These days i have passion for nothing else but to
sleep. Ever since i came back from Papa Ayi’ s
place i have lost the will to live. How could he
say it wasn’t my way? am i destined not to be
wealthy in this life? how do i give Ama all the
finer things of life? how do i put a smile on my
mother’ s face. I lost appetite for food too, Ama
and Nma( Mother) thought i was falling sick.
They kept fussing over me, sometimes i managed
to push down some morsels just to please them.
Kofa indeed contacted gonorhea just like the old
man said. I walked Ama home one evening so i
could have a talk with my brother. We met him
and Mensah playing cards, Ama went into her
room, i got a chair and played with them for a
” I have to talk to you guys about something”
” Charley what is it?” Mensah asked still playing
” I have been having terrible reoccurring
” Everyone has nightmares sometimes bro” Albert
said not looking up.
” These are not ordinary nightmares bro, same
horrid scene all the time and they are about you.
There’s danger lurking round the corner.”
They both went silent. ” Don’t worry Kojo, i will
be fine” Albert said.
I stood up no longer interested in the game,i was
losing any way.
” Am going for a walk with Ama”
” Alright” they both said at once and continued
with their game. I went to knock on Ama’ s door,
i looked back and observed my brother and our
cousin. They were no longer playing the card,
they were whispering and from the look on their
face they were both worried about something.
Ama came out, we called out byes but they didn’t
respond. We went to our usual place, the field but
a match was being held since it was weekend. We
bought ice creams and watched the match, we
soon lost interest in the game and chased after
each other till we got exhausted and collapsed
under a tree far from where the match was being
” Kojo thank you” Ama said.
” Why are you thanking me”?
” You know, for everything”
I laughed ” I don’t know what you are talking
She punched my arm playfully ” You are being
modest, just say you are welcome ”
” Alright madam! you are welcome ”
She sat up ” I just remembered as you called me
madam, i ought to be in school 2.pm today! I
wonder what the time says now!”
” What is happening today? why do you have to
be in school on a Saturday?”
She looked at me her eyes going wide in disbelief.
” Kojo don’t tell me you don’t know! Where have
If its not money i don’t have an interest in it no
wonder i had no idea what she was going on
about. ” Please can you just tell me already?”
” We are preparing for the president’ s visit! every
school is rehearsing either a play or something!
we are matching in my school, even the Lecee
students will march too and the overall brilliant
students will get to give him a handshake!” she
beamed at me.
” Ehen? What is the name of the president”?
” Kojo! Seriously?! come on! don’t tell me you
don’t know! Don’t you listen to radio or watch
” There’s no electricity in my house and i don’t
own a radio. Besides how is he my headache? So
what’s the fuss about? ”
” Oh you! its a big privilege for him to choose to
visit our little town! Since i am the overall best
student in my school i get to shake his hands!
Am super excited but….” She suddenly looked
” One minute you are excited, the next you are
not, what happened?”
” Its just that i don’t have any new dress to
wear…..if Mami was around she would have
made me a new dress”
” If you could wish for a new dress, how would
you want it to be?”
She lighted up” Ah! i would wish for a long
beautiful gown, preferably blue in color with
sleeves ending at the elbow and a low neckline. ”
She laughed ” But you know its a waste of time
making wishes, do them ever come true?”
” Some do Ama” i whispered.
I opened my piggy bank some days later and
bought two beautiful blue gowns, the smaller one
was for little Pam. The fierce hug Ama gave me
when she saw it made me realize it was worth it.
I urged her to try it on, she removed her top and i
was lost for words. There were scars all over her
body, there were angry welts on her arms. Some
of the scars looked old but some were recent
” Who did this to you Ama!?”
” Oh these? Its nothing Kojo” she tied a wrapper
around her waist, she shimmied out of her skirt
and stepped out of it.
” Who has been abusing you? Is it Mensah?”
” Oh no! Please he must not know about
this…..please. ” She sat down ” He has a lot on
his plate right now, i don’t want anymore trouble
” I won’t tell him but things can’t go on like this!
Why didn’t you tell me? Who did this to you? ”
” My father…… He beats me for no reason
whenever he comes home. When Efo( bro)
Mensah and Efo Albert is not around, he finds one
reason or the other to beat me. I guess he’s
punishing me for what i did, showing that
calabash to Mami”
” Oh Ama! why didn’t you tell me or Nma? how
long were you going to let him do this to you! It
is not your fault! you must report him to the
authorities or to your brother!”
” No! no please not now….he rarely comes home
but if he comes again I promise to rush down to
your place immediately ”
” Please Kojo, i don’t want anymore drama”
” Alright, please as soon as you see him, run to
my place and you will be with us till he left,
” Okay”;She sighed loudly ” Now can i try on this
I grinned ” Yes you may madam!”
The president’ s visit was the talk of town, some
were of the opinion that he shouldn’t come while
some were advocating for him to come and as for
me i couldn’t care less. It was all Ama talked
about, even Kofa who was under going treatment
for his gonorhea talked about it non stop until my
ears ached. Little Pam was not left out of it, we
had no television so she kept asking what does
the president look like? is he kind like Mr Seyram
or mean like her numbers teacher? i got tired of
the endless questions.
I didn’t see Ama for two days straight, it wasn’t
like her and i was mentally planning to go see her
when Mensah came to see Nma. He didn’t look
happy, Nma offered him a seat but he declined
and went to the point.” There was a little
accident Nma ( Mother)” he said.
Nma screamed ” What happened to Albert? Where
” Albert is fine Nma, its about Ama”
What happened to Ama? My Ama?
” What happened to her!” Nma and i said at once.
” I wasn’t around when it happened, i was out
hunting with Albert”
” What happened to her”? I shouted.
” My father was beating her with a broom, one of
the stick pierced her left eye in the process”
Nma and i screamed. ” Where is she now? Is she
alright? ” Nma asked while i was left speechless.
” She is in the general hospital but the doctors
say the eye won’t ever be good again “. He said
Nma started wailing. She rushed inside and came
out with her purse and scarf. ” Please take me to
her! please take me to her!”
I was too shocked and sad to talk. If only i had
insisted that she reported him to the authorities.
Tears of regret streaked down my face. I just
couldn’t face her, i felt so small and i ran inside
and laid on my mat in a fetal position crying.
Everyone had gone to see Ama at the hospital
except me. I couldn’t face her, knowing how i
wasn’t there to protect her. The only good news
was that my uncle was arrested for abuse,my
nightmares started again and Kofa also started
acting strange but i just summed it up as one of
those things peculiar to him. The president ‘ s
visit was only a day away now.Everyone was
excited, i was sad that Ama won’t be there, she
won’t get that handshake she had been dying for,
she won’t wear her beautiful blue gown and
march in front of the other students. She was
transferred to another hospital in a neighboring
town for better medical care.
One evening i summoned on courage, plucked
some wild flowers and went to see her. She was
propped up in bed staring at the ceiling, her left
eye was heavily covered with plaster. I wondered
how she was feeling at the moment, she acted
like she didn’t see me. I stretched out the flower
towards her, she collected them and resumed
staring at the ceiling.
” How are you feeling?”
” Do you mind if i stay here for a while? Or stay
over the night”
She shrugged so i took it as a yes. I sat on the
bed next to hers.
” Have you eaten?”
” Efo (bro) Mensah brought something for me to
” Do you want anything else”?
She shrugged again. I went out to buy fried
spaghetti with salad and fried turkey ass with a
can of coke.i watched her dug into the food with
gusto, at least she still had an healthy apetite.
” Thank you” She handed me the empty food pack
and i threw it in the waste bin in a corner of the
” I brought cards for us to play” i said as i
brought out the pack of whots from my
pocket.We played for a while until I got tired of
losing and accepted defeat.
” Thank you” She said again.
” For what?”
” For acting normal i guess….when my brother
came here he couldn’t decide if he wanted to hug
me or weep till he drops. He kept fidgeting,asking
every second if i was okay”
” He cares about you Ama, i know he’s beating
himself over this and feeling guilty for not being
there to protect you” i also felt guilty too but i
wasn’t about to let her know.
” I know Kojo, but am still the same Ama i was
before this happened….right?” She laid back on
the bed. ” I don’t want to be pitied, i can stand
anything but not pity please”
” You are still the same beautiful Ama and no one
She scooted to the edge of the bed and i laid
beside her. When we woke up the next morning, a
blanket had been draped over our bodies by some
kind nurse or doctor. I went out of the room for
the doctors to see to her. I helped her to the
bathroom, afterwards i also freshened up and
went to get us breakfast,we ate in silence until i
remembered something that has been nagging me
” Ama do you know Bella? Or maybe you have
heard of her?”
” Bella? Who is she?”
” She……i think she was your brother’ s
” Oh that Bella? yes i guess so”
” Okay, do you know what happened to her?”
” I overhead Mami and Efo( bro) Mensah talking
about her once, long ago, i think she was
murdered in a gruesome manner, her family too.
What is your interest in her?”
I shrugged ” Just curious, You know who
” I heard a bad man who goes to schools under
the pretext of helping students. I don’t remember
much now, it was long ago.”
” Would you still like to go for the march? Its
today, i heard its taking place on the street
opposite the market, Nma ( Mother) said the
streets had been cleaned and bulbs have been
” I can’t go, i wasn’t only going for the
handshake you know? We were told in school,
that some lucky students would be given
scholarship and other monetary items by the
president. I was hoping mother luck would shine
on me too”
A bell rang in my head and kept ringing . ” What
is his name?”
” President Komla Amuzu”
The name rang no bell but i suddenly felt
” The lecee ( Poly) students are also marching,
Efo ( bro) Albert being the overall best student in
his school is also getting a handshake but surely
you know that already” She said proudly.
My palms suddenly felt sweaty and i wiped it on
my pants. ” Ama do you know these men?
” Doji, Yaovi and Lyon. They come to see my
brother under the cover of the night. I don’t know
what their nocturnal meetings were about”
My heart was pounding loudly as sweat broke out
all over my body. I don’t know what it was but it
wasn’t a good thing i was sure. What has my
brother gotten himself into? How could they think
they could defeat a president! All the puzzles are
fitting in now, the man who had more than
enough money to lure young girls to their doom,
the man rich enough to have thousands of armies
at his beck. Of course it could only be the
president! My horrid nightmares and Papa Ayi’ s
warning swarmed across my mind. I had to stop
my brother from doing anything stupid.
I told Ama i would be back and dashed out of the hospital
room. I ran like the devil was on my heels, the
motor park was empty, i ran back and forth
looking for a cab. Fortunately, i saw a bike rider, i
hailed him and got on the bike. I told him to ride
like death was after him. God please help me! Its
been so long i called on God for anything and i
hoped for the sake of my poor mother he would
answer my cries.