The stranger pauses and sits very still. Everybody in the garden is silent, listening with bated breaths. Akua is sitting straight, her face registering her shock. This is the very first time she is hearing about Dede Naar. In all the ten years that she has been married to Kwabena, he has never once mentioned her.
She looks at her husband, and sees that Kwabena’s eyes are downcast, and his shoulders seem very heavy.
For two years Dede Naar used the little profit she earned from selling waakye to take care of the man she loved so much! She had to work extra hard, you know, just to make ends meet. It wasn’t Kwabena alone. His mother also had diabetes, and needed insulin all the time. Kwabena couldn’t afford it. But Dede always bought the medicine for her and took care of her medical needs. Dede’s own mother was in the village, also weak, but she didn’t take care of her mother as much as she did Kwabena’s mother.
Dede managed to rent a single-room self-contained house. When Kwabena couldn’t pay the rent for his mother and they were ejected, Dede conveniently allowed them to stay with her. She used a partition to separate the room so that Kwabena’s mother, OBAAPA TAKYIWAA, could occupy half. And then, one afternoon, when Dede was out of the house selling waakye to make enough to feed them, they had a visitor. It was Tutu Dompreh!
Kwabena is outside, morose and unhappy. In his hand is another letter informing him that he has been, yet again, unsuccessful in the job interview he had attended a few weeks ago. Suddenly one of his friends appears in the yard. His name is MINTAH KWAO.
Hey, Kobby, you have a visitor! Kobby looks up, and then he gasps with absolute shock, the paper dropping from his hand, his eyes bulging.
Daddy? Is that you, Daddy?
Tutu Dompreh is running forward as tears fall down his face.
Kobby, Kobby, my son!
Father and son embrace tightly, and begin to weep with emotions. The door opens, and Obaapa Takyiwaa, looking weak and frail, stands in the doorway.
Tutu? Oh, dear God! I must be going mad! Is that you, dearest husband!
Tutu Dompreh approaches his wife and holds out his arms.
Yes, yes, my darling! How you must have suffered! I’ve been released, dear! They found out the truth, and the Government is now convinced I did no wrong! My properties have been unfrozen! My contract is renewed! Oh, how you must have suffered these past ten years! Come, let’s go home!
Dede Naar, tired and totally weary, comes home later in the afternoon. She has passed through the market to buy some ingredients for the next day’s waakye, and she is in a hurry to prepare some food for her darling Kobby and his mother. But there is no one home! She is scared. She fears something bad might have happened to Kobby’s mother! She is going round, asking neighbours if they have seen them, when she meets Mintah Kwao.
Dede, are you sure of what you’re asking me? You don’t know where Kobby is?
Mintah, please don’t draw my ire this afternoon, I beg of you! I can’t find them! Do you know where they’ve gone to?
Kobby is indeed wicked, heerh! I just can’t believe this! Don’t worry, my dear. It seems his father was released from prison and he came looking for them. He brought a huge car and parked it on the football field because it couldn’t come through here. I led him here and showed him where Kobby and his mom were. They left. He took them away!
Oh, that’s very good news! I understand now! Oh, I’m so excited! Finally, I’m going to see my father-in-law! Yes, Kobby will come for me, and we’ll be a family!
She heads back to her room, all excited, and Mintah looks after her with mixed feelings.
Kwabena does not come back that day, nor the next, nor the next. The light slowly dies from Dede’s eyes. She becomes like an automaton, going through the process of living! Her heart is broken, and she cries herself to sleep each day. She doesn’t have a phone, and does not know where to find him.
Finally, three weeks later, she is busily packing up the utensils after selling her waakye, when a sleek car pulls up in front of the tree under which she sells her waakye. The driver’s door opens, and Kwabena steps out. For a moment Dede cannot recognize him. He is looking really dapper in a white T-shirt, black jeans, white Jordan sneakers, glasses and ornaments. It is only when he begins to walk towards her, that Dede finally recognizes him. She runs to him and embraces him fiercely.
Kobby, Kobby, Kobby! My love! Don’t ever do this to me! You almost killed me, my love! Kobby squeezes her and kisses her hard.
I’m so sorry, my love! Please forgive me! Things have been very hectic! My father came back and I had to do a lot of things, but I’m okay now. Please forgive me! I’ve come to take you home to meet my father!
Dede is in a dreamland! She simply cannot believe it! She packs her stuff into the boot of the car, and Kwabena takes her home. She takes a long bath, changes into a simple but lovely dress, and then Kwabena takes her to his house. She is sitting in the gigantic living-room when Obaapa enters. The woman draws Dede into a warm embrace.
My dearest! Dede, God has finally shown us mercy! Welcome to your new home, my daughter! They are laughing happily when Tutu enters.
Daddy, meet Dede, the lady I’ve been telling you about. Tutu hesitates with a slight frown on his face, and then he speaks in English to Dede. Dede simply stands there with fear in her eyes. She replies in the Akan dialect.
Please, sir, I don’t understand. I lost my father very early in life, and my mother couldn’t afford my school fees, so I couldn’t continue with my education. However, I have a big heart, and it is filled with only love for your son.
Tutu looks at his son, incredulous, and speaks in English rapidly.
Goodness me, Kobby! Have you lost your senses? Of all the women in the university, you chose to bypass all of them and chose this utter moron? You truly want this illiterate garbage to be your wife?