(Big Kofi’s words are emboldened whereas little Kofi’s words are not)
“Mommy, can I have some of the fish?”
“Wait and let me finish, then you can have yours,”
“But you always allow me to take some?” I continued whining.
“Not today, dear,” Mommy looked at me as she said this and turned her attention to the frying fish on the stove.
I knew mommy wouldn’t give me even if I cried; she would just tell me to be quiet and say she won’t give me some of the fish again if I continued crying but I don’t know why she wouldn’t give me today. Every time she fried fish, she would give me some to eat and today too, I have been a good boy; I have been sitting down quietly playing with my toy cars and soldier toys while she prepared dinner. I hadn’t worried her while she cooked but she still didn’t want to give me. Next time, I will not give her the knife and big spoon, ei! what is the name of that long spoon with the big mouth again, kraa? Spa…spa…spatu…spatula. She will see!
I quietly laid flat on the ground with my chin resting on the back of my left palm as I pushed the bright yellow toy car back and forth. I sulked and pouted, secretly hoping mother would ask me to get something for her so I could get my revenge. I didn’t have to wait long.
“Kofi, get me the other tray for the fish,” Mommy demanded.
“Yes! I won’t go,” I said to myself and continued playing with my car. “I won’t mind mommy today.”
“Come on!” Mommy said as she used her feet to hit the floor very very hard and it made a loud sound. So I became very afraid and quickly run for the black tray for Mommy. I went back to sit on the stool beside the sink and watched Mommy angrily.
“Why did she always have to get what she wanted and as for me, I don’t,”
Anytime I remember that scene, I cannot help but to shake my head. Where did a little boy like me get to be so angry. Mommy would say my heart would one day explode with all that anger in my little heart. As I sat on the stool, arms folded, brows furrowed, face contorted, I watched mother work nonchalantly much to my chagrin. I picked my flip-flops and threw it at mother. It missed and she chuckled. I threw the second one which hit her feet and she only made a face. Soon, her attention was fixed on the food she was cooking. I resumed my earlier posture and soon, my eyes also fell on the tray of fish.
I looked at the fish. The fish looked at me. It’s mouth was opened and his teeth was showing. Ah! Ah! the fish doesn’t brush the teeth. Look at how golden brown and black it is; just like the body.
Mommy was not looking at me so I stood up and quickly run to the table. When I got to the table, I jumped so that my hands will reach into the tray. I grabbed a piece of fish but the tray also came tugging along and fell on the floor.
Mother turned sharply at the noise. For a few moments, she glared at me. I stared at her in horror. She moved toward me, however I ran out of the kitchen lest she got hold of me and spanked me. Mother called after me but I didn’t stop. She continued calling for me intermittently. The anger with which she used to call me dwindled into concern as time went on. I hid under the sofa and laid there till Father came looking for me for supper.
First, mommy was angry but when I didn’t mind her, her voice changed like she thought I was lost so she searched for me and found me under the sofa.
“Are you hurt?” I didn’t mind her as I played with my fingers. She left.
When dinner was ready, daddy came and pulled from under the sofa by my legs and carried me to the dinning hall. Mommy was serving food already.
“Let him go and bath first,” Mommy suggested.
“No, let my boy finish eating,” Daddy dusted me with his hands and helped me sit on my chair.
I feared to look my mother in the eyes so I avoided eye contact. It was very uncomfortable.
I looked into my plate. There was no fish. I looked at daddy with pleading eyes. Daddy looked at mommy. “So you won’t give him fish?”
“He is a growing child, he needs…”
“Please, this is waakye! There is beans and the shito is full of fish. I ensured that his diet is balanced. I wouldn’t take that from him.” Daddy smiled when mommy finished talking. I looked at daddy’s fish. It was very very big.
Daddy prayed and he and mommy started eating. I just played with my food.
“Kofi, won’t you eat,” my daddy asked me and I shook my head.
“Why?” I didn’t mind him.
“Young boy, you better eat before I go for the cane,” mommy wanted to shout. I still didn’t eat. I saw daddy look at mommy. He wasn’t happy about the way she spoke to me.
“Look at me dear,” I couldn’t look at mommy. I poured all her fish on the floor and I didn’t help her but I ran away. I started crying.
“Look at mommy,” daddy instructed.
I felt really bad that day, I didn’t know how I could look mother in the face. I didn’t even know if I could ever talk to her again. Despite the nudge from my father, I cried and refused to look at her. My father then asked,
“Is it because of the fish?” I shook my head.
“As for the fish…” I’m sure Mommy wanted to say she won’t give me even if I cried the whole night but daddy told her to wait.
“Then why?” Daddy asked.
“I poured mommy’s fish on the floor,” I said to daddy, “and now I can’t look at her or speak to her again,”
“Why?” Mommy was surprised. When I didn’t talk, she rose and to my seat. I became very afraid. Mommy was going to spank me. My tears flowed the more.
“No, no, no, mommy don’t lash me again,”
At that moment everyone froze and my tears flowed freely down my cheeks as I wept. Just as I was about to run again, mother caught me in her arms, sat me on her lap and allowed me to cry
“Shush shush shush,” she consoled.
“Mommy, I’m sorry. I won’t do that again.”
“That’s all you need to say, my boy, eh, that’s all,”
Father later told me I wasn’t the only one who cried at the very minute, all three of us cried. When the crying was over and my mother had placed me back on my chair, she went back to her seat.
“Now, let’s hurry up and eat before the food becomes cold,” Daddy said.
“It’s already cold but we’ll eat it like that,” mommy said and daddy shook his head with a chuckle.
“So, my dear little Kofi, although I didn’t like what you did, it doesn’t mean I don’t like you again. I’ll never do that because you have done something wrong, you know why?
“Because you’re my child, my son, Kofi. Ok?”
“But next time, don’t try anything like that again.” Mommy didn’t say that sweetly like before.
“So, next time, Kofi all you have to do is to say sorry,” Daddy spoke.
“Ok, daddy. Now, can I get some fish?” I asked hopefully.
“No!” Daddy and mommy said together. The smile on my face vanished like the ghost I saw in that movie my cousin watched yesterday.
“But finish eating and get a full glass of orange juice,” mommy smiled.
I was very surprised. Mother would never allow me to take any drink in the evening, once there was sugar in it.
Now, I’m twenty years older but I always remember this story because it speaks a great deal of love. What can ever separate me from my parents love? Fish will certainly not qualify, so is my relationship with God. Although, there may be a possibility of separation with respect to my parents, nothing can ever separate me from God’s fatherly love as I am his child.
Yes! I am saying that “…I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV).
Yes, he is not happy when I disobey him but with God’s full help I strive to live in obedience to him. I really do by submitting fully to him. I really do! I…oops…at times disobey him again. Then I think this is all pointless. We all do. Don’t we? But “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, NIV)”
Yhup! So I do that and continue striving. I do because there is a point; eternity with God my father in heaven!
1. Waakye:- Ghanaian local dish made from rice and beans.
2. Shito:- sauce made of fishmeal and pepper
3. Kraa:- Ghanaian expression synonymous to phrase “at all”