The Yawa of Leonidas

Featured Image: Leonidas from Meet the Spartans, 2008

Image courtesy Google Images

 

“Leonidas”
I froze. “Leonidas” the voice spoke again. I gulped. I swiveled away from my friends in the direction of the voice. I looked up into her eyes. For a moment, she looked into mine and then she blinked and looked away. I smiled sheepishly. “Yes, Lorlor.” “Mr. Somuah said I should tell you we should bring the Pre-Tech drawings to the workshop after second break.” I scanned her face again. She held her gaze this time and the edges of her lips curled. “Okay. I will tell the class.” I told her. She turned away from me without a word and went back to her desk.

I watched her go and sighed. A loud harrumph from the boys alerted me to my surroundings. I rose quickly and went to the front of the class. It was free period so everyone was just chatting and playing. Kwame Obeng and his friends were huddled at the end of one of the rows. They were playing paper ball. Kesewa and her girls sat nearby oblivious to the boys’ little grunts below them. Goodness knows who they were talking about this time.

“Excuse me!” I yelled. The chatter muted. “Yes Leonidas, what is it?” shouted Kofi Kumi. “Mr. Somuah said we should bring the pre-tech drawings after second break. If you have finished please put it on the teacher’s table.” I wiggled my ears as a small gasp arose from the paper ball boys. The energetic talk before was replaced with nervous murmurs. There was a collective clatter as people placed their drawing boards on their desks. Mr. Somuah never hesitated to use his cane if we did not submit our drawings. Woe betide us if one person failed to submit his or her work. The whole class would pay for it.

I glanced around the classroom again as it suddenly went quiet. She sat in the front row, black jacket pulled over her blue check uniform. Her auburn hair was cut in a close crop as per school rules. I let out an audible sigh. Kesewa, ever so nosy raised her head quickly. I shuffled away but she had already caught me staring at Lorlor. I quickly went back to my seat dreading the stories she was going to cook up. Quickly I looked at my drawing again. The borderlines were crooked. I loathe drawing borderlines.

Presently the bell for second break rang. A plaintive wail rose from the back. I knew it was Kwame Obeng and his squad. They should know better. We play paper ball after school, behind the form 1 block; not when we had unfinished drawings. I hurriedly drew my borderlines again. I had double lines but I would take a minus 2 over 2 canes any day.

I sat in my desk and looked around the class again. Apart from the boys who were playing paper ball everyone else had gone out for break. Everyone except Lorlor. She was writing something in a big book. I swallowed. Lorlor Owusu Debrah was the assistant class prefect. I remember when Madam Kuvie selected her. It was the first day of JSS one. We had come with our new uniforms and sat anywhere we liked. Those of us who knew each other from class 6 sat together. Madam Kuvie changed all of that. “In my class, you will sit boy and girl.” There was a collective giggle. Madam Kuvie frowned. “Who laughed?” she asked. The whole class erupted in laughter. Now Madam Kuvie had a high voice and she was not helped by the fact that she was very short. Her face turned red and she promptly took out a cane from the cupboard and proceeded row by row yelling “All heads on the table.” The crack of the cane went 52 times; a stroke per person. “Next time you will learn not to laugh at your class teacher.” She brought her chair in front of the blackboard and started barking orders.

We went around the class massaging our backs as we found our new places. After all was done, she stood up and announced. “Now we are going to select a new class prefect. I’m sure you think I will ask you to bring names so we vote for them.” She paced among the rows. “You are wrong. I will choose for you since you think I am carrying a dead monkey on my head.”

Right behind her I sniggered. She whirled around, cane in hand. I looked at her face. Madam Kuvie was slim but had a lot of pimples. Even the badly done make up couldn’t hide it. There was a wild look in her eyes and she smiled at me. It was not a friendly smile. “You! What is your name?” she asked. Kesewa with her big mouth just shouted. “Please madam his name is Leonidas” I grimaced. “Ehh? Like the movie 300 eh.” Madam Kuvie pulled me up by the ear none too gently. “Go and stand in front of the class.” I hurried to the front. “Look at him too, he’s fat and he’s laughing at me.” The class giggled again. Clutching my ear, I glowered at Kesewa. She stuck her tongue out at me.

Just then a girl with red hair and freckles just entered the classroom. She was plump and wore a black jacket over her blue check uniform. She looked at me and smiled. “Who are you?” Madam Kuvie’s shrill voice cut the connection. “My name is Lorlor Owusu Debrah. I’m a new student.” She replied, her voice like the wind chimes tinkling at the chapel. I sighed. “Okay. Hurry up and sit down.” Madam snapped at her. She went and sat in my seat.

The class went “Ei!” “Lorlor!” Madam Kuvie yelled. “I’ve changed my mind. Come and stand by this boy here.” Wordlessly she got up and walked up to stand by me. I could feel her warmth by me. If I wasn’t so dark my face would have been as red as Madam Kuvie’s when we laughed at her voice. “These are your class prefects.” I grimaced again. I really didn’t want to be class prefect. All I did was laugh at the wrong time and here I am now.

I stood by the teacher’s table. No one was allowed to sit in the teacher’s chair. Madam Kuvie took delight in beating us. I have never been able to take her canes raw before. The break over bell rang and people came in and submitted their papers in 2 stacks. I helped Lorlor pick up one stack then took the other one. We walked to the Pre-Tech workshop in silence. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I turned to try to say something. Then Lorlor stubbed her toe against a stone and stumbled. Sheets of paper flew everywhere as she sat on the red earth, “Oh!” was all I could say. I carefully put down my stack on a clump of grass and went over to help her up. ” Are you hurt?” I croaked. She shook her head. “Sorry okay. Give me your hands.” I said and put out mine. She reached for my hands. I felt a current pass through my hands as we clasped them. Her hands were so soft! I gasped and let go. She giggled and started picking up the drawing sheets. I helped her. Mr. Somuah didn’t like the idea of being kept waiting. I watched her as she stooped, my gaze affixed to her bosom. Usually the girls put a handkerchief to cover their chests or used a hand when they swept or had to stoop.

The globules of pale flesh peeking through the top of her singlet got me suddenly excited. I felt unexpectedly warm in my groin as I went hard. I didn’t want to pee. I quickly picked up my stack of papers and lowered them. I had rooted. “How can this be happening to me at this time?” Beads of sweat trickled down my brow. “Let’s go.” Lorlor spoke. Her tingly voice was dreamy. I broke into step beside her as we quickened the pace.

We snuck into the workshop. It was empty. “Thank God!” Lorlor exclaimed. I let out a sigh of relief. We put down the drawing sheets on the big worktable in the corner. Lorlor went looking for our class marker. She found it and placed it on top of the sheets. I turned to go. Suddenly I felt a warm soft hand slip into mine. “I wanted to say thank you for helping me when I fell down.” She said. I froze and my warm discomfort grew. “It’s fine it’s fine.” I managed to blurt out. “I think I’m hurt though.” She put her leg on one of the benches and lifted the hem of her uniform to her knee. My eyes followed the movement. I saw a little scrape on her knee. “Oh, this sore will die right now.” I blurted out, paralyzed. “Okay.” She started to lower the dress. A sudden wind blew through the windows of the class and pushed her uniform hem further down. I suddenly saw her whole thigh and her underwear. She was wearing pink Hello Kitty undies. A hot wave went through my body and I felt sticky in my underwear. I was confused. “What is happening to me?”

In that moment Mr. Somuah strode into the workshop and saw everything. “Herh!” his voice boomed across the room. “Naughty children! I ask you to bring me your drawing sheets and this is what you are doing because I’m not around.” He came closer, his baritone voice sounding menacing. He had a cane in his hand and flicked it casually in his hand. He marched us out of the workshop and took us to the headmistress’s office. I tried to cover the stain with my hands as I walked sideways beside Lorlor. She had gone unearthly quiet since the incident began. Neither Lorlor nor Mr. Somuah had seen the stain. I prayed fervently to reach the office without any extra fuss. As we passed by the class, Kesewa noticed us and ran to the door. “Herh Leonidas what is that on your shorts? Raise your hand!” she shouted. The sudden sound got teachers and students coming out of their classrooms. Mr. Somuah stopped and motioned for me to take my hands off. “Sir please I beg.” Lorlor stared ahead. She had been very quiet since the beginning of the incident. “Take your hand off boy!” he roared. I resisted. He rapped my wrists with the cane and I let go. He took a look and started guffawing. “Waa see. He has piipi on his shorts.” My face burned with shame as everybody burst into laughter. I could hear Kesewa hooting “Oh Leonidas has done yawa.”

Lorlor could not stifle her giggles and laughed, looking away. I stared at her dumbfounded. The tears began to flow.

 

© Sena Frost ‘17

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Kelewele By The Ocean & Love Distins

What if we cooked in the kitchen today and I made a mess of the recipe
Or mess up the fufu because I can’t pound for shit
Or palm-nut soup isn’t really your forte because you spent your time roaming the pages of a book
Instead of staying with mom and learning to cook
So we go out instead and buy tubs of ice cream and mountains of candy
Munching on the opposite ends of a chocolate bar
Would be so much fun wouldn’t it

What if we lay on the roof of your house stargazing
Staring at the crescent moon instead
Because city lights drown out the stars
Then you blot out the stars with your silhouette
Because I can hear your heart beating in anticipation
Or maybe it’s mine because I’d roll you over and show you the secrets of the universe patterned in my moonshine eyes
And I’d tell you we are billions of years old because we’re all made of the same stuff as the stars and the earth and the air and that was really where we go back to being when we die
Would be heavenly wouldn’t it

What if we went on a stroll through the market
Jay walking across the street and tasting everything some
Window shopping and laughing at everything and everyone
Annoying the market women mocking the “fools in love” while they prattle the latest gossip
And we wouldn’t care because we won’t buy their stuff anyways
Would be hilarious wouldn’t it

What if we skipped work and lectures and lay in bed all day
Leg over leg
Playing music loudly
Feeling each other with our intimate parts
Grunting and giggling and groping and kissing and pulling and sighing
Ecstasy dancing
In the shadows the curtains cast
Would be wild wouldn’t it

What if we went on a date at night and had kelewele by the ocean
Savouring the spicy tang while the sobolo sweats in the ice bucket
While we listen to the waves crash against the shore
Frothing in harmony with the pale sands
We would tease the water with our feet and listen to our hearts beat cradled at the foot of the coconut palm
As our fingers kiss and lace and the electric warmth caresses our nestled figure
Wild and exotic and full of imagination
Freed of Monday mornings and rush hour
In moments like this
Time stands still
Would be so romantic wouldn’t it

© Sena Frost 2k17

image courtesy Google Images

Twenty-Five to Life

I

He woke up to the rumbling of his phone.

He pinched it out from under the covers.

It was jammed from the flurry of missed calls and generic well-wishes.

Oh yeah,

He remembered.

It was his birthday.

II

He dressed up and hurried for work.

It always took him 30 minutes to get to work,

So he liked to take his time.

Waiting at the bus stop for what seemed like an eternity.

He bundled in,

Lost in his thoughts.

III

Work was a drag as usual.

It’s hard enough working for a boss who was a bit of a jerk.

He had shifty eyes.

He didn’t trust his boss,

He never knew if he would go all asshole on him again.

He wasn’t particularly close to anyone at work

And that was fine.

The phone rang occasionally.

“that’s nice” he thought.

They wished him,

Of course they would.

It’s his birthday.

IV

She called.

The ex that is.

He always loved to hear from her.

He missed her on occasion,

Even though she was a nutcase.

Still it was nice she thought of him sometimes,

Even if it was just to wish happy birthday.

V

He couldn’t wait to get home.

He only wanted to talk to her.

The her.

“The love of his life” he believed,

It sucked enough that she was faraway.

Today was his birthday so he had to make room,

For anyone who would call.

Yet,

He would text her.

She who made him light up.

She was hopelessly naïve,

But she was attuned to him,

Like two extradimensional beings.

She was scared of him sometimes,

He knew.

But she’ll come around.

Yes,

Their world was still nascent.

VI

He bought him something nice,

His brother.

It was nice of him.

Unexpected but still,

Thoughtful.

They were so distant sometimes he hardly believed they were kin sometimes.

Yet,

They were so similar in their isolation.

He was fire,

That was how he thought of his brother,

While he was air.

Will and indifference.

They made a heck of a team.

The perfect roommate.

Someday they’ll own dogs and go out for walks without anyone interfering in their moments.

VII

Black

VIII

He wasn’t always this popular.

Years ago he was an eccentricity,

Even his “best” friend would rather hang out with other people.

He stayed in his cradle of thoughts,

Hoping not to be a nuisance to anyone,

Yet hoping someone might touch him within the bars of his cage.

IX

She did.

She really did.

She wasn’t like him.

She had friends,

She was smarter than he could ever hope to match.

But,

Here she was,

Purring over the intricate darkness of his mind.

He liked her,

But she was not the one.

No matter how he wished or wrote,

Even when they flung together,

She was never going to be his.

X

He loved his football club.

It was an entity which while a bit oblivious to him was one of the joys (and disappointments) of his life.

He followed games and players earnestly.

His heart bled red.

He would definitely go see a game at the Theatre of Dreams one of these days.

He had his jerseys all lined up.

His only footballing love,

Manchester United Football Club

XI

They said he was not spiritual enough

Didn’t pray enough

Didn’t share the Word enough.

Would rather talk about ephemeral things on this earth.

Excuses,

Made by people who could just not grow some balls to say what they really thought.

They were afraid of him.

He was a different kind of spiritual,

Unencumbered by the selfishness of breakthrough

And simply concerned with growing better

And progressing.

Not a hedonist

But one who believed that desire and gratification are made pure

By love.

If you are spiritual,

You will get it.

XII

He loved her from the first day he saw her,

He was speechless,

She was the light in the room.

She made him weep.

He could never understand,

But

She did not feel same for him.

He died many times over.

He learned to let her loose,

Even as she flew into a trap,

Her wings pinned,

Her pride desecrated.

He stood and watched,

Without lifting a finger.

He was no longer there,

But he was here.

Always.

XIII

School was hard,

He struggled to fit in.

His friends did not care though,

They believed him,

And loved him the way he was.

Finally,

He belonged.

XIV

He did not care much for self-serving people,

He did not do what they did,

He did what he does best,

He was very good at it.

He knew,

He had invested his blood and sweat into it.

He did not need their stamp of approval

For them to tell him

He was decent.

He was

The One.

XV

Gray

XVI

He was a liar.

He knew it.

That was why he struggled to hide things,

He would rather hide them in stories

Artfully painted,

Crafted by his clumsy mind,

As complex as an eyrie,

Or a simple marble carving.

Yeah

The kind that people gushed over.

Blithe honesty,

Truly just half truths

From the mouth of the liar.

XVII

Family is everything.

XVIII

It flew through the air at twenty-five miles per hour

Catching him in the solar plexus,

His muscles stiffened at the sudden agony,

Gag reflex

He spewed effluvium.

Another blow caught him in the second and third ribs,

Precisely over his pulsing heart

There was a distinct pop

As they cracked.

The surgical precision of the strikes numbed him.

His vision clouded,

There was a sharp pain and a loud crack as his jaw was violently twisted sideways.

He saw stars,

Then nothing.

XIX

They used to get to him,

The pains of the human condition.

But he grew.

There was a thing called due process,

So

No matter the umbrage in his heart

He learned to let it go.

If life ever made sense

There would be no sense of time,

He would be locked in the eternity

Of his mental constructs,

The only religion he ever truly acknowledged.

XX

Red

XXI

It bubbled beneath the surface

Seeping through fault lines

It surged and writhed

An angry living thing

Molten

Swishing around the atrium of the caldera

Hollowed by past eruptions

The madness within

Ran parallel to his sanity

He knew all too well what would happen if they ever converged at vanishing point

XXII

Justice is blind,

Mercy tips

The scales always seeking retribution.

XXIII

White

XXIV

Twenty-five to life,

No possibility of parole,

He looked at the striped light

He saw the dust swirling

Catching different wavelengths,

Iridescent.

And felt the cool concrete through the thin clothes on his back.

It was heavy and gray.

He heard the chatter from down the hallway,

The tap going drip-drip,

Plonking away musically.

He could taste the bile in his mouth,

Tart

Full of regret

At the cold meal left untouched on the scoured floor.

He saw occasional flashes of red,

Then black,

As he read the sensory input relayed to him.

Life gives him a rough deal.

Life was kin with death.

They were not kind to anyone,

Yet

They were never

Cruel.

The blood welled in the meninges of his brain,

Biochemical reactions diffused through capillaries networked

Moving at terrifyingly fast speeds.

He pondered,

It was all he could do.

XXV

Unwritten

© Sena Frost 2k16

The Day The World Stood Still

This is a fictious story inspired by true events.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I present

THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL

‘’ Dear Diary,
Today has to be possibly the worst day of my life.’’
I shook my head once more. The day’s events had thrown me into utter disbelief. As I sat in the massive cavern that is my classroom, directly under one of two working fluorescent lights I smiled ironically. This has to be the most yawa thing which could happen to anyone. Imagine what would happen if anyone caught wind of this. In a big school. You wanna know how big? Motown big. I let out a deep sigh. Presently a mosquito hovered near my nose. A thunderclap later and there were bits of mosquito exoskeleton and goo plastered in my palms. The sound rapped sharply in the cool evening air. It seemed to reverberate as murmurs around the class. A back seat boy snarled ‘’ Ah you too what that?’’ I suppose he was interrupted in the middle of getting under a girl’s dress in the dimly lit rear of the room. I shrugged. I stared at the rest of the not so blank page and squinted. Through my half lidded eyes the world seemed to rewind.
‘’ Warning for juniors leave the annex!’’ the din of the brass bell and the hoarse bark of the bell boy cut through my sleep like a hot knife through butter. Someone muttered ‘’ This bell boy kraa ede like ring the bell hard too much.’’ ‘’ Make you no mind am. E be like say play dey en eye top.’’ Rising bell was always a cause for grief. Even though I could afford an extra ten minutes of sleep, the whiplash caused by the bell is not so easily forgotten. The house came to life raucously. I trudged out of bed. I checked whether my school uniform was safe nestled behind the thicket of coat hangers. Satisfied I made a beeline for the tubes. In the dank toilet stall a mix of relief and worry creased my face. I was constipated for three days straight. Relief because I had more time to bath and worried because I felt like I was carrying a pack of C-4 explosive in my rectum and I didn’t know when it was going to explode. I trundled through the rest of the morning ritual. No chores because of my semi-senior status. Form two third term meant we were at the top of the hierarchy. While some of my mates were busy being apex predators; having few natural enemies and plenty of prey to choose from I was largely invisible. Due to my melancholy and (enforced) solitary habits I wasn’t part of a clique. If I was part of an ecosystem I would be the seventeen year cicada sleeping under the soil. I lived a largely lonely existence.
I wasn’t looking forward to the morning. Breakfast was foregone because it wasn’t my week to eat. Empty wallet (I left it under my pillow) and empty chopbox (the padlock was stashed away in my trunk) meant I was going to have to wing it. Visiting can’t come quick enough. But it was Thursday and a gloomy one as that. Foreboding grey skies over a grey hill. ‘’ Funny.’’ I thought. The first warning started on my way to class from morning assembly. I was tall and skinny and it showed in my gait; an awkward ambling stride. I feel like a giraffe sometimes. So I was walking on the lover’s lane when I felt it. A knife twisting pain in my gut. I winced and soldiered on. Gladly I had just one paper today. Unfortunately it was in the afternoon. Around 12. It was gloomy and cold. Just great. I had left my cardigan in the house. Cardigans are ubiquitous in Motown. In hot or cold weather you were definitely going to find students wearing them. I cursed myself silently. I made it to class. Word going round was that we were going to write the paper at the Art School. Nice. If it rained we were going to be trapped. No access to the snack square or the school annex.
I sat down in silence. Everything was a bit blurry. Hunger necessitated a reduction of activities. No energy wasted on extraneous things. I avoided the group discussions. No talking. Not even to the girls. I slept away the hours. Everyone in class was accustomed to my quirky ways so I wasn’t disturbed, not till it was time to go to the Art School. GKA wasn’t ordinarily a difficult paper. The history made revising for it a chore. It could be overwhelming. Hunger pangs tore at my stomach but my concern was the slow turning of my bowels. I positioned myself in the middle of the class. It was much harder to cheat from there and I really just wanted to be left alone. The paper looked easy on the eye. I set to work. I was done in half an hour. Yeah yeah I know. I liked to finish my papers as quickly as possible and daydream or sleep the rest of the allotted time out. I felt the urge to fart and I positioned myself; one buttock up. Almost immediately I held it in.
Second warning. My eyes watered. The knife twisting gut pain was back. I wasn’t going to wing this one. I had to get to the school annex asap. I looked up at the invigilator and raised my hand. Without waiting for him to get to me I darted out of the classroom. How the art school lacks toilet facilities I have no frigging idea. I set out in my mile eating stride to cover the fifty plus metres to the school annex. Ten seconds into it and it was already a bad idea. I doubled over in pain. I started hobbling. I was in a dilemma. Holding in three days’ worth of crap was a herculean task. I was facing off nature and gravity and they were winning. I could hear the churning of my colon’s contents like an organic cement mixer. I burst out on to the road between the dining hall and the co-op shop. Then wham! It hit me again. My lumbar region screeched in pain. Tears welled up in my eyes. Mercifully there were no students in the form three block (their previous occupants were busy regaining the fat lost in three years of their academic travails). I half imagined how this situation would have panned out if they were there. Some of the boys would have been lounging out of the window waiting for unsuspecting juniors to pass by and send. One would have bawled ‘’ Yo! Form two boy. Drop.’’ I would have given them an incredulous ‘’WTF’’ look and continued my meandering on. ‘’Herh! E no be you we de call? In fact clock for there. Why are you loitering around during school hours?’’ I would have stuck my fingers in my ears. Fortunately this was never going to happen. Ultimately the delay would cause outright disgrace to me. It wasn’t worth obeying a senior for.
I laughed manically. I felt my coccyx sway. The school annex was just up ahead. I tried to increase my hobbling speed. Home straight. I veered into the hedge right beside it attempting a shortcut. The school annex was little loved. Despoiled and desecrated on a daily basis by the Anumle boys it was a place of darkness and unspeakable terrors. My need however trumped this. It was just too great for me to care. Then I heard a sound like a balloon deflating or cattle groaning. I felt the warm stickiness in the seat of my shorts. I lurched in horror. ‘’ Oh God, why now?’’ I whispered. Too late. How I tore off the shorts without a fleck of human excreta on it was mind boggling. It was bye bye boxers though. A tremor ran down my spine. A sharp cry of relief, tears of joy streaking my cheeks and the human sewer chugging its waste to the ground. A blissful idyll.
While I had the forbidden pleasure of relieving myself I wondered ‘’ What if Kasa saw me?’’ I was not about to be lulled into serendipity. He had the nasty habit of jumping students in the most undesirable areas. As I wrapped up there was still no show. I cleaned myself up by the tap which was most fortunately stationed a few feet away.
I snapped back into the present. I crossed out the opening sentence and scrawled again. I just had to record today better. The weirdest of the weird I know. It now read ‘’ Today is the day the world stood still.’’

THIS MORNING

 

Last night was topsy-turvy. I spoke to the love of my life. Beneath all the excitement I sensed the fear. The uncertainty. It was not helped in any way by the distance between us physically. On the surface not much had changed since we discovered we were romantically inclined towards each other (I did first). My litany is not to promise an error free love, but to show that love does not look for errors or doubts. To live in the moment every day and to falling in love with every breath.

I don’t know whether she sensed it too. I had my own fears. Would I be willing to commit over the distance? Will the lack of my physical presence force her into the arms of another? Would I look for “excitement” elsewhere to pass the time? I went to bed a confused young man. I was brimming with a love which threatened to leave me somewhere I’ve never been before.

When I woke up this morning I checked her last seen on WhatsApp. Then I checked her profile picture and status. I smiled and went through my morning rituals. In the shower I prayed. First for her, then for me. Then I prayed for my family and left my doubts in the bathroom. While I am afraid, my love is greater. For it is in the bible, I do not remember the chapter or verse but it says and I quote “No greater love than a man have for his friends that he lay down his life for them.” This passage does not always mean death. I realize it means love is bigger than yourself. I am not moving an inch. For the Lord will make me strong through love. Everything happens for a reason. It is not coincidence that two people separated by half a continent would fall in love with each other.

With each terrifying heartbeat, each devaluing fear, I am made stronger. In the face of our most pressing fear (ourselves) I declare that I love you. The best way I can show you is below.

THIS MORNING

I woke up this morning,

And I decided to skip work today,

I will do no paper mourning.

I sat before my mirror,

And stared at me,

A tweaked retrograde god,

And I decided to fall in love.

I watched the ants soldier on in unbroken ranks on my window sill,

And when they reached home their door doth did they seal.

I fell in love with the simplicity of their sophistication.

I stubbed my toe while sweeping the living room.

Rather than curse I marveled at my body’s emergency response.

And with a flourish I twirled my broom.

Whence I was done with my chores,

I stepped outside

And the sun kissed me good morning,

Loving rays from a white star.

And so it went

The day brooding,

The imperfection of food filling my stomach,

The minute cravings.

Near death

And as I lay down in bed today

I saw you.

With the high forehead,

And the hidden scars.

I saw you were afraid.

You did not have to speak it.

And in that moment

I loved you.

© Sena Kodjokuma 2014

THE COCKROACH

 Image courtesy Google Images 

Charle, as I dey this trosky inside ebe ma last 2 Ghana dey ma pocket inside o. So-so thinking dey ma mind top. The way I no chop too eh. But Fofo too she mess up o. I de take car from Odorkor all the way to East Legon sake of she see cockroach for en bed top wey she de fear. Sometimes women de funny me waa. I shock sef say she call me mohm. I hear from am keep. Like 4 years this. Sake of she from Yankee come no ky33 bia. She go university for there come.

Before I go toa so, make I yob you about Fofo small. Fofo be ma shawty. We de komot like 6 years this if you want attache the 4 years she borga. I de feel am pass. She tall like 5 feet, wey she no hy3da fair like that. En smile then en dimple de kill me pass. If I want talk about en body eh I suwear you go stone me for here. En Manchester then Arsenal no size. Them ripe like mango wey them no over bola. Fofo get small space for en teeth inside wey she de like Rasta then cornrow pass. The thing be say Fofo be the woman I de dream about every gb3k3. Beyoncé then Nicki Minaj sef no near am.

I meet Fofo for the Labone side there. Then times na I dey ma mommy en there for Labadi so e do a I de walk go the dadabee people themma side there. That morningtee in fact I de kae the date waa. Na ebe 29th February 2012. I just base for some tree under wey I de claim air. Mommy go job wey she no cook or lef chow for house. I hung aa wey I talk ma body say I go run ma body hit money give waakye today. I just spy the people them de walk for the hood inside. Some old man then en dog come pass. The dog fat pass the man sef. I see say the dog fit do me yawa if I go try something. Like five minutes pass wey I see say some fine girl bi de walk go. The way she do en hair I see say she complete SS wey she just dey house. That time na I dey form 4 de go write WASSCE. Vac things so I fit base for tree under small. Eno be everyday wey I go mow saa.

Anyway I follow the girl saa wey as she turn the curve wey I start de boot. I gye ma eye wey I just pull en purse from en hand inside. She just shock wey she no fit shout. I no look back aa wey I go komot for the waakye seller en body. I spy the purse inside eh na I de want faint sef. Money be what? I see 50 Ghana 4 for inside. The 10 then 20 chao pass. I spy inside better wey I see 5 Ghana. I gye wey I take buy the chow. Ridee I go house say I de go chop na I no fit chop sef. The girl en money then phone all dey the purse inside o. I dey there wey I just talk say I go take go police station. I just wey ma fitted cap wey I start de trek go the station there.

I de walk all the girl just come ma mind inside. The way she get shape like them women for uptee clips inside. I de kae en shada sef. She wear some check-check shirt then white skirt ede catch en knee. She do en Rasta like basket. The front raise wey she take rubber band hold the rest for en back. She get them baby faces some wey I see say she no be them girls them de rush some. I just start de feel yawa for there kraa. I kech the police station wey I chook ma body. The koti just sound me some sounding for there eh. I just see stars start de walk like I booze. As I de come enter the counter-back wey I see say the girl come plus en old boy. Saa na naa the man plus the dog be en old boy. The koti pause small wey e talk plus them. “He actually just turned himself in. you can talk to him.” That be what na the koti de tell them. The girl watch ma face wey she smile. I see the dimple then I just shy for there. Them take the purse give am wey she watch inside. “Look Papa, he took just 5 Cedis from the purse.” She smile saa. En old boy di3 eno want smile sef. The boys for the cells there shock sef. One diss me saa. “How you fit borst then you come chook your body. Wey ebe 5 Ghana p3 you take. You fool pass.”

E make the koti release me wey e tell me say make I follow them. We kech outside I start de turn go wey e hold me. “Young man, you’re going home with us.” En palm inside check like road top. Ebe baree pass! Ma heart just cut wey I start de beg. “Sir please I won’t do it again. Sir I beg.” For there wey the girl start de laugh. She laugh saa as we de enter the man en ride inside. Charle the ride eh no be any small car o. G Wagon o wey them spray am grey plus black rims. I just watch ma body wey ma eye die. Ma singlet tear-tear wey ma fitted too de look like sometime the blind beggars for town de wear. Ma chalewote sef no de match. One be blue bird wey the other one be a ka me last the colors-colors one some.  Ebe ma shorts p3 e make okay sake of ebe school shorts.

I de go sit backseat wey the man tell me say make I come sit front. I nearly piss put ma body as I hear. I make quiet wey I go tap. E move the car wey we go. So as the man de drive ede biz me questions. “Young man, what’s your name?” “My name is James. James Kudorwor. Everybody calls me Shakes though.” I reply am. “You are a very curious thief James – er Shakes.” The girl that o. “Why take just 5 cedis?” “Please I’m not a thief o. It is just that – I de hung so I for chop.” I shake wey ma bl3 quench so I toa so plus pidgin. The man just smile for there wey the girl di3 she just de laugh. I watch am for the driving mirror inside saa. Them biz me where I de stay then the school I de go all. Them introduce themma body give me. Major Charles Kotey then Fofo Kotey be themma names. Them kech themma house wey them give me 100 Ghana. “Don’t be a thief okay?” Fofo shake ma hand. “I hope to see you soon.” That be all.

The way Fofo the en old boy help me eh. Sake of me then mommy de br3. Mommy de job for pure water company. She de go early wey she de come late. E do a them de give me money wey I de take support we for house all. I visit Fofo more times. She teach me maths then science all sake of ma head no hy3da good for that side. I come feel am eh. The day I write WASSCE fini she take me go mall go watch movie. We wey trosky make I shock. I see say she de make I make comfortable waa. We dey like a few months wey I tell am say I de want komot am. She laugh saa wey she tell me say “Go and read the story of the princess and the frog and come and narrate it to me.” I bore for there. Sake of she know say I no de like read.

I force ma body search the book. I read fini like one week. I go see am. As I de gbaa am the story all she de near me. I start de move wey she tell me say make I tap. I kech the side wey the princess kiss the frog wey she just moff me for there. I de kae the way en moff de taste. She de taste like mango then orange juice. Since that day we start de komot. Them move go East Legon wey I lef mommy en there go Odorkor. I start some apprenticeship for some fitting shop sake of I no fit go uni or poly. Fofo en old boy say e go help me I tell am say nah. The way them watch ma top fini SS good give me. Fofo bore me for there. She de come fly sef she no tell me. That time all na things no de go well. Major die of cancer wey e lef Fofo p3. Me too I make wild for job de try learn sake of I want go do mechanical engineering for uni. Homeboy no know how them de kror-kror woman if things so de happen. We argue more times wey one dey I de go visit am the credit seller for there tell me say Fofo say make she tell me say she de fly go Yankee go school come. I shock wey I just lef there quick.

That day I cry. I get en picture one p3. I watch am aa. I come lose weight all. I wake up one day wey I just decide say I make fine. I go pass that side again the credit seller give me note. She forget say she go take give me as e tell me. I open the note 5 Ghana dey inside wey she write for en basa-basa handwriting inside. “My good thief, when you miss me read the princess and the frog. XOXO. Fofo.” I smile small. The note still dey ma pocket inside.

I dey the trosky inside wey I just de laugh as I de kae. Fofo try do kubolor things before o. She come search me for house before. The way she lost. I go see ma guys bi for the hood inside wey them tell me say some fine girl bi dey around de ask of me. That day too e rain so the rain beat am well. I carry am go house that day. I just gye ma eye sake of where I go take am pass go house make muddy. That day wey we lose wona virginity. For ma student mattress top. We fini wey she de bed ma top de laugh. Fofo di3 she always de laugh. I take am go Amelia en koko joint wey she fall gutter inside all she de laugh. I kae these things all wey I just miss am. Sake of she no talk say we shun. I no de want see am but charle if you de love some bro a you never fit do anything. E de make you make jon but you no de biz. She no know cook wey she try do waakye give me. That day I go drug store go buy laxative. The girl put soy sauce all for the chow inside. I just no fit. Me then en old boy laugh am saa.

One thing I de kae about Fofo be say she de like ball watch. Them get Dstv but match dey a she de come my there make we go watch for ma hood spot. She be strong Chelsea fan wey I be Liverpool fan. The time Essien score own goal I laugh am saa make she block me for WhatsApp top.  We fit argue sake of ball like she be man.

I kech the place wey I get down. I still get spare key so I enter the house inside. Themma dog see me wey e start de run come. En name be Brutus. Some boerboel o. e lick me saa wey I force gyemi from am. I open the door. The whole place make dark. I see some bro de bed the couch top. E turn small wey I see say ebe Fofo. I smile wey I go en room go wey blanket come give am. I enter the room inside no cockroach too dey there. “This girl paa.” I just shake my head for there. I come cover am wey I sit the armchair inside de watch am.

I FINI