“A Day After Work” by Alfred Benneh.

The traffic jam was choking. He could have easily passed out thinking about how far he was from home, and how sluggishly the Benz 207 bus moved. With horns blaring, drivers yelling insults at each other, and a brusque trader right at the side of the window squawking “Yeesss pure! Pure!’  Nana Kofi knew his night had just began.

The fact that he had stayed in line for an hour to board an Adenta bound bus from the 37 station was not a worrisome predicament to him; he wondered why he was still at airport as at 7:30pm.

He stared at the awesome buildings that sprung up on each side of the road. His posture adjusted as his eyes feasted on the Silver Star tower, the Unique Trust building and the Una home, and he longed once more to own just a room in any of the luxurious apartment edifices on the left side of the road that seemed to be yelling at the average Ghanaian worker: “You Can’t Afford Me! You Can’t Afford Me!”

If there was to be a ghanaian rendition of the famed Times Square, then this would be it: the perpendicular stretch from the mall to the Max-mart supermarket. With buildings light years ahead of Ghanaian architectural knowledge, and impeccable waste management on the street; that is in no way ubiquitous to the rest of the city.

But trust the Ghanaian, to tarnish a perfectly bedazing situation with a cockeyed excuse of the struggle for survival. Down, in between the rows of cars of sweltering engines longing to be rid of the scourge of this gridlock, were young men and women (seldom toddlers); hoisting provisions, toiletries and frankly any modest item one could think of, on their heads. These items were mounted on flat tin pans, and the weighty load was cushioned by a careful folding of a piece of rag into a broad cylindrical shape to fit the head. These were the hawkers that traded on these streets to the chagrin of their faces in times past, but had now wrenched this very street into a market of sorts.

‘If only I had the power.”

Right away, he was faced with the challenge of reaching for his wallet in response to the conductor’s timed hissing at every single passenger. Only then did he realize that he was swamped by two rotund individuals on either side.

He remembered a scene from his childhood. He was about eleven or twelve. Returning from a class trip to the Aburi gardens, he shriveled like a leaf in between two bullies on the bus who kept on squeezing him and rubbing the sheen of sweat that had covered their arms against him.

To turn a soggy night damp, a makeshift salesman emerged from the front seat with an elixir in his right hand, a magic drug concocted out of the need to end hunger and swindle money into one’s pocket. With eyes red with desperation, and his lips churning out verses of falsehood, the salesman claimed his drug could cure headache, backache, tooth decay, diarrhea and well; any disease that the body finds itself suffering from.

Nana Kofi squinted in amazement as a middle aged woman from the last row entreated him to pass on her GhC10 in exchange for the drug. To think of why anyone would actually fall for such nonsense was an endless mystery to him.

His grief was truncated as the driver dutifully parked at his junction. Rather gaily, he hopped off the bus and took out his I-phone. Dancing to his favorite Asa song “No one knows tomorrow”, he virtually shut his eyes as he sang along and approached his gate with each dance move, ideating how he would slide into a hot shower, then warm his week old Tuo Zaafi in the microwave, and finally resuscitate a stressed and aching body by having supper in the couch: tuned in to his deary ‘‘Mma Nkomo.” But before he could start picturing the day’s audience, he froze right in front of his house…..

ECG had struck again!

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