Photo credit: Say Something ( A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera)
There was a hushed silence at the two ends of the phone.
Her soft voice echoed, “ Papa Kofi, say something.”
Say Something had been on replay the whole morning. It was the first thing she could say to him. There was silence. He choked on what seemed to be tears and spoke, “This is really hard for me. Senam, I love you. I really do. But we can’t be together. My parents will never bless us.”
She began to shudder.
“ Why? Did I do something wrong the last time I came there? Did I offend your mother when I extended my left hand to help her out?”
“ How I wish it was that so I could explain to her you are left handed. It’s far from that.” “ So what is it then?”
This time tears minced with his words, “ Senam, you are an amazing person by all standards. A kind hearted woman, intelligent, down to earth, enterprising and an ambitious young woman but my family will never accept you. You haven’t done anything wrong. The only “flaw” is that you are not a part of us. You are an Ewe.”
She was horrified and shocked. “ Papa, what is wrong with me being an Ewe? Why didn’t you tell me from the beginning if you had an issue with that?”
“ Senam. I must admit the first time you told me your full name, I was heart broken. I knew my parents stance on certain tribes but I saw beyond that. As days turned into weeks and months, my love for you grew and I felt love shouldn’t be restricted to tribes. I prayed about it earnestly that they will accept you. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to push you away and I had fallen madly in love with you. Although my parents are elite, they still hold on to the superstitious stereotyped beliefs.”
She was in tears. She was desperate. The love she felt for him run deep through her veins.
“ Papa Kofi, earlier you said you love me. Is there anything I can do? Perhaps talk to your mum since she’s a woman so she can convince your dad. Why don’t you stand up to them? I will be by your side through it all. I am ready to sacrifice everything and elope with you. This could be a test of our love.”
“ I am sorry Senam. I wish I could but I can’t. Not now. I am really sorry. Just know that I will always love you. Goodbye.”
She wanted to say something but she couldn’t. The words were stuck in her throat.
Jane Senam Abla Ayivor.
She remembered that day so well. Just after she had mentioned her name, his father had choked on the juice and his mother dropped a tray of plates. So that explained it. Her name had produced a time bomb. Lunch hadn’t lasted long after and there had been a tensed atmosphere. After he had dropped her off that day, Senam was able to reach him after 3 hours. Papa Kofi apologised profusely explaining there was an impromptu extended family meeting he had to accompany his father to. It had been a lie. That meeting had been held in their house after he took her home. She cried some more singing along to Say Something….
Amidst the fit of giggles that erupted, he planted a kiss on her forehead. She had seen the whatsapp video on his phone of the guy clad in a black cloth dancing like he had just won a lottery instead of mourning the dead. She looked back at him and smiled coyly. Her eyes glistened in the moonlight. Two weeks without seeing her had almost killed him. He dropped her off at her apartment and headed home. The hall was filled with an uproar of laughter from the deep throat of his father and the rather feeble voice his mother.
“Welcome son”. His dad responded to his greeting flipping channels.
His mother cornered him at the stairway “ Dinner would be ready in 15 minutes. No excuses.”
He walked into his room to find Maame perched on his bed. “Someone seems to be in a good mood today”, he teased throwing his Gent’s Pack neck tie at his younger sister by 2 years. She was on vacation from university and the tales she told him about her internship at the ministries had him teasing her for days. She left to help mother set up the table. Papa Kofi sat on the bed and took of his shoes. His thoughts were interrupted by his mother’s calls.
After discussions concerning football, politics and government policies with his dad and the women looking on and contributing, he finally spilled the beans.
“ Mum, dad. I want you to meet the lady I plan on getting married to.”
The glint in his father’s eyes was well hidden by his spectacles. His mother waved the napkin that had been hanging over her shoulder in mid air shouting “ Hallelujah! Finally!” Serwaa coughed deliberately and muffled some laughter. His father replied in his deep throated voice, “ Ah! My little boy is now a man! Well done son. What’s her name? Is she someone we know already?”
His hands were shaking. “ Her name is Jane – he was cut off by a phone ringing. It was his dad’s. He had been saved by that call and that discussion had ended. But he needed a miracle in this situation.
He dreaded going home after dropping Senam off because of what had just happened. He met them sitting at the porch. Mr. Appiah’s brows were deeply furrowed. His wife speaking to him silently to calm down to avoid having his BP rise up. His father gets up upon seeing him and clenched his fists.
“ Papa Kofi Appiah. You will not marry that girl! She’s not one of us! Not in our league! It will be over my dead body!”
“But dad I love her. She’s the girl I want to marry.”
“Will you shut up? What do you know about love? If you decide to go on with her, you will leave this house and never refer to me as your father again. I will cut you off my inheritance!”
His mum who was now wailing and pleading interjected, “ Eii Kwame Appiah. It hasn’t gotten to that. You can’t do this. He is our only son.”
“ Woman, if you don’t want that to happen, talk to your son.” Then he went indoors with a loud bang.
His mother squeezed his shoulder softly with tears welled up in her eyes. “ Nana, you are my only son. I know you are deeply in love with the girl but please do as your father says, for my sake. I lost your big brother many years ago. I can’t loose you too. Are you willing to loose everything because of a woman? There are a lot of other girls, even Nana Serwaa. I thought you guys were getting to know each other. What happened to that?”
“ Mum, it will never work. I am not in love with her.”
“ With time, love will grow and please remember what the Bible says about honouring your parents although this may be difficult for you.”
But mum what have Ewes done that dad doesn’t want to have anything to do with them?”
She paused for a bit “ Hmm. Papa. This is something you will never understand.”
His mind was filled with so many thoughts that night he barely had any sleep. His family was against the woman he was certain he will be able to spend the rest of his life with. His father, the man he looked up to in diverse ways had threatened to disown him and cut him off everything if he decided to go ahead with it. How could he go against the pleas of a mother who had lost her eldest son in a tragic car accident years ago and was afraid of losing another because he chose to marry from another tribe? Nana Yaw… It had been seven years already. More than ever, he wished he was still alive. He would have supported him every step of the way.
“……..Just know that I will always love you. Goodbye.” The words stung him. It didnt stop ringing in his ears.He was in so much pain. Giving up on the one he loved. He wasn’t man enough. She was ready to elope with him but he was too scared to take the risk; of losing everything.
Nana Akua Frimpomaa Amofa (c) 2017