was he joking? 

“We… we both seem to be getting to a point of no return. We’re falling in love… actually, we’ve fallen in love.” He paused to clear his throat.

“And I don’t think that it is fair to either of us. This was meant to be a short-term agreement, and it can’t go beyond that. We’re pushing it.” 

His voice was low, and he was avoiding her eyes. 

“You deserve love, Lina. You do. Love that is uncomplicated and reciprocated. You deserve someone who is completely sure of you. You deserve to be someone’s first choice.”

“Although it’s been close to a year, I don’t know you too well. And maybe that’s a good thing. Because if I did, then maybe I’d walk out on my marriage. I’m falling in love with you, and I wouldn’t know what to tell Dionne.”

It felt as if she’d been dipped into an ice-cold pool.

“So, I cannot tell when next I will be seeing you…

“Or if I will be seeing you ever again…”

She was genuinely at a loss for words. The universe, or God, or vibes, whatever or whoever was in charge of her life, really had an interesting sense of humour.

For a split second, she contemplated telling him. A very long split second. 

But she couldn’t. 

He had been great to her. And he had been truthful too. He didn’t really owe her the truth, but he’d told her anyway. He didn’t just ghost. And he was actually right. Falling in love was already a useless, dangerous venture. And then she didn’t want it to look like a trap. She’d been stupid enough to fall in love with him. She was not going to complicate it.

So right there, she made her decision. 

“Okay… well then…”

Her words were refusing to form.

“Make love to me… please.” 

She was surprised that those were her first words, but she was glad his resolution had made her come to a sensible decision. For some silly reason she felt very light. Her heart beat faster just thinking about the tiny human inside her. Her tiny human. 

“Are you okay?”

It all felt really different this time. She looked him in the eye as if she wanted to be able to see his soul. He kept looking away. He did hold her a bit closer than he usually did though. She could tell he was drifting away from her. Much as it cut her deeply, she knew it was for the best.

They made love in a very different way. It really felt like nothing they’d ever done.

That night, the lovemaking, it felt like goodbye. 

Akaa & Alima VII

Hiii everyone!

This is a short one just before the holidays! I hope you have a good weekend!

And as it seems as if all of Ghana is getting married today, I wish everyone the very best in their marriages!

Please find here the link to all the previous parts:

Akaa & Alima I, Akaa & Alima II, Akaa & Alima III, Akaa & Alima IV, Akaa & Alima V, Akaa & Alima VI.

Love, Elise


Alima had tried several times to eat something by the time the doctor came in. It didn’t work. She was too nauseous to make it happen, and the little that Akaa managed to get down her throat came out after barely two minutes. He was so distraught, it was almost hilarious!

He sponged her until her temperature had gone down just a little bit. 

It took the doctor a little over two hours to get there. 

“I’m Dr. Mensah”, he said. He was a short, plump fellow, with the typical thick Ghanaian man’s bottom. He looked mid-fortyish, and wore a blue shirt, with black oversized trousers. Probably because that was what would hold his ass well. He had an unkempt look about him and looked tired and absent-minded. He kept getting phone calls and messages, constantly interrupting their interaction.

“I will ask you some questions, and then examine you, and then take some blood for a few tests. Regardless of the results of the test, I will start you on antimalarial drugs, because for some people, the rapid test does not show much.”

He handed Alima a bag of things. “There are some pregnancy tests in there, please pee on one of them and bring it back to me.” 

Akaa helped her to the washroom, but she asked to be left alone. 

He came out and spoke with the Doctor about a few things. He wanted to know what tests were usually done. 

“Once we run those, I will email both you and her on the Agency’s mail, you can take a look and then we’ll know if she’ll need any other tests to be done, or if she’ll need any more medications.”

Alima was in there for quite a while. Akaa went to find out if she needed any help, but she said she didn’t. 

She came out later and handed the test kit to the Doctor, together with the bag containing the remaining pregnancy test kits he had given her. 

“Well at least we know you’re not pregnant…” He said, picking up yet another call.

Akaa didn’t know he’d been holding his breath. He breathed a sigh of relief, and Alima turned to look at him. He couldn’t exactly read her eyes. 

The doctor gave her some injections, and then some medications to be taken later when she could eat.They were both quite irritated by the doctor and were more than happy to see him leave. 

Alima asked to be left alone to take a nap. She had so much going on in her mind. 

She wanted to talk to Akaa, but she didn’t know if it was really a good idea. 


“Teju, you crack me up!” Talata was giggling in his arms. She didn’t even understand how he assumed they could get married! She was not going to be some sort of slave mistress, marrying a young man because she could afford to pay for it. 

“Well, it would put your father off your neck, and it could possibly teach me to live a decent life outside of the agency.”

He was actually serious.

“You can rest assured too that I will not be looking for much of your attention. You can work and thrive, and I will learn to work and succeed too. Win-win for both parties”

It seemed sensible. But she didn’t know if she was only considering it because of how emotional she felt at the moment. She liked him. Actually, he was great. And this morning was confirmation of that. But he was at least eight years younger than her. Not that he looked too young. But…even older men were constantly so immature, what was to say that this one that was pretty much a child was going to be any different?

“I don’t know what the agency’s stance on things like that are. And I don’t know how it would work, and…”

“Well… you could think about it, ask around, figure it out. And if you don’t want it, I’m fine with this too…I like you, and I think you should try to stop caring what your dad thinks. He’s lived his life. Live yours.”

 He held her tighter when he said that.


Returning to Ghana, Adzo felt sad. It felt good to have escaped reality for so long in such a beautiful place. It was like a breath of fresh air, really. Anto seemed to feel the same way. 

She had to stop herself from crying on two occasions. The first time was when he lifted her up in one of the parks, just for the fun of it. “One of the things I like about you is how small you are. I could probably hide you in a suitcase!” being small had never been considered a good trait, so it was new. And for some weird reason, it made her feel mawkish.

The second time was on the last day of the conference, when he skipped the sessions and stayed in bed with her. It was a really good day. They ordered room service all day and stayed in bed. He gave her a massage, and some really really good head. 

“I don’t want you to ever forget this trip…” He half whispered, half kissed into her ears. I am really glad we did this.”

“Thank you for bringing me… I’ve had such a beautiful time.”

He kept putting his face in the crook of her neck and nuzzling her. Saying things that made her wish she wasn’t just a paid service.

“You treat me really differently…” maybe she shouldn’t have said that. 

He put his teeth lightly on her ear and held it for a few seconds. “You deserve to be treated differently.” Her eyes teared up.

“What about…” she swallowed her words together with the lump that was forming in her throat, to stop herself from asking about his wife. 

“He giggled. He probably knew exactly what she was going to ask.

Have you heard the saying that most people don’t marry those they love? They marry those who were ready when the time came for them to marry.”

“It’s from Chimamanda’s novel isn’t it?”

“I’m not quite sure… but it’s the truth! Might as well be written in the Bible.”

“You make me forget the mistake I made in getting married to my wife. You listen to me. You talk to me in neutral or even loving tones. You do things for me unasked. She’s a lovely woman… or was. I don’t know her so much anymore. But she’s a good person. Yet she will never listen to me or show me any respect.  Marrying her was wrong in the first place. And then now she makes it even harder!”

He didn’t say anymore. Just kissed the top of her head.

She climbed on top of him really slowly, determined to make him forget they just spoke about his wife. 

Maybe the whole marriage thing was really just a scam. Maybe she could work like this forever. Not all the girls at the agency were this lucky – that she knew. But then again how many marriages were lucky?


“Akaa, I’d like to go to an actual clinic.” He was sitting with her in the bed after she’d taken nap.

“Are you feeling worse? I thought you were getting a bit better. You look a bit better.”

“No, just that doctor looked a little absent minded.” He sort of understood her. 

“There’s a clinic not too far from here, but they know me quite well. We could go to this other one, maybe 40 minutes away? Is that okay?”

She nodded. Although she didn’t feel good, the way he looked at her tenderly made her smile. 

“And I’d be really happy if you’d let me stay here another week? You don’t have to be here. I understand you have work. I just don’t want to go back to the agency sick. They always look at the girls who get sick funny. Like they are trying to shirk responsibilities or clients.”

He’d do anything for her at that point. She looked so vulnerable, so unlike her usual self. 

“Anything for you.”


“Ato, I don’t understand how you can disappear for a whole weekend sometimes and show up with the excuse of church work.”

Amber had been moody all week, and all of a sudden, she was screaming at him. It was as if she had bottled all she had to say for so long and was finally releasing it all.

He acted shocked.

“Baby, are you trying to compete with God for my attention? Is that what this is? I can’t believe it!”

She was quiet for a few seconds. 

“I love you, and I care about you a lot! I take care of you, I give you good loving! I never say no when you need money. We go on holidays once a year. You do not work, yet you are not poor or lacking in any way. I make time for you as much as this church will allow. And now you’re saying what?”

She remained quiet. He could tell whatever fight she had in her, she had lost it. Or at least she was losing it.  

“Where do you think I disappear to? Do you think I even have the time to cheat on you?  Is that what this is about?”

“Ato I’m not saying you’re cheating.” 

“This week we’ve had back-to-back projects, I barely make it home in time for dinner. We’ve been travelling all over for the upcoming seminar. The logistics have been crazy! You no longer ask me how work was, or what exactly we’re doing. You’re constantly sulky, and only bright when you need money from me. I have let all that slide because of the workload we have currently. And now you accuse me of me of overworking for God? Amber I don’t know what to say to you!”

He started to walk away. But he caught a glimpse of her face, and noticed she looked genuinely sad.

“I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you…” He said, pulling her into a hug.”

“I love you so much… and I am only doing the Lords work!” 

He held for a long time. 

“I’m sorry, Ato. I just get so lonely…”


The drive to the hospital was almost silent. Alima was distant. He could feel it. It could have been because she was ill. But a few hours ago, she was professing her love to him.

He remembered with mortification that he’d told her he loved her too. What was coming over him? This was how scandals started. He didn’t want a scandal. He had to figure a way to make the nonsense stop. 

Maybe he needed a break from the agency. Seeing her every almost month was part of the reasons why this was happening. 

He made a resolve in his head. He had to make it stop. Maybe he would take Celine on a surprise holiday out of town once Alima was well and back at the agency. That would definitely help get it all out of his system. The kids wanted to go to Disneyland, and he hadn’t been able to take them the year before. Maybe now was the time for that trip.

Alima asked to go in alone with the doctor. He didn’t seem to have a problem with it. 

He called his travel agent just when Alima got out of the car. 

“Can we organise tickets and hotel for Paris for somewhere next week? Likely the end of the week. We can leave Sunday. I’ll confirm some things at work to know when we can return.”

“Yes, myself, the madam, the nanny and the kids. Two suites at the hotel. The nanny and the kids will take one, so it should have at least two rooms in their suite.”

“I’m not so sure about a car rental, can the hotel organise a chauffeur?”


Alima really felt she had to talk to someone. Someone that wasn’t Akaa or an ally of the agency. Where was her mother when she needed her? Even her girls at the agency would be great to talk to!

She dashed into the cosy doctor’s office, as soon as it was her turn, and started blabbering. She didn’t even realise she was pacing. 

“Doctor, I’m pregnant, but I have the five-year implant in my arm. What does it mean?! Why is this happening to me?”


To be continued….

Akaa & Alima VI

It’s me again guys! Back with a new post this week… Two posts in the space of less than a month. Where are my accolades please? Lol!

If you’re in Ghana, I wish you an exceptional long weekend! No matter your affiliation, please go to the polls, and vote wisely, and let’s maintain peace in the country!

Cheers to a great weekend!

Love,

Elise


Teju drove Talata’s dad to the airport. She felt as if she was in a daze the whole time. She already had quite a hangover, and the morning’s happenings had left her a bit perplexed.

She had never even seen him drive before. Was it against any of the agency’s rules? She hoped not. 

He came back after about forty-five minutes. She was in bed, trying and failing to fall asleep.

He came in giggling.

“Apparently I have to buy some cows.” 

He got on the bed and grabbed her. She had on a large brown T-shirt.

“I feel like I just won my first part in a TV drama!” He had contagious laughter. She couldn’t help but laugh too. She laughed out of relief. She laughed hard.

It would have been an entirely different situation if Teju had been someone else. Or if he hadn’t figured to pull this acting stunt. They definitely wouldn’t have been laughing at this time.

Her father would probably have started one of his tirades in Frafra. He would have ranted and raved for hours and tried to evoke her mother’s ghost. She would have been in tears halfway there, gotten defensive and spoken her mind. And he would have left, clearly disappointed that he had raised a ‘pagan‘, insubordinate daughter, and screaming that he was ready to go to his grave and be reunited with his wife. 

She was so glad none of that had happened. So glad.

It was when Teju started kissing her face that she realised she had actually been in tears.

“Hey, shhh…what’s wrong, baby?” It made her cry even more. 

She had always wanted to do right by her father, but even with all her success, it seemed that without a husband and a brood of children, he would never be proud! It hurt her. She did a good job at repressing the hurt. But this morning’s incidents had broken the dam. She sobbed for a good ten minutes. And when it looked as if she was finally stopping, memories of her mother and how she missed her flooded her mind and came with it fresh tears.

He held her and rubbed her back the whole time, occasionally stroking her hair. She fell asleep that way. He dozed off a bit too. He was woken up by her unbuttoning his shirt and kissing his chest. 

“Talata are you okay?”

She mumbled something he didn’t quite hear. He held her hands up and looked her in the eyes. She had beautiful eyes. Her eyes were dark. He turned her over and kissed her. Her hands moved to unbuckle his belt. He hadn’t even taken his shoes off before he dozed off. He took them off and kept his shorts on.

“Baby girl… hold on.”

He took her hands away from his crotch and pinned them above her head. He kissed her slowly. She kissed him back. He could tell she wanted more. But it wasn’t time yet. She was breathing faster than he’d ever heard her… he leaned back to get a clear view of her. To make sure she was okay. 

“Teju…” she moaned. 

He kissed his way down to her crotch without undressing her. She still had on the T-shirt. He released her hands and she made to take off her shirt. He held them up again. 

She was in some sort of a rush. He wasn’t.

He knew what she needed, and it was not going to be fast. 

He planned to show her a really good time. Very slowly. It felt like the right thing to do, after the kind of morning she had had. 

And when he was done making love to her, she held on to him in a way that she usually never did. It felt really good.

“Thank you for helping me with the father situation earlier. You have no idea…” her words trailed off and she sighed.

“And thank you for this too… really.”

He knew what it felt like dealing with fathers. Talata was a good woman. Hardworking, self-confident, and very sweet. She had multiple insecurities that she hid almost flawlessly. She hid them behind her work, her assertiveness, and even more work.

It was rather interesting. He hardly met lazy women. But in her industry, Talata really was doing the most.  

Before he lost his parents, his mother had been an industrious multitasker, taking care of him and his two brothers. She had a provision store in the front of their house, sold some fruits in the market square, worked as a head porter when necessary, and after all that, went to night school to better her English. She did her very best. 

His father on the other hand was a weird man. He was more in tune with his Nigerian side, and hardly spent any time with them in Ghana. He did send money once in a while though. Teju remembered his older brother wondering if the man had married another woman in Nigeria. He was just a very strange man who never saw things the way anyone saw them.

When they died, the Nigerian part of the family blamed Teju and his older brother for the accident. 

For putting pressure on their father to visit them in Ghana. Their youngest brother had been on the bus with them when the accident happened. He was just about eight years old and was only seeing his father for the first time since he was one. Nobody survived that crash.

His older brother carried him away right after the funeral. And it wasn’t as if their mother had much, yet he’d always wondered what could have happened if they’d stayed back and operated the shop.

He wondered if indeed the accident was their fault. He wondered if his relationship with his father would ever have gotten any better. 

He’d been halfway through High School when it happened. His brother sent him to the agency, where he was able to finish his High School Diploma, and then finish an online university degree.  It all felt like decades ago. 

Talata stirred in his arms.

“Do you even know the kind of hassle it is to bag a Frafra woman?”

“Humour me.” He giggled.

“First there’s the 3 cows you’ll have to buy, but I think that comes later. You’ll start with some tobacco, then kola nuts, then a guinea fowl, then I think there has to be about three or four visits? Maybe even more. To be sure that you’re serious about her. Each visit has to be with a gift – kola and tobacco are a constant. Then once they certify you’re serious, they’ll ask her if she’s sure she wants to marry you. If she is, her brothers will come with her to your house… I think they said that was so that if there’s some future argument someday, you cannot say she came into the marriage all by herself. She was led there by responsible men.”

“Here I was thinking the Ashantis were stressful!” they both laughed

“I’m not even done! After this, there’s more back and forth. I think he has to visit a few more times with guinea fowls and all those other gifts. Then there’s an important day when a chicken is killed as a witness. I think it’s called ‘Nu’nua’ and it’s supposed to validate the marriage, so it doesn’t end up in misfortune.”

“Wow!”

“And then there’s the cows, of course, and then seven sheep, to officially seal the marriage.”

“There’s also another cow after you have a baby.”

They were both quiet for a while.

“Have you considered remarrying?”

“I don’t think the social construct works for me. It requires so many things from me that I don’t even know if I can give. And I don’t think any man will be okay with my job and the hours I put into it. Eventually he’ll want more from me. I don’t know if I can give more.”

“Would you be willing to try?”

“Honestly, I wish I could. I enjoyed that honeymoon period that lasted barely two years. I thought he understood me, and I thought it would work. He was sweet and caring and wouldn’t make too much of a fuss about my late hours, and incessant working. I tried to make time for him. Every weekend, I was all his, no matter what. And Fridays I made sure to be home by 5pm. Then the petty quarrels started. Why did I use so much money on some item… it was my own money, and I don’t even know how he found out the costs. Why didn’t I tell him before making some purchase he considered outrageous? Why didn’t I let him know I wanted to do so and so? Why did my dress ride so high up my thigh? Why did I never do domestic things for him – cook or clean or whatever – I don’t even know how to fry an egg properly. Why did I never seem to need him for anything? Yaada yaada yaada!”

“It went on and on and on. And I agree at some point I started to do a lot of things just to spite him, because I had gotten sick and tired.”

“I don’t want any more of that in my life right now. I think I’m in a good place. Maybe I’m the one that’s not good at making a marriage work, and that’s fine. I’ve come to terms with my inadequacies.”

“So, at this rate, it looks like I’m going to have to stage a marriage. Just to make my dad happy before he dies. I’m tired of his rants. And really, it hurts a lot that for him, marriage and children should be the ultimate goal that will make him proud. As a person, I should be considered a sum of all the many small relationships I’m in. Family, friends, work, etc. and the actual tangible things I’ve achieved – and those are so so many, if I say so myself.”

“Okay… let’s do it then.”

“Do what?”

“Marry me, Talata.”


Ato and his wife were having dinner at his parents’. It was some sort of Sunday evening ritual they had. 

Again, he brought up his argument about the issue of suspension from the church.

“Ato. You see this is what your generation needs to understand. We’re not trying to play a shame and blame game. God disciplines those He loves, and it is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Too many of them seem to think that the church leadership is out to get you. That is not it at all! We’re here to guide, and lead – by example and by teaching, and then to correct when necessary. A lot of the youth sin, and blatantly defile the name of God.”

“If someone sins and truly genuinely repents, they don’t hide their sins. True penitence will cause them to confess their sin and be forgiven.”

His mother cut in.

“I understand if you say for instance that we should not generalise suspensions or punishments. I agree that they should be dealt with in a case-by-case situation and should be done in love. That I agree. The church has work to do in that regard. There should be proper follow up to ensure the person remains in the faith and grows and learns from their mistake. I stand by that.”

“But to scrap it out completely would be wrong. It would mean everyone would do whatever they wanted, openly showing their sins, not being sorry. It would drive the Holy Spirit away from the church. The church has compromised so much and continues to compromise!”

“Recently one of the elders was even telling me about one of these churches having their members go kissing in front of the congregation when the bans of marriage are announced – What is that? We might as well lay a bed right there for them to finish it all right there! But I digress. That is a discussion for another day”

“Ato, if we all saw things the way God saw them, the church and the world at large would be such a different place!”

“Remember Eli’s sons and their many sins? Remember how they caused the Glory of God to depart from Israel? And how Israel had compromised so much that they only realised the glory had departed after the Ark of Gods covenant was seized ? That is what will happen to the church very very soon if we’re not careful. Even some church leaders are playing the fool, and it should not be so!”

Ato didn’t know what to say anymore. He’d prepared arguments and planned what to say. But all of a sudden, he didn’t know what else to say.


Alima woke up around 3am feeling unwell. She couldn’t place a finger on the problem exactly, but she felt she was about to be ill. Akaa lay right next to her, snoring lightly.

He had come to bed really late. Some deal was not going well or something of that sort, and he’d spent long hours on the phone and in different meetings trying to fix it.  

He had nothing on, and his dark skin was shimmery, from the moonlight. They hadn’t drawn the curtains, so the moonlight made the room a bit bright. The breeze from outside was a quite cool. The AC gave her a stuffy nose after a while, so they never left it on for too long. Instead they kept the windows open. She looked at his bare chest, and then at his face, and her chest was getting a little bit tight.

Get it together, Alima! You’ve only known this man only a few months now. Just three days alone with him, and you’re ready to risk it all?

She had realised it was getting terrible. This was the number one rule they were given at the agency. Do not fall in love with a client. Request a different one if you realise you might. 

For the first time in a long time, she felt very confused. She thought about her life. How little she’d lived and how much she wanted more. She wanted so much more. Wanted to see her mother, wanted to ask her what was going on. How were the men treating her?  She missed her. So much!

She sighed. 

“Hamamat, I miss you.” She said under her breath. And I wish you were here. 

I’m falling in love with the wrong man. And I need it to stop. Please make it stop! 

She tossed and turned for close to an hour before finally falling asleep. 


When Akaa woke up she was fast asleep. He remembered her waking up sometime just after he came to bed. He’d been so tired he could barely even open his eyes. But she had been awake for a while. It was unusual for her to remain sleeping this long. 

He had some early phone calls to make, after calling Celine and speaking to the kids. 

He cooked breakfast and then got some work done. 

Lina was still not up.  

Sometime close to noon, he had most of his work done, and decided to go wake her up. 

She was drenched in sweat and her skin was hot, yet she was shivering as if the room was cold. Her eyes were slightly open, but she was not saying anything. She looked at him as if she was in a daze. 

“Lina, what’s wrong?”

She shrugged. “I don’t feel so good.”

Akaa was terrified. He already had he medical history as part of being able to take her out of the agency, and there was nothing significant on it. She was healthy.

“Maybe it’s malaria. I don’t remember the last time I had that.”

He needed to get her to a hospital quickly. But there was an agency doctor they were supposed to call in these situations. 

He found the number and dialled. They spoke a few minutes, and he said he could get there in about an hour. In the meantime, Akaa was to either get her under a cold shower, or use a cold cloth to sponge her, and just keep her comfortable.

“In case I die, or something happens, just know that I fell in love with you. I love you Akaa, even though I know it’s against the rules. I’m sorry.”

It scared Akaa even more.

“Lina you’re not dying. And you will be fine. Nothing is happening, and I love you too.”


Germany was everything Adzo dreamt of and even more. 

Most of the people in Køln seemed nice, and the hotel had multiple amenities to keep her occupied.

She typically slept in when Anto went for his meetings in the mornings, and then woke up to have lunch and go sightseeing. Then he would join her to do something fun after. It felt like a dream. She had the freedom to buy whatever she wanted, no matter what it cost. Not that she wanted much. She was happy just being there, seeing all the sites, doing all the fun things. 

On the weekend, they visited neighbouring countries as well. She ate fancy chocolates in Belgium, and stayed two nights in Amsterdam. They visited the Red-Light District there. He told her about it even before they went, but it felt surreal when they actually got there. The smell of weed hung in the whole area, and they were offered brownies in multiple shops. They tried some of those and went on to browse different sex shops. It felt so weird that this was common culture. The women in the glass windows were the final straw for Adzo. 

This could have been me if I were born in this country. Could I possibly have paraded around this way? What are they paid? What are their actual lives like?

“I don’t know if I could ever do this.” 

That night, they had some more of the weed-laden goodies just before they got to their hotel room. It felt like an out of body experience for both of them. 

And that night, the sex was like nothing they’d ever tried!