Discerning Comrades

Day 5 of the Afrobloggers WinterABC Challenge. 

It’s supposed to be Day 5 of 21 for me. But am I going to make it?

Really trying not to slack out here, but it’s so hard… because, life, work, school… basically, adulting! 

Can someone please pay me to be a full-time writer? Maybe add on stellar health insurance, frequent first-class travels and a few other benefits? Lol!! 

I really hope you enjoy this! 

Love, Elise


“It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”

Stephen Fry


Mawuli showed up at my house on Saturday morning, and was not taking no for an answer. 

He came with coffee. 

“You don’t need to talk or do anything. We can walk or get drinks, or food or whatever. Or we can go to that art gallery that you like to go to. I think they may have some new pieces.”

I had not stepped out of the house since the funeral. Actually, I had not done much of anything except lay on my bed and gaze up at the glow in the dark stars in my ceiling. The stars that Ol’man fixed up there when I was much younger.

There were also a few times when I wondered how Mama would cope if I joined Ol’man. The boys would definitely be fine. But Mama… I didn’t know how Mama would take it.

Mawuli said that maybe the funeral had traumatized me. That maybe I needed a new environment for a bit. 

I didn’t know how I felt about that. I didn’t know how I felt about anything anymore. There was some numbness that had shrouded me.

I didn’t know any longer if it was tiredness from all that had been done and that still needed to be done, or stress, from my outrageous family wahala, or just the pain of losing my favorite man in the whole world.    

He insisted, and so I went. 

Mawuli and I were very close back in the day. He was one of those people that got me. He knew me well. He didn’t agree that because I was smart, law or medicine or engineering was the way for me. He and I agreed that art was smart too! He drove me to art galas and exhibitions back then when I wasn’t even sure I was going to be allowed to pursue art. He had unwavering faith that one day I would make it as an artist, an author, and whatever else I decided I wanted to do. 

In high school, I would write him a letter every week, and in each letter, there was a new drawing or painting. It was prohibited to use my prep time for art and for letters, but it was my secret pleasure, and my practice time.

One time in high school, he had gotten into trouble with some senior of his, because of how often we wrote to each other. It is still a mystery to me how that made any sense!

He also drove me crazy! Because we could argue on one thing, and agreeing to disagree was hardly ever on the bill! We had to argue it out!

Gradually, in the middle of Uni, we started to drift apart. But that was okay. We were both adults, learning to ‘adult’. And the beauty of our friendship was that even when we hadn’t spoken in many weeks, we would catch up as if it had only been a day! 

Mawuli was spesh!

Ol’man had liked Mawuli. To a very large extent at least. They discussed politics and football whenever Mawuli visited. And Ol’man loved the fact that he was boisterous – not one of those boys that were afraid of him. 

He drove me to the art gallery in Osu. I expected that the gallery would somehow pull me in and drown my sorrow, my nonchalance. 

It did not. 

For the first time in my life, I was looking at artwork with absolutely no emotions. And my soul seemed to be screaming inside me. Yet all I could do was stand there and look on with indifference. My world of beautiful vibrant color was suddenly a big drab black and white, and I didn’t know how to fix it!

Mawuli noticed. I know he noticed because he looked worried. But he said nothing. And that made my heart want to cry. Mawuli hardly ever noticed things and said nothing. Unless it was bad. 

Was there something wrong with me? Was I losing myself?

He took me to Mama Mia’s after that. Because he knew that I loved it there. Their thin crust pizzas were my favorite thing to eat, and their garlic bread and mozzarella sticks always made me happy. 

Yet once again, the food tasted like sandpaper in my mouth. I just wanted to go home, and so he took me home. Home to Mama lying in the couch all day, doing nothing. Home to Kuuku trying to be helpful around the house. Home to Kojo’s absence. Home without Olman. Home to the cloud over my heart and my eyes. The cloud that refused lift. 

Minutes after he dropped me home, Mawuli sent me a message.

I can tell that you’re not yourself. And that’s okay. Sometimes that happens. I may not know exactly how you feel, or what you’re really going through, but I know that this feels different. So I want you to know, that I am here for you. And I will listen to whatever you want to say or not say. I want you to get some help, and I will share with you some resources – only if you decide you want to. But in the end, I am here for you, no matter what you decide to do, I will be right here.

Mawuli


Mental health awareness and advocacy is something that we have somehow as Ghanaians and maybe even Africans been brought up to think does not concern us. 

I am happy that gradually that narrative is changing. I am happy that there are resources in place to help us deal with these! And I hope that one day soon, we will all get the help we need!


Comments (16)

  1. Powerful!!!! You see, we all need to have a Mawuli in our lives for they know when to bring the excitement and are always there in our down times. In fact there is a special place in heaven for them. Still remain strong Mama and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God knows best. Another round of applause for Elise. Great job 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

    1. Is there by any chance someone can meet with the person behind these posts? I feel talking to her directly, maybe there is alot I am reading than the message she shares. Very extraordinary and elaborative.
      I will pay for that cup of coffee please!

      Always enjoy the reads that leave me up in imagination

      1. Thanks a lot Kato! I am sure there are many people behind these posts! Though fictional, many many people go through these things! I hope you find that person in your circle, and be that friend to them! ☺️😉

  2. There’s a friend that sticks closer than a brother! We all need such a friend.
    Amazing writing. Great work of art, Elise ✌🏾

  3. Aside needing friends like Mawuli, we all should be a Mawuli because so many people are screaming silently for attention. Great job Elise!

  4. Developing a character of discerning is part of emotional intelligence. Thank you Elise for highlighting the role of discerning as a skill and as essential elements in whatever we do. Beautiful Chapter from “The Dying Things in My Chest”
    Sure, your works(stories) will soon pay you full time with benefits scheme(double) that you mentioned.
    This is what l call #Story4Growth #Story4Change #Story4Us . THANK-YOU Adorable Author Elise

  5. Dear Elise,
    You have gradually become my favourite blogger for this #WABC.
    I am really enjoying your write up.
    Kudos dear!

    Don’t we all need a Mawuli in our lives?
    Mental Health is almost as important as oxygen!
    Can’t wait to read the next.

  6. Your writing is a gift. Its not easy to throw oneself out there the way you do. Even though these are fictional, you still throw a lot of emotion into them.
    Keep going, the benefits will follow

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