Adwoa had been observing her husband while he worked his car in the garage. She saw him when he picked the call and how suddenly his countenance fell after that. She tried to guess what the message might be but she couldn’t wrap her mind around anything useful. 'Perhaps it's work-related,' she thought.
She emptied the debris of the beverage into the sink and washed the mug. She is 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 one of her colleagues 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.
Her boss Godwin Mensah had complained about a partnership letter she had shabbily composed two days ago to some Chinese partners. The company's image would have been tainted If it had been delivered without it being proofed. It was replete with typos as though the work was done absentmindedly and yes she was.
Adwoa has been working 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 she broke the news about the car to the husband, he immediately proposed an outing to celebrate it. Their first stop was Frankies at Osu where Kwabena boasted to a waitress, “I am a proud husband.” He ordered a family-size pizza with two bottles of Malta Guinness. He pulled a chair for Adwoa and inched closer to plant five kisses on her lips before she could settle in the chair. 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 evening the two decided on the use of the car. He would drive her to work and pick her home in the evening, they agreed. But this ritual had ceased for the past month since the disagreement begun. Kwabena takes the car to work, leaving Adwoa to either board a taxi or join trotro to work. She had found the whole experience troubling, but she couldn’t bear the trauma of a whining wife.
AngloAkyem is headquartered at Lapaz in Accra and it has been into mining for more than 20 years. The company had a year ago increased its acreage of mining land by 32 in Kyebi but because of some financial difficulties it was faced with, shareholders had directed 10 acres of it to be leased to the Chinese. The company operates in 200 out of 216 districts in Ghana, with a control over at least 200 small scale illegal miners.
Mr Mensah has received several complaints about the destructive activities of the illegal miners, but he hasn't been 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 adjoining communities a package of GHC30,000 for developmental projects and constructed a mechanical borehole each for two communities - Kyebi and Oda. Adwoa’s work doesn’t involve going to the field, so she is shielded from the destructive activities of the company.
The challenges Adwoa has been facing at home are affecting her relationship. She couldn’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 she picked it when it rang for the third time.
With a shaky voice that sounded rusty 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 did you get 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, masking her true state.
'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. She returned within minutes to dress for work. She put on dirty blue jeans and wore the company’s wine-colour T-shirt. She reached for her handbag and went out.
Pope rushed to her when she came out from the room. It circled her and licked her feet. “Stop Pope...stop,” she screamed punching the air below Pope with her legs. It tried to climb her, but she moved backward landing it on the ground.
'Stop, stop,' she said for the last time, kicking it in the rib with her left foot and within minutes Pope was down violently gasping for air. It barked at the figure whose hands had fed it yesterday. It appeared it was running short of oxygen.
Adwoa ignored it, 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 went to the States after completing the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), 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 has since been loyal and has been protective of the family.
The one thing Francisca does remember about his relationship with Kwabena was the way it ended. It shocked him and I believe she was equally shocked. 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 could 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 by then 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 asking for sex as a way to stoke their love, but Adwoa would turn him down all the time. '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 from the previous relationship.
Adwoa had been standing by the roadside for close to 10 minutes yet no car had shown up. The rain has started showering mildly and she realised she has to hurry to get to the office. As she bent to check 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. 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.'
A swarm of rain had gathered on her head, 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.
Those who didn't read the first episode should click on this link: Short story: Living with an enemy called wife Please send your comments to the email address below.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are the Author's and do not necessarily reflect the position of management of Multimedia or Myjoyonline.com. The writer Austin Brakopowers works as a journalist at Joy99.7FM and could be reached via Brakomen@outlook.com or www.brakopowers.com