“An Occurrence In The Dadzie Home” by Kojo Nyatepe.

Mrs. Dadzie was first on the scene. Her first reaction was to gasp and then cover her mouth immediately. She turned around and darted into the bedroom to call her husband.

“Come! Come…quickly Fii, come,” she tried to keep her voice down as she hopped excitedly on the woollen carpet.

“What is it this time?” Fiifi Dadzie asked with an air of nonchalance. His eyes remained fixed on his computer screen, punching away a bit more calmly, now that he was being interrupted.

“Ohhh… Just come. You too, you can be someway papa! Just come,” Dzifa Dadzie said, almost pleading.

Fiifi sighed and shifted in his seat. He pushed away the swivel-chair with his backside and stood. He leaned back and stretched. He was definitely going to take his time with this walk to wherever. He knew Dzifa and her drab surprises all too well.

Dzifa tutted. “Where is your phone? We need to video this!”

“Video what?” Fiifi replied, with a loud yawn as he withdrew his phone from his pocket. He handed it over to her.

She ignored the phone, grabbed his arm and yanked him out of the room. He had to hold on to his loose flannel underwear with his free hand.

They finally reached the living room, and as they neared the dining hall, Dzifa paused abruptly, excitedly did a little hop and jiggle, and finally pointed at the dinner table. Fiifi gaped at the scene.

Sitting astride the table, holding a plastic finger of banana in one hand and a plastic apple in the other hand, was the latest inclusion to their family; Maabena Dadzie.

“How did she-” Fiifi started, but was silenced by his wife’s covering his mouth with palm.
“Shh..I have no idea,” she whispered.

One year old Maabena sat oblivious of her dear parents’ stares of amazement. To any untrained pair of eyes which could have chanced upon the scene, she would seem to have been making an aesthetic judgement of the two fake fruits she had picked from the decorative basket on the dinner table. To Mr. and Mrs. Dadzie, they knew she would push either replica to her mouth in a split second.

“Hurry … take a pic,” Dzifa nudged Fiifi in the ribs.

“No…video first,” he replied with a soft giggle. He set up his camera presently and zoomed in.

By this time, Maabena had seemingly made up her mind. Her grimace cleared from her tiny baby face. It was replaced immediately with a wide smile and a soft giggle. Before her parents had a chance to stifle their loud chuckles, she pushed both fake fruits to her lips and began to nibble away. Still under the watch of her parents and the smart phone camera, she nibbled and nibbled and nibbled at the plastic. She continued this way for a minute or two more till the realization hit her toddler mind; these fruits would not be munched! She withdrew them from her lips. An even stronger grimace appeared on her face. Then, she turned, and met eyes with her parents.

Her eyes lit up immediately. She reached with her tiny arms, presenting the fruits to them. And then, she did something else; Something Fiifi and Dzifa Dadzie would show to their friends and family for weeks. Maabena shouted to her parents in discernible language for the first time ever, “Fooooooooodd!!!”

Before Fiifi could catch his breath or Dzifa could wipe off the first streak of a tear drop, little Maabena slammed the plastic fruits back into the basket on the dinner table and let out a blood-curdling scream. They bumped into each other as they rushed to cuddle her.

“Every Other Night” by Kojo Nyatepe.

Every other night I would escape the shouting. I would find a safe and quiet spot  in the corridor, place my little sketchbook on the hard floor and begin to draw. I would draw out the wedding, as Mother fondly described it. I would draw her in that elegant kaba and slit hanging in her wardrobe. Then I would draw Father too, in his golden kente cloth, shining like a true royal. I would draw them sealing their love with a kiss … every other night.

Last night was good and bad. I think I drew my best picture last night. That was a good thing,I suppose. Somehow I did not feel so good about it. But like I said, last night was also bad. The shouting was louder. The words were more offensive. I heard father use words he had warned me never to use. I heard mother talk back in tones she had advised me not to speak in.

Did I already say that last night was good? That I drew my best picture by far? You should see it! I finally etched the right pattern for Father’s kente and I shaded tiny roses on Mother’s kaba. Then I drew something else. I drew Father hitting Mother.

But wait! Did I not tell you last night was bad? Well yes, it was bad. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I should not have drawn Father hitting Mother. The policemen took the picture I drew, you see. They showed it to Father. Father was crying, but they took him away. I think I made Father cry. The ambulance came for Mother too. Maybe it was all my fault. I should have drawn the same picture, every other night.