There is a very pregnant silence in the garden as all eyes swing to Akua, and she fights back the tears desperately. Kwabena looks at his father with embarrassment and there is anger in his eyes for a moment.
Sorry, Akua. I wasn’t expecting that.
It’s okay, love. Go on, don’t keep them waiting.
Kwabena hesitates for a moment, and then he turns and walks up to the podium and takes his seat.
And now, for our final special guest. I call the mother of my grandson, the sweetest woman with a fertile womb, the woman who is going to fill my house with joy and happiness, Baaba Brooks!
Akua does not utter a sound as Baaba stands up from the front row and begins to walk towards the podium, dressed in white and smiling with joy as she holds her son. There is applause, and there are happy catcalls.
The tears are like hot coals that fall down Akua’s cheeks. In a haze she sees Baaba sitting beside Kwabena, smiling. Kwabena leans forward and takes the little boy, who has been named Tutu Dompreh in honour of his grandfather. The little boy is giggling happily as he grabs Kwabena’s ears. Kwabena laughs and puts an arm around Baaba’s shoulder.
Akua, sitting all alone, cannot take it anymore. She is aware of some of the guests casting sympathetic glances at her. Her hand tightens on the gun lying inside her handbag. She cannot take it! Death is preferable! She is going to end it all, and they will be free to have their family! She stands up quickly, and then she sees that a tall man has come to stand behind the chair Kwabena had been sitting on before he was called. At the sight of him Akua gasps with absolute shock, her whole body going numb! The man is in a black suit, a white shirt and matching black tie. He is wearing a black fedora, and he has a shock of thick side-burns, huge moustache, and a great beard.
He is wearing huge brownish glasses, and his penetrating eyes are fixed unblinkingly on Akua.
It is the man she has been seeing in her recent dreams, the man who takes her hand and leads her through the blizzard to the sweet garden! The same man!
Akua closes her eyes tightly and opens them again, thinking the man is a mirage, an extension of her tortured mind. But he is there, physically, unmoving.
She reaches out with a trembling right hand and touches his arm, and feels the hard flesh underneath, and then she withdraws her hand with a gasp! The man is real! He is really here!
Sit down, Akua.
Trembling, wondering, amazed and shocked, Akua Dompreh sinks back down slowly into her seat. The tall, bearded stranger sits down in the other chair, extends his long legs, and then looks up there at the podium.
(voice trembling hard)
W-who a-are… y-y-you pl-pl-please? I s-s-saw you in m-m- my… dreams!
The man removes his glasses and looks at Akua with fierce eyes.
You disappoint me, woman! You disappoint me sorely! You will betray God by killing yourself? Have you ever read the story of Sarah, of Hannah, of Job? Shame on you, Akua! Big shame on you! Now give me the gun! He extends his hand under the table. Akua begins to cry, but this time it is not with pain.
She remembers what Pastor Addo has said: Keep calm, Akua… God is going to send a stranger to you, a stranger who will show you a beautiful beginning filled with happiness…
Akua takes the gun from her handbag and gives it to the stranger who quickly removes the bullet clip and puts it and the gun inside the side pockets of his coat.
Akua smiles then, because somehow her pain is gone, and she sits through the rest of the programme, and even though her father-in-law casts insinuations and veiled insults at her throughout the programme, she does not really care. She knows that God is still in control of her life!
Soon the naming ceremony is over. The baby’s name is NHYIRABA YAW TUTU ACHEAMPONG. Tutu’s name has found its way there again, and this pleases him very much. He takes the microphone when the Clan Head sits down after naming the boy, amidst shouts and applause from the crowd.
Are we not happy? Is this not simply beautiful and lovely? Is it not honourable? The young ladies here must take a cue from this! Stop abusing your beauty! You think you’re beautiful and have great bodies, and so you slut away your bodies for money, committing abortion after abortion, and when a young innocent man finally marries you, you become useless barren women who fill your homes with sadness! Once again absolute silence reigns as all eyes turn to Akua.
Kwabena leans across the table and speaks to his father.
Don’t ‘Daddy please’ me, Kobby! I have money, I want to have grand-children, but the woman you married is useless! She’s barren! Baaba here has given you a son to carry my name! You’re going to marry Baaba, do you hear, son? She’s going to be your wife too! She can give me my grand-children, and Akua can continue spending money and being her best useless self! She’s probably committed so many abortions that she doesn’t even have a womb anymore! This should serve as a lesson to any unmarried woman here! His voice, amplified by the microphone, fills the whole garden.
Akua feels the agony and pain again, and tries to stand up, but the stranger reaches out and holds her shoulder, keeping her seated.
That’s my cue, I think.