“So how is your boy doing?” Henry asked as he took a sip of his Orijin Zero. Six-thirty on a Friday, and he and his new lady, Evelyn, were having a relaxing time at the Pizza Inn section of the Airport Shell, just catching up on how busy a week it had been for them both. The relationship was slowly but surely gaining momentum, and they were loving each other’s presence.
“Oh, he’s good. Spoke to him last week. The usual things you guys go through in boarding school and all, but he’s doing just fine,” Evelyn replied. “I’ll be going to visit him next week, hopefully.”
Henry stroked his chin as she mentioned that last part. “Interesting. I see.”
Evelyn raised an eyebrow. “Something you want to say?”
Rubbing his chin now, he started. “Weeelllll… I’ve seen him just once, and that was a brief one. You know, when I waved at you guys in traffic a few months ago. And I guess it would be a great idea to meet him and get a little acquainted with him, you know, now that I’m in a relationship with his mother and all…”
He trailed off, giggling as he noted the look on Evelyn’s face. She was clearly bored by the attempt to explain himself. Her next words proved it.
“Blԑda, you dey explain too much. Just say that you want to come with me kԑkԑ.”
Henry, still having a grin on his face, nodded. “Yes, darling. I want to come along to see Nana Opoku.”
“Ah! This simple thing and you were now doing some plenty explanations bi. Do I look like a physics lecturer to you?”
The question made him burst out in laughter, as he shook his head. “Ei, Evelyn! Wo nono!”
She also shook her head, laughing along with him.
As the waitress assigned to them brought the pizza they had ordered, he then asked, “So, I know it’s a little sensitive to ask about this, but…” he waited till the waitress was out of reach, then continued. “His father has never even bothered to get back in touch with you? Nothing at all?”
A wistful smile came on her face. “My brothers asked me the same question a few days ago. Henry, trust me, from the day I made it clear I wouldn’t abort Nana, he ran away. He told me he’ll see me the next day after I rejected the abortion money, and that was it. No phone call, no text, nothing. He threw his chip away. Got rid of any means by which I’ll contact him, and left.”
Stroking his chin, Henry said, “But chale, Evelyn, you should’ve taken the money ooo.”
She shot him an evil look. “Abrantie, don’t angry me this evening.”
Henry snickered for a moment, then put on a serious expression. “But on a serious note, that’s horrible. I can’t imagine the pain you’ve been through.”
“Oh, it’s been a painful process, but I thank God my family stood by me. They didn’t throw me under the bus and put me to shame like some families in this country. Helped me get through it, and now I’m fine. I’m not labelled a walking disgrace, I have an amazing young man as my son, and… you.”
Henry smiled at that last word. “I’m honoured at that, love. And I’m happy you’ve moved on and not held down by the past. It’s never easy to let go of such things, especially when the person never really apologizes. But forgiving is such a reliever.”
Taking a bite of her first slice, she raised an eyebrow at him.
“Forgive? Huh. What’s the use of forgiveness to a dead man?”
Paa Yaw sat at the side of his bed, his head in his hands.
The past few days had been quite an eye-opening experience. The reality of his near-death experience was starting to hit him hard with each passing day. Suddenly, all the frivolities he had been immersing himself in were beginning to look just like that: frivolities.
The girl whose number he had gotten on the day he nearly died had called the previous night, and now his plans of stripping off her clothes and banging her seemed slightly less appealing than it had at the point he got the number. He didn’t totally brush her off, but told her he’d get back to her later.
Now Alfred’s complaints were really beginning to sink in. Last night, he had wondered to himself, So if I had been dead by now, I’d be remembered as just some aimless fool? That I did nothing better with my life, but just sticking it in all the ladies I sweet-talked?
As he arose from his bed, he felt there was the need to make a change of some sort. But he didn’t know where to start from.
Grabbing a bucket and heading out the back door to fetch water as always, he stopped at the door as he heard the sound of sweeping.
That Nana Opoku… or Oware… I’m not too sure… he’s around!
He felt that same tinge of silliness he had felt back in the hospital when Araba told him he was the one who saved his life. Knowing he’d see the young man face to face in the next couple of seconds made him feel even sillier for behaving so foolishly the first time he had seen him.
For a moment, he felt hesitant to step out. But then, he shook it off and opened the door.
Nana was sweeping as usual. He looked up, gave a passive hand raise as a greeting and continued to sweep.
Paa Yaw took in a deep breath, exhaled and walked over to the young man. “Boss man,” he said in a friendly tone.
Nana looked up in surprise.
“Is there any way I can help out with your work this morning?”
“Uh… yes, please.”
“Alright, let me put my bucket down at the Polytank, then I’ll come and help out however I can.
Nana’s jaw dropped as Paa Yaw told him the story of his days. “Seriously? Wooden plank paaa? Herh!”
“Inobi joke oo! Inobi joke kraaa!” Paa Yaw responded. “I messed up by laughing. Those days, if you laugh by heart, they’ll not spare you. The guy heard me naaa, he said, ‘hey, why you dey laugh?’ I regretted eh. Goro with wooden plank! My whole life changed!”
“Yehowa!” Nana exclaimed, his hands on his head. “Even with the hand kraaa, goro is painful. Ei, then you’ve experienced crazy things paaa!”
“Oh yeah, chale. Those days when SHS was SSS. We went through hell. Seniors tormenting us like nobody’s business. It was extra painful leaving home to come to school, because you know they’ll torture you. As for your time, things are smoother. It’s easier to let the authorities be aware and for them to take swift action.”
“By the way, I’m sorry for acting like a bush man the first time we met. I owe quite a number of apologies. I shouldn’t have behaved like that. Not proper for a grown man like me.”
It had been an hour of work and conversation, and each minute brought more surprise to Nana.
He nodded and said, “Apology accepted.” He wondered if Robbie would willingly accept, though.
“Great. You know, life is full of regrets for some of us. It’s good if we can deal with some of them whenever we can… ei, time dey go. I have to go bath and get some stuff done in town.
Well, it was good getting to know you properly. I’ll see you later.” He patted Nana on the back and walked over to the Polytank, taking his full bucket, which had been sitting there for an hour, and moving into the house.
Nana shook his head, still not fully out of his state of disbelief. He’s actually a really nice man. Well, thank God he’s now doing boyz-boyz. That be what we dey hia. Elikem will definitely hear of this!
That statement about regrets, though…hmmm… sounds slightly deeper than just the trash talk…
Sooo, Evelyn seems to have NOT forgiven Chris. And now a cordial relationship seems to be forming… and wait. Ain’t it possible there might be an unpleasant reunion in the works? Well, stick around and let’s see!!!