Nana sat in front of me looking beautiful, the euphoria of meeting each other was waning.
“How are you?” I asked her for the umpteenth time.
“I’m doing well,” she replied and we smiled at each other. It was as though we didn’t want to launch into the obvious subject. It was a Wednesday afternoon, my off day from work.
“We should order for some food,” Nana said.
“Okay,” I moved my sit back and Nana stood up before me.
“Sit Omoh, be my guest. Let me be your big sister again.”
I smiled and allowed her to go get our food. I picked my phone from the table and that’s when I noticed my palms were sweaty and they shook. I shut my eyes and took in deep breaths to calm myself. Nana returned with jollof rice, salad and bottle water.
“Enjoy,” Nana said as she dropped the food on the table.
Nana burst into laughter and her hands went to my neck and my head.
“Are you okay? You didn’t hit your head, did you?”
I shook my head. “This looks awkward but Nana, I want to know what happened to you. We are grown now and I can understand whatever you throw at me.”
“Let’s eat first,” Nana said. “Then I’ll tell you everything.”
“E be me o! Your Nana.”
I laughed, then we ate our food in silence, when we were done eating, Nana moved the plate to the side and I did the same.
She looked at me with a stare I’ve never seen before. I knew she was remembering but it was important to spill.
“When I left home to Kumasi, I was happy that everything I ever wanted was going to come through. Lady B, told me I was going to work as a waitress in an hotel, she would provide accommodation, all I needed to do was pay her in instalments until the full price of the rent was paid. Then I can continue paying my own bills. It sounded like a good arrangement and I was eager to start work. True to her words, I was taken to a big house in Accra, it was my first time in such a place and I was dazzled by the beauty of it all. Lady B, took me to a rooms and told me to make myself comfortable.”
“Well, I did as she told me. In fact, after having my bath that evening, I passed out on the bed till the next morning. I didn’t have dinner. The luxury was so much that I had to pinch myself to be sure I was still alive. That morning, I went out of my room, had a conversation with Lady B and she informed me that the house belongs to her. Omoh? I was shocked.”
I nodded my head, trying to picture it all. “I’m with you.”
“She wouldn’t tell me how she made all that money but assured me that I will know soon enough.”
“Is she a ritualist or fraud?” I asked eager to get to the end of the story.
“Hold on now, let me finish.”
I held her hand over the table, silently supporting her to tell the story. Nana was never one to go straight to the point, this conversation reminded me and I smiled.
“What?” she asked as she observed the expression on my face.
“I’m just remembering that you love telling stories.”
Nana nodded and continued. “She took me to a hotel and informed me that I would be given an accommodation there. The hotel will be my home and work place but that’s because she has paid for it. She took me to the manager and he welcomed me with open arms. Stefan Kweku was both the angel and the devil, the only side he was on was his. He only cared about himself but I didn’t know at the time. Lady B, left me there and that was the last time I saw her. The number she gave me, which I gave to you, did not belong to her. It was for Stefan.” Nana withdrew her hand from mine, closed her eyes and rubbed her temple with both hands. “Remember we both didn’t have phones then, so I couldn’t confirm it until later.”
“I was only a waitress for one day, after that… after that day, I became the CEOs whore. I should have guessed but I didn’t know, Stefan told me to take some food and drinks to a particular suite, when I got there the place was looking too good to be true. Like some place in heaven was designed and set on earth. Long story short, he drugged me and I lost my virginity that night. It hurt to remember, I have no recollection of my first time, it was all hazy. I woke feeling sore in my nether region and he didn’t have the courtesy of treating me with the respect a mistress should have…”
I was angry as Nana droned on but I wasn’t listening. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hit the wall, shatter bottles, I wanted to strangle the man who treated Nana this way, if possible throw him out of his suite and watch his blood paint the floor. All kinds of emotions were running through me, I put my hands on my head and tears came down.
“Omoh, stop it. Stop crying, you should thank God I’m alive any way.”
“Don’t start Nana! Don’t start to tell me about the God who didn’t protect you when all this was happening.”
Nana gave me a sad smile and launched into our Akan dialect.
“There are a lot of things we blame God for when we should blame ourselves. What if I never left home? What if our parents gave us the care and love we deserved? What if I heeded the warnings signs and the red flags?”
“You were just a teenage girl trying to b e a better person, make money and have life easier. How was that wrong?”
“The world isn’t fair. The people of the world will praise you when it is going well and desert you when it turns out bad. It is something I have learnt these past few years.”
“Please excuse me.” I went to the bathroom and wept some more, washed my face and came out to face the demons of my sister’s past. It was enough that she that to go through all that and more but I was going to help her make something out of her life.
“What are you doing at the moment and what do you plan to do now? Yes, you haven’t told me how you got into sleeping with girls.”
Nana threw her head back in laughter. “One question at a time. Omoh. Ah!”
“I saved a lot of money when I was a millionaire’s mistress. Yes, it was bad at first, but later it got easier. I have a million cedis in my account and I want to do business.”
“What about school?”
“School can wait,” Nana sipped out of the smoothie in front of her.
“What if you are no longer interested in school.”
“Is the aim of going to school not money?”
“I don’t think it is all about money. When you have education you can compete with anyone in the business world and be successful.”
Nana wagged her fore finger and shook her head. “No sis, to be successful in the business world you need a brain in your head not those things they teach in school, filling people’s heads with junks they don’t need.”
I sighed. It wasn’t as though I had gone to the university myself but I believe that it was a place of acquiring many relevant knowledge that would help us to live better lives.
“Can I discuss the other questions later when we see? You have to trust me.”
“I trust you Nana. I don’t know what else you are up to but I want you to know that regardless of what you’ve been through, I will always be here. Promise you won’t shut me out again.”
Nana placed her elbow on the table, opened her left hand and I placed mine to hers.
“I promise you, that I won’t ever shut you out, unless it is for your good.”
“Nana?” I narrowed my eyes at her.
“I won’t shut you out ever again.”
“Good. When are you coming home to see Mama and Papa?”
“How about now?”
“Yes. Let’s surprise them.”
We stood up and left for home. Talking freely for the first in years, there was no animosity, no secrets between us just love and laughter. Nana walked into the house first and I heard my mother scream her name. I entered to the sight of my mother fainting and Nana rushing to brace her from falling.
Booky Glover, 2020
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