My Evening of Faded Romance
The two concepts, love and romance, have never agreed on what the world should look like, even in the days when I had come so close to seeing one. They have always presented themselves as weird puzzles that failed to discover life.
I was born in the Western Region of Ghana, to parents who divorced when I was only three years. I have since lived a life that unsettles my world of romance, presenting itself as though nothing get done when love shows up, or maybe everything shows up when romance is gone – pitching my world against my parents.
I have ever walked in the streets of gold. I have lived where kings have been born. There were times when I had chocolate dreams, and in some cases I had flaunted my cheeks as though nothing could be planted on them. In the end, I had always woke up to that same dream, always discovering that I lived in that same Takoradi Bank lane, where I had always lived with grand mum, and where the same customers waited for me to sell to them the toffees, the chew gums, from the same shop that gave us income, and I had always woke up to the washing of the same dishes that made me pain.
As a Takoradi girl, I have travelled the same road as many did, of walking long distances to attend school, and of being told how miserable my parents had become, same as how miserable I mirrored the world.
Living home was therefore a dream that took longer than the years it took. But leaving home finally came. School was done. The National Service man had done his postings. Posted to the Central Region where no one will visit, and where no one will look for me. At long last, freedom has come.
Living my dream of leaving home was a long cherished dream that finally came – grand mum will not tell me how bad my parents were. I will no longer fear myself, leaving behind the risks of having an unlikely privacy. It was the first time when I had obtained for myself a true independence, and it was the first time that I looked back on life, and I said…regardless.
The trappings of National Service was fairly present; the daily love overtures that came from the streets of life, from boxers, high jumpers, pastors who took a share of me through unyielding embrace, and the many who took pictures of my world in their hearts, they all made their tours of what I had seen as the beginning of what broke my parents apart.
In the process I broke my heart. I mended it, and gave it back to those who broke it. In the end I discovered I had discovered something that I should not have discovered – a world of never endings.
My exception has been Kofi. He is the person I have hated, and still hate, the most, but at the same time he is one person I have, lately, spent most of my private life with; getting intimate, losing intimacy, rejecting intimacy, inviting intimacy, have all become part of our never-ending drama as we travelled in our uncertain world, of laughter, of excitement, and of a faded hope of ever getting to know who is it that we have discovered.
So when he broke the news to me, I got it, but I rejected its impact. It could never have been true, that I heard it from him, or could it be one of his surprises, or that the Takoradi dream had followed me to the land where no one knew me?
Kofi had picked me up in the evening, for a dinner with him, in a somewhat hideout restaurant. We had had a good fight in the previous week, so I had not expected his presence in my face. He showed up, and as usual, I did not say no. Clothed in one of his usual buttoned slim fit shirts, I refused to look his way as we drove into the meandering bush road.
As we entered the restaurant, it felt different, for, the few people present seemed to have folded themselves into love pairs, each pair in their one corner bi, in the garden that never was. It felt confusing, as I wondered whether we were also going to fold ourselves into one of the empty summer hut corners, or we were ready to fight over why we should not have found ourselves together in the first place.
The waitress walked to us, as Kofi ushered me into my seat. It had been six months since I rejected his proposal to love me. But we had kept together in what looked more of ourselves than the one that was rejected.
As usual Kofi took a few jokes with the waitress, as he set the scene for the bar lady. He ordered for his usual high content alcoholic gin, while I took a chance at a sparkling cocktail.
As we sat in an irregular silence, in the colors of the night, and in a gradually lowering human tone, listening to love songs poured their ways into our stare, Kofi sparked a light in his eyes, and followed it with a retort “Ekua, remind me to tell you something”.
Kofi was unusually excited, and seem not to have been too bothered about the previous fight we have had. The garden lights were on, not too lit, but good enough to see his eyes glow, and to wonder what he was up to.
Without allowing time to fade, he continued “Ekua, I have been working on something, it’s an international project, and I have put your name there as my PA”.
As I sat in my seat, it felt as though the seat had left me, or rather I felt as though I had left the seat, as I fought back to prevent spewing my drink onto his light blue shirt. And as he continued to explain himself, I wondered along what a beautiful world flowers could bring our way.
As it all began to make sense, and as the evening faded itself into a colder feel, I reminded myself of the divorce that came, and the beauty of hating the guy seated right in front of me – the same day, carefully considered, the same light, all faded back into me.
Rebecca Ekua Asante