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!
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?”
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.