Akua looks longingly at the pistol, and then at the door. She had bought and licensed it not long ago with the help of a friend. She had explained that it is meant for robbers and self- defence. She had purchased it at a time she had been feeling very suicidal. And she is still feeling suicidal! She can end it all now! She can put a stop to her pain right now. All it will take is the gun.
She can sit in the bath, put the cocked gun into her mouth or press it against her temple and gently squeeze the trigger. Akua reaches for the gun, but as soon as her hand touches it she gasps and withdraws her hand. She pushes the drawer shut and locks it. She sits there weeping bitterly for a while.
Oh, my God, Lord! You’re all I have! Why won’t you just help me out here, my Lord? But unto you I give all my troubles, Lord! Your will, and not mine be done! In all things, even in my great affliction, I give you the praise and the thanks and the honour!
Akua finally stands up and enters the bathroom. She takes a long shower, and goes to bed. But sleep will not come. She takes the phone and calls Kwabena’s number again, but he has switched off the phone. She walks to the window and looks out across their beautiful lawn, and sees him through the window of one of the bedrooms of the Boys’ Quarters.
He is stretching, and after that he sits down on the bed and lies down. A moment later the light goes off, and Akua knows immediately that her husband is going to spend the night at the Boys Quarters as he awaits the arrival of the woman he had cheated on Akua with, and the son that has resulted from that act of adultery.
Akua turns away sharply. She opens the drawer again, and this time she picks up the heavy pistol lying in there. She lies down on the bed and puts the tip of the barrel into her mouth, and a few minutes later she takes it out and presses it against her left temple, and her finger curls around the trigger.
A moment later she takes it off, and puts it under a pillow. She coils herself into a foetal position and weeps bitterly. Thankfully, Akua Dompreh falls asleep not long after that. And she dreams again of that bearded stranger in a black suit and white shirt taking her hand and leading her through the blinding storm.
The next day KWABENA DOMPREH, looking resplendent and handsome in his nicely-designed all-white attire, enters the bedroom and sees Akua sitting morosely at the dressing- table. He scowls as he locks a chain around his neck.
C’mon, Akua! What are you waiting for? The programme is at ten! We’re running late! Let’s go!
Akua turns a tortured face to him, and she tries to smile.
Darling, why don’t you go? Tell them I’m not feeling well.
We’ve already talked about this, Akua. What’s this? I told you my father wants to discuss something with us. We need to be there!
What can your father have to discuss, darling, except me being barren and he looking for his grand-children? You know how he gets whenever there’s a function like this, especially a naming ceremony!
Kwabena sighs and grits his teeth, and then he smiles tightly.
I don’t think he’ll do that this time, dear. I spoke to him. Everything is okay. Come, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m waiting for you in the car.
He turns and leaves the room. Akua stares at her reflection for a long time in the mirror, and then she sighs miserably. She stands up and heads for the door, and then she pauses. She takes a deep shuddering breath, and then she turns, walks to the dressing-table, opens the drawer, takes the loaded pistol, and drops it into her handbag.
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When they arrive at the breath-taking house of TUTU DOMPREH, her father-in-law, she sees that there are a lot of cars around. Many people have come to grace the occasion, as usual. Those ceremonies are usually carried out in the incredible backyard of the edifice that is Tutu’s home; the backyard is also a lovely garden artistically crafted. The flowers are lush and well-tended, the lawn so green that it hurts the eye.
There are replica figurines of exotic animals around the garden, done with stunning accuracy so that at first sight it appears to visitors that they are actually looking at a live lion, or tiger or a rhino!
There are white tents erected, and under them are comfortable cushion chairs. On a raised white podium is the head table. Mouth-watering food, tables and a delectable bar with assorted drinks complete the magnificent set-up.
It reminds Akua painfully of how it would have been if she had been able to give birth. There are a lot of people around, and soon Akua is drawn into a conversation with some of the family members she has not seen in a long while.
Kwabena’s mother died just after Akua’s marriage. She had been Akua’s ally, and she misses her so much!
Presently the handsome, middle-aged Tutu Dompreh appears. He is in a beautiful kente cloth, thrown majestically across one shoulder. Chains, gold bracelets, a stunning Rolex and expensive ahenemma sandals complete his apparel. He is the Chairman for the occasion, and so he sits on the middle chair at the high table, picks up the microphone, and begins calling guests to sit with him.
First he calls Kuukua, who has given birth and being honoured, and her husband. He then calls Kuukua’s parents and her husband’s parents. He calls the Clan Head of the family, an aged man, and then he finally calls Kwabena. Each person that is called is received with applause and laughter. Kwabena stands up and looks at Akua.
Come on, Akua, let’s go.
Akua looks up at her husband and shakes her head once.
He hasn’t called me, Kwabena.
Stop being childish, Akua! Of course there are two seats left, for you and me. Come, let’s go.
Akua stares at her husband for a moment, and then she gets to her feet. That is when her father-in-law’s voice arrests her.
And where does that barren woman thinks she is going? I don’t remember mentioning your name, so you better sit down!
Akua feels dazed. For one horrible moment she almost keels over with the force of the humiliation, shock and pain, but with a herculean effort she slowly lowers herself back into her seat.