“Kwame ee! Where are you?” Mommy’s high-pitched voice echoed throughout the house and momentarily interrupted everyone’s day.
Daddy stopped grading the examination scripts and hit his head against the table a couple of times. He loved his wife’s beautiful voice when it made music but moments like this made him think again and again, “What was I thinking when I agreed to this bargain?” After he failed to get an answer in the next minute, as always, he would answer himself with a chuckle, “Probably, love blinded me.”
Kwasi stared at the cracked egg on the kitchen floor. Why did mommy have to shout just when he picked the egg out of the fridge? Now, she would be the one to complain that he just wasted money and would therefore forfeit his egg for the day. He shook his head.
Both males were glad they did not have to be close to her; Neither the cost of love nor forfeiting of an egg for a day would have bothered them. The tingling sound which would have lingered on in their ears would have been a much more difficult issue to deal with. As for little Kwame, he laid on his bed, frightened. The sound of his heartbeat filled his ears and drowned out his mother’s voice, as she approached the boys’ room. Oh no! God, please, don’t tell me she knows? How am I ever going to explain this to Ma? His mind whirled.
“I thought as much; you’re still in bed.” Mommy exclaimed with a clap, “Come on, get up and go and bath before I pounce on you.”
Kwame shot out of bed, headed for the door, but mommy’s strong right hand grabbed his left, upper arm and stopped him in his tracks. Mommy realized her little boy was drenched in his own sweat. Was he sick? No, since when did a sick Kwame garner enough energy to run just as he did? It was mommy’s turn to muse.
“What’s wrong young man?” She finally asked, after what seemed like hours.
“Nothing,” Kwame sharply replied in a strong but shaky voice in a poor attempt to end the conversation.
“Look here, I carried you in my womb for nine months and have known you for all these seven years and you have never responded to the fifth call to go and bath.” Mommy observed and added more sternly with a furrowed brow, “What is wrong?”
Five?? This is the second call! Unless the other three calls came after he ran from the house in response to Kusi’s signal earlier this morning. Kwame’s troubled mind tried to decipher.
When her son failed to respond, she looked at him closely and saw fear in his eyes. She shook him out of his reverie and played her last card, “or no egg for you.”
“Leave me and let me go and bath” Kwame whined as he tried to pull himself out of his mother’s hold. Mommy remained firm. Her boy was making her worried. He was never ever eager to go and bath. After a second or two of struggle between the older woman and the little boy, Kwame accepted defeat and blurted out, “it was Kusi’s fault,”
“Oyiwa! You went to pluck Mr. Adjei’s mangoes, didn’t you?”
Kwame nodded hoping to be released. He was wrong; mommy’s grip tightened.
“And what happened?”
“So I should go and ask Mr. Adjei?”
“No!” Kwame trembled.
“So what happened?” Mommy’s impatience grew.
“We only plucked mangoes,”
“No, I don’t believe you” Mommy retorted instinctively.
“Kwasi! bring my phone!” She called out to the kitchen in her high-pitched voice again.
“No! Kusi told me to pluck a fresh, ripe mango at the top of the tree and our long stick could not reach so Kusi, yes Kusi, no I, yes I took a stone and threw it and then…and then I heard glass breaking.” Kwame spoke very fast. All the lies he had worked up in his mind stepped aside and much to his disappointment, allowed the truth a thoroughfare. Today, truth had a field day much to his displeasure.
Reflexively, mommy pulled his ears. Kwame rubbed his ears vigorously with a pained expression on his face in response.
“You see what you’ve caused. I have told you to stop following that boy Kusi. He is a very bad boy and a dirty boy too. No wonder, Kusi leads you to dirty other people’s compounds with stones and leaves; since when koraa did you start eating mangoes? eh? Now see the messy situation you’re in? See the messy situation dirty Kusi has put you in! As messy as your room; what at all can I do again to pluck all your messy feathers so you don’t end up flocking with some other bird of similar features, ehn? ” Mommy scolded with her arms flailing, leaving poor Kwame to be on his toes lest one of the arms came down and smacked him real hard.
Mommy was just the least of Kwame’s problems. He did not know what his father would do to him. He tried to imagine to no avail. His fear grew.
“Why did I take the stone koraa ah?” He berated himself.
“Go and bath and if you think because I call you a man you can spend two hours in that bathroom, you’ll see.” Mommy commanded.
“Classic Ewurabena,” Daddy shook his head with a chuckle when he heard her scold their son at the top of her voice.
“Ebei Ma!” Kwame also exclaimed at almost the same time for the same reason. He dreaded what his mother would say to him concerning their dirty room when she saw him.
Mommy entered the kitchen to see her first-born, Kwasi as he cleared a broken egg on the floor. Kwasi stiffened. He was prepared to receive his share of the scolding; he just did not know which would come first: egg or room but mommy was not concerned about an egg that cost almost a cedi. She suddenly feared for her little boy. She had to treat this situation well lest Kwame ran from the house like he always did when he was afraid or felt threatened. No one ever found him until he returned on his own volition and as much as she tried, Kwame never divulged the location of his secret fortress. She feared one day he may never return home. She also dismissed the thought to inform her husband first. He would treat the case like the law professor he is.
“Fry an egg for everyone, dear,” Kwasi froze; he could not believe his ears. Whatever Kwame told her was really working in his favour. He quickly rushed to the fridge before mommy changed her mind. “After eating, I need you to go with Kwame to access whatever trouble he has caused on Mr. Adjei’s compound.”
“Of all the people, Mr. Adjei! Daddy has killed him.” Kwasi snickered.
“That’s why we are accessing the trouble first and I have told you your father doesn’t kill so stop saying that.” Kwasi frowned when he realised Mommy was serious. Mommy continued. “You know your father and how he is not on good terms with Mr. Adjei.”
Kwasi was still not convinced but they both knew this was not good news; it might just be the right reason to get the two men at each other’s throat and Kwame would suffer, probably more than enough because that was exactly what happened anytime two elephants fought, the grass suffered. This would also directly affect the other elephants as there would be no grass to eat.
“Please, be a big brother to Kwame and bring him back to me OK?” Mommy instructed with concern. Kwasi knew what his mother was asking. Unpredictable Mr. Adjei was sure to demand for more.
Kwasi did not expect to find Kwame in the room so he would have gone past the boys’ room to the bathroom had he not heard a shuffling sound as he passed.
“Hurry, and let’s go,” Kwasi looked around and made a mental note to clean the room later on in the day before mommy told him…in her own special way.
“You ask too much questions. Just dress up.” Kwame knew better than to throw a tantrum.
Ebei; Koraa; Oyiwa:- Expressions in the Ghanaian local language
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