Boat, neatly-dressed, was at Esenam’s door ringing the bell. Esenam came out in a lovely dress beaming with smiles. Boat planted kisses on her cheeks and mouth. He held her by the hand and led her to the car. He opened the car door for his queen to get in and hurried to the driver side of the car. He secured his seat-belt and urged Esenam to do same.
“You look very distinguished, my lady.”
“Thank you, my king. You look perfect too.” Boat turned the ignition and moved the car forward leisurely. Esenam was a little nervous. Boat arrived at his mom’s after cruising for close to an hour. They were ushered in by his cousin who had lived with them since he was five. Boat considered him a brother. Boat’s mom, Mama May-Glory joined them in the living room shortly. They exchanged pleasantries and moved to the dining- room. They were joined by a young lady and the young man who ushered them in.
“Before we get busy with food, I would like to officially introduce my bride-to-be to you. I proposed to Esenam and she did me the honour by saying yes. We are thinking of getting married on her birthday which is a few months away. Esenam, this is my sister Janelle and my cousin Kweku. As for my mom, you are already acquainted.”
“Pleased to meet you all. Actually, your sister and I are acquainted too.”
“Really? How was that? ” Boat questioned.
“I met her in your house when I went looking for you that time you went missing for some days.”
“How come you never mentioned it?”
“Actually, there was nothing to tell. I was very rude to her. I was very tired from the journey from Kumasi. I got in after midnight so I didn’t want mom to freak out. I decided to pass the night at your place. You were not home but I still had my key and let myself in. I was sleeping when she showed up looking for you. I know I behaved badly, do forgive me. Anyway, how do you know my brother is the man for you?”
“Janelle, stop it right this minute. She is not here for a job interview. Let’s eat before the food gets cold. We will have time for chit chats when we are done. ” Mama. May- Glory intoned.
Dinner was served and they ate in silence but for the occasional questions from the two teenagers at the table. They all retired to the garden after dinner. It was a beautiful garden by all standards. They sat under the oval summer hut in the garden. The sweet smell from the flowers were welcoming indeed.
“Are you two compatible?” Boat’s mom asked. Boat and Esenam exchanged worried looks, both startled by the question.
“Don’t get me wrong, I need to know that you two can live together. There will be differences that will only manifest when you live under one roof and I want assurance that you are both ready to accept each other’s shortcomings, failures, mistakes and all the unpleasant situations that may arise when you are man and wife.”
“We are cool, mom. There’s no cause to fret. We are both aware we come from different backgrounds and upbringing. We know there will be problems as we move along and are ready to give it our best and stay together.” Boat explains.
“I need to prompt you because if someone had asked me these questions things would have been very different for me. Your Dad and I attended the same church with our parents. It was revealed through a prophesy that manifested during one of our powerful conventions that we are united as man and wife. He was from a good home and was quite a gentleman so it was easy to fall for him. I thought the love I felt for him was enough to carry us through. He wasn’t the type that wore his feelings on his sleeve so it was hard to tell what he really felt. When we got married and started living together, things were quite different. He had a terrible temper and i had no clue because we didn’t court for long. We started arguing over very trivial issues and drifted apart eventually but it was too late to do anything about it. I found out I was pregnant with you when I finally decided to end it. My parents convinced me to stay at least until you were born. Things changed a bit after your birth so I stayed. I found myself pregnant a second time two years later and the nightmare began. There were some complications with the pregnancy so the doctor asked that we abstain from sexual activity until the baby was born. He started cheating and mishandled me every time I dared complained. That proved to me that we were not compatible right from the beginning. I know my son has a bit of a temper too, so I have to be worried, you know.”
“I know you mean well, Mom. I’m aware of Boat’s temper but I believe the love and respect we share between us surpasses all. I know he will never hurt me intentionally.” Esenam reassured.
“You guys are freaking me out. You making marriage unattractive by the way you are going. The less said about it the better” Janelle stated.
“So, mom, did you ever see Dad after the night he left us?” There was an unusual silence for a while. Boat, sensing the tension brought on by his sister’s question rose to his feet slowly and indicated it was time they left.
“No, not just yet, Yaw. I think it’s about time we talked about your Dad. Yes, I saw him a couple of times after he left. He came begging for forgiveness and a chance to come back. But my mind was made up. In life you have to know when to hold on to something and when to let go. I couldn’t put the pain of his actions behind me. I had fallen totally out of love and knew coming together was only going to compound things so I told him the truth about how I felt. He wouldn’t accept that and kept coming. I felt threatened and taking into consideration his violent nature when he got angry at one point and beat me up, I secured a court order banning him from coming close to us. You have to forgive me but I made sure he never saw us again and robbed you of the chance to get to know him.” Janelle gaped at her mom without uttering a word. Boat could not believe he had hated his father all these years for nothing. He had believed his father didn’t want them that was why he never looked for them. He was really sad about what his mom did but at the same time, he knows her mom did what was best for her and there was no point crying over spilled milk.
Boat and Esenam stayed a while later after that and left. Boat hinted to Esenam on their way home that his family was going to see her parents the next morning. Esenam knew it was something they should do but the way things stood, she was sure her Dad was going to get mad and cause a scene. Boat encouraged her to have faith. He assured her God always made things come to pass. He also informed her that her Mom was in the know and thought it was a good idea they made the effort.
Early the next morning, three men and a woman knocked on the Fiagbe’s door. Elorm ushered them in. He alerted his parents about the visitors. Mr. Fiagbe wondered who it could be that early in the day. He walked to the living-room with his wife and was surprised to see his good friend and other strangers in his living-room.
“Hey, Charles. It’s some time since I last saw you. Where have you been? You don’t come to the clubhouse anymore.” Mr. Fiagbe said, shaking hands with his friend.
“I travelled out of the country for a while. I told Amegashie to let you know I was going.” Charles answered.
“Amegashie! I’ve not seen him in a long time too. So what are you doing here this early morning?” Charles introduced the man to his immediate right as his Uncle, Atta; the one next to him as his first cousin, Ansah and the woman as Mrs. Boateng, his late brother’s wife.
“A nephew of mine has seen a jewel in your house and since taking it without asking will be stealing we are here to ask for the jewel from her owner. What I’m trying to say is that we are here to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.” his friend explained. Mr. Fiagbe’s demeanor changed immediately but he held his cool.
“My daughter is not old for marriage. She is a little girl so stop playing your games with me, Charles.” Mr. Fiagbe teased when he saw where they were headed.
“You know very well that I’m not talking about Yayra. We are talking about Esenam. You see, a nephew of mine has seen her and has fallen in love with her. He expressed his desire to make her his wife. I found out to my utmost pleasure after meeting her that it was your daughter Esenam. She’s grown into a very pretty young woman. I promised my nephew I’d come and see you about it. I must say I’m very happy my nephew came into your family. My nephew is a great kid and I know your daughter is very responsible too.”
“How well do you know this nephew of yours, and does he have a name?” Mr. Fiagbe asked trying to confirm his suspicions.
“Nana Yaw Boateng is his name. He is my brother’s son. His father died some time ago and he spent a lot of time with us before he moved to his own place when he started working. He is a good boy. You can take my word on that. ” Mr. Fiagbe’s suspicions were confirmed. Esenam and the Yaw Boateng chap had been lovers for a while. He was sure Yaw Boateng was the reason behind her breakup with Akwasi.
“Anyway, I am sorry you are talking to the wrong person. I am not Esenam’s father so I suggest you go and find her father and talk to him. I have only two children, a son and a daughter. My daughter is only eight years old.” Mr. Fiagbe said sarcastically.
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“But Alfred, I was there when Esenam was born. She was your first child.”
“All that changed a long time ago. I found out she wasn’t cut out to be my daughter.”
“What exactly do you mean by that? Are you suggesting Esenam is not your flesh and blood? Are you insinuating I was unfaithful to you?” Mrs. Fiagbe retorted.
“I’ve said nothing of the sort. All I’m saying is she is not my daughter and if you’ll not mind, I have better things to do. And you Charles, don’t step foot in this house again if you’re coming to talk about that ungrateful being.” Mr. Fiagbe said and left the room, slamming the door behind him. Mrs. Fiagbe apologised on her husband’s behalf and saw the guests to the gate. She had never felt so humiliated in her life.
Boat’s Mom assured her that they were already aware of the problem between Esenam and her father but they did not want to sweep tradition under the carpet. Mrs. Fiagbe made sure the guests had left and went straight to the bedroom. She pulled down her suitcases from the top shelve and set them on the bed. She opened her closet and started packing her stuff.
“What do you think you are doing?” Mr. Fiagbe asked.
“Something I should have done a long time ago. I’ve had just about enough of your heartlessness and selfishness. How do you expect me to live with a man who thinks I’m a prostitute? I think my place is in the streets and that’s where I’m going to be from now on.”
“I didn’t say anything like that. Sylvia you can’t leave.”
“Watch me! I’m leaving and don’t come looking for me because you won’t find me. That was the last straw, Alfred. You sit before strangers and insinuate that I cheated on you with Esenam. God, to think that I love you make me sick. You better be ready. You’ll spend the rest of your life in misery. I hate you.” She closed the suitcases and dragged them out of the room.
Mr. Fiagbe followed her to the living-room. He begged her to stay but his wife’s mind was made up. She was done and nothing anyone said mattered. Mr. Fiagbe tried in every way he knew possible to get his wife to rescind her decision but to no avail. She went to her car and put the suitcases in the booth. She went back into the house in frenzy, almost colliding with her husband in the doorway. She took Yayra since Elorm decided to stay with his Dad