“The Things that Came with the Light” by Ewurama Amoonua Adenu-Mensah.

I lift a handful of sea water to my face and cringe as it settles into the rubbed-raw cracks underneath my eyes. But I do not feel the sharp stinging I prepared for. I do not feel anything. I look up and squint and hope that what I had just seen was merely a sleep-induced hallucination. But it is still there, and it still shines, a light brighter than anything I have ever seen.

I must be dying.

I scoop up more handfuls of the cool water and this time I wash my entire face. The water shoots painfully up my nostrils and I feel a coppery saltiness course down my tongue. I sink down onto the shallow sea bed and the wet sand shifts to accommodate my bony form. I briefly contemplate praying to the ‘ɛpo sunsum’ but I get the immediate sense that even the sea god cannot command this one away. It feels far too real, far too close. It’s certainly much too late for a prayer.

“Ato, bɛsen ma yɛnkᴐ”, I hear my friend Atta call from beyond the grove of palm trees we lay under to watch the sea at night. I hear heavy panting and the retreating slaps of bare feet against soaked earth as he continues to call for me to join him run back into the village to tell someone, anyone of this light charging steadily in my direction.

I feel it come closer and yet I do not move. I cannot move. It is mesmerizing, this growing brightness. I truly must be dying.

I am humbled by this light. It is brighter than a thousand fishermen lamps held together, faster than Paa Quansah’s paddles during the Bakatue canoe races, scarier than the fetish priests performing the morning rituals and I am humbled by it. I do not move. I cannot move. I simply stare at it.

I am definitely dying.

I decide to resign to my fate. The gods must want me back and I am not about to challenge their authority. I feel the cool water seep into every inch of my cloth as I lower myself with my arms spread out and lift my knees off the soft sand of the shallow sea bed until I am floating. I close my eyes bravely, awaiting the next phase of the dying process.

I feel a sharp jerk and the tender flesh under my arms and above my ribcage throbs. I know that when you die, your soul has to leave your body but I never thought this would be an actual physical process. Interesting. I wonder which other part of dying will turn out to be much different than I imagined.

I hear the garbled commands of a voice that sounds remotely like my father’s but I am not entirely sure. This out of body experience is amazing. Maybe I am at my funeral, and maybe the voice is the last call to my dead body to rise before I am mistakenly buried alive. I hear it happens sometimes. I wish that this call would work, that I can wake up and run into my mother’s arms. She is probably weeping bitterly, my poor mother. I am her only son. But I cannot change the ways of Death and as much as I want to stay, I must leave. It’s funny how I don’t even know where I am headed but I know it’s only a matter of time.

I feel a heavy pressure on my back and it builds steadily with every passing second. Maybe it’s the mud piling up on my back. I surely am being buried. The pressure builds. It feels surprisingly very real, almost painful even. It’s crazy how real this all feels, these processes of dying. I always thought death would be painless when I was alive. The pressure still builds. This is more painful than I thought it would get, this steady thudding at my back.

“Ato, bue w’enyiwa”.

Definitely my father’s voice, a little too coherent, a little too close. He wants me to open my eyes. The heavy threat looming in those three words he speaks is enough to scare me into trying. My eyes open just as his fist crashes into my lower back and I let out a strange, strangled sound. I am not dead.

I follow his eyes to see the light that shocked me into thinking the gods were calling me. It’s attached to a Big Canoe, a looming wooden structure wedged in the wet sand at the shore. In the dark, I make out the figures of other men from our village craning their necks from their crouched positions behind the thick-stemmed palms to watch the Big Canoe.

A thing emerges from behind the light and I hear the quickly gathering breaths of confused people. It looks like a man, two hands and two long legs like my father’s. But it is different. Its skin looks like the inside of a freshly cut yam and its hair runs down its back in waves, just like the sea. It reaches the shore and we stare in puzzled amazement. And then it screams. It did not speak Fante or maybe I haven’t fully regained my hearing because of the water that still stands stubbornly in my ears.

After it screams, other things like it jump down from the Big Canoe and tread towards the shore. The last thing I notice is the different colors of their hairs as my father yanks me up from his lap and drags me along, barely missing the palm trees. On his face is a look of pure panic, possibly terror. I have never seen him look so scared. We speed as fast as our legs can carry us to the house of the king to tell him about the things we just witnessed on the shore. The king must know what they are. He knows everything.

“Ebi Time” by Fui Can-Tamakloe.

Politicians dey vex me. The fact say if you no go school you no dey fit get better job dey vex me. The pastors wey dey preach for inside trotro dey vex me. The old women wey dey see my hair wey dey call me thief den wee smoker dey vex me. I no be thief walaahi. I be gameboy. Ebi ein I dey get money small small dey take buy the wee I dey smoke. But that no dey mean sey if I dey pass you for call your kiddies make them come house. Weytin concern me plus the kiddies? Them sef dey vex me.
You go fi see sey plenty things dey vex me. But nothing dey vex me pass policeman. Koti. Fire bon dem marafackas. Them wey dey stop me for car inside ask me for papers. Them wey dey like searcha me sekof rasta man always get some grass for ein pocket. I no be rasta man sef. E just be say I shon dey comb my hair. Five years this I never touch my hair plus comb. But if you talk this thing koti go slap you sey you dey diss am. Obey before complain! Them go shout put your top. But that thing sef be lie. Them just dey want make you obey, period. If you be man, complain. Them go carry you go counter-back make you chop some cool weekend for there.
The koti dey vex me pass anything for this world inside.

That be why today me then some kotifight. I dey cabbie inside wey the driver dey speed. Me I no dey drive some, I just dey pay the man wey dey drive. But as the policeman stop am e no spy am sef. Ebi me e dey want harass. But goddamn today no be good day give am. Today be the day I dey go my auntie ein funeral. This be the woman she take care of me my entire life as my mommy disappear. Poppy never spend
kaprɛ for my top. My kiddie time sef I see am like three times . So ebi this woman wey raise me. Then this koti want fool. He dey searcha me an tins. Of course today of all days some small tree go dey my pocket. I get funeral go. I no want feel some tins. I try explain give am he no soak. I try tap the cabbie inside he bore wey e push me. Ein e make I bore. You know me some place? Why say you for push me? I give am some one two one two blows make e conf. Then e no dey fit me. How he go fit sef? The Bukom boys sef hear my rundown. Like e no be say fraud good, I go turn boxer take claim money from them white marafackas them dey America. Money Pakayo an tins. By the time I finish am then he dey floor dey beg me. Koti dey beg me. You ever hear some before? I try tap the cabbie inside make we lef but opana lock the door wey e speed lef me. Then the matter be simple. I for weigh another cabbie. I stretch my hand sey I go stop another one, but the car wey stop for my front be police car. Be like them come relieve opana from post.

My story no plenty. E dey end for here. I hear say the way people cry for the funeral there?? Stop! But then I no fit go. As the other policemen see what I take do demma guy, how them go make I go? Them beat me for there nɔɔ. Them damage my eye sef. I no be boxer but rydee I get eye problem. Them make I bedcounter-back like one week. Every gbɛkɛ them go come beat beat me. Wey be like God touch demma heart make them release me. The beatings no touch me sef. Weytin man no see before? The only thing e bash me be say I no go Maa Dina ein funeral. My last chance wey I go fit see am but some koti mess me up.

Hm.

Ebi time.

 

“Urban Hunters” by Jesse Jojo Johnson.

I woke up for the third time that afternoon. Okyerewaa no longer troubled my sleep: this time I did not dream.

When I opened my eyes, the motor of the ceiling fan had just gone off: the comforting hum was gone as the blades spun to a halt. The heat must have roused me, I thought, shaking off my covers, pulling the shirt off my back.

I was too lazy to actually get out of bed. My pillow was damp, the old mattress too depressed to provide any more comfort. I lay there adjusting to the dim room. I was thinking of Okyerewaa.

My next action was mechanical. I picked up my phone pretending to check the time. That goddamned icon. My heart beat faster anytime I saw a notification. After six months I’d pavloved myself into a mild frenzy anytime I got a message from her.

No new message from Okyerewaa this time. It was the nuisance of those groups I was too worried to leave, lest I draw needless attention to myself. I let the phone slide out of my hand. My eyes clouded and I wandered on the threshold of sleep.

We moved to North Legon nearly a year ago. Our house is a story building at the edge of the Madina Zongo. In front of my house is Malam Issaka’s signboard, complete with two phone numbers (MTN and Airtel), an email address (Yahoo!) and a crudely drawn image of him draped in a white jalabiya dancing in front of a snake-infested pot.

A red arrow on the signboard points toward my house. Malam Issaka doesn’t live with us, no. His enterprise is actually behind our wall. You skirt the razor-wired fence till you meet a footpath. It’ll lead you to a large gutter that has three wooden planks across it. Crossing that bridge takes you behind my house and into my favourite attraction.

Anytime the lights are off, I sit by my window and look across the gutter. There’s a forest of TV antennae sticking from the roughest housing I know. There’s a dusty, fenced park with two wooden, faltering goal posts that displays talent better than our premier league. There’re the loose girls who sit on the boys at Fuseina’s and cackle loudly at jokes I cannot hear from the distance. When I don’t want to think of Okyerewaa, I sit there and distract myself.

Today was a slow evening: the sun had beat us all to submission. Two old men drank quietly at the notorious spot. A pretty girl bathed her little sister in a basin in front of their house. I panned to the left. The park. Six boys sat on benches near the imaginary touchline, bored as I was. Perhaps the blackout had driven them out too.

A dog strayed into the park. A seventh boy, barely ten from his height and manner, closed the park’s gate. He stayed outside.

The boys inside the park stirred to life. It was then I noticed two of the oldest playing with two large sticks. What conversation they were having grew more animated.

One boy broke from the group and walked toward the nearer goal post. I did not notice when he picked up the stone. He had already broken into a light run. Then he stopped and turned to his friends, like he was about to say something. He spun and flung the rock hard as he could. It struck the dog dead on its thigh. The creature howled – I heard it – and broke into a run. The hunter chased after it. He had another stone in hand.

The dog crossed the center line and made for the farther half of the field, edging closer to the touch line. It might have noticed the fence was too high. It made a large arc near the right of the penalty box. The hunter cut across the arc and stopped the hound in its tracks.

The dog barked and bared its teeth. The hunter teased attack, brandished his missile, faked another run to confuse his target. He feigned a run to his right, then threw the second stone with his left. The dog, more agile, sprung toward the missile, which only grazed its back.

The hunter slipped and fell in the sand. His cohorts were roused. Five strong men broke out in two flanks. The eldest held the center. The dog ran down the touch line toward the nearer goal post, howling all the time. The hunters chanted back a vicious chorus as the two youngest ran to meet it head on. They had no sticks, no stones, only intimidating faces and savage grunts.

The two older boys meant to intercept the dog as it tried to get away from the younger boys. The oldest, trotting along with an aura of experience brandished his staff with haughty flair. He was meant to clean up operations when both his flanks failed.

Our fallen hunter meanwhile was busy looking for stones to direct their victim’s run if it didn’t favour the pursuit. The youngest boys charged without care at the dog. It stopped in a cloud of dust, danced this way and that in a moment of confusion, and dashed in the opposite direction, right into the other flank.

Or so I thought.

In a moment of instinctive brilliance our dog made for the gap between both flanks. The nonchalant leader of the gang broke into a run and swung his club once, twice. There was a howl. A human cry. He was floored. His stick flew from his hand and landed worthless a distance from him.

The dog bolted free from the attackers and made for the left corner of the field, towards the farther goal post. There the fence was lower. A few leaps to the end of the run the dog collapsed in a tangle of its own legs, in dust, and with a cry that caught my breath. The fallen hunter spun another stone at an angle. It must have hit the beast right on the spine: after another cry, it stopped moving entirely.

The ten year old who had closed the gate was reaching over the fence, stick in hand. The hunter with the stones gestured to him to get back. Instead, he rushed to the dying dog. He smashed its head in with his stick. I counted all six blows without flinching.

The five boys, dusty from the hunt, walked towards their prize.

My phone vibrated the frame of my bed and pulled me out from the surreal tragedy. I reached for the lit screen like a jewel in the dark, my thoughts alive again with Okyerewaa’s name.

“Homework” by Andrew Teye.

Assembly.
Arms forward stretch. Arms sideways stretch. One logologo line.
Inspection. Neat collar. Clean handkerchief. Let me smell your armpit. White singlet. White socks. Black shoe. Brown shoe. White socks. Black camboo. Brown camboo. White socks. Black sandals. Brown sandals. Where is your badge? Whip-whip-whip!
“God bless our Homeland Ghana.” “I promise on my honour.” “Our Father who art in Heaven.” “And can it be.” “Fairest Lord Jesus.” “We are marching to our classes.”

‘Good Morning Class.’
‘Good Morning Sir.’
‘How are you?’
‘We are fine, thank you. And yooouuu?’
‘Sit down. Where is your homework?’
‘It was too difficult, sir.’ ‘Father left my book in his car boot, sir.’ ‘Father did not sign, sir.’
Teacher banza. Driver banza. Father banza. Whip-whip-whip!

Morning drill.
Students’ companion. Companion of teachers. Foe of students.
Homonyms. Bear. Bear. Bank. Bank. Homophones. Key. Quay. See. Sea. Antonyms. Arrive-Depart. Adore-Despise. Attack-Retreat.
Synonyms. Abandon-Leave-Desert. Astonished-Surprised-Perplexed. Flabbergasted? Whip-whip-whip!
Collections. A bunch of? Bananas! A troupe of? Monkeys! A bouquet of? Err…err. Whip-whip-whip! You monkey!
Mental. Square root of? LCM of? HCF of?  12 Squared plus 5 Squared minus 15 Squared plus 10 Squared minus 2 Squared times zero? Whip-whip-whip!
Break time please!
Auntie please one bread. One meat-pie. One rock buns. One bofroat. Tampico. FanYoghurt. FanChocolate. Fanpop. Fanice…so nice nice nice.
Green Green grasses. Kwaku Ananse Stories. Change your style. Change your style. Be like that. Be like that. Boys play football. Girls play Ampe. Mother jeega nobody!

Break over please!
School Prefect. Compound Prefect. Bell boy. Cupboard Monitor. Blackboard Cleaner. Class Prefect: Sweeping Rooster. Class Prefect: Names of talkatives. Kojo Mensah-DP. Adwoa Mansa-TP. Your head is hard. Your head is hard paa!

Midterm.
Midterm Break. Midterm Holidays. Midterm Homework. English Homework. Maths Homework. Social Studies Homework. Integrated Science Homework. Agricultural Science Homework. Technical Drawing Homework. Catering Homework. Graphic Design Homework. French Homework. Ga Homework. Twi Homework. No-break Midterm. No-holiday Midterm.

 

You like that paa. You too you like that paa! You are someway papa. You too you are someway papa! I won’t say anything. Me I won’t talk. I’m going to come. I’m coming. I’m coming right now okay? Go tear, it is sweet. Herh! Who spoke vernacular? Only English! Speak only English!

Who Fla-tu-lat-ed? Flatulence. Farts. Boys at the back. Maybe girls at the front. Do females fart? Does Queen Elizabeth fart?  Who knows? We never know. Nobody ever knows.
Farts. Silent farts. Loud farts. Smelly farts. Korle Lagoon farts. Lavender Hill farts. Oblogo borla farts.

Mosquito romance. Tease the girls. Chase the boys. Chase him  all around the classroom. Slap him in the back! Pinch his arm! Oh no! There is a teacher! Oh yes! There’s a teacher! Sir, he was teasing me. He was teasing me, Sir. I don’t like that. I do not like that-o. Yoo.

Our day.
Digestive. Hob Nobs. Rich Tea. Shortbread. Coke. Fanta. Sprite. Oh, gimme some of your Malt ehh?
Speakers. Microphone. DJ. Dancing Floor. Dancing Competition. Jams. Who let the dogs out? Wo! Wo! Wo-wo-wo! Oh nananaana! It is our day.

Vacation classes. Vacation classwork. Vacation homework. Home-work. Go home and work.

 

“Mama is in The Box” by Myers Hansen.

Mama is in the box. She is wearing a white dress and a chain. They say she is sleeping but when you call her, she doesn’t wake up. She doesn’t even respond when you shake her.

Yaa doesn’t know how to do hair at all! She only knows how to do a ponytail. And she doesn’t even know how to do it properly. She doesn’t even know how to comb an Afro or tie three balls. She pulls my hair very hard and she says “Sorry, sorry. I won’t do it again.” But she does it again. Look, look at how loose and crooked she has made my hair. And she has hard palms too. When she touches my forehead, it is like she’s scratching it.

I like it better when Mama does my hair. Mama can do the afro and the ponytail far better. Sometimes, she plaits two big horns at the sides of my head and she ties colourful ribbons around them. When she combs my hair, it is painful but not as painful as when Yaa does it. All I have to do is to make a tight fist and the pain will go. As for Yaa, the more I tighten my fist, the more it hurts.

Yaa is our maid. She is tall and fair and very quiet. She doesn’t go to school and her English is very bad. She used to come to our house on weekends to clean the house and wash our clothes. But since Mama became sick, she has come to stay with us. She sleeps in the sitting room. She rolls out a mat in the evening when she wants to sleep and in the morning, she folds it and leans it in the corner under the bookshelf beside the small rubber bag. She keeps her clothes in the rubber bag. She cooks the food and boils Mama’s herbs. She doesn’t eat with us at the dining table; she eats in the kitchen. She sits on a small stool and sets her plate on the floor. Now she does my hair and sometimes, it is she who comes to pick me up from school. Daddy always takes me to school before he goes to work.

Mama doesn’t like Yaa anymore; I don’t know what she did or why Mama’s attitude towards her has changed. Now she calls her “Hɛh” or “Kwɛ”. Even when she screams her name from the bedroom, she says “Hɛh Yaa” or “Kwɛ Yaa”. Mama says not to call anyone aboa. She says Jesus doesn’t like us referring to other people as animals. But when she’s angry at Yaa, she eyes her and calls her aboa. When Yaa says good morning, Mama doesn’t respond, she only waves her left hand at her. Sometimes I watch her when she cries in the kitchen but she doesn’t know that I’m watching her. One day I asked her why she was crying and she said that she wasn’t crying. She wiped her face with the dirty wrapper she had on her waist and smiled.

But Daddy likes Yaa very much. He smiles and says good morning when Yaa greets. He also asks, “How are you doing?” When he returns, he asks her if she has eaten and sometimes he buys her gifts. You see the red blouse Yaa wears now to the market? It was Daddy who bought it for her. Her new sandals too, it was Daddy who bought them. When Daddy gives Yaa something new, she says, “Thank you Daddy. Thank you very much. May God bless you Daddy.” Daddy is not her father but she calls him Daddy. Her Mama and Daddy live in the village.  Daddy said we might visit them this December. I can’t wait.

 

As soon as I get home from school, I run to the bedroom to greet Mama. Sometimes, she’s asleep but I shake her and she wakes up. I sing the songs Auntie Rhoda taught at school that day. She helps me with my homework. She says I’m clever and she wants me to become a lawyer. But I want to become a doctor.

I want to wear a white coat and inject people. I wanted to be a teacher before, like Auntie Rhoda. I wanted to lash all the bad boys who sit at the back and disturb and bully, like Attoh Graham and Quaye Michael. But the last time Daddy and I took Mama to the hospital and I saw a doctor wearing glasses and something around his neck, I just wanted to be a doctor.

Mama knows all the rhymes Auntie Rhoda teaches us so she sings along. Mama can sing oh, she can sing very well. Yaa too can sing, but she doesn’t know rhymes.

Do you know Auntie Fofo? She’s the best aunt in the world.  She visits us often, especially since Mama’s sickness. She brings fruits and herbs for Mama and biscuits for me. Sometimes she brings biscuits for Yaa too.  She has big eyes and big cheeks. She’s fat, but not obolo.  I like her car very much. It’s a Benz. I’ll buy one when I grow up. I love her very much. She calls Daddy Ken and calls Mama Adoley.

On the day of the funeral Auntie Fofo asked me, “Where is Mama?” and I said, “Mama is in the box.” Then she was smiling but tears were flowing from her eyes. She pulled me to her chest and hugged me tightly. I asked her why she was crying and she said she was not crying. I also began to cry and she told me to stop crying but she was still crying.

“What’s in a Name?” by Amanda Olive Amoah.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Right?
Right…?
Wrong!
Rodney found this out the hard way when he broke up with Amanda. His reason? She somehow managed to manipulate him into spending every single second of his life with her! Ah!

Amanda – one who is fit to be loved, lovable. Rodney translates this as someone with the power to hypnotize you into caring about and doing things for them even when you don’t want to; and that’s not very convenient, is it?

He loved Amanda more than he cared to admit, and it scared him silly. People were starting to notice that there was very little he wouldn’t do for her, very little that he wasn’t willing to give up – for her. His friends were calling him otoolege now. He knew they were just envious and yet, it got to him. He couldn’t afford to lose his place as the ‘leader’ in their group. That was the real reason why he broke up with her.

Fast forward to two weeks after the breakup, and enter Esi Belinda. Esi Belinda had a good enough face; he could work with that. Her personality was a bit flat, but surely, he could change that.

The deciding factor was her name combo: Esi-Belinda. Wow! The safest he could have wished for. Esi was simply a girl born on Sunday and Belinda meant beautiful snake. Beautiful snake paaahn?! He had laughed till he had tears in his eyes when he had found that out.

He found snakes disgusting; in his opinion, even the most beautiful snake could not be lovable. He would be safe with this beautiful snake born on Sunday. He would be the man!

The first couple of weeks went great, she cooked for him, washed his clothes; all things that Amanda refused to do.

In the third week, things began to change.

First, he found himself doing her assignments. Next, he was losing sleep because he had to stay up all night, either out with her friends, painting her nails or doing some other activity she had dreamt up. What was all this?! Would he never know any peace?!

That was the build up to him being in Esi Belinda’s hostel one hot Sunday afternoon, but not with her in her room. He was at the back, at the washing area, all alone, sweating half his body weight away. He must have been a sight to behold; a 6 foot 5” “macho man” with charcoal skin bent over a tiny bright pink bucket that his hands seemed to have trouble fitting into. His well-toned abs ,exposed, the racetrack for the drops of sweat that raced to his waistline. Brows furrowed and the tip of his tongue sticking out in concentration, his hands rubbed away at the sudsy contents of the bucket. Satisfied with his work, a small smile tugged at his lips as he squeezed, and then shook out what he had just washed.

And that was how Amanda found him when she click-clacked in her turquoise heels that complemented her form-fitting white church dress to get her towel off the drying line. Tall, sexy Rodney, shirtless body glistening, big smile on his face, holding up the most gigantic, most misshapen granny panty she had ever seen, stretched out between his hands!

“Ei!”, she couldn’t help it. The word jumped out of her throat making him turn sharply.
His face had immediately been wiped clean of the smile and was now contorted in an emotion she couldn’t put a name to. Maybe it was many emotions mashed up into one. She burst out laughing.

Several times he opened and closed his mouth, as though searching for words to explain the situation. He seemed to give up and walked to hang up what he had washed. Struggling to suppress her giggles, she followed him and touched his face.

“I’m sorry.”
He turned his head away from her.
“Rodney, I’m sorry…”
This time, he gave a tiny nod.
“I’m making jollof. It will be ready in 30minutes”

He turned to look at her. A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips.
They both knew he would be at her door before it was ready.

“The Handshake” by Jude Davids.

It is seven-thirty in the morning. Lomotey is strolling out of the house with his bucket; he is going to fetch water. He has a wedding to attend. As he makes his way out through the gate that never closes, he drops the bucket, rotates a full one-hundred-and-eighty degrees on his left foot and is dashing back into the house, “Wɔn mo ba oo! Wɔn mo ba oo!”

He hurriedly opens his front door and disappears behind the closed door. He dashes underneath his bed and covers himself with the blanket that is now covered in bed fluff.

“Okay, sika no nie,” says Senyo outside and bids farewell to the TV license collectors.

“Next time wai.”

As Senyo returns to his room, he puts his face to the window of Lomotey’s room and says, “Lom, they’re gone now; I paid for both of us.” He strolls into his room.

Patrick arrives at the auto-mechanic’s place. The auto-mechanic is not there. He snorts in exasperation.

“Oh, you dey search Aka? E no dey o; e say e go e hometown for funeral. Buh me I see sey de only funeral wey e dey be de one e dey run from – de one give e moni. E know sey de TV license people dey com today so e run,” supplies the shopkeeper who sells nearby.

“I have a flat tyre and he has my spare.”

“Oh Chaaale!!! Den you for wait am. I sure sey e go com by twolve o’clock. Make you wait am. See, make I giv you seat make you wait am,” offers the shopkeeper as he goes to get him the high stool he has by his shop.

“No. I will go and wait for him at home. Please tell him to call me.”

Patrick leaves with his face contorted by exasperation mingled with indignation.

Naa is climbing the stairs to the chapel. Her right leg buckles on her ankle. Her heel is broken. She rushes out to a nearby store to find a replacement.

“Sister, wei deɛ me hu sɛ ɛsɛ sɛ wo kɔ fie o. Wontumi nhyɛ chale wɔtey ne w’atadeɛ wei. Ɛnfata wedding no nso,” says the shopkeeper.

Naa sighs, thanks the lady and finds her way home to replace her broken footwear.

Lomotey emerges from his house dressed in a purple lace top and trousers with matching purple shoes. “Senyo, com see. How I dey look?” he requests.

Senyo peers through his louvers to see the attire. “Well, you look posh. It’s nice. All the best Chale,” furnishes Senyo.

Lomotey departs – through the gate, around the bend and to the bus stop. He stops a taxi and boards it. He arrives at the wedding reception grounds – Naa and Patrick are waiting.

“We’re all late,” both chorus as Lomotey approaches them. They’re about to explain when Lomotey waves it all away. They shake hands. They find a table and sit.

“We picked the wrong table oo,” complains Lomotey. Naa and Patrick nod as they reach the serving table to find that the food is finished though they are not the last in line. As they go back to their table with their soft drinks in hand, they see other tables with plates half-empty. Lomotey frowns; Patrick pats him on his shoulder.

“Cynthia, send us the photos on WhatsApp,” Patrick requests.

It’s two days after the wedding. Patrick and Lomotey send Naa the photos they have just received, both with the caption, “Can you believe it?”

“So I broke my heel just for a handshake?” Naa replies to the photos that show Cynthia’s hand being shaken by her groom during the kiss-the-bride segment of the ceremony.