“Home not-so-sweet Home” by Stephanie Gertrude Mensah.

Mrs. Quarshie flipped the page and continued reading as if she couldn’t hear the commotion that was going on in the class. It was Friday and the long awaited weekend was here. It was almost three o’clock and everyone had started packing. I could see the excitement in their eyes; they couldn’t wait to go home. I on the other hand wished Mrs. Quarshie would read on and on, I wished I could freeze time so the clock would never strike three. I wasn’t as excited as the others. The other children run out of the class yelling on top of their voices and racing each other to the school bus. I waited till everyone had left, then I got up reluctantly and started packing my books. I wasn’t looking forward to going home and strangely as it sounded I preferred being in school. I never went straight home after school. I had a routine; first I’d stop by the ice-cream parlour to get my usual raspberry pop, then I’d go to the Children’s Department Store to do a little window shopping and sometimes I’d pass by the park to watch the older boys play football before finally heading home.

My mind raced back to when everything at home was normal and when I used to rush home after school like all the other children. Home was the sweetest place I knew and all day I longed for the clock to strike three too. My parents used to plan very cool weekend trips. We had been to The Kakum National Park, The Dodi Island, Aburi Gardens and so many wonderful places; we even had the chance to travel outside Ghana once and that was the best trip the family had gone on. My sisters and I were so happy and couldn’t thank God enough for giving us such wonderful parents. But then one day everything changed. It all started when mother decided that she too wanted to work, she had a Masters Degree and didn’t understand why she had to stay at home all day doing nothing. Father didn’t want to agree to this, he also didn’t understand why she wanted to work because he felt that he was making enough money to cater for the family. I was lying in bed one evening when I heard a lot of noise. At first I thought I was dreaming but then I heard a loud crash and the place went dead silent. I jumped out of bed and quickly went downstairs. Mother was kneeling down on the floor sobbing bitterly while Baaba was standing beside father. What looked like grandma’s vase was lying on the floor, broken into a thousand and one pieces with blood splattered all over the blue carpet. I rushed over to mother’s side and that was when I realized she was kneeling over Araba’s body. There was blood all over her head and we all just stood there not knowing what to do. Later that night, he doctor told us she was going to be alright and that she had sustained some minor head injuries.

Our lives turned around that day because my parents decided that they could no longer live together. The fight that had resulted in Araba’s injury was the last straw. They decided to file for a divorce. I had been living with my parents all my life and I had never dreamt of being away from any of them.

Two months later, mother travelled to France and father moved away to Kumasi with my sisters and me.  Everything had changed for us; we were now in a new school, with new friends and a different environment. Adjusting to this was very difficult but we struggled through. It all became even worse when father decided to marry again. Father told us that she would be our new mother and we were to call her Aunt Angela; she was half father’s age and was nothing like mother; she never cleaned or helped with my homework, she spent the whole day painting her nails and watching television.  She seemed to take father’s attention off us because he never had time for us anymore. Araba and Baaba gained admission to one of the secondary schools in Cape Coast and I was left at home with father and his new wife. Coming home from school each day had now become a nightmare, because father would be there with his new wife.
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I opened the door a little bit, stuck my head through the little space and peeped before slowly tip-toeing up the stairs. I made it to my room without being caught and fell right into bed. At dinner that evening, father and his wife kept on smiling at each other and I had a feeling something was up. He cleared his throat, took Aunt Angela’s hand and started talking about children. Then he broke the news to me; Angela was pregnant. What was going to become of me now that they were going to have their own child? I had watched a lot of movies and I knew how stepmother’s treated their step children after they had their own children. I quickly finished up my dinner and went up to my room.

When everyone went to bed that night I took out my backpack and packed a few clothes. I didn’t want to live with my father and his wife anymore, and so I decided I was going to run away. I would go far away and never return home.

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