A new beginning
My sparse belongings were neatly folded into a small blue and white check bag ( Ghana_must go bag) it is now or never, i had explained everything to Ama and Pam, that i was going to Lome ( Capital city) in search of greener pastures. Before i had the ‘ talk’ with Ama, i had already spoken with Afine who agreed to look after them. I picked up my bag and came out of the hut. Pam was crying and clinging to me while Afine consoled her. I couldn’t find Ama in the compound.
” Do you know where Ama is? ”
” I haven’t seen her today.” Afine bent to take Pam into her arms”
” I really want to see her before i leave”
” Please don’t leave me behind bro” Pam cried pulling on my hands.
” Pam i will be back for you, soon ” i wiped away her tears.
She continued crying. I brought out some money and handed them to Afine.
” Am running late Navi ( Auntie). Please take good care of my sister, she is all i have left.”
” Kojo i swear on your mother’ s grave that i will keep her safe”
” Tell Ama i regret leaving without saying good bye to her. I promise to come for them soon ”
Pam’ s shril wail followed me all the way to the motor park. I saw her from afar, pacing up and down with a frown on her beautiful face. A bag, was at her feet. I closed the little distance between us.
” What are you doing here?”
” What does it seem to you? What took you so long?”
” Ama why are you here with your bag?”
” Kojo you ask too many questions! please let’s go board a bus already!” She placed her palm against her forehead” my head is pounding ”
” Ama you can’t go with me! I don’t even know where am heading to or how i will survive when i get there ”
” Good! All the more reasons why you need me! My brother gave me so money when he brought the letter for you that day”.
” Ama you have to go back home”
” Home?!” She spat out with disgust. ” Home where my father plucked out my eye? home where my mother got into a taxi never looking back even as i sobbed my heart out?! Have you forgotten that, that so called sweet home has been burnt to the ground! If you won’t take me with you, i will leave this cursed Town by myself!”
She picked up her bag and marched angrily to where Lome bus was. I ran after her. The bus filled up quickly. I could see Albert’ s face, Mensah, Nma and Pam as the bus took us slowly to whatever fate that awaits us in Lome. I remembered the day Ama and i went to the field, she had looked so beautiful running in the open field with me, with no care in the world. Pam. I will surely come back for my darling little sister, i held on to the hope that Afine will keep her safe. Ama laid her head against my shoulder, my Ama. Am no longer going to let life dictate for me henceforth, i swore to myself that i would re_write my own destiny, i will decide whatever happens to me henceforth. I don’t know what plans the good lord has for me or what my purpose in life is but i do know this: I desire to be wealthy and i want to beat President Komla Amuzu so bad, nothing and no one will stop me now.
” Ama We are here” I nudged her awake.
She blinked her eyes open and smiled at me ” Wow! Lome at last! God bless Togo” she said alighting out of the bus.
The journey was peaceful and uneventful. The driver drove at a slow pace and since most of the passengers were middle age they didn’t complain. Lome is a beautiful city, i had heard about her beauty but i was stunned at the sight of the beautiful street lights and the tall skyscrapers. People were going up and down, Ama and i stood on the boulevard of Lome looking like a couple of lost kids. The unspoken question hung heavily in the air between us ‘ Where to’?
” Are we going to stand here all day?” Ama asked.
” let’s look for a cheap hotel”
” Hotel! No way am going to a hotel!”
I laughed at her naivety until tears rolled down my cheeks ” Seriously Ama! where would we sleep if not in a hotel?”
” But……but….. that’s where Hampo ( Slang for hoe/ LovePeddler) stay.”
” No! They stay in brothels and guest houses” What do i know myself about where they stay, i only said that to change her mind. ” Come on ”
We moved along the streets, searching for a cheap hotel, we walked like what seem like an eternity to us.
” Hey Frere (bro) ” A young boy called out to us. ” Are you lost?”
We ignored him and kept walking. I looked back and saw him in a heated argument with two older guys. They ran and caught up with us.
” Hey we know you are lost” The older of the trio said. ” We have been seeing the two of you going round in circles.”
We ignored them and kept walking.
” Usually we try to help just to pick pockets” he continued.
” What’s stopping you this time” I said in my meanest voice.
” I don’t know. Am king, this is lion.” He pointed to the smaller boy. ” This is Tiger” he said pointing at the third boy.
” Just point us to where we can get a cheap hotel and leave us the hell alone!” I barked at him.
The trio burst into laughter.
” Only rich men sleep in hotels” Lion said.
” Or rich couple ” Tiger chipped in.
” We only trying to help bro, come this way” King said.
The trio led us to a slum street. They told one bady joke after the other laughing at the top of their voices. The boys left us at the entrance of the hotel promising to check up on us the next day. Ama and i sighed in relief, happy to be rid of the urchins. We paid for a little room with a tiny bathroom and water closet. Ama used the bathroom first while i went to buy us fried yam with peppered chicken. Later that night, we laid on the cosy little bed in each other ‘ s arms. Absently my hands caressed Ama ‘ s body, i leaned in and kiss her on the lips, she opened her mouth a little and our tongue met and danced. This was a first for the both of us.
” I should sleep on the floor” I heard myself say.
” Afraid of ravishing me?” She laughed.
” Ama…..” My voice was thick with lust.
” Kojo you worry too much. I trust you. We would sleep on the same bed ”
I wasn’t sure if i trusted myself but i knew i won’t ever do anything to harm her.
” Hey rich couple!”
Someone knocked loudly on our door. I got up and opened the door, the three boys strolled into the room as if they had paid for it. King sat on the edge of the bed while Lion and Tiger sprawled on the floor. I groaned in frustration.
” Where is your wife ” Lion asked.
” what do you want?” I shouted at them.
” Easy bro “. King said. ” We only being friendly”
Ama came out of the bathroom, a towel tied around her chest to her knee ” Morning boys, thanks for yesterday”
They all gawked at her and stammered out greetings to her, i shoved them out, i locked the door and waited with them outside until Ama called us back in.
” You know guys we appreciate your help but we would also appreciate it if you stay away from us ” I said. ” Forever!”
” You are new here, you need friends” Tiger said.
” Yes friends like us ” lion seconded.
King went out and came back with Plates of pack rice and salad. During the meal, i asked them about their real names, families and background. King now 18, ran away from at home 13. Lion and Tiger only 14 years old grew up on the streets. Somehow i felt kinship with the homeless trio. King and i had something in common: ‘ Our love of money’ . They told me they were also business partners and i could join the business if i wanted. They treated Ama with respect and kept to themselves whenever she was in the same vicinity as them.
I was reluctant to partner with them but our money was slowly running out, i had no other choice than to partner with them. We would wear our best clothes and go to the beaches where we pick the pockets of rich tourist. King reassured me the tourists were too rich to care about the little we took from them. King would brag about making it big and recruiting talented ” fingers” who would operate his ‘ business’ . I shared my dreams of seeking out the devil to collect wealth from him but he laughed it off saying ” Seeking out the devil is too long a process.”
” Take this” King held out his palm. A gold circle condom was in it.
We were resting on the cool beach sand after a fruitful day. Lion had snatched a white man ‘ s bag which had contained a laptop and some other valuables. I was lucky to pick three fat purses myself. It was few days to Christmas, there were so many rich tourists at the beach during this time because of the yuletide. This is the most productive time for any pick pocket worth his salt. I wondered how i would get some money across to Pam. I wondered if she was alright, if she was being taken care of. I considered bringing her to Lome, but the path which i now walk is not conducive for a little girl. I was getting tired of picking pockets when i could be rolling in my own money. Some days were rough for us, most of the purses and wallets we pick sometimes would either be empty or contain some miserable amount.
One day i picked an old lady ‘ s purse, i watched from afar. She wailed and dropped to the ground in anguish. We hadn’t eaten anything that day, Ama was also down with fever and the hotel was demanding that we pay up our bills. I Walked to her and handed back the purse. She thanked me profusely, explaining that her grand daughter ‘ s new inhaler was in the purse. She prayed for me and i left dejectedly. That night Ama suddenly became well, Lion and Tiger also snatched a whole bag filled with money and valuables. Who said there is no God?
” Why are you giving it to me?” the condom which he held out to me was in one of the purses we had picked earlier that day.
” It is time for you become a man” He said.
” Who said i am not a man?” I scoffed.
” You are not a man until you have laid with a woman! ” King said proudly ” I can teach you all you need to know if you want”
I snatched it out of his hand ” What gives? ” i asked the proud fool.
” It is obvious Frere ( bro). The way you look at Ama lustfully, how you stylisly adjust your trousers to hide your BIG Boss ( Manhood).” He laughed.
” What is taking Tiger and Lion so long?” I asked in a bid to change the topic.
” They must have gone to give their BIG BOSS some pleasure ” he laughed. ” Don’t worry about them, they own the streets”
That night i turned out the lights earlier than usual. I kissed Ama on the neck, her lips, and she kissed me back. BIG BOSS was at attention now but i was so nervous. I brought out the condom from under the pillow where i had kept it. I tore it open and stared at it. I wished i had been attentive during biology classes. How do i wear this round rubber on my long BIG BoSS?
” Are you going to stare at it all night”?
I laughed nervously. ” Can’t you be romantic for once?”
” Sorry. If it will ease your mind, am nervous too. ”
I dropped the condom on the bed and resumed kissing and smooching her. I picked up the condom again, trying to decipher how it works. I got fed up and threw it on the floor. Slowly i eased myself into her until i felt her maiden head give way. She shivered and held me tight. I told her i was sorry if it hurts, i told her i loved her and will be with her till the end of time. Afterwards we laid entwined in peaceful bliss. Life sure has its good sides.