Adwoa had been observing her husband while he worked his car in the garage. She had seen his countenance fell after he took the call, but couldn’t tell what the message was. She didn’t bother herself to know.
She emptied the debris of the beverage into the sink and washed the mug. She was aware her attitude towards work lately in the office has changed and this has led to torrents of questions being asked by her colleagues.
Yesterday Serwaa had asked her if she was fine after she refused to answer the office phone that rang continuously. “I’m fine, just minor headache,” she lied, rubbing her head as emphasis.
Her boss Godwin Mensah had complained about a partnership letter for some Chinese partners she shabbily composed two days ago. If it had been delivered without it being proofed, it would have tainted the company’s image. It was replete with typos as though the work was done absentmindedly.
Adwoa has been with AngloAkyem Mining Company for 10 years since completing the university and had risen through the ranks with her stellar performance. She had been adjudged the ‘Most Hardworking Employee of the Year’ three years on a roll. At the last award ceremony, she was presented with a black Kia Picanto for her loyalty to the company.
When Adwoa broke the news about the car to her husband, as soon as she got home, he proposed they go out to celebrate. Their first stop was Frankies at Osu where Kwabena boasted to a waitress, “I am a proud husband.” He ordered a family sized pizza with two bottles of Malta Guinness. He pulled a chair for her and planted five kisses on her lips before she could sit down. A man quarrelling with his girlfriend three tables away had his attention stolen by the scene. His woman was fidgeting with her phone while he lectured her.
The next day Kwabena went for the car because Adwoa had no driving experience to bring it by herself. That night they decided on the use of the car. He would drive her to work and pick her home in the evening. But this ritual has ceased for the past month when the disagreement begun. Kwabena takes the car to work, leaving Adwoa to either board taxi or join trotro to work. She had found the whole experience troubling, but she couldn’t bear the trauma of complaints.
AngloAkyem is located at Lapaz in Accra and had a year ago increased its acreage of mining land by 32 in Kyebi. But because of some financial difficulties the company is faced with, shareholders had directed 10 acres of it to be leased to the Chinese. The company mines in 200 out of 216 districts in Ghana, with a control over some 200 small scale illegal miners.
Mr Mensah has been receiving complaints about the destructive activities of the miners but he has not bothered because of the financial benefits the company is getting. When the company was sued five years ago for polluting the Brim River that serves several communities in the Eastern Region, he opted for an out of court settlement. He offered the community a package of GHC30,000 for developmental projects and constructed a mechanical borehole for two communities. Adwoa’s work doesn’t involve going to the field. She’s based at the headquarters where she offers secretarial services, so she is shielded from the destructive activities of her company.
The challenges Adwoa is facing at home are affecting her relationship. She can’t remember when last she phoned her parents or siblings. That’s a sharp departure from her once-in-two-days-phone-call ritual.
Her Infinix phone rang in the bedroom and she rushed in to pick it. It was her mother Alice Darkwaa who had called to check up on her. She lifted the phone but watched it as it rang and stopped. It rang for the second time and she didn’t pick either, but picked it on the third ring.
With a shaky voice she said, “Hello mum.” It was faint and short as though she had just survived a boxing bout with a ferocious opponent. She cleared her throat. “Hello mum.”
“Adwoa why have you got us worried?” her mother inquired. “I haven’t heard from you for the past week and you don’t pick my calls,” she said with an impatience of a high school teacher.
“I’m fine mum. Is everything okay at your end?” she cut in smartly.
“We were all worried, but I am happy you are doing great. Everyone is fine as well,” her mother said. “Are you at work yet?”
“I’m almost ready for work mum. Is there anything you want me to…,” she didn’t complete her statement before her mum interrupted.
“I’ve got something I want us to discuss. Please let’s talk when you return from work,” she said.
Adwoa hanged up and made way to the bathroom to shower. The time was 8:15 a.m. and she would have to get to the office by 9:00 a.m. Within minutes she was back to the bedroom to dress for work. She put on dirty blue jeans and wore the company’s T-shirt on top. She reached for her handbag and went out.
Pope rushed to her when she came out from the room. He circled her and licked her feet. “Stop Pope…stop,” she screamed punching the air with her legs. Pope tried to climb her but she withdrew and he bounced on the ground.
“Stop, stop,” she said and kicked him in the rib and within minutes Pope was down violently gasping for air and barking. It appeared he was running short of oxygen.
Adwoa ignored him, locked the door and went to the roadside to board a car to work.
Pope was a present from Kwabena’s ex-girlfriend Francisca Boateng who works at the Google office in Missouri in the United States. She left for the US after completing the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology but when she heard Kwabena was getting married to Adwoa, whom she doesn’t know, she decided to gift him the Australian Cattle dog. It is an extremely intelligent, active and sturdy dog breed. It is loyal and has been protective of its family.
The one thing Francisca remembers about his relationship with Kwabena was the way it ended. It shocked him. She jilted him after she met a rich Liberian engineer Ricky Roberts at a friend’s wedding at Odorkor. Ricky is good looking, sweet talking, tall, broad shoulders and masculine. He has gazelle-like eyes that make you feel he can see every part of your body. She was attracted to Ricky and he proposed marriage to her on the same day.
Kwabena had then completed the university and was struggling to look for a sustainable job. He threw fit when Francisca told him to move on with his life without her.
“So you’re leaving me for a guy you barely know,” he said. “I know you will regret this decision and you will wish for a comeback in the future but it will be late.”
When she presented the puppy to Kwabena at the wedding reception, she told him to name it Pope – a name they had planned to give to their first son. They had grand plans – buy their own mansion, go on vacation in Miami, give birth to their children in the US and not Ghana, braid the hair of their sons and raise some of them to be footballers – but all were to fizzle out at the demise of the relationship.
Kwabena was to find solace in Adwoa whom she met outside University of Ghana’s School of Performing Arts. She was then in her third year when they met. It was minutes after she had quarrelled with her boyfriend over sex at the university main entrance. Michael Opoku had been demanding for sex as a way of stoking their love but everytime Adwoa would turn him down. “What’s love without sex?” he would ask after the rejection. That day he was tired of everything, so he quit the relationship. But Adwoa’s countenance wore no disappointment when he saw Kwabena in the company of his friend Eugene Owusu. It was as though she was unruffled by the event.
Kwabena approached her and introduced himself. “I’m Kwabena Bening,” he said. “May I know your name?” She scanned his face and took in the image of Eugene. They looked friendly.
“I am Adwoa Bruce,” she said.
They explored the background of each other and exchanged contact details. After Kwabena proposed to her, it took two days before she accepted it. This was after she had nursed her disappointment and hurt with the previous relationship.
Adwoa has been standing by the roadside for close to 10 minutes and no car has shown up. The rain has started showering mildly and she has to hurry to get to the office. As she checked the time, a black Nissan Pathfinder pulled over and the driver in his 30s rolled down the glass. With his large head, framed by long prominent ears and aviator-style glasses, he waved to Adwoa to come over. She dismissed it and looked the other way. She saw a taxi heading towards her but it whisked past her. The rain had given a hint that it would be violent within the next few minutes and the driver was still calling her.
When she realised she was getting wet, she hurriedly walked to the car. “Good morning.”
“Where are you going fine girl?” the driver asked, beckoning Adwoa to sit down. “I am going to Lapaz, but I will drop you off wherever you’re going.”
Swarm of rain had gathered on her head and forehead, so she reached for a white handkerchief inside her bag and mopped them softly. “I am on the same route. Thank you sir,” she said, taking the front seat.
The inside of the car smelled good. She sucked in more air, inspected the backseat and buckled the seat belt. The driver turned on the car and drove off.